For their app to be called a zombie app is perhaps the app developers’ nightmare today. Zombie app is the nickname given to an app that remains unused and forgotten in smartphones long after they had been downloaded. It also refers to apps that had been used for several days until its use proves to be more of a burden than a convenience. Once rediscovered, the zombie app is usually sent straight to the recycle bin.
The goal for app developers, it seems, beyond getting an app downloaded, is keeping users interested in it to actually use it. Zombie apps are useless for developers since they provide no ostensible function, especially if the app needs to be opened frequently, or relies on advertisement and in-app products that need to be bought in order to generate revenue.
One strategy that developers may use to avoid this phenomenon is to offer financial incentives to those who use the app. By financial incentives is meant real, tangible cash, not a discount that they can use to buy an in-app weapon or a level upgrade, and not a chance at a greater price. It does not have to be a substantial quantity, but only enough to encourage users to keep opening the app.
Opening the app becomes a case of positive reinforcement, where users are tempted with rewards that they can get versus simply being bombarded with ads or in-app purchases that they can make. Too much of the latter causes annoyance, and too much annoyance is a one-way ticket towards becoming a zombie app.
A case in point is Engagement Media, the team behind the Stringfly app and several other apps. Stringfly allows users to receive assignments from brands. Some examples of assignments are taking photos of products, answering surveys, and sending in images of news events.
The companies behind the brands pay $12 to $25 for the accomplished task, and the user gets $2 to $6 out of that fee. The task completion fee is sent via Paypal. Engagement Media found out that companies are willing to pay for the tasks because it also offers them needed services.
Offering cash incentives is just one way of preventing apps from becoming zombie apps. There might be more that await discovery if developers just open their minds and let their creativity work harder.