How to choose the perfect name for your app
OUR Blog
Technical writer
Angela Beklemysheva
Technical writer
APPROACH, MOBILE
Apr 12 2017

How to choose the perfect name for your app

In 2016, there were over 2 million apps available on both Google Play and on the Apple App Store for users to choose from. The number of apps is steadily growing, offering users an overwhelming amount of choices.

Since most users pick the app they’re going to download using a simple search, it’s increasingly important for app creators to pick the perfect name for their app. This name should reflect what the app does and convey it to the user as effectively as possible.

Have you ever wondered how to name an app? Here are some simple guidelines to help you choose the best possible name for your app.

Brainstorm ideas

Sit down at your desk, take a sheet of paper, and think about your app.

  • What is its main purpose?

  • Who is its target audience?

  • How does it help its users?

Write down every word that comes to mind when thinking about the app you’re going to bring into existence. By the time you’re finished with the brainstorming session, you should have a list of words that can be used to come up with the perfect name.

Brainstorm ideas image

Stick to one word

Many successful apps have managed to find a good one-word name, helping users easily remember them. However, it can be difficult to convey what your app does in just one word and, oftentimes, the word you want to use might already be taken. If you can’t find the right word and you don’t like the idea of using an acronym, there are other ways to find a good, simple name for your app.

Compound words, such as a noun+noun, adjective+preposition, pronoun+noun, a phrasal verb, etc., might help you combine more words into one comprehensive name. You should stylise your app’s name as one word, even if it is multiple words in reality, in order to make it memorable. Use capitalisation or lower-case lettering and keep it simple so that you’re not overwhelming consumers with an abundance of words in an attempt to describe or explain your app better.

Compound words exapmles

Make the name stand out

Obviously, your name needs to be unique. You don’t want to copy someone else’s idea so originality is important. Making your app stand out by thinking of a creative name, stylising it in an attractive way, and making it new and exciting.

Users are always looking for a new app to satisfy their needs and your app’s name and design is the first impression they’ll have of what you are offering. Since there is so much choice out there, users often make their decision quickly, based on a fast first impression. Studies have shown that 31% of consumers download an app because it sounds interesting or fun so try to find a name and design to make your app stand out amongst the crowd.

tipcow example A great example of a unique app name is TipCow.

Create meaning within your app

Names carry meanings. If you can’t find a word that fits your app well, try to take a step back and think of more abstract ideas that could be associated with it. For example, a symbol might explain your app better than a single word ever could.

Symbols will help users associate your app with a deeper understanding of what it has been created for. Facebook is a great example of this. When people think of it, they think of their self-image and the posts they make that their friends can read like an open book. While the name doesn’t explain the social networking aspect of the app, it does convey to the user what the app does in a more abstract way. Your app’s name could be similar, becoming a brand or maybe even turning into a larger philosophy, based on the concepts behind its creation.

facebook example

Use keywords to focus

You are creating an app that aims to resolve a particular need in a narrowed down audience. Think of a list of keywords that people might associate with your app when searching through the app store and target those keywords. If your app includes at least one keyword, it will appear higher in search results, giving you better exposure to potential users.

guitar pro example A great example of an app name with keywords is Guitar Pro.

Conduct market research

Gather a number of people to test how your app works. Let them interact with it for a set period of time, trying out all the features it has to offer. Then, get them to describe their experience using words, images, or any other form of expression. The feedback you receive from the participants will help you narrow down appropriate options and get you heading in the right direction.

market research image

Gather a group of trusted advisors

If you’re not particularly creative with words, you can also ask a few people you trust (friends, family, business partners, etc.) to help you brainstorm ideas. Having a collaborative session with others who are not so close to the project can help you collect new ideas from fresh perspectives.

Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the success of your app and present your app name suggestions to them. Let them express their critical appreciation of each possible name and take their critiques into account when making your final decision. It’s important to have outside advice to mimic the unique point of view that each entrusted person will bring when assessing your app.

group of trusted advisors image

Create an attractive logo

Alongside an attractive name, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of an attractive logo. The logo should speak for itself and it should tell the story of your app in ways that its name might not be able to.

When thinking of a logo, have another brainstorming session. Think of how your users may interpret your app to come up with images that could work or emotions that may be evoked in a user when interacting with your app.

Matching your name with an appropriate icon will create a powerful and long-lasting impression for your app. A corresponding logo is a great marketing tool so spend some time coming up with ideas and getting a proper design for them. Your name and logo will have a significant impact on your app’s first impression and can make or break how users engage with it.

twitter example Like a well-known Twitter.

Going international?

Your app should focus specifically on your target audience. While it may appeal to a wider segment of people, you should value your target audience as the most important factor when making decisions.

That being said, it’s important to decide if you want to go international with your app. If you do, make sure to check how your name translates into other languages, avoiding names that might be inappropriate in other target countries.

international definition image

Know the limit, play within it

Don’t forget about potential restrictions when it comes to naming your app! For example, Google Play doesn’t allow app names beyond 30 characters (spaces included). Your app’s name on Google Play will need to factor this in. Also, keep in mind that you’ll have an additional description of between 80 and 4,000 characters to play around with. Google advises to use “brand name+key function” to narrow down search results targeting an app’s main feature so use this knowledge when coming up with your app name and description.

Hotel example Hotels.com makes good use of 10 characters.

The Apple App Store, on the other hand, allows no more than 50 characters for app names. However, it is recommended to use up to 23 characters for the name to appear properly on iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. Usually, the name is written under the logo icon so it is better to make it fit the length of the icon. Otherwise, the screen will cut off the complete name which could confuse potential users.

Foursquare example Foursquare is a vivid example of a short name.

Go with your gut

If you have your mind set on naming your app in an outrageous or unconventional way, then follow your gut feeling! After all, you are the initiator, the owner, and the main creator of the app and you get to make the final decision. As much research as you do and as many outside opinions as you get, your app’s name and identity should still reflect what you want to say. Don’t forget to trust your own instincts, but make an informed decision using all of the knowledge you’ve gathered.

If you’re stuck...

Mobile app name generators can come to your rescue if you are at a total loss. Domain Groovy, Panabee, Online Name Generator, Dot-O-Mator, Name Boy, and Name Mesh are among some generators you can use, even if it’s just for initial app name ideas or checking if your ideal name is already taken.

Finding the best name for an app

Naming an app is not an easy thing to do as it requires proper research, ingenuity, and a bit of luck too. Your app’s name serves as its business card and should quickly, easily, and clearly convey what it’s all about if you want users to be hooked right away.

In a nutshell, finding a catchy, apt, and easy-to-remember name for your app can make it even more successful.

If you need help planning out your app or need expert resources to develop it, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you in turning your idea into a reality!

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