Author: Scott Calonico

14 mobile app metrics you should be tracking for your clients

Having a plan, the right metrics and managing the right outcome with mobile app metrics against that plan is the best way to ensure success. Gone are the days when your job stopped once your client’s app was live. Customers now expect you to be there, to support them, use your expertise and help them deliver success. You now need to think of yourself as the “Product Manager” of your clients app, working with your client to set the right target, the means to measure the performance of the app against those mobile app metrics and most importantly take the corrective action to drive success.

So where do you start? The problem comes when you’re faced with the hundreds of possible app metrics to report. Which ones are important? Which aren’t?

Also – numbers on their own often don’t tell you much. It’s the combination of the metrics and the inter-relationship or ratio between one mobile app metric and another that helps you build actionable insights for your customers.

So with that in mind, here are 14 metrics you need to be thinking about.


Start talking about app analytics with just about anyone and the first thing they’ll mention is downloads. Sure – it does sound impressive when you can brag about hitting millions of app store downloads – and it certainly looks good on the monthly report you give to clients – but downloads on their own is probably one of the most meaningless metrics. Why? simple – BECAUSE THE NUMBER NEVER GOES DOWN. Have a user who downloads an app and deletes it after seeing the splash screen? Doesn’t matter. It’s still counted as a download. Another important stat to keep in mind – up to 25% of users delete an app after one use.

That said – don’t throw this metric away. Its how you use the number that’s important. What’s important is to track two important elements of downloads. First the trend over time, is the overall download trend rising. Are more potential users finding your clients app and downloading it? If so, that’s good, of course. But were not done yet, that leads us to the second most important element, the ratio of downloads to installs (see next section). If that ratio is growing, by that we mean is a higher percentage of all the app downloads ending up as active installs, then you are on a winner. So don’t dismiss downloads from your KPI’s, just make sure you use them to give you meaningful insight.


So, I hear you ask, whats the difference between downloads and installs? They are the same, right? Well no. Installs pretty much does what it says – tracks the number of times the app has been installed on a device. The difference is between someone who actually downloads the app and then installs the app on a device. Typically this is measured by the firing of the first “app open” event. Understanding the ratio of downloads to installs gives you insight into how many folk download the app but never install. Increasing this ratio will have a huge impact on active installs.


Something to keep in mind when we’re talking about mobile app metrics. This is where things start to get a little tricky and you need to read the label. Some analytics products differentiate between “installs” and “users”, while others lump them into one or the other. An “active install” is an app installed on a particular device, for example, if you download and install Candy Crush on your iPad and then decide you can’t live without the joy of defeating self replicating chocolate and install Candy Crush on your iPhone, this is counted as two separate “active installs” by some analytics programs, while others would count this as one “active user”. There are pros and cons with both measures, you could argue that the key measure is the number of devices that the app is active on is a true measure of traction. Or you could argue that it should be all about the eyeballs and users is the critical measure.

Again, as with installs its the ratio between installs and active installs that important. Is this trend improving over time. Is the remedial work you are doing with your client driving up this ratio? Or, have big rises in new installs driven down the active install ratio, showing that the quality could be worse.


Retention rates are one of the most important mobile app metrics you can track for your clients app. In a nutshell, retention rates measure the number of users who opened the app for the first time and compares that to the number of users who return to the app over a certain period of time. For most apps, you’ll probably be seeing a good retention number for the first few weeks after an app is downloaded (everyone likes new and shiny apps) but how does this number hold up after two or three months, or even a year?

Critical here is to understand the different between retention rates and the expected usage patterns of the app. If its a seasonal app, say a ski app then you’d only expect it to be used for a few weeks of the year. So you have to measure retention over a long time span. If its a transport commuter app then you should expect daily week day use.  So context and setting the right targets here are important rather than taking a one-size fits all approach.


For some apps, location is important, for others it could just be “noise”. Where the app lends itself to a geographically diverse user base. Where activities are running to drive up traction in specific locations then of course tracking this is essential.

The questions you should be answering here are:

* Where are your users?
* Are they all coming from one country or from all over the world?
* If they’re just in one country, are they just in one specific region?

One of the most important data points you can get out of location is time zones. This can help you to optimize timings in sending out push campaigns. If the majority of your users are in California, there’s not much point in sending out a push notification at 2am Pacific Time. Knowing what your countries your app is operating is can also help you in planning for language localizations in the future.


You want users to keep using your app, right? That’s why you want to measure its stickiness – a term used to convey how often users are returning to an app and you could say a close cousin of retention rates. One of the best ways of looking at this is focusing on figures known as MAU (monthly active users) and DAU (daily active users). Let’s say, for example that you had 702 daily active installs. During the previous month, you had 4700 active installs. 702 divided by 4700 equals 0.149 or an app stickiness of approximately 15%.

Again, tracking the stickiness trend as part of your mobile app analytics data-set is important. Is the app becoming more or less sticky over time and what can you do to drive this number north?

Here’s further reading if you want to explore MAU vs. DAU statistics in depth.


This measure of mobile app analytics is important but can be tricky. Everyone wants their users to spend plenty of time in their app, right? In most cases, the answer would be yes. However, what if the reason that the reason that the user is spending more time in the app is because of poor app performance – hanging screens, interrupted sessions, etc. That’s bad. You’ll want to take a look at any kind of performance analytics and coordinate them with user time analytics to make sure that your users are spending more time in the app for the right reasons.


