We’ve been developing mobile and web apps for a long time now, over nine years in fact. Over those years, we’ve learnt a great deal about how to build an app that kicks user goals as well as business goals. Those nine years have also taught us what not to do – and so we thought we’d share some of the common myths about the app development business.
If you’re in the market to build an app, hopefully this give you an idea of things to consider when building an app:
We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything”, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Essentially, you shouldn’t even worry about execution if the idea isn’t market validated. The majority of startups will fail because the idea wasn’t validated, so make sure you’ve defined your personas and researched the market (This is where an MVP app will really help!)
Here’s one of the biggest app development myths. An app development team is usually made up of the following roles:
Mobile app design & development is so much more than code. There’s research and validation, user experience, code and quality assurance, project management, product management, data analysis, marketing & strategy and much more.
Each of these stakeholders play a critical part in the success of a product, so you need to be sure the team you’re engaging is capable of providing this wide range of service.
Unfortunately, development is just half the battle. Mobile apps are much like any other product, in that if customers aren’t aware of it you can’t sell it to them. Uploading your app to the app stores is just the start of the fun, but also you need to ensure visibility to as many potential customers as possible. A clear go-to market, and an ongoing marketing strategy is vitally important to seeing results. This will include things such as collateral creation (website, social pages, etc), app store optimisation, SEO, targeted ads etc.
Marketing can be expensive, but if you’re smart and have done your research, you can use highly targetable ad networks such as Facebook to speak directly to your audience.
Look back at your validation stage: you should have your user personas, and this should tell you exactly who to target using Facebook’s demographics.
Your app should be set up to track user data, and this will tell exactly who the ‘power users’ are using your app. This is a great way to narrow down who to target. Being smart about this will help save wasted money on your ad spend.
A common discussion we have with clients is around reducing the amount of features proposed for an app. A feature might not always be needed to make the app great, and to solve the user’s original problem. In fact, too many features can confuse the product entirely and make it harder for the customer to work out how to solve their problem.
Justify the features on whether they are critical to the user first. If they aren’t critical (ie they are nice to have) these can come later once you’ve validated the need and the want for your product.
Download numbers are a great vanity analytic – what you should be focused on instead is retention and engagement. If your app has had a million downloads but you only have 10,000 active users, then your retention is incredibly low and therefore your monetisation ability goes down with it.
The ‘average’ rate of retention sits at around 10%, meaning that ideally at a minimum you’re able to keep at least 1 in 10 users that download the app, but there’s a lot you can and should do to improve engagement and increase user retention of your app.
Many of these myths are easily resolved through thorough planning, and having a solid understanding of your product and audience. If you’re wanting to take the leap, send our team a message and we’ll get the ball rolling.