This past week, we caught up with the developer of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution’s Blackberry app, Zubair Abubakar via Google + Hangout and it was a great experience. Be sure to follow us on Google + so you can be alerted when we hangout with African personalities. Next on our lineup:- Ghanaian Founder of the KPad, Ghana’s answer to the iPad and many more! Also, check out our Google + Hangout with Christian Purefoy, Former CNN West Africa Correspondent and now, Founder of Battabox here.
We had earlier met up with Zubair at the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, where he revealed that a Ramadan application he had developed had also been downloaded over 40,000 times. An application called Danfo which his partner, Bayo Puddicombe developed has been downloaded over 40,000 times as well.In a country like Nigeria where app developers often struggle to get consumers to download and use their apps, this is a huge deal.
We decided to ask him a few questions about why he thinks his apps get so popular.
According to Zubair, timing has been key to the popularity of his apps thus far. For instance, his 1999 Nigerian Constitution app was launched close to the period of the Nigerian elections. Those who follow technology news closely would recall that the application was downloaded over 10,000 times in 72 hours. Nigerians were interested in political content at the time and any technology application that could fulfill their hunger for related content was bound to be useful.
Zubair also noted that this probably fueled the popularity of his Ramadan app. Launched during Ramadan, the application was once again useful to Muslims around the country looking for Ramadan specific content. According to him, launching during a timely period quickly helps one’s app reach the tipping point or necessary critical mass needed to spur more downloads.
We also asked his partner, Bayo Puddicombe about his thoughts on what it takes to make a popular app in Nigeria.
In asking him, we focused more on Danfo, an app he developed. Through his responses, it was obvious that the app’s relevance is key to its likelihood of getting downloaded by Nigerians. For instance, Danfo is a fun game where users are allowed to assume the role of Kunle, the bus driver. Their goal in the game is to make enough money to pay back the cost of the bus to its owner while overcoming hurdles on the way such as LASTMA. Such a fun and heavily localised app is likely to win the hearts of Nigerians and it is no surprise that it was equally downloaded by tens of thousands of users.
3. Local trends
It is no news that the Blackberry smartphone is easily the most popular smartphone in Nigeria at present. Check out the official stat released by Business Day recently on the number of Blackberry users in Nigeria.
Also, check out our latest post on Blackberry usage in Nigeria: Blackberry fever: Why Nigerians are still crazy about the Blackberry
It is also no news that majority of Nigerian phone users are mostly feature phone users most likely using Nokia phones.
All of Zubair and Bayo’s app paid close attention to these trends. Their popular Blackberry app was built to capture Nigeria’s fast growing Blackberry user segment. Their Ramadan app and the Danfo app was created at the onset exclusively for feature phone users. By paying attention to local trends in Nigeria they were able to tap into popular groups of users and scale their applications.
Last and not the least, of course it helps that all these apps were made available to consumers for free. Zubair and his partner, Bayo are currently working on exciting projects through their company Pledge 51 and are set to unveil even more technology products in the Nigerian market.
Zubair and Bayo have for the past few months been Fellows at the Fate Institute of Venture Design (a partnership between Fate Foundation and Stanford University) where they are learning more on becoming high impact entrepreneurs.
We hope Nigerian app developers find these tips useful.
In case you haven’t, you can download the popular 1999 Nigerian Constitution Blackberry app by visiting this link on CP-Africa.
You can also download the Danfo app from the Nokia store here.