So you have an excellent idea for a mobile app, but you don’t know where to begin. You’ve heard about how immensely profitable apps can be and want to get in on the action yourself! Mobile app development is becoming more popular every day.
Developing an effective mobile application isn’t as simple as purchasing a domain name and putting together some HTML pages. In order to create any sort of successful application, whether it’s a game or news feed reader, you’re going to need some serious capital investment first.
If you do decide to pursue your idea seriously and put up some money towards its development, you’re going to want to know how much money you’ll actually need. However, not all mobile apps cost the same.
What determines how expensive a particular app is?
The answer comes down to three factors: Platform, Functionality, and Design.
A platform refers to the device you’re targeting with your software – if you choose iOS exclusively, it will be dramatically cheaper than developing for Android and iOS simultaneously. That’s because Apple’s App Store has such a large amount of users who download new apps consistently.
Basically, it’s going to be much easier for you to make money if, say, your app is only available on iOS rather than Android and iOS – but keep in mind the size of your potential customer base as well as what kind of device they own when making this choice.
Functionality refers to exactly what your application will do. Some apps are simple enough that they require an installation from one source (usually Google Play or Apple’s App Store), while others have much more complex backend operations.
For example, suppose you create an online game with user accounts and customization options. In that case, you’ll need considerably more programming than if you just made something that sends the user’s score to a server or records high scores.
Finally, design refers to how your application looks – this is largely subjective, but it’s important nonetheless. If you want your app to be successful, it needs to look good.
That doesn’t mean you need a 3D rendering of your logo on every screen of the app, though – what it does mean is that you should invest in some quality artwork.
When designing an app for iOS devices, Apple recommends using their own framework over third-party solutions to make the interface look more consistent across all apps. Android doesn’t have any specific recommendations like this.
How Much Will You Need to Invest?
It can be relatively cheap if you already have the programming done and are only bringing in an artist for minor things. The more functionality your app has, though, the more expensive it will be – if you’re looking at including real-time multiplayer into your game or adding a lot of different customization options to your app, expect your number to shoot up pretty quickly.
Of course, there are alternative ways to make money from your applications than just selling them outright.
- For example, many developers choose to use an ad network like Google AdMob or Apple’s iAd program instead.
- Another option is to sell virtual items – many games include purchasable enhancements that give the user an advantage.
- There are also in-app purchases, which allow you to buy extra features within your app without leaving it – think things like customizing your avatar or buying a new level. This has become extremely popular lately and is one of the most lucrative ways apps can make money.
AA Muhammadi is the founder of AAM Consultants. It’s a digital marketing company based in Lahore, Pakistan, with an office in Willenhall, U.K. He enjoys writing different topics about app development, search engine optimization and digital marketing.