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I Want to Create an App. Where should I start?

In 2015, smartphone manufacturers sold over 1.4 billion devices worldwide. In less than a year the global mobile software market will be worth $ 77 billion. With 18.5 million professional and amateur developers out there, even non-tech folk can easily bring their app ideas to life. How do you create a mobile app? How much does it cost? Can you save on marketing? We’ve got the answers!

In case you don’t know where to start with app development

If you contact a vendor and say something like “I have an idea for an app. How can I make my first million?”, be prepared to hear uncomfortable truth.

App development is all about money.

According to Clutch, the average cost of mobile application development is $ 171 thousand. Don’t be scared, though. The dev prices depend on several factors, including type and functionality of an application and a developer’s hourly rate. Hourly rates vary in different countries. If you outsource app development to Eastern Europe, the minimum cost of a mobile application starts from $ 10 thousand.

There are three options to get the wheels turning:

  • You are tech-savvy & have great expertise in custom application development;
  • You’ve actually got the dough and can afford a reliable developer;
  • You have the next Candy Crush Saga on your mind. In this case, you can present the project to business angels or launch a Kickstarter campaign (for example, the Walker smart productivity app was developed this way).

I Want to Create an App Where Should I Start Stats

There are over 3 million applications on Google Play and App Store. By 2018, only 0.01% of all mobile apps will bring enough revenue to cover development and marketing expenses. What makes an application successful?

  • Idea. Top-grossing apps usually fall into two categories: “drugs” (games that users simply can’t stop playing) and “painkillers” (solve some real problem). A UK teenager, for instance, developed an application which summarizes content from multiple news websites and eventually sold it to Yahoo for £18 million;
  • Excellent user experience. 80% of mobile users need only 20% of an app’s functions. Simple architecture and focus on core tasks (e.i. order a pizza or check flights) will do you more good than fancy features and heavy visual effects;
  • Appealing design. It takes users only 50 milliseconds to understand whether they like your application or not.

How do you create an app?

You’re not taken aback by what you’ve read, are you? Well, we’ve got more things to discuss!

Here’s a step-by-step “How to make an ideal app” guide for non-tech innovators:

  • Validate your idea. Are there no similar products on Google Play and App Store? How do you know people actually need it? After all, is the idea worth investing in? A proper marketing research will provide answers to all these questions. The study can be conducted by a market research agency or your vendor. However, the cost of a custom research ranges from $ 5 thousand to $ 50 thousand (and more!). Not sure your budget can handle it? Run a small survey yourself, but don’t expect 100% accuracy. You can use the Apptrace and Xiologic analytic services to detect top-grossing apps in your category and the number of downloads they generate;
  • Choose platform. It’s not just about the cost of creating an Android or iOS app (although Android vendors usually charge 10-20% less). It’s about choosing the operating system your target audience dwells on (more research). Such monsters as Instagram and Angry Birds were initially crafted for iOS and scaled up later. You certainly don’t want to blow the entire budget on cross-platform development – you don’t even know whether your efforts will pay off;
  • Determine your app’s functionality and special features. Every single feature, be it a payment mechanism or QR code recognition, means additional investments. What options are essential right now, and what features can be added later via updates? You’ll never know until you create a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP concept is about pushing an application to the market ASAP to collect user feedback and find out what features it lacks. Although an MVP is unfinished by definition, it should possess the core functionality of the end product. If your budget is limited, you can also go for micro-testing (create an app landing page, launch an ad campaign on Google AdMob and estimate the app’s market appeal).

The cost of creating an app

We all want a $ 10 thousand application, but you can’t have a mobile game for a price of an alarm clock (especially if you deal with a US vendor).

The average prices for iOS and Android app development in North America are $ 150 (iOS) and $ 168 per hour, respectively. The dev costs are lower in the UK - $ 70 per hour for both platforms. As we move to the East, the prices keep falling. Eastern Europe (Belarus, Ukraine, etc.) offers high-profile specialists for only $ 35/hour for iOS and Android development. Finally, there’s India with $ 26 (Android) and $ 30 (iOS) medium hourly rates.

If you consider offshore app development, take the “price-and-quality approach” and choose Eastern Europe whose developers score high on Clutch (a platform which provides independent ratings of the world’s top vendors) and Stack Overflow and Stack Overflow along with VentureBeat (opinion leaders in the world of IT).

I Want to Create an App Where Should I Start Stats

I want to create a mobile app & don’t want to market it

“I have an amazing idea for an app. Once I build it, I’ll drown in cash”.

That’s what 90% of mobile app owners think. And cut marketing expenses. As a result, newly-launched applications seldom bring more than $ 500 a month.

Entrepreneurs fail to provide adequate customer support. They don’t track the essential performance parameters (including retention rate and the number of daily/monthly downloads). They overuse ads and push notifications. And wonder why they’re not in the Top 10 yet.

Don’t be fooled by the “app goes viral” success stories. Some applications can indeed bring profit with little or no promotion. The Angry Birds game, for example, hit the Finnish iTunes chart within days after its release. The Rovio Team claims they didn’t spend a cent on marketing; however, they “surprisingly” launched the product when both App Store and iPhone 3G were huge & trending. Good timing or a clever marketing strategy? Probably, the latter.

Even if your application is one of a kind, you must have a solid marketing budget to explain what is it & why people need it. Virality is created by marketers.

Non-tech people usually don’t know where to start with mobile app development. And that’s fine – as long as they trust their app ideas to a reliable vendor. Who knows, maybe your application will outperform WhatsApp?

We don’t peddle trends. We streamline business.