Sure, it’s handy to know how many iOS and Android (anyone mention Windows Phone?) users your app has, but this metric is a lot more important than that. It also gives you an insight into what versions of operating systems your users are using. This can help speed development times by showing you which versions you no longer need to support and where you should be putting your development resources.


This shows you which version of your app your users are using. Seems simple enough, but this can also help highlight any problems that users might have with upgrading in versions of the app. It’s also handy metric to use when targeting users with push campaigns to convince them to upgrade to the next version. Or – you can use a push campaign to ask why they haven’t upgraded yet.


What is the frequency with itch users are coming back to your app? Do users use your app every day? Every week? Every month? You can use session intervals to laser target your power users – those who are using the app every day (or in an X time period) and represent your app’s core audience. These are the users you want to keep happy. If the sessions seem to be dropping, you can target these users with a push campaign to get them back into the app. Remember that it costs 10 times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.


How this is broken down depends on your analytics package. No matter what it’s called, it’s a good metric to keep track of. The API traffic metric measures the number of API calls made by your app over a given time frame. API calls refers to the number of times that an API is used by an app while processing types shows the average response time for an API call. Generally you want to have about a 1 second response time for an API. Anything over 3 – 4 seconds and the majority of users (60%) will abandon the transaction and possibly delete the app out of frustration.


This shows the amount of data stored by users of your app. This is good to keep an eye on for planning future platform upgrades and features.


App crashes are bad. We all know that. Crash analytics can provide you with deeper insight into why an app has met it’s untimely end and help you answer questions to keep the app running its best. Are crashes happening only on a certain operating system and or version? Is it a memory issue? Or does the crash only happening with specific app versions?


At the simplest level, the Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) tells you how much each app customer is worth and also what you pay to gain that customer. The only problem comes when you have to sit down and derive a formula to determine CLTV. The nice folks over at Apptamin have an excellent post on the topic of figuring out CLTV. Suffice to say, once you get CLTV figured out, you’ll have a much better idea of if your ad spending is working or you need to try another direction.


So, mobile app metrics is a big subject, but too important to ignore. The key to gathering the right data is to use an awesome app analytics tool.

We hope you’ve found this article useful and  has given you some ideas on how to approach this with your clients, so you set the right measures and not just pick whats easy.

Did we leave any metrics out? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Top App Development Companies Boston


If you’ve been following this blog, you know that here at Kumulos we’ve been taking the time to highlight some of the awesome app work done by different mobile agencies around the world. A couple of weeks back, we turned our attention to Washington, DC and last week to New York. We’ve also highlighted agencies in Texas, the mid-West, Los AngelesSan Francisco, and the UK among others. This week, however, we wanted to turn our eye to Boston, Massachusetts and some of the great work being done there.

First founded by Puritan settlers in 1630, Boston, Massachusetts is one of the oldest cities in the United States. But don’t that that lull you into thinking that Beantown is stuck in the past. As one of the 25th largest metropolitan areas in the US, Boston is also home to over 2,000 startups and ranks number one in the US in preparedness for the digital economy. Let’s not forget to mention that with so many world class universities present, such as Cambridge, Harvard and MIT, Boston has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of the one thing that every top app agency needs – talent.

So grab a bowl of clam chowder (here’s President Kennedy’s favorite recipe) and lets take a look at our picks (in alphabetical order) for some of the top app development companies in Boston.


Founder Sean Mahoney, a developer, started AndPlus in 2009 with one thing in mind – making custom software easy. Because of this background, at AndPlus the battle cry is “good code.” Mahoney has put together a top notch team of coders, designers and developers all in-house at AndPlus. That means no freelancers, no outsourcing and no sub-contractors. Because of this, there isn’t a framework or a language that the team there can’t handle. AndPlus develops native applications for both iOS and Android, and also cross-platform applications such as Xamarin and PhoneGap. As they proclaim on their website, AndPlus “doesn’t do Angry Birds.” Instead, they focus on the hard stuff. Which is why companies and brands like the Harvard School of Public Health, Bloomberg and Medica trust them with their app development.

Follow AndPlus on Twitter.


AMP Agency, led by CEO Gary Colen, begin life as a non-traditional marketing agency. Since then, they’ve transformed into a team of 100 creatives, designers and developers with services ranging from analytics, brand strategy, creative, search, integrated media, social and, of course, app development. Their clients include IcelandAir, Princess Cruises, Play-Doh, and and Samsung. Their full services capabilities means that they can cope with the full digital footprint of the brand making it a highly creative yet highly commercially focused one top shop.

Here’s an example of a game they created for another of their clients, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Follow AMP Agency on Twitter.


Hedgehog also makes it onto our Top UK App developers, with its roots in Newcastle England. Founded by CEO and former developer Sarat Pediredla when he saw the opportunity to build a company centred around software developers. Hedgehog helps companies prepare for a mobile future while, as their website says, “shunning politics and the typical bulls**”t” that permeates the corporate world. Their main focus is on app design and development for platforms like iOS, Android, Windows and HTML5. Hedgehog also develops apps for wearable devices, IoT and AR and VR technologies. In addition to their Boston office, hedgehog have a location in Austin, Texas, two branches in the UK (Newcastle and London), a European office in Copenhagen and another overseas branch in Hyderabad, India. As reflected by their diverse locations, Hedgehogs’ clients are global and include brands like B&M, Mitsubishi, the Financial Times and England Rugby.

Follow hedgehog lab on Twitter.


