03 December 2011
How to Build Apps Business?
Build a successful business of Apps. Experiences, tips, secrets...
Mobile applications have become the technological battlefield today. Market has "exponential growth" phenomenon and downloads predicted to reach 4 billion this year alone, rising to 21 billion by 2013. This isn't surprising when you look at the number of smartphones on the market and worldwide shipments reported to surpass 390million by 2013, growing at a rate of 20.9 percent per year.
A new report from research firm Canalys indicates that direct revenue from mobile app stores will almost double within the next year to hit figures of $14.1 billion, a 92 percent rise from an expected $7.3 billion in 2011.
According to Germany-based research2guidance, Android to surpass Apple's App Store by August 2011. The firm expects Android Market to reach 425,000 apps next August, effectively overtaking App Store in size.
The good news for application developers is that as the number of smartphone users increase, so too does the demand for a wide range of mobile applications. Today App business is billion dollar Pie and everyone is jumping in to take their part of pie.
The only question that remains is how do you take advantage of this opportunity when there are already so many apps out there and more constantly being developed?
It's never too late
At Amitech Business Solutions we decided to get in App business in January 2011. The next thing we had to think was the platform. We had few options iOS, Android, Blackberry to choose. I have been iDevices fan so went for iOS and the next February we launched our first iOS app BeatMaster. After a month we ventured our first Android app. We realized that for new developers the Apple's App Store platform is better to lookout as return on investment are higher in iOS than other platforms. There's no doubt Android Market will at some point offer more applications for download and/or purchase than Apple's App Store, as the latter's growth has been slowing down of late, while the Android application store's growth rate has been accelerating.
How to Get Started?
All it Takes is a Good Idea. Idea can be entertaining or a problem solver. There are unlimited possibilities what you can do with mobile devices. Your Idea can target a people or category of store. Market research can help you if there is already an app similar to your Idea, read the reviews and comments of users in App store and Enhance your Idea. It's not always needed to do market research; there are hundreds of examples that developers have put wired Apps which have broken records. (Like iFart)
Select a Technology
Android: Get yourself Android phone and Android SDK. You must register to be able to distribute your products through Android Market. There is a onetime $25 registration fee.
iOS: To develop iOS you need Mac Computer and iPhone/ iPad to test your Apps on device. Get enrolled in Apple iOS developer program which costs $99/year. Download the iOS SDK and development kit from member area.
Cross-Platform: There are some tools which allow you to deploy application in multiple mobile formats. That saves time and money if done right way. HTML5 developers can make mobile applications with PhoneGap or Titanium Mobile frameworks. Advance Game development software like Unity3D also deploys games in multiple platforms. Still you will need to join Developer programs to publish your apps to App store.
Gather the Team
If you are developer you can start on your own. But for sophisticated Apps than its team Game, If you are Entrepreneur having no developing experience you need a good team of developers and a good UI designer.
Don't forget to research your competitor's app and solve and add features what they lack. Make blueprints of screens of App you planning. Sketch the screens. For sophisticated app you may sketch screen in different resolutions and landscape/portrait modes of your choice.
Designing is most important thing in App development. If your developer, hire a designer to design the UI and screens of your App. Design is very important as you get few seconds to attract the customer when your app is listed in App Store. Research says that an eye caching icon increases the sales. What Customer can see before buying are Screenshots of App. Good UI design is important factor affecting app sales.
Work on the app according to prototype. If you don't have team you can hire developers from Odesk or other freelancer portals. Developers must follow the iOS Human Interface Guidelines. Read the guidelines once. Application having bad or in accessible UI might get rejected from App Store. Get the advantage of Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass and other hardware sensor.
Testing and Polishing
Test your apps in all possible versions of iPhone/iPad or other devices. It's highly recommended to test on device, because many bugs and crashes happen only on Hardware. Crashing of your app will cause the negative reviews on your App page and high return rate. Polishing the app will make major difference. Enhance the app with animations, Social sharing options, functionality to ask users to review your app and custom loading animations.
Prepare for Submission
Once your app is ready, developer need to do several tasks like configuring different size of icons, screenshots, signing binary with provisional certificate. After submission of app, apple takes 3 to 7 days to test and approve your application.
Market your App
App Store is a competitive environment. More companies and marketplaces release more applications. Against more than 140,000 apps, all screaming for attention, how do you make sure your app gets its time in the spotlight? Get a nice website and a facebook fanpage. Decide the launch date and write press releases and blog posts. Be interesting and Tweetable, post video reviews on Youtube.
Send promo codes to famous blogs, app websites to review your app. App might get picked famous websites like TechCrunch, LifeHacker , TUAW gives high peak in app sales. You can also run an ad campaign on ad networks like Admob and iAds to get targeted downloads. Getting more downloads and reviews in initial days of launch will help to get your app gain good position and get featured in stores. Massive quantities of mobile apps create competition to stay viable. Price drop for few days will also help to get more reviews on paid apps.
Keep the track, Give updates
Now your app is generating good revenues from Appstore. But your job is not over. To generate revenue for long term you should keep track your users. Read the reviews they write on App Store and check crash logs. Fix the issues and problems users facing, add new features, and enhance the app and release an Update.
That was 10 steps to launch your first App in the market. Now you can try different ways for monetizing your app and generate some extra revenue.
Download revenue can be more complex as it involves pricing strategy. The secret to maximize download revenue is pricing. The most popular paid applications are priced
between $0.99 and $3.99, with predominant 99-cents applications. These applications are what we call the "big-fast sales." Most users download them and use them once or twice; they're predominantly entertainment and provide small value to the consumer, but the mass download provides great initial revenue and then stops. The most grossing applications are actually priced between $4.99 and $9.99at 44 percent and account for 44 percent of revenue. These applications are downloaded less frequently, but used more often as they usually provide tangible value
Monetize app with Advertising
Revenue from advertising is similar to brand-driven applications: the approach aims to reach as many users as possible by providing free entertainment or utilities, and to collect revenue through third party advertising like Admob from Google, iAds from Apple, inMobi, Mobclix. Mobile ads give higher eCPM values than web ads; it means you can generate revenue for an ad impression. Monetizing app with Ads is more preferred for apps which engage users for long time.
Freemium Business Model
Freemium model has strategy that user gets the app for free, but they can pay to get more features and enhanced experience using In-App-Purchase.
According to a new study by mobile app search firm Xyologic, About 11 percent of all free games in Apple's App Store have in-app purchase for virtual goods, currency and additional features. But these freemium apps have an outsized influence on the App Store, making up 40 percent of all free game downloads from the store in March.
This year stats are showing spectacular growth in Asian App market. Especially in China app downloads has increased by 46 percent. 1.5 M daily downloads in China. As being in app business you can take advantage of this growth, hire translators and localize your apps for Asian languages.
Amitech Business Solutions has been in app business from 10 months and have produced top ranking apps; I have been developing iOS apps and I have learned that; you have to think like a user to get successful app business.
The article is authored by Ruchit Patel, Co-founder, Amitech Business Solutions