Indicators of success for cultural apps


3 June, 2013

Indicators of success for cultural apps

One in four Spanish people use applications and on average, each user has 65 apps installed on his smartphone (CincoDí The challenge of any company or institution wanting to enter this market is to be among those 65 and to stay there; but what if this is not the primary goal of your organization?

The “life span” of an app is not the only criterion for its success or failure. Today we shall review the major indicators that cultural and tourist centres must take into account when starting a mobile development. This will depend, in any case, on the type of app they wish to implement. The key parameters are clear objectives, common sense and four indicators: number of downloads, number of uninstalls, number of openings and usage time. Let’s define each of these concepts on the basis of three different types of tourism and cultural apps.

– CATALOG-APPS: If you are looking for an online catalog, similar to paper brochures or a web catalog, you might be interested in a website app. It is true that mobile apps are more popular than mobile webs. In any case, it is not advisable to invest too much time in the content design and in programming, as they are applications with a large number of uninstalls. With clarity of purpose, the term “throwaway app” does not have to sound negative.

– VISITING – APPS: these are a result of the evolution of classical audio guide systems. Several resources have been added, such as interactive media and accessibility options for persons with disabilities. Traditionally, visitors have been willing to pay for this service. Today, museums can offer the possibility of split payment, the freemium model being the most successful option. The fact that the user may want to use the app before, during and after the visit will raise the number of openings. Generally, the goal of such apps is to extend or supplement the information of the visit, and they are very useful in temporary exhibitions. If your goal is to inform, caring for the quality of the contents will guarantee an increase in usage time.

– SPECIFIC APPS: these are applications that target specific audiences. They will have a lower number of downloads, but will have a greater lifetime. An example of this is the “Barcelona Visual” app, of the Photographic Archive of Barcelona, which uses augmented reality to overlay current views of the city with old photographs.

In general, when implementing an app, museums prefer improvimg the visitor’s experience over revenue generation, so that indicators such as usage time and the number of openings are particularly relevant. Finally, to keep abreast of developments in this market, we recommend taking a look at the last two major app-analysis studies: Flurry and Localytics.