By 2017, the mobile app market will be worth $ 77 billion. It seems you can’t go wrong with an app – it’ll be doomed to success anyway. However, 90% of mobile applications out there get less than 500 downloads a day – mostly due to user interface issues and poor performance. Creating an MVP is an easy way to improve your mobile development strategy. And here’s why.
What is an MVP mobile app?
What does “MVP” stand for? The acronym means minimum viable product. In mobile app development, an MVP is a stripped-down version of an application. It is released to the market prior to the app’s launch and offers the very basic functionality of the end product.
Most non-tech guys think an MVP is an unfinished product which is gradually getting complete. And that’s where they go wrong. If you want to make a super-fast sports car, you don’t release it piece by piece. Your potential customers need something they can ride straight away (at least a skateboard). Same with MVPs. A “draft” application does exactly what the finished program will do (e.i. order food from a grocery store or study your sleep patterns).
MVP as a part of mobile strategy
You’ve got an idea for an app
, right? Here’s a word of advice for you. Before you turn into a “feature freak” (a person who stuffs his app with countless features and ends up making a total mess), create an MVP.
Why do you need it?
- An MVP will help you study the market demand for your app. A lack of need for a product is the reason why 42% of companies fail. If you treasure your time and money, you should release a minimum viable product as soon as possible;
- With an MVP, you can stake a claim to space on the market. You surely want to take your niche before someone else has done it;
- MVPs generate user feedback. Once you track and analyze the data, you can fix bugs, add features, improve the end product and build a loyal user base.
However, you cannot ship a minimum viable product just out of the blue.
Back in 2009, Manuel Rosso decided to create a meal planning application which would provide easy-to-cook recipes and grocery lists based on the sales at nearest supermarkets. Before he even started to look for a reliable developer
, he went to the local grocery store and interviewed ordinary shoppers. He found a woman who seemed to like his app idea. He visited the woman once a week, built her shopping and selected recipes. With more clients on board, Rosso adopted mailing lists and eventually started coding. In 2014, his Food on the Table app was purchased by Food Network for $ 2.25 million.
What I’m driving at is that crafting an app – even an MVP – involves a lot of planning.
Also, you need to define the key feature of your mobile software.
The Instagram case is surely one of the best minimum viable product examples. Initially the monster of an app (which got over 30 million users in less than two years!) was all about filters and social sharing. You could take a photo, apply one of the few available effects and publish it in your profile. Neither photo editing nor sharing was a unique idea. It’s the blending of the two that made Instagram thrive. Other features (fancy filters and video content) were added later.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, right? Focus on what makes you app special!
Have any questions? Ask our team!
Types of MVPs
- Landing page. That’s right. You can design a simple landing page, write an engaging text about your app, get traffic via Google AdWords and ask users to sign up for updates/news/whatever. If you won’t be able to build a solid email list any time soon, you’d better think of a new app. The strategy was first employed in 2004 by IMVU who discovered Americans didn’t want a presidential debate app – especially for $ 1.99;
- Video. Now Dropbox boasts 400 million users and 1.2 billion files uploaded to the service every day. In 2009, the company started with a simple explainer video which generated 75 thousand subscribers in one day;
- Concierge MVP. A concierge application looks like a finished product, but all the work it’s supposed to do is performed manually. We do love Siri, but she’s not the only smart girl out there. The Chloe app can answer any question you’ll stump it with. Unlike Google and Siri, the app conducts a comprehensive research before it gives you an answer. In the future Chloe will be 100% automated. As of now, the program simply connects you with an operator who processes user requests;
- Prototype MVP. A piece of software which performs the core functions of the end product (an MVP at its best, if you like). Speak, a communication service for audio, video and screen sharing, was launched this way. At first the app’s functionality was limited to audio support, sign-ups and inviting. The project has entered its “build, track and learn” cycle and may eventually evolve into a fine system (just like Instagram).
You’d googled “What does an MVP stand for?” before you came to our website? Then a prototype MVP application created by a vendor is the best option for you (and it’s the vendor who should validate your app idea through market research, too). By taking the prototype approach, you save your time, receive accurate stats and can make the necessary changes to the project a lot earlier.
OK, the MVP stage is unavoidable. But how long does it take to develop a prototype application? It depends on the project and can take up to 9 months (WhatsApp).
However, you can launch an MVP much sooner – provided you identify the key feature of an application and don’t have another Facebook up your sleeve. The test version of Baremetrics, a SaaS analytic service, was built within 8 days. In two months, the app generated $ 2 thousand in revenues.
Our list of minimum viable product successful examples wouldn’t be complete without Uber. The company was launched in 2009. Ever since, it has grown in a $ 262.6 billion business which operates in 58 countries. Right from the start, the platform was meant to incorporate gamification elements, fare splitting and countdown timers. The Uber team never implemented those features straight away. Instead, they did their best to connect drivers and passengers. The team’s latest project is UberEATS, a food-ordering service which is currently available in 12 cities. It took Uber almost 2 years to polish the EATS MVP, and that’s the way all major enterprises work.
In two years, less than 1% of mobile applications will be commercially successful. In 2017, nearly 95% of all apps will be downloaded for free
. We don’t want to discourage you. We want you to understand that mobile app marketing and development require great expertise, critical thinking and the ability to take risks. And if you want to succeed, you should entrust your app project to a highly professional vendor.