Like the other Best Boston Area mobile agencies on our list, Infrared5 develops for both iOS and Android, as well as other platforms. Where Infrared5 differs, however, is offering app development and integration with the open source Red5 media server – perfect for apps requiring streaming audio, video and other bleeding edge technologies. Founder and CEO Chris Allen is a leader in the open source community and co-author of the book The Essential Guide to Open Source Flash Development. With clients like Brightcove, Hasbro, Sony, NBC and StarWars under their belt, Infrared5 can handle whatever cutting edge technology is required to make that perfect app.

Follow Infrared5 on Twitter.


Raizlabs first appeared on our  Best North East US App Agencies list in 2015 and we’re happy for them to make a reapparance on our new Boston focused list. Initially founded in 2003 by Greg Raiz, a former Program Manager on Windows XP, Raizlabs began life as a user interface and user experience design firm. After the launch of the iPhone in 2007, Raizlabs shifted their focus to apps and shortly thereafter began their rise to the top when one of their apps exploded off the AppStore charts. Now with over 100 launches under their belt, Raizlabs can boast a team of over 70 people and develops not only for mobile, but for also for voice, IoT, AI, VR and more. In May of 2016, Raizlabs was the first agency in the United States to become Google Certified. So it’s no wonder that Raizlabs is trusted by  international clients such as Six Flags, AAA, B&H and Bloomingdale’s.

Follow Raizlabs on Twitter.


Rocket Farm CEO Dan Katcher comes from a background in wireless technology. Here he led teams that designed web sites for brands like the NFL, CBS and TMZ. When the smart phone industry began to explode in 2008, Katcher founded Rocket Farm to help companies capitalize in this new market. Rocket Farm develops world class apps for iOS, Android and mobile platforms  – everything from mobile games, enterprise, SKDs, mobile APIs and more. As Rocket Farm likes to say  – they’re prepared for platforms that don’t even exist yet.

Follow Rocket Farm on Twitter.


Rocket Insights was started by a group of developers and designers working for larger companies who wanted to bring their combined decades of experience to the agency world. As such, one of the key strengths of Rocket Insights is that they integrate closely with their clients existing development teams. If a client has a more experienced team, that means development goes twice as fast. Conversely, if Rocket is approached by a client with a junior development team, they can jump right in to bring everyone up to speed. At Rocket Insights, they love technology, but they’re not married to it – they’ll work with the best technology to deliver the best results for the customer. They do this by using sprint and MVP methodologies to help ensure their client’s apps are slim, sleek and out the door in a timely fashion. Rocket develops for Android and iOS, as well as the web. Some of their clients include Hulu, Weight Watchers, Virgin and Comcast.

Here’s a short video on some of Rocket Insights experiences working with voice and AI.

Follow Rocket Insights on Twitter.


ZCO Corporation appeared in our list of Best North East US Agencies in 2015 and we’re more than happy to give them a spot here in our best Boston Agencies list of 2017. Founded and led by John Olapurath in 1989 (when cell phones had to be carried in a briefcase) as a software development company, Zco has since then grown into one of the largest app development companies in the world. With more than 300 project managers, engineers and designers spread across 8 offices worldwide, Zco can handle just about any project that comes their way. Their mobile development services center on hybrid apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone and include platforms such as HTML5, PhoneGap, Xamarin, and Appcellerator. Besides mobile, their also develop for wearables, IoT and offer additional services like digital marketing, video and even 3D animation. As befits their status as one of the biggest and best app development companies out there, ZCo clients include Microsoft, BBC America and Motorola.

Here’s a look at their 2017 portfolio:

Follow ZCO Corporation on Twitter.


Well – those are our picks for some of the best and brightest app developers in Boston.  So many more great agencies that we wanted to fit in but just didn’t have the space for.

How did we do? Did we leave out a major player?

Let us know what you think by dropping us a line or a comment below.

Top App Development Companies New York City


The Big Apple! Home of the Yankees (Yes –
and also the Mets – we’re not trying to pick a fight here), the glittering lights of Broadway and, of course, the ubiquitous pizza slice.

New York has never had any problems with catching people’s attention – whether it’s all the tourists crowding into Times Square, or, in our case, a number of hard working app agencies who are looking to change the world one app at a time.

In 2015, we singled out some of the best app companies based in the US North East for recognition. We were all set to do the same this year, but after seeing all the awesome work coming out of NYC alone, we wanted to narrow our focus a bit and showcase some of (at least in our eyes) the rock star app development agencies based there.

So grab a slice of pizza and – if you were planning to do anything else for the next few minutes FUGGEDABOUTIT! Take a gander at our picks (in alphabetical order) for the top app development companies in NYC.


Appetizer Mobile bills themselves as a full service digital agency, and they mean it in every sense of the word. Led by CEO Jordan Edelson, a Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur, Appetizer develops for both web and mobile across platforms including iPhone, Android, Unity, Windows, WordPress, HTML, and Xamarin. In addition, they also develop 2D and 3D games, as well as creating applications for next generation technology and devices like the Occulus Rift, Samsung Gear, Apple Watch and Apple TV.  Besides development, their services include social media consulting, marketing and search engine & app store optimization. Entertainment, sports and music are some of their chief clients, with names like the NBA, Epic Records, and Universal Music Group, along with artists like Lady Gaga and 50 Cent.

Here’s a trailer for one of their games, Portalball, the world’s first augmented reality sci-fi baseball game.

You can keep up with Appetizer Mobile on Twitter.


