Rule # 3: Sweat the core loop
A core loop is what makes a game fun
Three fatal mistakes that doom apps to failure
No loop. The point of a core loop is to keep a user engaged while showing progress. Too many apps don’t give users a reason to return after one or two sessions. Virtual-reality photo booths often fall victim to this – users download and use it once but have no reason to do so again.
No happy ending. All core loops peak with a pleasurable experience. We take a specific action and earn a reward. The rush of dopamine brings us joy and inspires us to start again. If the reward isn’t good enough, or comes too infrequently, we’ll quickly tire of the app, and not return.
No evidence of progress. You never doubt how you’re doing with your coffee card – a quick glance tells you how close you are to your next free cup o’ joe. Great mobile apps use clear visual language to display progress. A game, for example, might keep the number of coins earned on the main screen, prompting players to continue earning. OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk flaunts a cookie book that entices players to keep playing to unlock each type. Learn more about why Oreo’s app succeeds here.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Great apps are built around an enjoyable, repetitive action, where effort triggers a reward and a new challenge. If I don’t get a reward, don’t feel like I’m making progress, or have nothing to do once I finish, then I won’t be returning to your app. To build apps that create an owned marketing channel and an ongoing relationship with consumers, brands need to steal a page from the gaming playbook and pay attention to the core loop of their apps.
Have questions or unsure how to incorporate a core loop in your app? Contact us!