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Is it Really Profitable to Develop a Mobile App?

An Analysis of Cost Vs. Profit in Developing Mobile Apps

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Updated September 10, 2013

Mobile development and mobile marketing have become the current mantra for any industry’s success. A number of personal services such as advertising, banking, payment and so on, have now become mobile. The rise of many types of mobile devices and the introduction of new mobile OS’ has automatically created more number of mobile app developers for these devices. Mobile apps have a clear advantage over mobile websites, as they directly target the customer concerned. However, the question here is, what is the cost of creating such a mobile app and more importantly, is it really profitable to create a mobile app?

We all know how difficult it is to develop a mobile app from scratch. The developer has to first look into the nitty-gritty’s of the particular smartphone or OS that he or she is developing for, understand the exact way the device works and then go about creating apps for it. The problem gets compounded in the case of cross-platform formatting, which involves creating compatibility for different devices and OS’.

  • How to Make Money on Your Mobile App
  • So how profitable is it to develop a mobile app? To answer this question, we will have to look into a number of related aspects, which are as follows:

    Categories of Mobile Apps

    There are by and large two categories of mobile apps – the ones that are developed solely to create income and those apps that are developed for marketing or app branding purposes.

    In the first case, the profit comes both directly and indirectly - from the sales of the app as well as from in-app advertising and subscriptions. The best examples of this are gaming apps, especially those such as Angry Birds for Android. There are several companies that make a good deal of profit from the development of such apps.

    However, apps created solely for marketing or branding are normally available free of charge. Location-based apps are good examples of such apps. Here, the app merely acts as a marketing channel and its success largely depends upon the number of people it is capable of targeting.

  • Can Apps Enhance Mobile Brands’ Marketing Strategy?
  • Single Platform Vs. Cross-Platform Apps

    The other important question here is, is it better developing single-platform apps or multi-platform apps? A single-platform app is much easier to handle, but will work only and only for that particular platform. An iPhone app, for instance, will work only for that platform and nothing else.

    It is much more complicated in the case of cross-platform formatting of apps. Choosing the right platforms and then deploying your app effectively can become quite a challenge for you. But on the positive side, it also increases your app’s reach among users.

    As of now, the three most popular mobile platforms are the iOS, Andriod and BlackBerry. If you are going to develop three different apps for these platforms, you cost of developing will end up becoming triple of what it was intended to be.

  • Top 5 Tools for Multi-Platform Mobile App Development
  • Cost Vs. Profit

    While there is no actual “standard” cost for app development, it could probably end up costing you over $25,000 to design, develop and deploy a good-quality iPhone app. This estimate would increase in case you hire an iPhone developer to do the job for you. The Android OS is highly fragmented, as you know, and hence, developing for this platform would increase your costs.

    Of course, all this effort and expenditure is still worth it if you expect a good ROI or Return of Investment. This ROI factor is usually very high for companies such as banks and huge retail stores, which have a considerable deal of capital at their disposal, as also a great number of customers, who they know, depend on their services. However, it might not turn out to be quite as profitable for an independent mobile app developer, who does not have a high enough budget for it.

  • How to Price Your Mobile Application
  • So is it Worth Developing Mobile Apps?

    At the end of the day, mobile app development is a lot more than just the cost of development and the profit factor. It is a source of immense satisfaction to the app developer to create the app and then to have it approved by the app marketplace as well.

    Of course, if you are only looking to make money from your app and generate profits from it, you need to take into consideration all the above-mentioned points and then decide how to go about the app development process.

    Wish you all the best in your app development venture!

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    6. Mobile App Development - Cost Vs. Profits

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