The Flappy Bird Phenomenon: What App Developers Can Learn

The Flappy Bird Phenomenon: What App Developers Can Learn

App DevelopmentOnline Marketing

Mobile application fads are always changing. It seems that popular app trends develop as quickly as fashion ones, and it is difficult to know which will become the next greatest hit. However, if you are able to synchronize strong app development and a clear and concise marketing message, you could see some noteworthy results. That seems to be the case with 2014’s biggest app craze to date: Flappy Bird,  a simple game created and developed by Dong Nguyen, a Vietnamese video game developer, who never intended the app to be such a success.

Although the application was released in May 2013, it gained increasing popularity and subsequently topped the app charts in January 2014.This application was so universally enticing that it became too popular for its creator. Nguyen pulled the app on February 8th over the overwhelming popularity and the app’s addictive nature. The application is no longer available to download, though those who had it installed before its discontinuation can still play (some are even renting out their phones to those who need a Flappy Bird fix.) Although the Flappy Bird fever is forced to come to an end, it has shown us that a mobile app’s success may not depend on expensive creative teams and big names- and that is a good thing. Flappy Bird is a prime example of how simplicity can be the key to a profitable and popular app. Here are some reasons why Flappy Bird was such a success:

Simplicity– Flappy Bird is simple in appearance, concept, and execution. Learning and understanding the game takes little time and needs no prior context. Understanding the basics takes only seconds, which is fitting for a society that appreciates and gravitates toward concepts that are quick enough to hold a short attention span.

Targets all Smartphone Users– Because of the application’s simple content, it applies to all demographics, regardless of age, race, or gender. This application is free of any bias or reservations; it is a simple, universally accepted concept lacking any negative connotations. This application brings no shock, controversy, or need for questioning. There is truly no motive besides keeping the bird alive, a simple goal that anyone can appreciate.

A Quick and Abrupt Ending-What makes the game so addicting is that in the quest for a positive ending, the bird’s life is very fragile and fleeting. This is because the game does not have any common life and death options-you don’t have multiple lives, and the color in your heart doesn’t begin to fade as you knock into an object. There are no second chances: when you die, you die, which makes the nature of the game so addicting. When you only have one shot, you’re hoping to make it your absolute best. You are striving for perfection.

Speed– A Flappy Bird game is so quick, there always seems to be time for one more. Therefore, the game feels like it adds some fun to a 5 minute break rather than needing to set aside time to play it. This is a popular attribute for people who are looking for a fun distraction during their work commute or a quick and pleasant distraction from a long day.

Minimal Skill– The only task you have during this game is simply tapping the screen to raise the bird, and when you are not tapping, he begins to fall. While the longer you play the game your skill will increase, it takes no previous skills or strengths to master, just time.

Flappy Bird is truly a marketer’s dream. Simple design, a universally understood concept and doesn’t require any previous knowledge. It is easy to see why such a simple and unassuming product became one of the biggest mobile application successes and resulted in emotional devastation when it was taken away. Flappy Bird is a reminder that simplicity in a product can be key and that you don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles; just a well put-together bike.