With an 87% growth in the use of fitness apps last year, it’s easy to see why industries are participating in that growth. It’s not enough merely to participate in the app market. You need to know that you are getting the most out of your apps.

The “wearables” market, devices that track your physical activity typically in the form of a watch, including the top-rated Fitbit, are focused on apps that increase the value of their product. Through Fitbit’s app they’ve added visualization with charts and graphs to see your progress. They’ve added gamification in the form of “stickers” for meeting daily goals and achieving certain milestones. They’ve expanded their usefulness by enabling further tracking, such as diet, and helping you to meet schedules such as sleep periods. All these improvements in their app help increase sales of their product and encourage the purchase of upgraded models.

 

Gyms and other fitness clubs are getting into the app game too. These branded apps take many forms. Some are essentially logs that let you enter your own activity and nutrition data, while the app tracks it for you. Others work in conjunction with wearables, utilize your smartphone’s location data or use other smartphone features such as barcode scanners to track your activity.

 

Getting the most out of your apps

If you’re a gym or club using or considering developing a fitness app, you must ask yourself what the goal of the app is. Maybe you just want to stay current with your competitors. If so, why stop there? With all the capabilities of apps, with the usage demonstrated by the wearables market, you’ve seen how apps can be used to motivate.

What is your gym’s goal?

Is your goal to increase membership, to improve retention, to increase attendance, to encourage specific activities, to help achieve better results, or maybe just to create a more enjoyable gym experience? How do you accomplish this?

Certain standardizations that have developed in the world of fitness apps are already built in these directions: usefulness, games, visuals and push notifications are probably already there. But do those work?

Studies have already been conducted on the effectiveness of these strategies. They all have some level of effectiveness. You can add another strategy to maximize effectiveness.

Add incentives

Incentives, rewards, can be that extra push. Adding an incentive for completing “levels” in a gamified app, focusing on a reward in the next push notification, or simply giving a congratulations gift for achieving a desired result will all improve your results. It has been shown that rewarding exercise with tangible incentives results in more trips to the gym and improved physical results. Even more exciting is that these behaviors can continue even after a short term period of incentives.

 

If you’re adding a fitness app for your gym, don’t do it just to keep up. Set your goal and use incentives with the app to achieve it