Founded in 2009 by CEO Alex Moazed with nothing more than three credit cards and an idea, Applico has since launched over 350 apps for clients including Disney, DirectTV and HP.  Applico bills itself as the world’s first Platform Innovation company. Their core service is Platform Design – or BCaaS – “Business Creation as a Service”.  Platform design involves working with their clients to figure out which platform is right for them and how it can best be exploited. They’ve detailed this process in a book, Modern Monopolies, authored by Moazed and Applico Head of Platform, Nicholas Johnson. Of course, as their business name implies, Applico also develops across multiple platforms including Windows Phone, iPhone and Android as well as Phonegap and Xamarin. We wrote about Applico in our Best North East US App Agencies article in 2015, but wanted to point out that since then, Applico Exec Johnson has become the World’s first Pokemon Go master.

Keep up with Applico on Twitter.


AppPartner is unashamedly Brooklyn based. Their headquarters, located in the heart of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, gives them access to some of the most talented designers and developers in the world. As they say on their web site, “We believe in doing the job right – and that means doing the job in Brooklyn.”  Lead by co-CEOs Drew Johnson and Justin Le Clair, AppPartner offers end-to-end mobile services for both iOS and Android platforms including consulting, branding, coding, testing and post launch optimization. They serve clients from all over the globe, such as B&H, Weightwatchers, AP and esurance.

You can follow AppPartner on Twitter.


Founded by brothers Thomas and Dominic Tancredi, Dom and Tom is world class mobile dev shop with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. If that wasn’t enough, their logo is a twin headed robot (Editorial disclaimer: We like robots). They work in any language, on any platform for both mobile and web. Dom and Tom employ a user-centric process to help achieve their customer’s business goals. With over 250+ projects under their belt, from small startups to Fortune 500 companies, and clients like Hearst, Priceline and Citibank, the team at Dom and Tom can handle any app on any platform all the way from inception to deployment and beyond,

Follow Dom and Tom on Twitter.


Another Brooklyn area firm, Five Agency is hard at work designing the next generation of mobile apps. Originally founded in Croatia by CEO Luka Abrus, where they still have a European office, Five handles big name clients on both sides of the Atlantic, including Squarespace, Rhapsody, Microsoft and MTV. Their development team experience ranges from native mobile (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) to web development with Ruby-on-Rails and Java.

Follow Five on Twitter.


Majestyk likes to say that they don’t have clients or customers – they have partners. They offer big agency results with boutique-style relationships. As with the other agencies on our list, Majestyk offers full stack design and development on just about any platform for both mobile and web. Beyond development, Majestyk’s catalogue includes pre-development services like discovery & ideation, competitive analysis and fundraising, all the way to post-development support such as content and integrated marketing strategies. Lead by founder Sean O’Shea, Majestykapp counts companies like Pepsi, IBM and Cognitoys among its partners.

Here’s a short clip of the Majestyk Apps team presenting their prize winning app at the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge.

Follow Majestykapp on Twitter.


Another one of our Brooklyn based Best NYC App Agencies (must be something in the pizza there), Tendigi is a first generation app development company founded in 2009 by former Apple QA Engineer Jeff Soto. Tendigi develops for a full range of mobile, wearable and desktop platforms. Their services include hardware prototyping, front-end web development, server-side (backend) development, embedded system design and – in keeping with founder Soto’s previous career – quality assurance testing. Since we highlighted them in our Best US North East App Agency list in 2015, they’ve added an impressive list of clients like Viacom, Comedy Central, the Home Depot and Ford.

Follow Tendigi on Twitter.


We highlighted Two Bulls in our earlier article on the Top US North East App Agencies and we’re more than delighted to award them a spot in our first Top NYC Agency list. It’s not hard to see why – if you’re looking to develop an app that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, these are the guys to go to. Founded by college pals James Kane and Noah Harlan in 2009, Two Bulls maintains a global presence with additional offices in Melbourne and Berlin. Besides mobile apps, they also develop desktop apps, apps for Augmented Reality and provide platform development and support for IoT devices. One of their specialized services is app store submission optimization, which helps ensure that app store metadata is validated properly so the app submission process goes as smoothly as possible.

Follow Two Bulls on Twitter.

Top App Development Companies New York City – Your Turn

With so many great agencies creating awesome apps all over the New York City area, it was hard to narrow our list of top companies down. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below or drop us a line on Twitter.

If you found this article helpful or interesting (hopefully both), check out our other Top App Agency lists for Texas, Washington, DC, San Francisco, BostonLos Angeles or the US Mid West.

Top App Development Companies Washington DC Area

app development companies washington

We’ll just come straight out and say it – here at Kumulos we love all things mobile. There’s nothing more we look forward to than working with some of the biggest mobile development companies out there to create awesome apps.

In the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting some of the best mobile app development agencies in the US of A. We started this series last year and have gotten a great response. You can take a look at our earlier agency write-ups on the up and comers in BostonLos Angeles, San Francisco, Texas, Mid-West US and North-East US. We’ll be updating those lists in upcoming posts, as well as highlighting areas of the US that we haven’t covered yet.

Right now, we’re going to turn our attention to the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to stretch the boundaries of DC a bit and include the neighboring areas of Baltimore and Northern Virginia as well.

So without further ado, presenting the Kumulos picks for some of the top app development companies in the Washington, DC area.

Let’s get started!


With offices in Charlottesville, Virginia and Durham, North Carolina, WillowTree believes that their smaller team sizes and open atmosphere allows them to outpace more top heavy companies. And with a client list including Time Warner, Pepsico, American Express and Nestle, it’s easy to see why. Their mobile product strategy synthesizes a client’s business model, market challenges and product positioning to create an app that delivers unique value.

