It’s no secret that getting a new app noticed is hard. Really hard. Google Play and Apple’s App Store currently host more than 4 million apps, and the volume of new submissions fielded each day is steadily creeping upward.
Boosting visibility within traditional app stores is an ongoing challenge for developers hoping to gain new users, but these days, a new company is widening the playing field. Silicon Valley-based Blackstorm aspires to provide “a lightweight universal development environment that can be used to create and share high-performance applications.” At the same time, the company hopes “to exist in a world free of the constraints and limitations of app stores — and provide the technology to create and enable that.”
The Trouble with Traditional App Stores
Quite simply, the App Store and Google Play are saturated markets. Thousands of people submit new apps to both stores every week; but no matter how innovative, life-changing, or helpful it is — barring a large marketing budget on the developer’s part — it’s pretty easy for an excellent app to get lost in the shuffle.
This unfortunate phenomenon can be attributed to both the sheer number of available apps and the “discovery issues” that have long plagued both the Apple and Google stores. Power distribution keeps app adoption and monetization heavily skewed towards just a few developers, and the top 20 app publishers earn 60% of all app store revenue but represent less than .005% of all apps (according to a study by Activate).
Couple that with the fact that Apple is now allowing search ads, which enable developers to bid on advertising slots in search result lists (similar to how Google search works), and even some organically successful apps could be doomed to failure.
Suffice it to say, the app store ecosystem is a little toxic — and barriers to app adoption are largely to blame. Discovery poses the largest challenge, as there are currently only two portals through which viable users can find apps: app stores, and advertising via social media channels. On top of this, paid search displays, self-reinforcing top charts, and oversaturation prevent consumers and developers from reaching one another, while configuration and disk storage limitations create further barriers to adoption.
How Blackstorm Hopes to Change Everything
Currently, all apps are built on iOS and Android, and distribution is controlled by Apple and Google. Blackstorm’s goal is to build an infrastructure for trading and distributing software via platforms outside of traditional app stores, including messenger bots, more souped-up web browser experiences, and mobile browsers powered by the Internet of Things. With bots, messaging, and other user experience-targeted strategies in mind, Blackstorm will widen the playing field by funding efforts to distribute apps via alternative platforms.
Putting your app on the map requires carefully planned customer engagement and concerted optimization efforts, and with the help of Blackstorm and AppMakr, you can #makeanapp that will both perform exceptionally well, and reach as many users as possible.
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