In 2020, global revenue from mobile apps crossed 318 billion U.S. dollars. This was a big jump from 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
The mobile games segment topped the chart with a revenue of over 200 billion U.S. dollars. Social networking mobile apps created revenue of around 31 billion dollars and came second on the list.
Due to high earning potential and the chance to capture a huge market share, mobile apps are becoming popular in all segments. Statista reports that as of the first quarter of 2021, over 3.48 million mobile apps were available on the Google play store.
As mobile apps became popular, the demand for mobile app development services also saw a huge rise. Businesses and entrepreneurs recognized the importance of finding the right mobile app development services, so they can maximize the potential for growth and revenue.
However, as the demand for mobile application development services increased, the industry also saw significant growth. Countless mobile app development companies came into existence across the globe to tap on the opportunity.
As a result, finding the right app development companies from the plethora of options become a difficult task for most businesses.
The number of available apps in the Google Play Store from 2nd quarter 2015 to 1st quarter 2021. Courtesy: Statista.
Resources required for mobile app development
You may think the new-age businesses like mobile games and social media etc. are different from traditional businesses. Their business strategy and resource allocation are something new that traditional businesses can never relate to.
However, this is a false notion.
Just like a traditional business, any technology-oriented business also has the strategies set out almost similarly. The resources are invested in market research, competitors’ analysis, consumer behaviour study, planning of solutions, implementation of the solution, marketing, and post-purchase services. The major segments where a new-age business invests its resources are listed below.
Before you start building your app, there are a few steps you must complete. The first one on the list is “market research”.
Try to find answers to questions like
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the problems they are facing?
- How the solution you are going to develop will help them?
- What are the current options in front of your target audience?
- How can your solution help the audience better?
You have to strategize how the mobile app you are going to develop will help you as a business. For every business, profit and growth are the ultimate goals. So, any investment they make should bring them returns in terms of profit or growth.
At this step, a business should strategize whether the mobile app is part of their growth plan or a source of revenue. For example, a construction business can create a mobile app as a media consumption platform where they share the latest designs, DIY tutorials or general tips and guides on construction and design. Here the strategy is to help their brand name reach a larger audience, so it will be easier to sell to the same audience later.
On the other hand, a revenue-oriented solution will be a platform where a business connects with their customers and sell products and services directly to them. eCommerce websites are a suitable example of this.
The other things a business should decide include how are they planning to implement this strategy. Are they planning to generate revenue via ads, subscription offers, in-app purchases, one-time payments, upgrade plans or any other modes? If the strategy is to increase their brand reach, what types of content they can utilize? How frequently the content should be updated? Should the content be available in multiple languages?
To be honest, this one should be a part of all the stages of app development. The targeted audience will come into contact with a business in several instances. Each time, the interaction will provide more data about the targeted audience. As a business, you should leverage this information to improve your products and find better and efficient ways to reach the target audience.
In the preliminary stages, you can make use of direct surveys and market research to build a customer profile. Once the app is live, you can leverage the data from the inbuilt analytics or third-party tools. More information can be collected from customers directly once they have directly engaged with your business either during a business transaction or post-purchase.
The collected data can be used to improve existing products, introduce new products, improve your marketing efforts etc.
Building the app
The app can be built in house or by hiring external agencies who are experts in mobile app development.
While building an app in-house will offer you more control over the whole process, it may increase the cost of the process and may delay the launch of the app. You have to invest in technology, infrastructure, human resources and set methodologies and quality standards all by yourself. You also must take care of app deployment and post-deployment strategies. All these will build up cost and hiring the right resources and setting up infrastructure etc. will take time.
If you are hiring a mobile app development company, they already have the right resources and methodologies with them. So, the development cost and time may be less compared to developing an app in house.
If you have no prior experience in this field, has budget constraints or need to launch the app as early as possible, hiring an app development agency will be the right option.
App launch and post-deployment
Whether it is an iOS app or an Android app, your app should follow certain guidelines and quality standards to become eligible to be featured on respective app markets. For example, this is a guideline offered by Apple. And, this is one of the guidelines offered by Google. There are several such guidelines and tips available for both App Store and Play store.
However, submitting your app to the app store or play store won’t be enough. Even if the app store optimization is done right, the success of your app can’t be guaranteed at this stage. You have to promote your newly launched app to your target audience and for that implementation of a well-planned marketing strategy is necessary.
You should also update your app periodically to meet new technology standards and keep it secure and bug-free.
Should you hire mobile app development services?
As you just read, mobile app development is a complex process of combining business strategies and technological innovation. It demands market and technology expertise. The resources needed for developing a mobile app is demanding and you should plan it carefully to not waste your investment.
Thus, unless you have prior experience in developing a mobile app, it is always better to hire mobile app development services so the result can be somewhat guaranteed. The good thing about hiring a mobile app development company is that the right one will have enough experience and expertise in the industry to help you out with the whole process starting from market research and product conceptualization to app launch and app marketing.
But the question is how do you find the right mobile app development services?
Finding the right mobile app development services
Definition of “right mobile app development services” may vary from one business to another. There are different factors that decide whether a mobile app development service is suitable or non-suitable for a business.
First and foremost, the cost of hiring an app development service should be affordable. Unless the services are available at a price range you are able to meet, hiring becomes futile since the project will never be completed or you may lose ownership of the final product.