Here’s an inspirational video from WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel on the 5 Things He’d Wished He’d Learned In School and – believe it or not – includes a shot of him in German Lederhosen. Don’t worry, the Lederhosen ties in at the end.

Follow WillowTree on Twitter.


The motto of NS804 is “Making Dreams A Reality” and since 2012, that’s exactly what this Richmond, Virginia based company has been doing for app clients from all over the globe. Apps they have developed include CFO Sidekick, Surgical Rounds, SEKR and hundreds more. Rather than try to be an app dev business of all platforms, NS804 keeps their focus solely on Native Mobile apps. This gives them the expertise and ability to try new solutions that other app development firms don’t have the knowledge to implement. CEO Nick Jones, a self taught programmer with a background in business development and marketing, knows what makes for a successful app.

Follow NS804 on Twitter.


Located in the heart of downtown Washington, DC, Mobomo is in the business of awesome: awesome products, awesome design and awesome engineering. That’s why US Government agencies like USGS, the Navy, the FDIC and NASA (for which they won a Webby award) trust them with their apps. When designing for mobile, Mobomo focuses on the device with the least real estate first. That keeps their apps slim, sleek and working on any device. It’s no wonder than that they’ve chosen the Hummingbird as their company symbol – focused, energetic and blindingly fast.

CEO Brian Lacey started at the bottom floor in Mobomo as a coder and worked his way up to the top: “Having worked in all aspects of the business makes me dangerous, and knowledgeable, about every step of the development process.”

Follow Mobomo on Twitter


Cubix is an app developer located in the hart of downtown DC and headed by CEO Salman Lakhani.  Using Agile methodologies, Cubix works through the development process with the customer to ensure that the app that gets released is the one they wanted, and not just a pale imitation. To top it all off, Cubix backs their app development with a free 60 day maintenance plan after launch. That’s why they’re trusted by brands like Sony, Dreamworks, Nintento and Canon. Cubix supports Android, iOS and Windows phones and develop with HTML5, Flash, Unity, and PhoneGap, among other platforms.

Follow Cubix on Twitter


Founded in 2002 by CEO Todd Marks, a teacher-turned-technologist, Mindgrub was one of the first agencies in Baltimore to start developing mobile apps. In addition to native mobile, they work with several cross-development platforms such as PhoneGap, Corona, Xamarin and Unity. They have an award-winning dedicated games division and their client list includes international companies like the Economist, Discovery Communications, Yamaha and Polk Audio. In addition to development, Mindgrub has a dedicated marketing team in place to help get apps the marketplace traction to succeed.

The video below is a few years old, but it shows you how far back CEO Marks and Mindgrub go with the Baltimore/Washington tech community.

Follow Mindgrub on Twitter.


Arlington, VA based Segue Technologies provides app development and support to Federal, Non-Profit and Commercial organizations including the US Air Force, Five Guys Cafe, and the Gates Millennium Scholars. Before writing one line of code, they speak with the customers to develop a tailored solution. Segue then uses the customer’s requirements as a base from which their app development flows, continually testing the solution to ensure it meets the client’s specific needs. One of Segues specialities is the modernization of older enterprise applications to support today’s user communities. Before entering the business world, CEO Brian Callahan served 3 years with the US Rangers and embraces the Ranger motto “Sua Sponte” (of their own accord) in guiding his business philosophy with Segue.

Follow Segue Tech on Twitter.


Clearly Innovative, a minority-owned solutions provider operating out of Washington, DC, develops apps for businesses ranging from startups to enterprise-level organizations such as the Queens Public Library, Kaplan MCAT, the NAACP and one of their most recent clients, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. They work with whatever technology best fits the end needs of the client – including  HTML5, Swift, PhoneGap and more. CEO Aaron Saunders has over 20 years of experience in software and mobile development and continues to be a thought leader in the DC tech community.

Follow Clearly Innovative on Twitter.


Savvy Apps, have been around since 2009, the “good old days” as far as apps go. With their headquarters in Reston, Virginia, Savvy Apps, like the other app development agencies on our list, maintains a global client base by serving brands like PBS, The Motley Fool, the CATO Institute and Foreign Policy. Savvy Apps like to think of themselves as an extension of their client’s team – ideas, code commits, designs and just about every phase of app development are put into a shared space. This allows for constant collaboration between Savvy Apps and their clients. Their apps have been featured on Android, iOS and Windows phone platforms and app downloads number in the millions.

Here’s a video of CEO Ken Yarmosh walking through the process of creating and marketing your first app with one of their happy clients.

Follow Savvy Apps on Twitter


Hailing from the Washington, DC area, Apollo Matrix designs apps with the user in mind and, at the same time, provides services to keep their clients businesses running smoothly. Headed by CEO Pete Johnson, Apollo Matrix handles everything needed for mobile projects –  apps, product SDKs, back end services, and device management. One of the key services they offer is a monthly package that aligns and manages a client’s apps, branding, cloud services and more so they can concentrate on what’s important to them: their business. It’s no wonder, then that this type of attention has won them clients such as Limitedbrands, Comscore, Politico and Comcast.

Follow Apollo Matrix on Twitter


One of the fastest growing companies in Virginia, Richmond based Shockoe is a cross-platform mobile developer that specializes in integrating legacy systems. Since introducing their first mobile enterprise solution in 2010, they haven’t looked back. Shockoe, led by CEO Edwin Huertas, combines user-centered design, client collaboration and rapid iteration in creating mobile-first enterprise solutions for modern companies like Citibank, Farmers Insurance, Volkswagen and T-Mobile.

