Eight steps for building a great mobile sports app

21.05.20

by Benjamin Causse & Editorial Staff

There's no shortage of apps out there, but how can you create one that people will actually use? Benjamin Causse, VP, Business Development & Account Management | DIGITAL Division, shares eight key steps for building a sports app that will be more than a one tap wonder

21.05.20

by Benjamin Causse & Editorial Staff

There's no shortage of apps out there, but how can you create one that people will actually use? Benjamin Causse, VP, Business Development & Account Management | DIGITAL Division, shares eight key steps for building a sports app that will be more than a one tap wonder

The average person checks their phone 96 times a day – up by 20% over the past two years. What are they doing on their phones? 90% of mobile minutes are spent in apps.

And when it comes to sports, the app appetite is very much there. In the US, an Ipsos Mori survey found that users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on sports apps. They’re also the second fastest growing app category, closely following messaging and social apps.

With stats like that, it’s clear that setting up an app – and doing it well - is key to reaching your current and potential customers online. But you just need to hit the App Store or Google Play for a second to see there’s hardly a shortage of choice. For yours to stand out from the noise, what steps need to be taken before and after an app is launched? Digital sports expert Benjamin Causse, who works alongside our Development teams and our DESIGN Division to build apps for major sports organizations and media companies, tells all.

1. Define the app’s objectives

Clearly, early on – defining the objectives will be key. Building an app just because your competitors have one is not enough. “What do you want to achieve with this app? What’s your target? What’s the difference between the objective of this app compared to your website or your digital ecosystem in general? It shouldn’t be a simple copy and paste,” says Ben.

2. Decide the operating system and technology

For example, are you looking to build a fully native app or one using more hybrid technology? It depends on the app’s objectives and features – if you’re largely mirroring your website, you may want to pick hybrid technology. However, if you’d like to integrate more complex features like video streaming, geolocation, push notifications, etc, then fully native is the way to go.

3. Confirm the app’s features

Of course, this is vital to get right – and something that will either make or break your mobile sports app. Will you be covering mainly sports news? Or will the app offer VOD streaming? Or will it be more transactional, i.e. in-seat ordering within an arena? “Benchmark what’s around at the moment, especially because this ecosystem is changing on a pretty frequent basis,” says Ben. It could be that there’s a new navigation or design trend that you’ll want to incorporate in your app, for instance.

We also work with clients to recommend features that may not have been considered but will add real value. A great way of uncovering hidden opportunities is through our Design Hustles.

4. Define your monetization strategy

There are still lots of opportunities for monetization through building an owned app, including classic advertising and sponsorship. “Given the amount of time people spend in app, it makes sense to focus on this. You can do many interesting things, like brand the loader when you refresh the page and feature native advertising in your newsfeed,” says Ben.

5. Build the wireframes

You may think you have the very best ideas but building without preparation would be a big oversight that could prove costly. After the features, tech, and objectives have been confirmed, mobile experts within our DESIGN Division will build detailed wireframes with input from our Development teams. “What’s very important is building the wireframes with the client – not for, but with,” says Ben. That way, there will be no surprises and the design will better reflect insight from both parties.

6. Test

Once the wireframes and prototypes have been built, it’s time to get testing. At Deltatre, we often run workshops where the first iteration of the wireframes are shown to potential users and we’ll then ask them to follow a given process. “We see where they are struggling and what they do intuitively – we then take into account their feedback and modify accordingly to make sure it’s ready for users,” says Ben. If you launch without adequate testing, you run the risk of creating an app that doesn’t genuinely suit the requirements of your target audience.

7. Plan for post-launch

Once you’ve launched your app, the journey is not over. “You need to think about what will happen in terms of maintenance for year two, year three – that’s so critical for a mobile app because it’s evolving so fast,” says Ben. “It’s really a living product. You need to make sure that you bring new functionalities and that the app can cope with the new versions of operating systems that launch on a very frequent basis.”

And as the average user accesses their phone so regularly, it’s important to feed their appetite for content and keep the app updated – they need a reason to return. It’s why we’ll hold regular account management meetings or steering committees with clients post-launch to ensure we can keep them updated with upcoming features or tech updates.

8. Learn from the data

Analyzing the data is a critical part of the journey. We integrate an analytics platform into the apps we build to enable clients to gather data easily, including the average time spent on the app and which sections are most popular. “Based on this, we can suggest modifications linked to new features or new navigation styles,” says Ben.

Want to find out more about our sports app capabilities? Or how we can work together to build the mobile sports app you’ve been waiting for? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with the team.

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