What’s in a name? For an app, a lot

Apps are everywhere nowadays. We use them for everything, and they’re a constant in almost everyone’s life. When they serve such essential functions, it’s hard to imagine that their names make any difference to their success. But choosing the right name for your app can make a world of difference.

Names are a big part of the branding for an app, so if you choose well it sets you up for a lot of future marketing. With that in mind, there are seven key steps to choosing the right name for your app, which will make it unique and desirable in a saturated market.

Firstly, choose a name that gives the user some indication of what the app actually does.

Users don’t want to hunt through descriptions and info to find out what the app is for. Don’t waste time with a cryptic or complicated name, because you’ll lose your target audiences attention. It’s a good idea to use a keyword or synonyms of it in the name of your app. For example, if your app is for education, “educate”, “learn”, or “teach” are good words to include in a name.

Secondly, make sure your name is easy to remember and can become a brand.

Like I said, the app’s name is a big part of branding. You want it to be simple to say and remember, so people can recommend it to friends and it will stick in their mind. You also want it to be versatile and catchy, so you can build marketing campaigns around it.

The next thing I would do is be creative with prefixes and suffixes.

Common prefixes and suffixes in app names include: -air, -sky, i-, -ify, -able, -ly, or –box. Think of Shopify or Spotify. They’re instantly recognisable, and they’ve used suffixes creatively and effectively. Have a play with some keywords and add prefixes or suffixes to find something unique.

A good fourth step is “the Radio Test”.

Your app name should pass the radio test, meaning users can spell it instinctively when they hear it spoken aloud. This makes it easier for people to find and remember your app.

Fifth, use compound words.

Successful apps like Instagram and Airbnb are compounds of other words, combined to create a catchy name.

Sixth, try experimenting with numbers.

If your app is a fitness app, Sweat365 could be a good name. Make sure any numbers you choose have a recognised meaning – 180, 360, 24/7, 365, for example, are numbers with a recognised meaning, that will stick in people’s heads and create a catchy name.

Lastly, make sure social platforms have usernames available.

I can’t stress this enough! There’s nothing more frustrating than choosing the perfect name and then not being able to get any social media platforms. Do a quick search on free username checkers to make sure your name is available. Remember, while it’s good to get the right name first time round, you can change it later.

You can launch the app softly, get user feedback and see the reaction to your name, and then you can relaunch if you need to. These types of strategies are used by many successful apps. Uber initially launched as UberCab.

If your app is functional and clever, your name is just a starting point.

Anushka Bandara, Founder, Elegant Media

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