Supercharge Your App Users Through The Fear Of Losing

Can we develop an app that exploits a person’s fear of losing something? The emotion associated with losses is enormous. In fact, it is twice as great as the emotion of gaining something of the same value.

Earlier, we delved into Regime of Competence, and how non-gaming apps, particularly productivity apps, could be teamed with social media to make users more productive. Peer pressure from other users – the longing to win, the pleasure of victory and the frustration of losing – fuels addiction to the app, which makes the user perpetually evolve and progress.

However, there are many us out there who are immune to peer pressure. We don’t give a hoot about contesting with other users, thus the simultaneous feelings of pleasure and frustration of winning and losing – which is central to app addiction – don’t exist. To us, productivity apps implementing the Regime of Competence principle are mediocre at best.

normal-task Figure 1: A normal task management app that allows us to easily procrastinate or totally disregard performing the task we have set for ourselves.

So, what about the idea depositing the fear of losing something – loss aversion – into an app to empower us indifferent-to-peer-pressure individuals?

Let’s see how we can conceivably include “loss aversion” into an anti-procrastination task management app. Figure 1 shows the all-to-common to-do management app. If you are anything like me, it is appallingly easy for me to tap the Snooze button, delay going to the gym and following a Rapid Tone diet, but instead spend the hour in front of the idiot box. A typical procrastination attitude that negatively affects millions of us and nullifies whatever health goals we have set for ourselves we could accomplish with the health of exercise and supplements as Kratom products. Also staying healthy means to stay out of drugs because it can cause drug addiction. If you know someone who is suffering from substance abuse check this article about

loss-aversion-task Figure 2: An anti-procrastination task management app that implements “loss aversion”.

Now, we design some loss aversion into our task management app (Figure 2). Make the user deposit a sum, say $50, into the app account. Take away a certain amount for every task not fulfilled by the deadline. The amount deducted will be donated to a charity of the user’s choice, from people that need food to medical attention from general medicine to a Medical Dermatology with the best specialist in the field such as the Coberly Plastic Surgery & Medspa center and many others.

Of course, the user can choose to cheat and check off tasks she didn’t quite complete. After all, there isn’t anyone else keeping tabs on her tasks but herself. But would she really stoop so low? Besides procrastinating, would she also fail on her promise and callously discard an orphan in Cambodia who is depending on her $5 to buy bread and see a doctor?The hypothesis in designing this app is that the dread of losing money dwarfs the user’s tendency to procrastinate.

If she is serious about kicking the habit, she would not cheat.

At the end of the day, she can choose to withdraw whatever money is left in her account. Or if loss aversion works well for her and saves her from her dallying ways, she might, giddy with happiness and a new sense of hope, donate her deposit to charity.

A reformed procrastinator. An altruist. A nifty app.

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Supercharge Your App Revenues Using Decoy Offers

Every pretty gal knows this dirty trick. She wants to stand out and be the center of attention at a party tonight. So she asks her not-so-fine-looking friends of hers along. These friends innocently tag along, thinking Good Looking Gal really enjoys their company. In reality they are being used as a decoy. If Good Looking Gal is really smart, she will single out friends who are similar to her – in height, built and hairdo – but less attractive. And tonight, accompanied by her minions, she will be the shimmering presence and the focus of many men.

economist Figure 1. The effect of an irrelevant alternative (decoy). Adapted from:

Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, surveyed his students on the subscription option they preferred in Figure 1 (left). Obviously nobody fancied the Print subscription when there is the Print & Web subscription with the same price. Why, then, bother to put the print-only option there? So Dan erased the print-only option, and did another survey as shown in Figure 1 (right). Lo and behold, the Print & Web subscription preference dropped from 84% to 32%.

What just happened? Apparently, something (Print & Web for $125) will seem more attractive when it is compared to another thing that looks similar (Print-only for $125), but a bit inferior. So attractive is that something that the rest of the options ( subscription for $59) pale in comparison.

This inferior thing is called the Irrelevant Alternative.

In the case of people like Good Looking Gal, she will seem more gorgeous when compared to her so-called best friends – the irrelevant alternatives – who look similar, but a bit uglier. So much so that the rest of the girls in the bar don’t seem to matter to the guys Good Looking Gal is trying to entice.

Wicked. But that’s how our neurons are wired to fire.

room-booking Figure 2. Attracting travelers to buy a more expensive hotel room with an irrelevant alternative. Adapted from:

Can we implement Irrelevant Alternative in ecommerce apps? Sure we can! Take a hotel booking app (Figure 2). You want to push your more expensive rooms. So you embark on a clandestine mission to place an irrelevant alternative to make the other similar, and more expensive, room type (circled in red) look really attractive. Note that these two room types are identical in every aspect except for the breakfast and internet access.

