Open an app store on your phone or tablet, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of apps available. Data from AppBrain suggests that as of mid-August, there are 2.69 million Android apps in the Google Play Store, with over two million in Apple’s rival App Store.
In such a mature market, it might seem logical that the world doesn’t need a new app from your brand or business. Yet apps can be pivotal to growing a brand and reaching new audiences. It’s essential to validate your app idea right from the start to determine whether the average cost of $270,000 required to build and launch a new app will be money well spent.
In this article, we explain all the steps required to validate your app idea and ensure any minimum viable product (MVP) will enhance your fortune rather than detract from it. Below, we pose 10 questions that should help to determine the viability of a proposed idea, and prevent you wasting money on an unnecessary endeavor:
1. How would an app expand your existing offering?
If you have a popular website with high engagement, an app may not be necessary. Consider existing customer journeys, and how/where/why an app might improve their experience or aid customer acquisition strategies. There’s a compelling case for ecommerce stores, but less so for lawyers!
2. Who is your target audience?
Research will identify the people who your app might benefit, and also how they’re currently being served. Narrow down a prospective app audience by relevant factors like age, gender, income, and needs. Study the number of app downloads from competing or complementary brands.
3. What budget can you set aside?
Apps can last for years with only minor revisions or expansion, so this is a cost you can offset against future years’ turnover. The development cost will be affected by the complexity of your offering and the number of functions it needs to support, delivery timescales, multilingual support, and so on.
4. Can you attract funding?
There are plenty of accelerator programs, venture capitalists, incubators, and angel investors who might be willing to contribute to funding a new app, reducing your fiscal burden. They’ll expect a return, so consider if your app would still be profitable if you had to divert income to repay an investor.
5. What ROI can you expect?
With 18% of businesses spending over half a million US dollars on developing a single app, there needs to be a compelling business case for investing a six-figure sum. If this return will be at the expense of other channels—in-store or desktop website—it’s not a price worth paying.
6. What presence do your competitors have?
Answering this question involves market research, but don’t be deterred if there’s lots of competition, or none at all. Rival apps might be outdated, complex, glitchy, or limited in functionality. An absence of rivals might suggest you can be among the first to exploit an untapped market.
7. How are other apps structured?
Whether or not you have direct competitors, study how other firms in your industry have developed their apps. What are their pluses and minuses? Can you see areas you could improve upon? Again, to validate app ideas, it’s necessary to identify a solution to a problem your clients face.
8. What’s required to reach a minimum viable product?
The MVP is the first stage at which customers can interact with a new app. It’s something we know all about at VeryCreatives, as seen in our four-stage MVP development process. Once an MVP exists, you can cost-effectively tailor the app to optimize its appeal, functionality, scope, and user simplicity.
9. What would a typical customer journey map look like?
If you’re a marketing agency, the customer journey through an app might involve promoting past projects, wins, or campaigns. How would people interact with the app, what paths might they follow through its various pages/stages, and what’s the end goal? What defines a successful interaction?
10. How will you market your idea?
As we mentioned at the outset, app stores are teeming with software. Few consumers will find yours by chance, so how will you drive downloads? App marketing options include app links in email signatures, PR/marketing campaigns, advertising, and SEO. Even a great app is worthless if nobody installs it.
Help when you need it the most
If the above has inspired you (but possibly also alarmed you!), VeryCreatives are here to help. As a leading digital product agency, we’ve brought numerous apps to life from a basic idea, fleshing out notebook sketches and following a proven framework from ideation to release.
Skip the scattershot search engine research and give us a call for a straight-to-the-point chat about your idea—and possible next steps.