The Innovation Challenge Facing Startups in Crowded Industries A startup has to rewrite the rules to thrive in fiercely competitive, established markets.

By Yoav Vilner

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It is widely accepted that it isn't easy for any startup to get their feet off the ground in an already crowded and fairly hostile business environment. Technology has diluted the cost of marketing, communications and promotion across multiple media channels, allowing businesses to grow at the necessary pace of today's markets.

However, like anything else, with the advent of the Internet, once information gaps are reduced, companies now have universal access to anyone's information and will flock to it. This makes for an increasingly saturated market. There are more than 500 million online businesses, either firmly established or in the making, and the trend continues. Technology has made things cheaper and easier but in a highly competitive and dynamic business environment. It is by no means easy to stay afloat. Therefore, maintaining an innovative culture is the growth plan and necessary ingredient for any startup's survival. This holds especially true for startups in the mobile gaming industry, where to hold onto customer interest and satisfaction, product development is always ongoing.

So what are startups to do in order to rise above the noise and get noticed?

Change the user experience.

It is a great sign when a combination of good marketing, stimulating topic and enticing visuals persuades a user to click and download your service. However, this is only stage one when selling a product. In the mobile application industry it is very easy to be considered just another purchasing item. You need out-of-the-box strategies to develop your product niche and make market gains.

To maintain ad campaigns and app sales, while staying above your competition, you need to shape your product around the needs of the customer. One way of achieving this is by offering incentives, at the right times and in a way that is visually appealing and interactive. Virtual in-game item giveaways, along other promotional material, is a noninvasive means of keeping the user hungry for more during the user's experience.

This is because whatever you promote is presented as an in-game element, allowing the user to explore and buy what you promote. This makes ad promotion like a game feature. It's not boring and isn't an eye sore. TROPHiT is a recent example of how to reveal ads and promotion deals in an organic way. Users will actually want to stay in the game, because promotion tools and giveaways are a part of the experience, increasing your application's performance without inhibiting your application's layout.

Related: How These 10 Marketing Campaigns Became Viral Hits

Evolve the product.

It is crucial for the success of your product to offer a great user experience, and be smart about how you market so you get to know your customers better. You need to know what's working and where to focus your efforts. In a competitive environment, it simply isn't enough to build in intelligence features that reveal information, like in app clicks and when users enter and leave your service.

Startups need access to higher levels of data analytics to reveal KPI's (key performance indicators) and other metrics, such as traffic insights, in order to operate at their full ability and gage the degree of an ad campaign success. A highly talked-about platform that supports this functionality for both advertisers and publishers is UK-Based Smartyads. This system helps advertisers find their target audience by uncovering key websites for advertising and outreach, while enabling marketers to measure, manage and enhance user acquisition.

Related: The 6 Vital Ways to Engage Users of Your App

Another useful source for mobile analytics, featuring mobile optimization and ad personalization is Flurry. Here are a few additional intelligence features that are worthwhile to allow you to track market performance:

Retention rate: When a user downloaded your app, you need to be able to measure their level of value by how long they actually hold onto and engage with your application, increasing the probability of sales.

Revenue rate per user: It's difficult to know how to increase your sales if you don't have actionable insight into where, and if, people are spending money. If the average revenue rate across the user experience is fairly low, for example, it may be time to reconsider how you incorporate selling items.

Overall user satisfaction: Startups know that to succeed, users have to like their product and be satisfied with it. If the user likes your product, they will stay in your application longer. If a tipping point is reached, they may like your product enough and will be much more willing and trusting to purchase items, further adding to their experience and your profit margin.

In the digital age, information is readily available and it is hard for startup companies to create their own buzz. However, this challenge also motivates startups to hone in and direct their focus outside the box to maintain an innovative edge. With this mentality and culture, coupled with the use of available intelligence tools, startups can continually evolve, develop and adapt to match the needs of the user experience.

Related: Why Corporate Businesses Should Adopt a Startup Mentality

Wavy Line
Yoav Vilner

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Entrepreneur, thought leader and startup mentor

Yoav Vilner has founded several companies, and is currently CEO at Walnut. He is also a startup mentor in accelerators associated with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and the U.N.

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