Think of how to implement this “wickedness” into your apps to prompt your users into purchasing something that you want them to buy without them realizing you are fooling around in their head.

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How To Use The Path Of Least Resistance To Maximize Your App’s Profits

When confronted with making a tough decision, our befuddled brains turn us into passive decision makers. And if there happens to be a default option for us to take, we will almost always pick the default. The path of least resistance.

donor-consent Figure 1. Organ donation consent percentage shoots up when the default option is to be a donor. Source: Do Defaults Save Lives? by Eric J. Johnson and Daniel Goldstein

Do Defaults Save Lives? is an eye-opening study of the psychology of defaults by Eric Johnson and Daniel Goldstein. Figure 1 shows Denmark, Netherlands, UK and Germany being countries with very low donor consent percentage. Before you reason that people there just don’t give a damn and start booing them, consider the way their donor consent form was designed: theirs had an opt-in (check the box if you want to be a donor). Whereas countries with a startlingly high donor consent percentage used a form with an opt-out (check the box if you do not want to be a donor).

A slight change in wording that resulted in a seismic shift in a country’s choice. When individuals are faced with a difficult call, they will habitually choose the default, if a default is presented.

Savvy app developers can benefit from the user’s inclination to select the path of least resistance. If you want to persuade us to do something of your choice in the app, put your choice there by default.

preselected-option Figure 2. In-app purchase with a preselected option. Adapted from

The in-app purchase screen in Figure 2 eliminates the tough decision of selecting a package to buy. Players clearly see that the Farmer’s Best Value is $40.00 and this best value is even preselected for them. Do you think the majority would select the default package? I would think so. The path of least resistance leading to higher app profits.

no-preselected Figure 3. In-app purchase without a preselected choice. Source:

Compare that with an in-app purchase without a default choice as shown in Figure 3. First, too many choices confuse the players. Worse, without any preselected option for the perplexed user to take, many will end up taking no action at all.

What about email opt-in, you ask. Will it work if you pre-check the opt-in box? These days, we busy folks find unsolicited emails a brutal annoyance. Our time is limited and it is no longer hard to determine if we want to receive your emails. So, sorry, the path of least resistance won’t work here.

Pay-What-You-Want In-App Purchase Results in Higher Earnings

The Android app, Easy Contact Sync, is a contact backup tool that allows you to back up your phone contacts to its SD card and a range of cloud-based storage. This app has a Pay-What-You-Want (PWYW) in-app purchase as shown in the following series of images (courtesy of Paradise Android):


Figure 1: In-app purchase dialog box pops up when the user selects more than three contacts to copy.

pwyw2 Figure 2: Pay the price you think is worthy of the app. Or, pay what you can afford. Whatever price you choose to pay, you will get the same product.

pwyw3 Figure 3: Confirm the price you want to pay.


 Figure 4: Pay, or add your credit/debit card details.

In-App Purchase PWYW can yield a higher number of purchases because the buyer is free to pay what he feels the app is worth. If he finds the app superb, he may be pleased to fork out a higher price for the in-app product. If your app isn’t very delightful, but still useful, he may still go ahead with the in-app purchase, but at a reduced price.

With in-app PWYW, the buyer is now permitted to pay what she can afford. This eliminates alienating the potential buyer who loves your app but feels she cannot afford the fixed-price in-app purchase. With PWYW in-app purchases, the developer will still receive money from this type of buyers, though the amount is diminished. Click here.

The buyer may think your app is great, or the buyer may feel your app is passable. She may be able to easily afford the app, or she may not have much money. To get cash immediately for the app, look for on the internet and fill up their application. But with PWYW in-app products, suddenly all these different types of buyers are able to pay the amount they feel is right. Because of this, the number of purchases for a PWYW in-app product is proven to be much higher compared to that of a fixed-price in-app product.

In-App Purchase PWYW can result in higher profits if you donate part of the proceeds to charity. In one PWYW research, they found consumers willing to pay up to five times more if a portion of the revenues was given to charity. In another PWYW study, the average price paid for an item was initially $0.92. Then, when consumers were told that half the proceeds would go to aid organizations, the average price paid for the item jumped to a staggering $6.50.

Suggest a reasonable price. To encourage your app users to pay more than the minimum price set for your in-app product, you can suggest a “reasonable” price. For example, if you have the pricing options like in Figure 2 above, you can preselect the $3 option if you feel that’s the reasonable price for your in-app product.

