When is it Worth Building an App?

With a little over 50% of all ecommerce traffic coming from a mobile device, and that percentage rising by the second, it’s no surprise that a lot of businesses are turning to mobile marketing to bring in new sales. Apps in particular are dominating the mobile web with more than 86% of the total time spent online comprising of app usage, with browsers taking up the remaining 14% (as of 2014). However, with two major gatekeepers controlling the app market (Apple and Google), creating a business app isn’t always as worthwhile as you’d think.

Gatekeeper Approval

Many businesses try to jump on the mobile app bandwagon willy-nilly without too much thought to the design and implementation of the app, and either get it disapproved by Apple or Google, or it simply falls flat on its face. An app needs to be unique and serve a purpose. Additionally, since brand recognition and reputation is so important to the success of a company, a poorly designed app can actually have an adverse effect on how a company is perceived by the general public. If you’re going to build an app, think it through.

Research and Development of a Business App

 As with any critical business decision that has an impact on how a company performs, a lot needs to go into the planning of an app. Is the app only going to be used by employees to help facilitate every day tasks and increase worker efficiency; will it only be available to customers and clients, or will it be sent out to the masses? The design of the app should focus heavily on the people who are going to use it, and the desired outcome the app should achieve.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why will my app be compelling to users?
  • How do we as a company benefit from building the app?
  • Is the cost and time to build and manage the app worth the end result?

The Cost to Develop an App

The cost to build an app can varies significantly depending on the requirements, although a study by MGI in 2014 discovered that 52% of businesses spend more than $50,000 to research, develop, test and launch the app. Some companies are lucky enough to have their own employees who can work on the app which might keep costs down, but it’s often recommended to hire company that specializes in app development to get the job done properly. The time to develop and deploy an app also ranges from as little as a month to more than a year, with studies indicating that most companies take between 6 to 9 months.

Choosing a Platform

Another point to a consider is whether you’d like to develop the app to work on one platform (i.e. Android, iOS, Windows etc.) or on a variety of platforms. Android and iOS combined took up 96.3% of the market share in the final quarter of 2014 which is impressive to say the least (according to a report by the International Data Corporation). It’s safe to say that focusing on both of these platforms is the best way to get ahead, although if you had to choose one, Apple’s iOS is slowly taking the lead.

The above factors are just a few considerations to keep in mind when building an app for your business. What you should take away from this is that if you are going to build one, then make sure to do the leg work and ensure it’s a worthwhile investment.