The biggest, most important factor in mobile app success is the product: the app itself. There is little doubt that an app that does what it says it is does, and does it well, is onto a winner.

The second most important factor, however, in making your app a winner is understanding that the product alone will not guarantee its own success. You may have the best, most innovative and useful service in mobile – but if no one knows about it, then you may as well pull the plug on your dreams. 90% of all apps on iOS are “zombie” apps (according to Adjust, 2016). This means they are not indexed and not discoverable. I’m sure that many of them are superb apps and deserve mobile app success. But instead of getting their time in the sun, they’re languishing in the graveyard of App Store misery.

Here’s a question: what does one do when one gets an email from a very enthusiastic developer who has just filled his every spare hour over the last six months of his life building the “next Facebook”? When he tells you he wants fifty million users in the next six months, do you tell him the truth? (The truth here being that his viral strategy isn’t going to give him the numbers that he needs; that it’s going to take him a lot longer than six months; that he is going to need tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of dollars to start with?)

Do you or don’t you?

Of course you tell him!

I worry that as an industry, we aren’t being truthful and realistic about how hard it is to achieve mobile app success. To make the client feel like we’re right for them, we don’t want to be a stick in the mud by telling people that it’s not going to work.

But these believers need to know the truth before they invest more money, time and dreams into their app future. It takes a brilliant product, commitment, investment, luck and regular reality checks to make it work. It also helps to listen to advice from people who have been there and done it – like Yodel Mobile.

The ‘fifty million users’ guy is real. He told me I was wrong and that he could achieve what he planned to do with the $100,000 he had to invest in generating users. I really hope he proves me wrong; I really hope he achieves his dream of mobile app success. I would love to read his case study and shake his hand at an awards ceremony.

The hardest thing I do every month is walk over peoples’ lofty (and outrageous) mobile dreams and tell them just how challenging the road to achieving their goals is. Someone needs to be their app guardian angel that steers them away from danger, and that’s our role as Yodel Mobile mobile marketing agency. The road to app success is difficult to navigate, but we know how to get there – realistically.

Want to find out more about optimising your app and keeping up with the latest OS capabilities? Get in touch by visiting the Contact Us page. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group.

Read more by Mick: The impact that mobile is having on our decision-making is huge and The app is the Swiss army knife for consumers