Mobile apps are expected to generate $189 billion in revenue by 2020. Google Play had 2.8 million apps on their store in March 2017. It’s a big business, and it’s one that solo developers and large businesses alike can enter.
The problem is that a majority of apps fail.
And then you’ll have an app that seemingly comes out of nowhere and is a huge success. There is some luck in the success of an app, but just like a business that does well, there’s a good chance that the planning behind the app led to the success.
What vital plans should you make when developing a mobile app?
1. Market Research is a Must When Developing for Business.
You can develop any app in the world, but it doesn’t mean that it will be a success. When purely thinking from a revenue standpoint, the app must be:
- Filling a gap
- In demand
Market research can be done in a variety of ways. If you’re making a family locator app, for example, you’ll want to:
- Research your competitors
- View how many downloads, if any, competitors receive
- Analyze the market
If you’re creating an app that you’re completely unsure of, you can always take to forums and Facebook groups to try and generate ideas or gauge interest if the app is needed. Perhaps the app isn’t needed, and if this is the case, you can move on to the next idea.
2. App Budget and Development Needs.
Apps continue to evolve, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll develop the perfect app. You can expect to pay:
- $3,000 on the low end
- $50,000+ on the high end
But there’s one thing that many people overlook: ongoing costs. Developing an app is just the start of the costs involved. You’ll also need to budget for:
- Ongoing development costs
- Marketing costs
Apps will need to be routinely updated, and you’ll need to account for these costs. If you’re the developer of the app, you have a lot of leeway here. You can continue to push updates and reduce your costs drastically as long as you have the time to dedicate to your app.
3. Choose the Right Platform.
You need to choose the right platform. Android and iOS are the leaders in the industry, but you’ll find that Amazon also has their own platform that is based off of Android. If you’ve ever used Amazon’s platform, you’ll notice one thing: there are fewer apps available.
Developers tend to go where the money is: Android and iOS.
You’ll want to do the same. There are also native apps built specifically for their respective platforms, or there are hybrid apps which are web-based apps modified for smartphone platforms. Hybrid apps require modification to run on smartphones, but they’re also less expensive.
4. Monetization Plans.
Monetization is also a part of the planning process that will evolve. But unless you’re backed by venture funding or investors, you’ll need to start making money from your app somehow. The three main avenues for generating revenue are:
- Placing adverts in an app is common, and this will allow you to generate revenue from a free app.
- Paid. A paid app will generate revenue from sales, but users expect there to be no ads for a paid app. It’s more difficult to drum up interest in a paid app, so a lot of developers will offer a free app first followed by an option to buy an ad-free, paid app.
- In-app. Purchases that are in-app allow the developer to offer extras for sale, such as an extra item in a game. This is a great source of monetization for free games and has been the key to success behind many strategy games for smartphones.
Develop your app, promote it, monetize it and be prepared to listen to feedback from customers. Apps can be a great source of revenue, and it’s not uncommon to develop several apps before one is embraced by your target market.