Play with your buyer’s ego. Tell the buyer that on average, users paid X dollars for your in-app product. This average price ties in with the preselected “reasonable” price where both these prices should not be far apart. You want the buyer to feel the peer pressure of not wanting to be a scrooge and, on their purchase, match the average price or better it, for the sake of massaging their own ego.

Give PWYW a try in your in-app purchase and tell me how well it works for you.


17 Tips To A Killer App Description

Your app description page is not an app description page at all. It’s an app marketing page and you, the developer, are the salesman trying to get people to download your app. Since you can’t market to your potential users in person, pitching the value of your app in the app description page is the next best thing you can do to market your app. If your app is free, potential users will skim through the app description, looking for key information that will compel them to download the app. If you are charging for your app, then trust me, users will scrutinize every single word you put into the app description page before deciding to charge the app to their credit card.

I’m going to list 17 tips to a great app description. Each comes with a real app description snippet highlighted in red to bring home the point.

1. Clearly describe what the app does in a few short and sweet sentences before the “Read More” link. Viber does a very good job at this by telling the user what it is able to do – call, text and send photos for free to 175 million users worldwide – in the very first sentence itself. No fluff. Just straight to the point.


Viber. Source:

2. Make the user read more by teasing them. If the user is not interested in clicking the “Read More” link to read a more detailed app description, you have pretty much lost the user. Besides being straight to the point, your first couple of sentences should make the user want to read more. If you read the first sentence in Scanner Radio Pro’s app description, the first thing that goes through your head is “Wow, am I really able to listen in on police scanners?? Way cooool… let’s see what this thing can do.” And you will instinctively want to see details of this radio scanner app.


Scanner Radio Pro. Source:

3. Have you ever encountered a boring but successful sales pitch? No? Then your app description shouldn’t put people to sleep. See how Pig Rush portrays its app in a fun, appealing and interesting manner. Makes you want rush out, download the app and save poor Jumpy, doesn’t it?


Pig Rush. Source:

4. Skip anything that doesn’t do you justice. Cut out any texts that don’t have anything to do with the app. It does you no good if you tell your potential downloaders that the app is your first attempt in app development. Or, do you think users would be more inclined to download the app if you tell them your app development company “hails from sunny Maldives”?


Catbug Soundboard. Source:

5. User reviews tell other users that the app has been downloaded, tried, and is useful or entertaining. For instance, we know most women take their menstrual cycles seriously, and there are loads of apps out there that track a woman’s cycles. If there’s one thing that a woman will trust, it’s the product reviews from other women. A satisfied female user who positively reviews your app sends a powerful marketing message to other women. Just take a look at Period Calendar/Tracker.


Period Calendar/Tracker. Source:

6. Endorsements from the press or magazines tell would-be users that these guys, the influencers, have tried the app, and so should you. Besides being a cool app, Evernote has endorsements from big-timers like New York Times, TechCrunch and Mashable. They have tried the app and they loved it, so what are you waiting for?


Evernote. Source:

7. Being featured on the media tells users that the influencers found your app interesting enough to give air time or column space to. Calorie Counter was featured in a variety of heavyweights, from NY Times to WSJ to NBC. The message is clear: the authorities like the app; unless one is an eccentric, he or she will not regret downloading this featured app.


Calorie Counter. Source:

8. Explain the app’s value proposition in bullet points. Your app needs to be special enough for people to download it. File Manager’s compelling value proposition (like FTP and Dropbox support) makes people want to download the app and use it in place of the platform’s native file manager. And these features are all listed in bullet points for easy reading.


File Manager. Source:

9. State your target audience. The person is more likely to download your app if they fall into the target audience you have indicated. Imagine a mother looking for an app for her two-year-old daughter who is still a couple of years away from being categorized as preschool. There are tons of preschool apps out there and she isn’t sure if any of them are suitable for a two year old. However, she comes across Kids ABC Phonics that discloses the app is suitable for kids from two to seven. Mother hits jackpot. The chances of her trying this app skyrockets.


Kids ABC Phonics. Source:

10. Assure the user, especially if it’s a paid app. Assure them that you are reputable and not a fly-by-night app developer. Promise them they can reach you if they have any queries or hitches with the app. If you offer refunds, write that assurance down.


Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden. Source:

11. If your app is really that good and has received plenty of 4-5 star ratings, mention it in your app description. ROM Toolbox isn’t shy to reveal that they have garnered 13,000 five stars. A very powerful endorsement by actual people using the app indeed.


