App development is emerging as a profitable business with various kinds of mobile operating systems and devices entering the market. Earlier, the choice of operating systems that developers had was limited to those like Apple, BlackBerry and Windows. Now, with the advent of new platforms for mobile and cross-platform apps gaining popularity, mobile app development has become a lucrative field for developers to earn fairly good amounts of money.
Nokia Ovi Store, Apple App Store, RIM’s App World and Google Play, among other major stores, have earned profits that run into several billion dollars in the last few years. Mobile apps are among the simplest ways to encourage development and maintenance of brand loyalty and for sale and advertisement of products, in addition to social sharing of information.
The number of mobile apps competing in the market is infinite. However, you can still expect to beat the competition, get your work noticed and profit from your app’s sales. If you follow certain norms, you can develop a comfortable niche for your apps, even though the app marketplace may appear formidable at first sight. If you know how to go about it, you can profit even from elementary apps.
The mobile app development market does not call for massive initial investment and provides good scope for success.
The number of users and the time they spend on an app account for its success. So, the developers have to focus on engaging mobile users and to create an app to encourage them to use it repeatedly. Developers have to come up with regular updates to keep the audience engaged so that the app doesn’t remain a mere app and goes on to become a brand name recognized worldwide.
Development of social apps can contribute in a major way to app marketplace success. That is because the app developers have to make very little extra effort and users share information with friends and family online. Huge returns may not be brought in by building social apps, but there are other ways of attracting revenues, such as in-app purchases.
In the case of mobile social games, developers can provide advertisement-free versions against the payment of nominal fees. The purchase of improved game themes or virtual currency is another opportunity for developers to earn, although it does require investment of time and effort by the developers.
Many app developers partner with mobile carriers and brands while releasing their apps. However, app developers have to pass on a substantial part of the profits to the mobile carriers and brands and are able to retain only a small proportion.
Additionally, the carriers or brands may want to have a say in the look and feel of the app and that may lead to restrictions of developers’ creativity.
Factors to consider before developing an app
Although many apps that are successful are high in complexity and size, every app does not have to be complex to be successful. Even a simple app can attain significant success. Less time, effort and financial investment are required for small and ‘light’ apps. Minimal effort is required to market such apps as these are generally not difficult to use.
In the app market, simple apps with excellent graphics, such as basic gaming apps, tend to score higher.
Before you make a top-selling and popular app, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
Does the Idea Exist Already?
The number of mobile apps in the market are huge. So, it is quite possible that someone has already built an app based on the idea that you’ve had only now. However, you need not drop your idea if that is indeed the case. You can try and explore different angles and come up with something that is truly unique to attract users to your app.
What are the Users’ Requirements?
You have to develop an app that matches the current trends in the market. You have to include popular features in your app to meet customers’ needs.
You can also look at similar apps already in the market and try to find out their reasons for success.
Is Your Type of App in Demand?
Try to put yourself in the place of a potential user and to think whether you would then find the app useful and engaging. Think if you would want to use the app if you were the customer. It is not really possible to correctly predict trends and user behavior even for the near future. That’s because the mobile market keeps changing constantly and is rather unpredictable. However, you can work on your app idea keeping the current market trends in mind.
You wouldn’t have to consider such problems, however, if you build apps for business establishments and enterprises.
Can You Earn Money Through a Free App?
This is not easy to assess. There are numerous apps in the market and most apps that are successful are free. There are ways to monetize a free app, such as in-app advertising. You could also create a lighter version of your app that you can offer for free, while you charge for your fully featured app.
Factors that make an app successful
The success of your mobile app depends to a certain extent on the visibility you give to your app. If possible, you should aim to be among the leading 25 apps. Continuously work to build up your app even if you have to start small. You have to try to acquire an audience and to get them to spread the word about your app.
The consistency in performance of an app goes a long way towards contributing to its success. So you have to test your app while taking all performance aspects under the most difficult conditions into account.
Top-selling apps generally consume the minimum possible battery and computing power and function without any glitches regardless of the phone connection being off or on.
Quite obviously, apps that crash often are unlikely to gain popularity among users. So, dependability in performance is the most significant quality for a successful app.
Mobile Platform Compatibility
There has to be complete compatibility between the app and the mobile platform for which it has been developed. Certain traits and features, along with work environment and guidelines, are unique for each platform. An app that will provide the best UI experience possible has to be built keeping in mind such aspects.
An app’s popularity will decrease if it makes users uncomfortable because of unfamiliar features that are not part of a particular mobile platform’s framework.
Less Loading Time
Users avoid apps that take a lot of time to load. Any app that takes more than 5 seconds to load is likely to annoy users.
If an app requires large quantities of data to start up and is complex, you can take users to a screen that lets them know that the app is in the process of loading.
An app, if it is to succeed, has to be distinctive and help make users’ lives simpler by helping them with some tasks.
A top-selling app has to be distinguishable from other similar apps and provide something extra to encourage users to use it often and to keep them engaged.
Promoting Your App
You would, obviously, want to have customers download your app after the approval process is completed. A number of app stores highlight new apps quite frequently and your app can get exposure through that.
However, for potential users to take note of your app, you have to make sure that the app’s quality is excellent. The possibility of sales increases when the app is polished and looks good.
Create a Splash Page
User traffic gets directed to your app when you build a splash page for it regardless of what your app deals with. From the initial stages of development onwards, the splash page supports your app like an anchor. You can also expand your initial page and create a website for your app.
The splash page for your app should include links to major social media channels along with certain app branding aspects, information on how the app will help users, in addition to elementary information on the functionality of the app.
Provide a ‘Sneak Peek’
Regardless of how small the additions and modifications to your app may be, you should inform all your visitors about them. This will show them how passionate and serious you are about your work. You could also request them to share their own ideas, thus creating greater interest among them.
You could participate in forums related to app development and try to get your app featured on blogs focused on app development for your app to get greater exposure. You could provide exclusive information to such forums and blogs to arouse more interest.
Create a Teaser Video
This is another way to get more traffic for your app. The video can inform your visitors about the progress in the development of the app and what the app is about.
You don’t have to offer the complete app and simply reveal the work-in-progress version so as to engage your audience. You only have to provide a narration that is interesting enough.
Welcome Beta Testers
You can invite volunteers to beta test your app once your splash page is complete. They will not only provide you with feedback on your app, but also do a lot of word-of-mouth publicity if they genuinely like your app.
You can also offer promo codes to your contacts in media channels or those who know influential people in media channels. Such codes will let them review your app much before it is released in the market. You might even be able to request them to feature your app on their respective channels when it is about to be released.
So you can begin to market your app much before its actual release and get better results for your efforts for app development.
Leverage Events or Contests
Your app gets exposure instantly when you enter a developer contest or participate in an event for developers. If you win, you also have an opportunity to make a considerable amount of money. Generally, experts or those who have a lot of influence in the industry attend such events or contests. That can help bring your app even more exposure. You can also enhance your chances of making sales, since the events or contests provide you opportunities to highlight the innovativeness you have brought to your app.
- Use social networks and build a website to promote your app.
- Prepare video clippings, pictures and press releases, among other things that form part of your marketing strategy.
- Show your new app to those who are already your customers as they are more likely to be open to receiving such information.
- Collaborate with other companies for shared benefits.
- Participate actively on forums and interact with as many potential customers as possible.
The aspects mentioned above can’t guarantee success, but can help build user-centric and better apps that are more likely to succeed in earning a lot of money.