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7 steps a start-up should take before developing a mobile app


Published on: 19 Jan 2021

By Vinod Subbaiah

New applications flood the mobile app stores incessantly. On an average, about 4848 new apps are being added to the Play Store and App Store every single day! With the app market being this competitive, having a great app idea alone is no longer sufficient. Developing a mobile app involves an enormous investment of both your time and money. To put it mildly, getting into the mobile app development without a concrete road map will be a costly error.

You must have a structured approach to creating a successful app, which will enable you to achieve your app’s goals and also let you have a competitive advantage. Let us look at the key steps to take before developing a mobile application.

  • Conduct Market Research

  • Analyze the current app market to gain an in-depth understanding of the existing apps.

    • Understand user needs. Conduct user interviews.
    • Find out the pain points of app users
    • Use market research tools to understand the popularity of existing apps.
    • Know your competitors and their unique selling propositions

    Market research also enables you to determine your niche audience and the value proposition of your app.

  • Choose App architecture and Technology stack

  • Mobile app development requires use of a robust technology stack comprising database, front end and backend programming languages, each having its pros and cons. It uses the front-end code to create immersive user interaction and back-end code to stores and manage data.

    There are three approaches one can take when it comes to developing mobile apps: platform-specific native app development, cross-platform and hybrid development.

    • Platform-specific native mobile apps use specific programming languages for each device platform. It optimizes device features like camera, GPS, and is best suited to create gaming apps. A native app is the preferred development option when building high-performance mobile apps.
    • Cross-platform app scans run on different platforms while working from the same code base. Its rapid development, turnaround time, and ’best bang for the buck’ attributes make it ideally suited for start-ups.
    • The best of both worlds, hybrid apps are websites encapsulated in mobile apps. The biggest advantage of this kind of app is that it is very budget-friendly and has very limited code hassles. Choose this option to create an app that can be launched across multiple devices without requiring many API integrations.
  • Create User acquisition strategies

  • Create marketing strategies to introduce your app to the audience. The following points will give you a bigger picture on this.

    1. Visual appeal- design, layout, color contrast contributes to the user experience.
    2. Appealing marketing content creation
    3. Search engine optimization
    4. Paid advertising
    5. Influencer marketing
  • Use mobile app analytics

  • Align your app to its KPIs. There are many tools like Google analytics and Apple analytics that provide data-driven insights into understanding user interaction and user experience with your app.

    The key metrics you should look into while using mobile app analytics are:

    1. Number of downloads
    2. Calculate stickiness ratio using the number of daily active users and monthly active users.
    3. Churn rate
    4. Cost per acquisition
    5. The average revenue per user
    6. Return on investment
    7. App event tracking: action taken by users with your app
    8. Touch heatmaps: areas on the mobile screen the users have interacted the most with your app.
    9. Promoter score: the likeliness of your app being shared or recommended by the users
    10. Ratings and reviews
    11. Conversion funnel tracking from app download to users paying for app features.
  • Focus on the revenue model

  • You can implement one or a combination of the following traditional app revenue models.

    1. In-app advertising: A report from Opera shows that in-application ads generate an average 1.53 percent click-through rate compared to mobile Web ads with a 1.12 percent click-through rate, pointing to the growing sophistication of in-app marketing. The main advantage of in-app advertising is that you can use a variety of ad formats. You can conduct A/B testing using a combination of ad types to analyze the most effective cost per mille.
    2. Freemium model: users engage with a stripped-down version of your app until they are willing to pay for premium features. While this model can create a large user base, you should be cautious not to provide too many features as freemium.
    3. Subscription model: this model is similar to freemium, except it gates content and not the features.
    4. Paid apps: this shrinking type will create engaged users since they have paid for the app.
    5. In-app purchasing: this converts your app into a sales channel or mobile storefront for virtual goods.

    Big data is a revolutionary app monetization method that is gaining momentum. Understand customer behavior from the anonymized and quantified user data. This is one trend that you should not miss out on since it drives revenue right after the implementation, has a high CPM, and does not have a negative user experience.

  • Amplify your app’s visibility

    1. Pick the right name for your app: this should be unique and easy to read. The character limit for Google Play Store is 50 characters. For Apple Store, it is 30 characters.
    2. Create meta tags for app search on Google Play and Apple Store.
    3. Write app description: this 4000 characters long summary should be well structured, informative, and include your app’s meta tags.
    4. Get the right app icon. You can test variants using A/B testing. Read material design guidelines of the platforms you want to launch your apps.
    5. App screenshots and videos: highlight the imperative features of your app and use immersive images.
    6. Entice customers with meaningful app updates.
    7. Encourage ratings and feedback.
  • Ensure Data privacy

Apps collect colossal user data to amplify customer experience. Do not compromise on the privacy and security of this data.

Conclusion

A start-up should have a nonambiguous app development lifecycle planning and implementation strategy. It will enable you to achieve your app goals and ultimately create a competitive edge from the start.

Vinod Subbaiah