ROM Toolbox Pro. Source:

12. State the number of downloads if this figure is impressive. The advantage of showing the number of downloads is obvious. It is further proof that your app is entertaining (games) or useful (non-games). OfficeSuite Pro 7 (PDF & HD) boasts that its app has been installed on over 100 million devices with more than 40k registrations a day. Putting this number high up in the app description really gets people mesmerized enough to pay a rather high price of US$14.99 for the app.


Office Suite Pro 7 (PDF & HD). Source:

13. Display other great apps you have developed. If you are launching a new app, your app description should include some of the popular apps that you have created, if any. People will acknowledge you as a seasoned and successful developer, and will confidently believe the app you are launching will be just as successful.

dr-panda1 Dr. Panda’s Restaurant. Source:

14. Use asterisks, arrows, stars, checkmarks, hearts and other symbols to make your app description stand out. Compare the description by Titanium Backup and My Backup Root. Which app description is visually more appealing?


Titanium Backup’s app description versus My Backup Root’s app description. Source:

15. Use only screenshots that show the essence of your app. Leave out the rest. Chrome does a very good job at this. It includes informative screenshots that show the user what they can expect before they download the app – like how the tabs are laid out like a deck of cards, how they can go incognito for private surfing and search as you type.


Chrome. Source:

16. If your app contains features that can be unlocked when the user reaches a certain level or if they pay for them, put them into the app description. In Angry Birds, users can cheat and make an in-app purchase for the Mighty Eagle that will easily destroy the pigs in a difficult level. This is disclosed in its app description.


Angry Birds. Source:

17. Give your app more credibility by putting in links to your social media accounts and websites. If you have an ecommerce site that sells paraphernalia related to your app, put that in. If you have YouTube videos related to your app, put the links to the videos in. To be able to see a flurry of activities and to be able to find all your contact info on your web properties add to the trustworthiness of you, the app developer, and your brand. And lastly, putting relevant and effective copywriting will create credibility to your site. If you go to, this is the place to get awesome content and will also help to rank your site.


Plants vs. Zombies. Source:

App Marketing 101: Find That Raving Fan

A good idea is like a virus. It likes to spread and it’s terribly contagious. Put a good idea into an app and watch it proliferate with minimal marketing effort. On the contrary, if you don’t see your just-launched app being downloaded much, it means the idea behind your app has not propagated. This is true no matter how much mobile app marketing effort and dollars you have put in. The problem is with the idea behind the app. The market didn’t move the idea. The idea didn’t generate enough conversations to move the market. The couple of users who downloaded your app were not impressed enough to generate those conversations.

 decoding-app-marketing-resultsInfographic: What does your app marketing results tell you?

Sucky App Idea, No Downloads. Like the infographic above, we can follow the rules of app marketing, from pre-launch to post-launch, but in the end, will your app get the downloads it deserves? If it does, then you have got something going. If it doesn’t, your app probably suffers from the “sucky app idea” syndrome.

Whether or not your app is successful boils down to the idea of the app. It has to be useful or it has to be wildly entertaining.

cloudon CloudOn productivity app. Source: Google Play

Useful apps improve our lives by increasing our freedom and knowledge, saving time and improving productivity. One such app is CloudOn. CloudOn allows you to access and edit Microsoft Office’s docs, be it Word, Excel or Powerpoint, from your cloud-based drive – Dropbox, Google Drive or, SkyDrive. And once you are done editing them, you can email them as links or attachments. How useful! Now, you don’t have to lug around your notebook installed with MS Office everywhere you go. A phone with Cloudon plus internet access is all you need to access and share Office docs.

Apps that are entertaining (read: games) makes you play with them until your phone battery runs dead. They have great graphics and storylines. But most importantly, addictive games are designed so that each level lingers just outside the player’s abilities – tricky but achievable – giving the player a simultaneous feeling of pleasure and frustration and that’s why players that play certain games go online to find services as guides and boosting, which you can take a look at different sites online. Once they conquer one level, the next level undoes the mastery, forcing the player to learn and adapt.

angry-birds-space Angry Birds Space. Source: Google Play

Angry Birds is one such entertaining app. Awesome graphics of the flightless birds and limbless pigs with their unique environment, be it Rio, Star Wars or Space. Remarkably simple storyline about the birds taking revenge of them pigs for stealing their eggs. At each level, the physics involved in catapulting the birds into the air in attempts to kill the pigs becomes harder. Players rejoice in being able to destroy the pigs in one shot. Pleasure. They moan in disappointment for not being able to do so. Frustration. They try again and again. They learn, adapt and succeed. Next level.