Follow Shockoe on Twitter

Top Washington, DC mobile companies

That’s our wrap up of the top mobile app development companies in the Washington, DC area.

How did we do? Miss out on anyone that needs to be in our next list? Leave a comment below or drop us a line on Twitter.

10 Tips for Creating Great App Store Screenshots

app store screenshots

They say that a picture paints 1000 words. With this in mind, it’s clear that app store screenshots represent a real opportunity to promote your client’s app(s) and show potential users why the app you’re company is offering is exactly what they need.

Here are ten tips to ensure you make the best of app store screenshots:

1. Follow the store guidelines

Apple and Google both produce detailed guidelines for the use of screenshots in their stores. (Apple’s are here, and Google’s are here). It’s essential to follow these very carefully, including submitting screenshots for all relevant devices, otherwise you risk your screenshots looking pixelated and unprofessional.

2. Select screenshots intelligently

It’s really easy to just think of the five main things the app does and screenshot them, but this isn’t the way to maximise success. Your collection of app store screenshots are your opportunity to truly showcase your customer’s app and show why it’s worthy of the home screen and memory space on user’s devices.

3. Prioritize benefits over features

Following on from the above, as far as possible it’s best to stick to the tried and tested sales approach of concentrating less on specific features and more on how those features will help (or even improve the lives) of your target users.

For example, with a fitness app, you need to show how the features are desirable to users. There’s no point in simply saying that there are “100 workouts!” It’s better to show how those work outs are fun, how they provide variety, how they can be completed in a short time, and ultimately how they’re going to help in their aim of getting people fit. If your screenshots appear like a feature list without showing these benefits, you’ve probably chosen the wrong images.

4. Highlight new functionality as an app evolves

Once the app is established, it does make sense to use one or more screenshots to show off new features, especially those that users won’t find anywhere else. But again, always try to aim for an angle that highlights the point and benefit of these features.

5. Consider annotations

There’s no shortage of online debate as to whether people should annotate their app store screenshots. Some people think it’s a bad idea, but it’s fair to say plenty of highly successful apps do have screenshot annotations on their listings.

One scenario where this is a good idea is if you have a particularly minimalist or graphical app where it’s not immediately clear what it does.

If you do decide to use annotations, ensure they’re done well and are completely clear to users. Poor use of foreground and background colours, together with small screenshots, can make for a very messy look.

6. Consider “screenshot shrinking”

flipboard-screenshotScreenshot shrinking is an alternative to annotation.

Instead of overlaying the screenshot with text or graphics, shrink the screenshot so it only uses some of the allowed space, and add supplementary text that describes functionality or tells the story of the app.

You’ll find this technique used to good effect on the iTunes Store listing for Flipboard.

Although, in theory, you could use a combination of screenshot shrinking and annotation in one screenshot, it’s almost impossible to imagine a situation where this would look anything less than confusing and cluttered.

7. Make use of localization

If you have localised your app for different language markets, you can include additional screenshots for other stores (the exact rules depend on the store).

It definitely makes sense to do this. If you’ve made the effort, for example, to translate your app into French, then French customers should see the French app version.

8. Think about how to order your screenshots

The order of your screenshots is crucially important, as many people will only glance at the first one.

There are various ways to tackle this. One of which is to tell the story of your app with ordered screenshots, but another is to ensure your first screenshot does the most to encapsulate what the app does and why people should want it. Exactly which method you choose will inevitably depend on the look and feel of the individual app.

9. A/B test your screenshots

A/B testing allows you to try out different screenshot combinations to see which are most effective at converting app store browsers into customers. You’ll find a previous guide to A/B testing best practices here.

10. Ensure your screenshots reflect your Unique Selling Point

The final step, which essentially rolls all these tips into one, is to make sure that your app store screenshots put across the USP of your app.

With so many mobile apps out there doing similar things, it’s essential to stand out. So if your app does nine things that the other apps do but one key thing that the others don’t, your screenshots (and indeed all of your app page content) need to show this unique benefit.

So now you’re ready to get cracking on that app store listing – but before you start writing your app store copy, take a look at our short video on app store mistakes. You’ll also want to do your keyword research carefully, which is where a good app store optimization tool (hint we have a recommendation) comes in handy.

Have any other app store tips? Leave a comment below or give us a shout on Twitter, in our community pages or on our Facebook page!

Kumulos Announces World’s First Custom Built Integrated App Platform


Howdy folks,

Wanted to share some exciting news with you. As you know, we’ve been pretty busy adding all sorts of improvements like app store optimization, reporting and customer portals to our industry leading MBAAS platform (not to mention the spiffy new website).

But today, at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona we’re unveiling a world’s first: the first integrated mobile management platform purpose built for Mobile App Development Agencies. The Kumulos platform now offers App Agencies an easy way to build a services layer in their business – helping them break away from sole reliance on project revenue.

“What makes Kumulos truly unique is the way it works for mobile app & digital agencies,” commented Bob Lawson, Director and Co-founder of Kumulos. “Our new platform lets agencies build mobile apps up to 40% faster. It also makes it easier for these mobile app agencies to take Kumulos features and present them to their customers, as part of their App After-Care services.”

Mark Petrie, Director and Co-founder of Kumulos added, “The announcement today marks the coming of age of the Kumulos App Agency Management platform, where all services can now be used fully independent of each other.

