< Back to blog

December 25, 2013

Instant Gratification Ruling Mobile App Technology


People have self-control problems. Despite our desire to separate ourselves as humans from animals, there are aspects of nature that we do share with animals. One of these is the strong desire and need for instant gratification. The modern world doesn’t make controlling ourselves any easier with entire industries like advertising and marketing making a living through preying on our desire for instant gratification. If we were in total control of ourselves, advertisers would be out of a job. Technology – more importantly, mobile technology – has brought our desire for instant gratification to its historical peak.

Consider the online and mobile gaming addictions that confine new generations to their bedrooms as they find instant gratification in raiding other guilds in the World of War Craft. Far easier than making real friends and finding out who they really are and what they want.

Or just look at how often you check your email. Is it the first thing you do in the morning? Do you have alerts on your computer to tell you when your friends have signed in or you have a new message? Do you risk cancer by carrying your phone close to your body just in case you miss a call? The latest technology to cash in on our desire for instant gratification is Twitter (and before that Facebook). Does anyone need to know these things that are posted? Probably not but hey, it helps pass the time and can be quite enjoyable since one of the most satisfying forms of instant gratification for most people is attention.


It is now up to mobile app developers to give the people what they want, instantly, which if done well, gives every app developer what they so highly desire, a higher rate of retention. At the moment, one of the hottest trends in mobile consumer technology is the idea that one can simply tap one’s mobile and receive a range of on-demand services, a powerful thing in a world where users are addicted to instant gratification. The up-and-coming generations will be accustomed to simply tapping buttons for what they want and getting exactly what they were after instantaneously. So, it is up to startups in the race to see which teams create the best model.

Key Takeaway: Design your app to give customers something right at the start. A snippet of information or a tour could hook them. Know your retention rate and how it compares to benchmarks for your vertical so you can set a clear, focused goal with your eyes open.