As smartphones rises in popularity, mobile app development becomes an exciting area to venture into. Many developers are entering the mobile app market every day.
However, according to Analyst House Gartner, less than 1% of mobile apps actually become a financial success. This is due to the daunting challenges that app developers must face. In this article, we will highlight the 5 key challenges and how you can overcome them to make your app a success.
This is the first key challenge that app developers face. Based on SavvyApps, simple apps start from $25,000 and complex apps can even cost over $1,000,000. In addition, there are usually app maintenance costs, which is about 15 to 20 percent of the original development costs. These are huge sums of money and app developers will need to get funding for their apps.
Ways to Fund
One of the fastest ways to fund your app is to find investors. You can approach your social circle, friends and relatives or even joint venture companies, then share with them about the feasibility and potential of your app idea.
Another source is crowdfunding. You can raise funds on online platforms such as Kickstarter and RocketHub. If you have a draft app and a significant following, then crowdfunding is likely feasible. But if your app isn’t coded and is still an idea, it is not likely to succeed in the rewards-based crowdfunding. It would be more feasible to partner with a co-founder or find investors to get funding and develop your app.
The Initial Pitch
When pitching to investors in your industry, it is necessary to give a valuation on your app. If you can show that it is valued at $1,000,000, you can reasonably raise $200,000 in a seed round of investment.
Series A Funding
As you develop a draft app and start promoting the app, you can conduct a series A funding, which is the first significant round of venture capital financing. In series A, you demonstrate how your app will see greater success by pointing to the initial response your app has received in its launch. This leads to a higher valuation of your app and more funding for you.
App contests are also a way to win cash and get support you need in developing the app. Lastly, if you really must get started in building your mobile app while you are evaluating other options, you can apply for loans or use a credit card.
2. Device Compatibility
Designing an app for a single device can be the worst idea in this age where the choices for smart devices are unlimited. Users have many different devices with different screen sizes, embedded technologies and OS.
This is especially so if you are designing your app for the Android market, where many phone brands with different features are available. If users cannot run or face difficulties using the app, there will likely be complaints and negative reviews. This can be detrimental to the app’s success.
The solution to device compatibility is responsive designing. It gives screens more liquidity and can adjust to suit different formats and various screen sizes. Compatibility testing can also be conducted for users with different mobile phones. Through testing, you can remove compatibility issues and bugs before you publish the app in the market.
3. Mobile App Marketing
Even when you have a novel and functional app, the competition is steep. Based on Statista, there are over 6 million apps published in leading app stores in March 2017. As such, it is very easy to get lost in the app market without the right marketing strategy to penetrate the market. You have to get your app noticed and capture users to try your app.
In the app store, the name, app icon and description of your app matters. It is what users will see on the app store. If it is not eye-catching, people may not even view the app.
Promote Your App
Promote your app through initial offers, videos, events and influencers. Market your app beyond the app store by promoting on various platforms. This includes your website, social media and most importantly, get coverage from the press.
It would also be great to include an incentive for users of your app to recommend it to other users, for word-of-mouth has a huge influence on the trial rates of apps.
Free Marketing Model
To encourage trial for your app, you can also implement the free marketing model. Most apps are offered for free, and users prefer not to pay for an app that they have not tried before.
Users can download your app for free and use it over a limited trial period or with limited features. After trying the app, users that like your app can then purchase the full version. What really matters is to get your app noticed among the millions of apps available.
4. Navigability and Performance
After Marketing efforts succeed, the next key challenge is to retain users and encourage them to purchase the full version of your app. To do so, you have to ensure that your app is easy to navigate and well-performing.
If your app’s interface is complicated for the user, it discourages the user from using the app. Always focus on creating an app that has a simple structure and easy navigation. Where appropriate, include quick tutorials and instructions for first time users. To identify the areas that users face issues, you can conduct mobile usability testing sessions.
Besides the navigation, your app must perform its function well. If it is a scheduling app, it should allow the user to list down different tasks and mark down all upcoming events in detail on a calendar. If the user is unable to list certain tasks, or encounter bugs in the app, the user will deem the app to be unsatisfactory and will likely switch over to a competitor’s app.
5. Revenue Generation
We have discussed about the free marketing model. By having a free version with limited functionality, users are encouraged to try your app. Users can then purchase the full version of the app and this generates revenue for you.
How do you generate revenue?
However, it is not sufficient to know that some users will buy the full version because it may not generate enough revenue to cover costs. We have to ask ourselves questions like:
- What is the right price point for the full version?
- How many users who use the app will upgrade to the full version?
- Are there other ways to monetize the app?
- Will the cost of developing and maintaining the app be higher than the revenue we earn?
Top grossing apps
According to Apptopia, the top 10 grossing apps in 2017 are:
- Clash Royale
- Game of War
- Mobile Strike
- Pandora – Music & Radio
- Candy Crush Saga
- Clash of Clans
- Pokémon GO
Ways to generate revenue
To understand how your app can generate enough revenue for financial success, it is imperative to research and understand how the top grossing apps make so much money. These are 6 common avenues for revenue generation:
- In-app purchases
- Paid apps
- Freemium model
- Affiliate sales (Such as Groupon)
- Selling data (If you gain a large user base)
The challenges of mobile app development are significant. And the first step in dealing with these challenges is to be informed about them.
As you begin developing your app, consider the areas of funding, device compatibility, mobile app marketing, navigability and performance, and revenue generation. If you have a clear strategy for each challenge and a killer app idea, you can put your best foot forward. You might just become the next top grossing app.
To start developing your app, you can use the App Developer, an easy and cost-effective software with many powerful tools.
What is your experience in app development? Share your thoughts on the key challenges of app development and ask us a question below!