Our world here at Dragon Army affords us the ability to not only build mobile experiences for brands, but to also learn from our own ventures in launching mobile experiences through our in-house game studio. As we’ve explored ways to leverage insight from one industry to the next, there is another industry that has

emerged as a place to watch: film.

Why film? Movie studios have a long history of understanding what makes a blockbuster hit, and to no surprise, the story by itself is rarely the only predictor of success. As the world of mobile continues to grow, the same can be said for our industry: even the best app or piece of content will fail without the right mechanics to support it.

Let’s dive into a few elements of film that we as marketers can apply to the success of our next mobile projects.

The Trailer 

What is most often the first connection you have to any film? The trailer. Meant to introduce the audience to your story, your characters and your world, the trailer invites viewers into the narrative and gives them a reason to come back. While the same has been true of games for quite some time, this is a trend worth exploring for the larger app space.

As the market continues to grow crowded and attention spans shorten, a well produced app trailer marries the emotional hook of good pre-roll and the presentation of information in an interesting manner. Rather than relying on screenshots or feature lists, consider what value and emotional response your customer has to gain from downloading your app by incorporating the story into a trailer style of video content development.

The Opening Night

Opening night, or opening weekend, largely defines the success of a film in modern cinema. The same argument can often be made for both a game release or app launch, though each on their own respective paths. Understanding the elements necessary for a successful launch allows us to better define long term growth and adoption metrics.

For a game to make a splash, the studio wants as many eyes and players engaging as quickly as possible. That means much like a box office premiere, the first days and weeks are critical to long term growth. Our teams work closely with Apple and Google to explore potentials for app store features and list placements, both virtually ensuring a strong lead on user engagement.

The Reality of Success

While some apps may follow a similar pattern of growth, that pattern doesn’t always necessarily follow the same arc, or even a single arc. Post-launch, apps are not likely to see a single opening night, but several. Plan and prepare for subsequent opportunities to release new content and invigorate existing users. Alternatively, depending on the objective of your release, an app may even purposefully plan for a quiet launch, using a small audience to test and refine feature sets before encountering a larger push.

The Score

As mobile matures, many app experiences are no longer only focused on what’s unfolding on the screen in front of you. Similar to the evolution to sound from silent movies, or as color was introduced the big screen, we’re seeing an emergence of sensory participation arise within mobile.

Your app’s score, so to speak, now many not only contain sound, but also other sensory triggers to engage the user. For example, gesture driven responses beyond touch, like the use of vibration, or physical integrations, like connecting to a user’s heartbeat or breath to control an environment, provide the user with a new way to experience the environment you've created.

The example below highlights play through from DEEP, a psychoactive VR game controlled by breathing.

Before you begin the development of your next mobile project, consider looking beyond the five inch screen. You may be surprised to find the best place to start is by researching what’s to come on the silver screen instead.