The mobile app market is massive and as we continue to spend more time on our phones every year, mobile app usage has grown exponentially. Here are some statistics to put this explosive growth into perspective:
- The number of smartphone users is expected to reach 6.4 billion in 2021, representing a 5.3% increase over the previous year and a staggering 73.9% increase over 2016.
- In 2020, an estimated 218 billion apps were downloaded, and forecasts predict that number will rise to around 258 billion by the end of 2022. This is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.
- Total global mobile app revenue is expected to reach and exceed 935 billion US dollars by 2023, representing a 62% increase over 2020.
- In 2019, there were 204 billion app downloads worldwide with a total spend of $120 billion.
Unsurprisingly then, it has become a competitive advantage for business owners to concentrate their efforts on offering their products and services via mobile apps.
As a result, many companies and organizations are capitalizing on these new trends by deploying their own apps to their customers’ mobile phones.
But deploying an app to the app store is only half the battle. The other half revolves around maximizing your app’s lifetime ROI. That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this guide.
We’ll take a look at two aspects of mobile applications: design and implementation, and what businesses need to do in order to maximize the app’s profitability.
6 Steps to Maximizing Your App’s ROI through Better Design
The design process includes some of the most crucial phases in the entire app development journey, including the overlooked initial planning phase. This section lays out six steps that businesses can follow to avoid falling into the most common design pitfalls and to maximize your app’s ROI.
Step 1: Lay down your goals
As obvious as it may sound, many businesses rely on a basic idea, vision, or policy to develop an app instead of setting down Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.) goals for their developmental roadmap. The consequences of not setting concrete goals can be dire and result in delays, failures, and even a finished product that does not align with company goals. Y
Laying out a roadmap may sound overwhelming but it’s as simple as grabbing a notepad and sketching out rough ideas of what you want the app to look like and what functions it will serve.
Some key questions to answer in this step include:
- What is its USP?
- What purpose will this app serve?
- Who’s the main target audience?
- What is the monetization strategy?
Step 2: Research
At this point in the mobile app development cycle, research is critical. Is there a genuine need for the app? Is the problem that you’ve identified one that a wide range of people has?
Hop on Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends and see how hot keywords relating to your concept are.
Competitor research is another crucial aspect of this step. Is there someone out there who’s already made an app similar to the one you’re planning? There are millions of apps available and it’s likely that someone’s already tried it. If it’s popular, what will you be doing that will make your app more popular? If it’s not popular, how will you avoid suffering the same fate? You should take a look at reviews and find out what people liked and disliked about
This is also a good time to start getting in touch with experts and understanding what’s technically possible and what’s not so you can optimize your roadmap accordingly.
Step 3: Wireframing
Wireframing is an important step in custom mobile app development. A wireframe is essentially a mockup of your final design. You need to create detailed mockups of what your app will look like and how it will work.
Your visual design should be finalized for the wireframe to see how the screens will flow from one to another like a movie’s storyboard. To create wireframes more efficiently, figure out the use cases for your app and make one wireframe for each use case.
This step helps you identify extraneous steps in the process that you can cut out and simplify. To help you, you can use apps like InvisionApp to stitch screens together that you can then click through. Additionally, create data diagrams and map APIs to make this process even more effective.
Step 4: Demonstrate the Proof of Concept
Now that you’ve got the app’s concept figured out, it’s time to show off your proof of concept. This step is vital: show it to family and friends, as well as coworkers and other more objective parties and/or stakeholders.
Ask them for feedback and see whether they would use the app. If they wouldn’t use the app, find out why and see if it’s something you can fix. Revise wireframes accordingly.
Step 5: Developing the App
Mobile apps come in all shapes and sizes and depending on your technical proficiency, you may decide to build the app yourself or hire someone else to do it. Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to start with the more technical aspects and set up servers and APIs. Using a managed cloud service can help reduce the technical overhead and even be more cost-effective in most cases. Once you’ve taken care of this, it’s time to design the visual aspects of the app. Refine your wireframes into a final look for your app.
Step 6: Test Your Mobile App
Mobile app development relies on testing to iron out the problems before launch. Don’t neglect this step and rush straight into the app store.
When you’re testing your app, you want to try to break it in interesting ways. There will be bugs lurking and it’s your job to find them. Repetitive testing may become tedious so if your architecture allows, consider automating tests with tools like CI/CD pipelines and feedback loops.
Once you’ve got it to a standard you’re satisfied with, release it to beta testers. As these testers find bugs fix them. You’re inching closer and closer to launch now. It’s best if you get QA testers and even focus groups to help you beta test. We’d also recommend using tools like TestFlight to make testing easier.