Unless you are a clairvoyant, you should get some validation for your app idea before going full steam ahead with its development. Make sure there are people out there who would find it useful or crazily entertaining. A technique of app validation – micro-testing – is very effective to check if users like your app idea. There are many write-ups on micro-testing and I’ve included the link to one in the reference section. Briefly, micro-testing an app includes the following steps:

  1. Build a mobile web landing page showcasing your yet-to-be-built app – app title, description, icon, screenshots, download button – the whole nine yards
  2. Drive traffic to the landing page via advertisements
  3. Track your results – the number of people clicking on your landing page’s download button

Oh, and don’t forget to find that raving fan.



Free Social Media Marketing For Apps Via Facebook Covers

The Facebook timeline cover is the most ignored piece of real estate offering free social media marketing to app developers. If you look at many app developers’ FB covers, what do you see? Pictures of them with their girlfriends. Images of their favorite video games or operating system logos. Drawings of their beloved anime characters. Photos of their adorable pets. Some of us even leave our timeline cover vacant (Figure 1)!

Figure 1. No Facebook cover art: A wasted space if you are an app developer and marketer. Source:

I mean, come on, don’t insult your Facebook cover on inconsequential images. And do not leave it empty. Not when you are an app developer who has created an app and who has put it up into app stores for sale. Not when you have plenty of app marketing to do on a shoestring budget. You want exposure for your app. And your Facebook page has hundreds, if not thousands, of friends or contacts whom you have painstakingly added or accepted over the years. Yet, what do these guys see when they visit your profile? Your cat looking up at them with the most delightful eyes. Goodness. Are you interested in reselling your timeshare? Undoubtedly the very best way to sell your timeshare is by giving it great exposure and placement, and how many possible buyers you are reaching with your advertising and marketing campaigns. Another way to get a lot of traffic to your site is by improving SEO for your site and getting a SEO expert like seo byrå Stockholm. Click here to see on how to sell my timeshare.

Figure 2. Call-To-Action links displayed when a Facebook cover is clicked. Image Source:

 Look, you don’t need to be a veteran expert at an SEO company with seo link building services like YEAH! Local to know that you should start using your Facebook cover art as an online marketing tool to sell your latest app! Use it as a direct Call To Action (CTA), is one of the many techniques you can use to sell your apps, marketing experts from sites as recommend that you need to use as many marketing options as you can. Although Facebook doesn’t allow you to embed a link into the cover image, you can still put the links (back to the various apps stores where your app is hosted) into the image description of the cover art. These clickable links will be displayed whenever somebody clicks on the cover image (Figure 2). And how do you urge people to click on your cover image? By having a compelling CTA on the cover art itself, of course (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Your personal Facebook timeline cover art with an attractive Call To Action. Source:

What if you have a Facebook fan page dedicated to the app you developed? With a fan page, you can go one step further by placing CTA links on the fan page’s short description area (Figure 4).

Figure 4. CTA links in the short description area of the Facebook fan page for your app. Source:

To track the effectiveness of this free Facebook cover art advertising, i.e., the number of people clicking on the CTA links that bring them to your app in the app stores, use an online analytics such as bitly ( Sign up with them, log in and follow these 3 simple steps (Figure 5):

Figure 5. Three simple steps to generate and track your bitly shortlink. Source:

Steps 1 & 2: Convert the link to the app in your app store into a shortlink. In this example, I want to generate a shortlink for an app called “Fish with Attitude” in the iTunes App Store ( bitly will automatically generate a shortlink ( from this iTunes link, which I can then use in my Facebook cover art description. In fact, I can paste the shortlink anywhere we want it tracked.

Step 3: You will also be able to view the stats on the clicks on our shortlink (Figure 6) – total clicks for a date range, who the referrers were and the countries the clicks came from.

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 as many times as you need to generate new shortlinks to your app hosted in other app stores like Google Play or Windows Store.

Figure 6: Tracking the clicks on your shortlink. Source:


How to Color Your In-App Purchase Button for Your Target Users

An effective Call-to-Action (CTA) button relies on four crucial criteria – Placement, Shape, Message and Color. Assuming we have great button placement, the perfect button shape and a hard-to-resist CTA message embedded in our button. How should we color the button? In this article, we consider an app’s CTA button – the in-app purchase button – and how we can customize its color to charm your target users, be it mainly men, mainly women, both genders, or kids.

Continue reading “How to Color Your In-App Purchase Button for Your Target Users”

5 Reasons Why Your App Needs A Sexy Icon

Should we judge a book by its cover? Of course not, but we app users are fond of doing just that. Apps with stunning icons secure a second or third glance from us. They gain clicks and are downloaded. Call us shallow, but we equate a great-looking app icon with an equally wonderful app. That’s why app developers should give each of their apps a professional-looking icon.
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