More and more businesses are starting to see potential within the app store, and as news outlets sing about the success of small time developers bringing in the bucks with apps like Flappy Bird or 2048, it’s no surprise that more individuals and businesses are trying their luck in the app store.
However, despite the lucky few, there are thousands of app developers that have failed to develop a profitable, successful mobile application, and if luck isn’t on your side, you may be wondering just much it costs to develop a mobile app that can bring in a generous amount of app downloads and revenue.
Below we’ve explained just how much it costs to develop a successful app in 2014.
Initial Development Costs
If you put everything down in monetary value, the most expensive process will most likely be to hire a development team to develop your application for you. The exact price of initial development costs is hard to predict because there are so many types of apps, each with varying levels of coding required to be up and running.
Hiring developers to create a simple application that mimics the amount of content you’d expect to find on an average web page could cost anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000, whilst developing a fully fledged mobile game like Angry Birds could cost upwards of $100,000. As you can tell, it’s a very broad spectrum, but unless your app is incredibly simple, you are certainly going to be paying within the thousands.
The Cost of An Average User
Once your mobile application has been developed, there are still many other costs to take into account. Prices for user acquisition and marketing can often rack up quite quickly, but without a strong marketing strategy, you may never receive enough users to bring in a steady revenue.
If your app ever goes ‘viral,’ marketing will never be an issue, but it’s unfortunately an unlikely scenario for this to ever happen. Instead, you may have to look into mobile marketing, advertising and other user acquisition strategies.
User acquisition costs are rising, and many analysts predict the costs to be anywhere between $1 and $3 per user in 2014. Rising user acquisition costs are making it harder for developers to receive a steady revenue in return, so if you plan to develop and market an app, your business needs to be as budget-conscious as possible when reaching the marketing stage.
Ongoing Updates and Maintenance Costs
If you think you can develop an app and then be done with it, you are unfortunately wrong – users may spot bugs and issues as more downloads start coming in, and requests for new features may be seen on your app store ratings. Keeping your app up to date, ironing out bugs and developing user requested features can be a great way to retain your current active user base, and because of this, it’s almost necessary to continue spending on development even after your application has been released.
This is going to increase app development costs even more over time, and although you may be bringing in revenue at this point, you may still have to fork out $50-$250/hour per developer working on your mobile application.
The Varying Costs Between Platforms
The final thing to take into consideration when summarising app development costs in 2014 is the varying costs between mobile operating systems. Whilst the two big players in the mobile space are currently Android and iOS, Windows Phone is slowly catching up, and who knows what other mobile OS’s might make ripples in the future.
It’s always going to cost slightly differently to develop on different platforms, but if you plan to reach out to multiple platforms at once, you will have to pay additional costs to your developers regardless of the initial budget on your prefered OS, and these extra costs will go towards porting over your application to different mobile operating systems.
Mobile app development may be a gold mine, but for the vast majority of us, that untapped potential can only be reached by those willing to invest a lot of time and money into it. Many analysts forecast that the app store is a little too unpredictable at this time to really benefit off of, but if you reduce spending by doing as much work as possible by yourself, then you can cut down on costs, and ultimately make more revenue per dollar spent on your mobile app development project.