Nick Jones, CEO of Richmond VA, USA based NS804 is excitedly looking forward to the new Kumulos features:  “Before we had Kumulos it was much harder to manage my rapidly growing app development business. Using Kumulos means it’s one less thing I need to think about, so I can concentrate working on my business and not in my business.”

We’re pretty jazzed, too – we really think the new platform is going to be a game changer. We’ll have more details soon. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with all the latest announcements.

Oh yeah, and If you’re at the World Mobile Congress, stop by and see us – we’re in Hall 7, Stand 7B31!

We’ll be hosting an exclusive event tomorrow, February 28 at 5PM – drop us a line or DM us if you’d like to attend.


Kumulos at GMSA Mobile World Congress, 2017


We’re super excited to announce that Kumulos will be participating in the GMSA Mobile World Congress 2017, held in Barcelona, Spain from February 27 – March 2 2017.

The GMSA Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry. In 2016, the MWC was attended by 100,000 attendees from over 200 countries and hosted over 2,000 companies showcasing the latest in mobile technology. The leading minds, technologies and companies that are shaking up the mobile industry will be mixing and mingling in a four day series of conferences, showcases and networking opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.

And Kumulos will be there on Stand 7B31. Come and look us up.

But we’re not going all the way to Barcelona just to soak up the Spanish sun. No – we’ve got some really exciting announcements about game changing improvements to our industry leading Kumulos platform. We’ll also be hosting some can’t miss events (hint: it has to do with Scotland’s favorite drink).

So keep your eyes on this space for more information – also be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for updates and invites.

You can find everything conference related – including maps, dates and registration information over at the GSMA Mobile World Congress web site.

Categorize App Content with Push Notification Channels


If you’ve been using Kumulos for a while, you’ll know about our awesome unlimited push notification service for your customer’s apps.

Our push service gives you a monthly retainer where you can run engagement programs for all your client’s apps. Got a proactive client who wants to run their own push campaign?  No problem – just enable the client app portal (branded as yours, of course) – and clients can login to build and manage everything themselves. Prove your worth by adding on our automated monthly report to show your clients just how much you’re doing for them.

As part of this initial push notification service, we included segments – which allow you to target specific predefined sections of an app audience by app version, country, city, timezone and more.

But we decided that wasn’t enough.

So we put our nose to the grindstone (or rather, put our developers collective noses to the grindstone) and  launched our latest addition to our push notification service – channels.

Why Push Notification Channels?

Push notification channels gives app users the option subscribe to content based on their preferences – giving your clients the power to easily drive the right push messages to the right users. By defining either portal visible marketing groups or allowing your client’s app to create private or public groups, channels allow you to target content at this receptive audience.

The best part about using channels in Kumulos push is their flexibility.  Create turn based channels for a gaming app or private messaging groups for a chat app. What about that sports app your client has been pestering you about? Blow them away by creating separate channels for football, baseball, basketball, soccer, table tennis – you name it! Users can easily subscribe and unsubscribe from channels so they only get the messages they want.

push-notification-channelsSending a push notification to channels is as simple as logging into the agency console, entering your channel message and pressing that sexy orange “send” button. Or – with the client app portal – let your clients log in to manage push campaigns themselves.

You can take a look our complete online docs to find out more about using channels with push notifications in Kumulos.

Signed up for Kumulos but not using push yet? We offer a 30 day FREE, no-obligation trial. Simply enable push services by clicking on the push icon in the left hand side of your dashboard menu.

And if you’re one of the few agencies who aren’t using Kumulos yet – what are you waiting for?

Give Kumulos a try for free


A/B Testing Your Way to App Store Success


The fact that everybody wants their app to get noticed and perform well in the app stores is a no brainer.

A slightly less obvious no brainer is that it’s highly unlikely that the first combination of price point, branding, and description one tries when launching an app will perform the best in the stores. This would be an extreme case of good luck, showing extraordinary customer insight! For this reason, agencies launching an app should recognise the need to try different things to market it, to maximise interest and conversions.

Thankfully, it’s possible to handle this in a scientific and data-driven way, without resorting to mindless trial and error. The way to do it is to use A/B testing.

A/B testing involves showing some potential customers one version of your client’s app’s store page(s), and the others an alternative version. By comparing conversion rates and other metrics, you can drill down on what works – what keeps customers interested, what makes them download and purchase, and what makes them head for the “Back” button. This method of testing is extremely well established with websites, and increasingly popular with switched-on app agencies.

Here are five crucial tips to help you implement a program of A/B testing for your app(s):

1. Choose the right tools

There are a host of tools to enable you to functionally implement A/B tests. Some of the most well-known include Optimizely, Google Analytics Experiments and Kissmetrics.

The cost of using these tools can vary, as can the functionality, but essentially what you’re looking for is something that allows you to serve one app store page to some readers, and another to the remainder. You obviously need something that allows you to analyse the results in depth too.

2. Establish your baseline data

Before beginning A/B testing, it makes sense to accumulate a meaningful amount of initial data based on your standard app listing. If you don’t do this, you have nothing to truly compare against.

This doesn’t mean you must wait months before implementing A/B tests, but you should have enough data to cover usual peaks and troughs in views and sales, or you could end up with test data that doesn’t paint a realistic picture.

3. Try one thing at a time

It makes absolutely no sense to carry out an A/B test where you change multiple elements of a client’s app listing.