The best way to find affordable app development services is to hire globally. For example, the cost of developing mobile apps is comparatively less in south-east Asian countries like India or Eastern European countries. If you think hiring from these countries won’t handicap you in terms of communication and quality, this will be a wise decision to make in terms of investment.
Often app development agencies will have different pricing models. For example, some agencies charge you per project, some charge you based on services offered and some others may charge you based on resources. There are also app development agencies that offer you a flexible pricing model.
Hiring an experienced app development agency will be the right decision for most businesses as it will reduce risk.
When hiring a mobile app development company check whether they have any previous experience in developing similar mobile apps or a mobile app for the same market or industry. Check how the apps are performing in the market. If they have prior experience in developing a similar app, they might be familiar with the industry, business model and target market. So, they can leverage their experience in each stage of development such as user experience, choosing the technology platforms, payment integration, data security and legal compliance etc.
You must also check the performance and quality of the mobile apps they have developed by downloading a few of them and using them on a device. You can also check the ratings and feedbacks their previous customers have given them.
Mobile app development is a complex process. It involves different stages and each stage demand expertise in certain disciplines.
For example, the first stage of app development can be identified as product conceptualization. This stage involves planning the product you are going to develop, what are its strength and how it will help you as a business and how it will help the targeted audience with their problems. Here, the expertise should be related to market research and business planning.
The next stage of app development deals with product design. It involves the process of transforming the product concept into design in terms of wireframes, icons, typography, and images. Here, creativity and design capabilities are the expertise called for.
In the next stages, experts are needed for
- Finding the right technology platforms,
- Maintaining coding standards,
- Understanding quality parameters,
- Following legal and security guidelines,
- Meeting app store eligibility
- Promote the mobile app
- User analytics etc.
If your plan is to hire an agency to take care of the whole mobile app development process, you should check whether they have the expertise to manage each stage of the development cycle. Lack of expertise in even a single stage may negatively impact the success of your mobile app.
If you are hiring from outside the country, you should be careful about communication and cultural differences.
If there is a big difference in time zone, it may negatively impact the communication since the team you hired may not be available at a time that is convenient for you. So before hiring, you must check whether support is available around the clock or during the time that is convenient to you and your team.
You should also check whether the team can communicate in a language you are comfortable with. Miscommunication will lead to misunderstandings. It will cause unnecessary delays in the development and may impact the functions of the final product negatively.
The quality of a mobile app is necessary due to several factors. First and foremost, the app should provide a good experience for the end-user. It should meet security standards to avoid any legal proceedings from authorities or the users who think the app has violated their basic rights. The quality should be kept in check to become eligible to be submitted to App Store and Play Store, the most popular app markets currently in the market.
So, while looking for mobile application development services, you should check whether the service provider has any understanding of these quality standards. Normally any professional app development agency will have a document that states the quality standards they follow, what are the measurements they take to ensure the mobile app quality and how they mitigate any issues that arise related to this matter and details of contact points who are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the quality of the product they develop.
Before hiring, you should check whether the agency can share any such documents. If no such documents are available, you should check what options are available to check what quality standards the agency follows.
Property rights and Disclosure
Have no doubts. If you are the one paying for the services, you should be the owner of the product idea and final product. A proper non-disclosure agreement should be signed between you and the app development agency in the preliminary stages of communication itself and the agency should respect the product as intellectual property of your business.
Security standards are compulsory for any app product. The app should be safe and secure to use, it should be protected from unauthorized access and the data should be stored securely following all data policy and data security standards set up by security experts and legal authorities.
Any failure in this department will not only impact the business negatively but also cause additional costs in terms of fines and compensation and tarnish the image of the business in front of the public. It may even force the business to shut down its operation and the parties involved may have to undergo legal scrutiny.
Hiring mobile application development services doesn’t mean that you are handing over the whole process to the agency and left waiting until the final product is ready.
The agency should keep you updated periodically as the development progress and seek frequent feedback from you. You should not be left out as an external party but should be respected as part of the team. Regular meetings should be scheduled, and you should have ways and means to raise your concerns and share your feedback.
The delivery management standards and guidelines should be documented and shared with you in the preliminary stages of communication itself. As a client, you should also have the details of contact points at different levels so that if an issue arises, you can seek for remedy immediately.
Deployment is the process of launching the final version of a mobile app and offering a way for the actual users to access it.
Generally, apps are deployed on app markets like App Store or Play Store depending on the technology and platforms. To be eligible for deployment, each app market has its own guidelines and quality standards. The app will be approved only after the review of the same. The agency should be familiar with all these guidelines and ensure that the app is deployed as preplanned. They should also take care of all the App Store Optimization(ASO) techniques that will help the app to reach more users.
Post-deployment services are mainly app maintenance services. It includes bug fixes, releases of the new versions, adding new functionalities and features, user analytics, data on acquisition etc.
Most companies charge based on hours or a monthly retainer fee for post-deployment services. But this will wholly depend on their business and pricing model. As a business, you should try to hire the best post-deployment services as they will have a direct impact on uptime and the user experience.
Finding mobile app development services is not difficult in this day and age. However, finding the “right” application development services may be difficult for most businesses as the definition of “best app development services” vary from one to another. As each business is unique, you should find an app development agency that understands your industry and business goal and share the same business values as yours.
AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in developing mobile apps for startups and enterprises alike. We have developed several trendsetting yet cost-effective solutions for multiple verticals throughout the years of our existence. If you are looking for an experienced mobile app development agency who is also an expert in this field, contact us now!