Telecoms, Media & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Apps World

4 Steps to Establish Your App’s USP

By James Tee

James Tee is a Content Marketing Executive at Sonin app development. They’ve helped many entrepreneurs and start-ups in the app industry realise their potential and have transformed initial projects into fully viable business models. For more visit

Don't forget to check out the awesome lineup of developer topics at Apps World London 2016.

As an entrepreneur you need a mobile app that is better designed, better built and better delivered than every other app available. From the first mobile app in 2008 to the millions available today, what we browse in app stores and download to our devices are results of years of development by other app entrepreneurs, who continue to define and refine their USP's (unique selling propositions).

The app industry is accelerating at an exciting rate with more people than ever now owning smart devices. 2017 is expected to be a recording breaking year for the industry, with app downloads estimated to reach 269 billion. This will inevitably lead to bigger competition from other apps, which makes defining your USP a more important task than ever before.

Your USP is what differentiates you from your competitors, so for everyone wishing to enter the app industry, it's important that you stand out. Consider the reason(s) why you're creating your app and the desired effect that you want it to have. It's not about what the app does, but more about what it offers and achieves.

Here’s 4 key questions to help you establish your app’s USP

1. Does it pass the download test?

App users factor in three key things before they download a new app;

Is it a time saver?
Time saving is a key factor considered by all mobile users when downloading an app. Apps allow users to obtain information quickly and easily without having to search through magazines, newspapers, directories and even websites. Your app should also allow users to carry out a particular task with ease, on-the-go, that doesn’t interfere with their day-to-day lives.

Is it good value for money?
Like any product out there, cost will always be an important factor for your customers. Naturally you may feel that offering a cheaper app will help you acquire more users, yet this isn’t always the case. Users will be willing to pay a higher price if the app offers a better experience or answers a specific need.

Is it different?
With so many apps available, users crave something that they haven’t experience before. A replicated app serves no purpose in the eyes of your customer and will usually result in poor download statistics. Looking at previous successful apps is encouraged, yet you need to differentiate yourselves from the crowd and get noticed for your originality. This is where your USP is vital.

2. What do your audience want?

Next it’s about understanding who your audience are and what they want. By assuming your target audience are already engaging with your competitors, you can scope out what they want and whether they're getting it or not. There are two ways that you can gauge this:

Market research
Carrying out market research on your customers, colleagues and friends is a great way of getting truthful responses. You can ask them how they feel about their current provider and whether they would like anything to change. You can also pitch your own ideas and find out whether these would be welcomed or not.

App store reviews
Just because a competitor has a hold in the market doesn't mean that they're necessarily delivering. You can use both praise and negative comments to your advantage which will then help shape your own concept into something that everybody enjoys.

3. What are your competitors doing?

To build the best possible app you should carry out thorough analysis on your competitor's activity. Download a number of similar apps and find map out where their strengths and weaknesses are. You can also find out how easy their app is to use from a UX perspective and make notes on their design.

4. Have you got engaging & memorable features?

When you’ve established all of the above you can begin fleshing out your app’s features, which is where the fun part begins. Your concept is undeniably important, but this needs to be reinforced with engaging and memorable features. If you look at some of your most used mobile apps you’ll find that it’s the built-in virality which gets you going back for more.

When it comes to establishing your app's USP following these steps will put you in good stead before you approach your mobile app agency. It’s vital that your app makes a noticeable difference on your users' mobile experience and offers them something that hasn't been offered before.

Most importantly have fun with your app, this is your chance to shine!

Don't forget you can learn from amazing developers at Apps World London 2016