If your primary goal developing apps is to make a lot of money, then you must understand that you will probably fail. As of March 2017, Statista reported that “there were 2.8 million available apps at Google Play Store and 2.2 million apps available in the Apple’s App Store.” Only a small fraction of those apps ever attract any attention, much less earn money. Given these factors, anyone who tells you that there is a definite way to make your app earn tens of thousands, let alone millions, is wrong.
What you can do is increase your chances of success by following certain steps and avoiding pitfalls which other ambitious app developers have fallen into. Whether you are a young developer looking to make some cash or a business hoping that the app will supplement your main product, here are certain things to consider to accrue the biggest payday.
1. App Builders Are Great
How do you even construct an app in the first place? Coding experts may construct apps entirely out of scratch, using different coding languages and developing the thing by themselves. Large businesses may outsource the effort to other coding experts. But most apps are constructed using an app builder such as Android Studio, and thus supposedly different apps will share many similarities. You likely understand that in order for your app to be successful, it must differentiate itself. As a result, you conclude that you should avoid using app builders.
This is a really bad idea. Learning how to code an app from scratch will take so much time that you will likely give up on the entire idea out of frustration. An app builder is comparable to WordPress, and plenty of blogs use WordPress or other similar websites to reach a mass audience without problems. The same is true for app builders. Do not hesitate to use them out of some mistaken desire to build everything from scratch.
2. Regularly Update
Once your app is out on an app store, you cannot sit back and relax. A good developer should be constantly looking to update the app and offer new features.
From a marketing perspective, updating apps shows customers that you are devoted to improving the app and are willing to listen to customer complaints and requests. If a customer has to choose between an app which was last updated in September, and an app which was last updated in September 2015, he will almost always pick the former. Updating an app also serves as a way to remind formers users that it exists and keep it closer to the top pages of the Google or Apple store.
Furthermore, an app which has not been updated in a long term can represent a security risk. Hackers are constantly looking at ways to use apps to steal user information. The long an app has gone without updating, the more time a hacker has to find such a way. Developers should update their apps at least once a month, to remind customers of its existence and show your commitment towards listening to their concerns and looking out for their safety. Get them interested in your app by letting them download it for free, and then find a way to get money from them.
3. Keep Your Apps Free
Most apps today are free with the option of in-app purchases, and this model works for a reason. Just look at Nintendo. After the success of Pokémon Go last year, the gaming company launched two more mobile titles in Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. The former is essentially a paid game while the latter is free with in game purchases. Even though Super Mario Run had 10 times as many downloads and Mario is a gaming icon, Fire Emblem Heroes still made more revenue according to Polygon.
With so many apps out there, customers are looking for any reason not to download your app, and having to pay for an app is the easiest reason of all. Get them interested in your app by letting them download it for free, and then find a way to get money from them.
4. Not Just Smartphones
There are more places for users to download your apps beyond cellphones or the Google and Apple stores. Smart TVs, video game consoles, tablets, and the Internet of Things are all areas where apps are ready to download. In fact, a survey from Developer Economics found that Smart TVs had 30 percent of their developers earning more than $5k per month compared to 18 percent for smartphones.
Those figures are skewed by the fact that Smart TVs generally only accept successful, well established apps like Netflix and Hulu, and developing an app exclusively for those devices as opposed to smartphones and tablets is unwise. But if you are planning to update your app over the long term and grab the biggest market possible, look to the possibility of moving your app to other devices.