For example, say you change your app icon, some screenshots, and some of the descriptive text. Even if the A/B test reveals that the “new” version of the page vastly improves conversions, you will have no idea which of those changes had the impact!

a/b testing app storeTherefore, it’s crucial to try one thing at a time. This exercise is all about drilling down on which elements work. A/B testing takes planning and careful analysis of the results. At the end of it you may well end up with the third icon you tried, the last set of screenshots and the first description you ever wrote – but if you do things properly you’ll know for certain which versions work. It’s also just an important to work out which didn’t work! The importance of a good App Store Optimization tool – which can help you focus on keywords, see which competitors are using which screenshots, and view app store copy – is key.

It’s also worth mentioning at this juncture that price points are another thing you can A/B test. You will find that there is a sweet spot with pricing and conversions where the multiple will result in the most income – but it will likely take you some time to identify it.

4. Think about timings

Timing is everything with A/B tests. Specifically, meaningful results take time. It’s therefore important to maximize accuracy by planning in testing periods that are long enough to “smooth out” the usual weekly “peaks and troughs” and reduce the risk of atypical days skewing conclusions.

It’s also unwise to carry out A/B tests over “unusual” periods, such as holiday times, or during global sporting and political events when people may be otherwise diverted.

5. Consider the impact on ongoing income

If you’re carrying out A/B tests on a successful and profitable app, you may have to accept that there is some risk to revenue while they’re in progress – especially if you test out a variation that is less successful than the live one.

a/b testing app storeIn some ways, this is just part of playing the “long game” towards greater success – but as you do start to hone in on that success, you will need to consider the income implications.

One way to reduce the impact is to carry out smaller tests on more drastic changes, by sending a smaller proportion of potential customers to the experimental page, for example.

A/B testing is a great way to ensure maximum app success, and it’s value is one of many factors that illustrates the fact that an app is a living product that can be constantly improved.

Any tips we missed? Feel free to leave a comment below.

And if you’re still looking for an App Store Optimization tool, take Kumulos for a FREE spin today!

App Icon Design: How to Do it Right


Choosing the right icon for your client’s app in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store may seem like a very tiny job among the many others involved in developing and launching an app, but it’s actually extremely important. Not only is an app’s icon one of the key elements of a user’s first impression, it’s also how they’ll (hopefully) interact with the app in the future on a (hopefully) regular basis!

If you’re in any doubt as to the important of app icon design, have a think about some of the apps you regularly use personally; The chances are there are one or two you just never seem to be able to find on the screen of your smartphone or tablet, despite flicking back and forth and feeling sure you knew where it was before? If so, it’s more than likely that the app in question has a poorly designed and unmemorable icon. Not to mention the fact that there’s not a lot of point into pouring resources into App Store Optimization if you’ve got an app icon design that’s going to drive away users in the first place.

Still unconvinced that iconography’s important? If so, also consider the fact that anecdotal evidence suggests that icon issues are one of the most common reasons for Apple App Store rejections. Icons that are unclear or look too much like something else won’t get into the store in the first place. This part of app development is not one to take shortcuts on.

With all of that in mind, here are five things to consider when designing icons for your client’s apps:

Limit your colors

Look at the icons for some of the most popular apps in use today. With some notable exceptions (Slack and Just Eat spring to mind) the vast majority use only two or occasionally three colors. (It is, however, fair to say that game apps are something of an exception to this rule).

That said, Netflix, Fitbit and Groupon all use just two colors for their icons, as do most of Apple’s native apps. The reason for this is that this simple design works best for “everyday apps.” While it is possible to make an icon with more colors work, it’s a very difficult task. Were it easy or wise, the market-leaders would be doing it.

Prioritize simplicity and clarity

Following on from the above, it’s fair to say less is more when it comes to designing app icons. If you want a few case studies for this, take a look at the icons for Facebook, Twitter and Spotify. All are bold and simple, instantly recognizable and (returning briefly to the previous point) only use two colors! Icons are about brand recognition and familiarity. They are not the place to make a try to illustrate features or attempt to say too much.

On this subject, they’re also rarely a place you’ll want to put text. Although some market leaders do this it is an exception to the rule, and usually when a brand’s logo is already extremely well-established (BBC News is a good example here). Broadly speaking, text in icons looks squashed and messy – and is best avoided.

Look at the icon in all sizes

Your client’s app icons will show up in all kinds of places, and in all kinds of sizes. App stores can use different sizes depending on whether you’re on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Then once the app is downloaded sizes can differ too. As such, it’s no use having an icon that’s clear and eye-catching when it’s large but jumbled when it’s small. Nor is it any use having the reverse scenario when the small icon looks just right but the larger version looks pixelated and amateurish. Truly good icon design will work in all the relevant sizes.

Consider different devices and configurations

The different devices your app icon will appear on are highly relevant too. Does the icon look good on a budget Android device as well as the latest “Retina” style display? How about in “low light” modes, against a plain black or white background, or against the plethora of colors that may be part of a photo a user has chosen to use as their device’s wallpaper? Suddenly designing the perfect icon doesn’t seem so simple any more once you take all these things into account. This is all the more reason to give this task the dedicated attention it deserves.

Don’t copy!

Now it’s clear just how much is involved in creating the perfect icon, the temptation may be to have a thorough look at what’s already out there with a view to “imitating” something that works. Don’t succumb to this temptation. For starters, if you come too close to plagiarizing someone else’s design you run the risk of App Store rejection (or worse). You also risk giving potential customers a poor perception of your business ethics. Worst of all, however, it means you’ve not invested the time to find the perfect distinctive iconography for your app, which will hopefully be something thousands of people eventually tap on daily.

You will find a useful Q and A on App Store iconography here on the Apple Developer website.