Maximizing Your App’s ROI Through Better Implementation
While the design section covered many steps important for maximizing ROI, businesses can go further still in their pursuit of greater ROI on their apps – by implementing (or deploying) the app in a very specialized manner, to achieve certain goals. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most powerful implementations of business apps in 2021.
Use the App to Increase Brand Awareness
Usage times for apps have increased dramatically, giving businesses a personal platform that they can leverage to reach new customers and deepen relationships with existing customers.
Branding through apps will help businesses in maximizing their impact on users. One of the first steps to do this is to effectively use branding elements such as logos, color palettes, font styles, and so on.
Companies can also collect a metric ton of data from their mobile apps to better understand their target audience (their needs, preferences, and pain points) and develop more effective marketing strategies.
Providing discounts and special offers can also be a great way to boost customer consumption. Statistically, rewarded customers are more likely to purchase more and to recommend the company to their friends.
Such a strategy is easy to implement by using push notifications or in-app messages. Loyalty rewards also help in establishing a strong connection, converting users into loyal customers.
Fender, an American guitar manufacturer, is one example of a company that used mobile apps to promote brand loyalty and positioning.
The company released Tuner, a free tuning app for guitars, electric basses, and ukuleles. By offering a free service within a branded app, the company managed to:
- Boost customer appreciation
- Raise their overall interest
- Significantly increase their revenue
Your Mobile App Can Be a Powerful Marketing Channel
One of the most beneficial aspects of a flourishing business is an ongoing marketing strategy. It maintains long-term relationships with an audience and conveniently provides them with products and services.
And a good marketing strategy is based on analyzing customer behavior. A mobile app can give companies insight into:
- Shopping behaviors of target audiences
- Engagement levels
- Browsing habits
- Mobile usage per amount and hours
All of these elements are valuable insights that help companies improve the quality of their products and services.
Delivering valuable content to the users more effectively than other channels is another aspect of marketing that can be facilitated by apps.
Push notifications, for example, can boost user engagement by up to 88 percent and retention rates by 3 to 10 times. Push notifications enable businesses to:
- Promote their products and services
- Direct users to social media channels
- Restore abandoned shopping carts
Starbucks is an example of a company that invested heavily in its mobile app and saw impressive results.
In 2015, the company’s mobile app accounted for 21% of all transactions in the United States, making it one of Starbucks’ core business strategies.
The success was achieved by designing their app as a sort of loyalty card that rewards customers with free drinks and other deals through the built-in QR-code scanner.
Use Your App As a Point of Sale
Consumer spending on mobile apps surpassed $65 billion in the first half of 2021, representing a 24% increase over the previous year. Companies can profit from this trend and the massive shift to online shopping by selling their products and services via mobile devices.
You may feel compelled, like many businesses, to set up shop on third-party marketplaces or E-commerce platforms. And while this approach has its advantages, it severely limits your revenue potential.
Some of the cons of using such platforms are:
- Identity. Platforms such as Shopify and Woocommerce offer limited branding options for their users.
- Costs. Third-party services typically charge commissions on sales and shipping costs. Other fees may apply for plugins, listings, and participation in ads and promotions.
- Durability. If you use one of these third-party e-commerce websites, you risk losing your business if the service in question shuts down.
Setting up your store on a branded app is a much better alternative. It will allow your company to evolve its marketing, sales, and branding strategies as you see fit, without the constraints of third-party platforms.
Additionally, running a successful business entails scalability. A branded app will give your company plenty of room to:
- Grow by adding more products and services as they see fit
- Offering direct and instant in-app customer service and communication
- Reach a larger audience based on the collected data
- Build and improve long-term customer relationships
Domino’s Pizza is an example of a company that uses mobile apps to maximize their Return on Investment (ROI). The company has an effective app for ordering food. It includes a pizza tracker for users to monitor the progress of their order from preparation to delivery. Customers can also order custom takeout meals and pay using the app. In fact, mobile devices account for more than 25% of its orders.
Because mobile devices now power the majority of online traffic, businesses that want to increase their profit and expand their reachability should consider going mobile.
Every single aspect of a business would benefit from a branded mobile app, from increasing brand awareness to gaining invaluable insights.
If you are planning on developing and deploying a mobile app on either Android or iOS (even cross-platform), it’s a good idea to get consult experts, like Big Kitty Labs.
Big Kitty Labs is one of the leading software development companies in Columbus Ohio that has been developing applications, websites, and software for over 10 years. Contact us for free discovery and consultation on your next project!