Mobile applications have become powerful tools for businesses. They can be used as a direct link to the customer, or internally to streamline operations. Additionally, research shows that the average smartphone user spends nearly a total of three hours every day engaging with apps. That means an app can be a strong brand engagement tool. However, while coming up with an app idea is relatively easy, it’s not quite as easy to develop a realistic app development budget that will enable you to achieve your goals.
Successfully developing an app is all about careful planning. There are many factors to consider if you want to concoct a budget and an app development project plan that is realistic of what to expect. Here are five essential aspects you need to look at when creating an app development budget.
Deciding on the Platform for Your App
The first thing you need to decide with any mobile app development project plan is what platform you will be developing it for. You have a choice of:
- Native apps written for specific operating systems such as Android or iOS
- Web-based apps which include server-side mobile web sites
- Hybrid apps, which are combine native and web-based apps
The platform you choose will depend on a number of factors, including your target audience and how you plan to monetize the app. For example, if you are selling high-end services, studies show that Apple users tend to have greater spending potential. So, developing for iOS might be in your best interests. You may not even need to prioritize low cost app development because your potential returns could compensate for your initial expenses.
You also need to look at location when working on your mobile app development project plan. For example, in some countries Apple isn’t quite as popular as it is on others, which might make Android a better option. If your audience is relatively equally split among the different platforms, it might be a good idea to develop a cross-platform app or to develop separate apps for each platform. While the first option is more cost-effective, it might restrict the app’s potential as you won’t be able to take full advantage of the functionality of each platform.
Again, your app development budget should always account for how much you could theoretically earn in the long run. In many cases, spending a little more now is key to optimizing your future earning potential.
Analytics are Critical to Your App’s Success
Many businesses try to cut costs by not investing in analytics, which is a mistake. Yes, you can expect to invest up to 20% of your app development budget in analyzing your app based on market potential and effectiveness. But, it will save you much more in the long run because you’ll be certain you are putting out an app that works well and that people will want to use.
An App Development Budget Depends on Mobile App Design: Custom vs. Standard
You can opt for a standard interface for your mobile app, which is cheaper than getting a custom app designed. However, it also limits what you can do with your app. Furthermore, you can’t take advantage of branding, which is critical for a mobile app that you are producing for your customers.
Generally, a mobile app with a custom design is more effective as visual elements can be used to create a connection with your audience. It’s important for your audience to be able to immediately identify the app as being your business’ app for branding purposes but also to build loyalty. Also, a standard design can do more harm than good as customers might feel you didn’t think they were worth the investment.
So, you have to weigh the costs against potential return on investment when deciding whether to allocate your app development budget towards custom or standard design. Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that the benefits of a custom design might not necessarily translate into dollar amounts but instead into a more powerful relationship with customers.
Verifying Quality and Testing Your Mobile App
This is one area of an app development project plan where you don’t want to skimp on the investment. Simply put, you can’t put an app out that contains errors or doesn’t work properly. Thus, you need to put enough of your app development budget—note that the costs are minimal—in ensuring that your app truly is ready for launch and all errors have been corrected.
Make sure to test the app on different platforms and with different users to ensure proper operation as well as ease-of-use.
Incorporating Marketing Costs into Your App Development Budget
Last but in no way least when devising a mobile app development project plan, you need to consider the marketing costs. Some people choose to wait to develop a marketing strategy until after their app has been developed. This is the wrong approach because certain elements of your app’s design could depend on the marketing strategy. So, it can mean higher app development costs if you have to go back and change aspects of an already-developed app.
There are plenty of free methods you can use to market your app. But, investing in getting the word out there and convincing people it will be useful to them will significantly increase your ROI. After all, the longer you wait to get your app in your customer’s hands, the more money you are leaving on the table. And you do not want to be kicking yourself repeatedly for that mistake!
Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash
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