Building a mobile app is akin to building a startup. App developers receive a plethora of advice from friends, family and network. While much of this advice could help you hit gold, some of it could be misleading enough to put your app business in jeopardy.
If you want your app to thrive, stay away from these 5 worst pieces of advice capable of ruining your mobile app.
1. “Developed a mobile app? Patent it right away!”
The single worst advice you could get as an appreneur would be this. Many would preach that your focus as an entrepreneur who is just starting to build their product or service should be on getting the right market fit; instead of filing for a patent.
Remember, getting a patent issued is an expensive ($8,000-$15,000 including attorney charges) and time consuming process.
A typical patenting process issuance takes anywhere between two - five years and then also, only 56% of patent applications get approved. You cannot get a software patent until at least one year after launching your app to the market. Taking into consideration this fact, would you want to wait to launch your app in the market until the patent is granted?
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg waited 6 years before the first patent, which was finally granted in 2012, following multiple rejections from the USPTO.
The other scenario to consider is, what happens to your patent if the app is no longer a business? Do you think the technology you’re patenting have a lifespan of around 5 years considering the breakneck speed of the app advancements?
Look at answering the question of whether your app needs a patent, which means identifying the need to protect as well as the type of patent.
Can you answer these questions before approaching a patent attorney?
2. “Build for multiple platforms simultaneously.”
After building a mobile app, ideally you would want to reach out to every single potential customer from day one, which, in reality, is impossible.
Sure, your target audience consists of millions of people, but do you think you would be able to reach out to them at the same time from the very onset?
Marketing, distribution and promotion are the biggest challenges you will face in your app’s journey. I would advise you to build your app on one platform (either iOS or Android) and go after the users present there. After you’ve built something your users really want, the success can be replicated on other platforms. Instagram was first launched on iOS. The Android version came into the market two years later.
To develop an app on multiple platforms simultaneously, which no user wants, nor uses , would lead to a waste of time and money. Focus on your app’s KPIs and target the most relevant users on one platform that brings the most value to you.
3. “Launch the app right now. You can always fix the bugs later.”
Did you thoroughly test your app? Unbelievable as it may sound, if Apple encounters bugs in your app, it gets rejected from the App Store. Eight percent of the iOS apps are rejected due to this reason.
A good way to make sure your app is bug-free and devoid of crashes is by signing up a few beta users. Use Betalist to get started. The feedback from these testers on different devices will help you fix the bugs as well as help build a better product.
Conduct proper testing on multiple devices before launching the app. A single crash is enough for the users to not only uninstall your app but also drop a negative feedback at the app store. Additionally, only 16 percent of users will try a crashing and failing app more than twice. Submit your app to the app store only when it is ready to be published. Ensure that your app’s user experience is great and free of bugs and crashes.
4. “Skip app localization”
While launching your app in another country, localize the app to optimize it for discovery in different languages. Translate all the language elements, icons and visuals into the local language for the foreign audience to discover and connect with your app.
For instance, when Plants vs Zombies was translated into Chinese, it quickly became the fourth highest paid app in the Chinese app market. Speak to potential customers in their language if you are expanding internationally. This is because 72.1 percent consumers spend most part of their time on content written in local language, reports Common Sense Advisory. The same report found, 56.2 percent consumers said the most important factor for them was to have information in their local language.
App localization isn’t always easy but it takes your app to the next level by allowing the app to be found by the target audience.
5. “You don’t need to market your app.”
Of course - you do! There are more than 7 million apps in leading app stores as of March 2017, reports Statista. The mobile market is completely saturated.
Remember when Google launched a real-time collaboration app called “Google Wave” in 2009? It was shut down within a year. Why? Besides being an end-product that was hard to use, what also hurt the app was that no one knew what it was. Google didn't market it at all. It doesn't matter whether you are a big brand launching a new product or a new startup - marketing is crucial to drive success.
To boost the success ratio of your app, create a proper marketing plan covering pre-launch, launch and post-launch phases. Somebody else out there is trying to build a tool exactly like yours. Make sure yours is the one to capture user’s attention.
Make sure you build an app your users require and favor. Most app failures happen when one of these two elements are missing.
Summary - Don’t fall into the trap of these advices. Launching and growing an app takes time and efforts and a right UA strategy. Focus on building a sustainable and successful app business by taking the time to research your app’s KPIs as well as the audience. Having an intelligent pre- and post-launch app strategy will help build an app that is adopted by the consumer in the fierce market.
App developers, do share with us what advice you received when launching your app and which of them worked the best for you!