Apps with staying power


By Katie Stiefel

“Hey, check out this Vine!”

When was the last time you heard those words? Chances are, not recently.

An app’s shelf life lasts as long as it can hold users’ attention, and Vine did not stand a chance after Instagram updated its features.

Two years ago, Vine was growing. The thought of producing a creative, six-second video was embraced by consumers and marketers. Then, Instagram made it possible to post videos, and Vine usage declined.


Studies show that today’s consumers are spending the majority of their time on smartphones using only five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store. With an App Store that hosts well over a million apps, it’s no wonder that smartphone users process content, delete apps and move on.

#TeamMoonsail uses a lot of apps to enhance our social media work, and here are four common characteristics of popular apps that indicate longevity:

1. Communication Capabilities

Communication is at the root of everything we do. Social media is popular because it allows us to keep in contact with friends and family, or meet new people across the globe. Most social networking sites give users the option to create groups for those who share interests.

Humans crave connections. We desire relationships because they increase our feelings of confidence and importance. Individuals are motivated by these feelings to develop social skills so that we may develop friendships.

About a year ago, Instagram added on to its Instagram Direct feature, allowing Instagrammers to use threaded messaging, rather than having to start a new message every time you send a photo or video to someone, making it easier to have a conversation.


We’re irresistibly social creatures, so apps with user-friendly communications tools are the ones that will stick around.

2. Unlocking Levels

We’ve been talking about Snapchat a lot because we think it has incredible staying power. Snapchat has a trophy case that contains emojis for each achievement a Snapchatter reaches. The list of trophies is meant to be a secret so that users explore Snapchat as much as possible. For example, if you reach a high enough Snapchat score by sending a specific number of Snaps, you might earn a trophy.


Many game apps unlock new content as a player masters challenges or levels. This increases the player’s motivation to keep playing the game, earn rewards and tell others about what games they’re playing and why.

3. Producing New Content

Keeping the content flowing is imperative. An app is only as valuable as its content. You know those updates that you always have to make in your App Store? Those are what keeps consumers wanting more. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are still alive because they innovate and add more features that users want so they don’t get bored and abandon the platform for some new app that offers something new and exciting. For example, Twitter is rolling out big changes on Sept. 19.

4. Reliability

Content that users find reliable and trustworthy will drive them back to the app again and again. In late July, Pokemon Go saw a decline in popularity of several million players due to server crashes and issues that caused the app to freeze and make it difficult to catch Pokemon.

Reliability will help keep consumers happy. These consumers are the ones that will spread the word about the app to their friends and creates more app downloads.

So when you’re deciding which new app to download and learn, consider if it passes these criteria. The app’s lifespan will most likely be longer than one that doesn’t include them. By keeping users communicating, exploring and excited, an app will hold one’s attention and extend its heartbeat.