Mobile app development takes more than the initial cost to launch a product. Rather, successful development takes long-term strategies into consideration and plans for how an app will grow and be used in the future.

In order to ensure the highest possibility of success in your mobile app, it is important that you have an accurate estimation of cost. This will include not only what it will take to develop and launch a well-made application, but what the long-term cost of maintaining and updating the app will be in order to keep users satisfied, prevent app abandonment, and meet the demands that caused you to create the app in the first place.

While initially, launch costs will play a large role in how you plan and shape your app, it is the long-term costs that will determine how your application impacts your budget and goals year after year. Effective and well-used applications show their worth repeatedly over time and through many different scenarios. In order to be effective, take the following long-term cost factors into consideration in order to have successful app development that plans for the future.

Initial Structure

The structure of your app will not only determine the initial cost of development, but highly influence long-term cost. The operating system of choice, features such as login, social media implementation, and the creation of profiles will all influence how much will need to be spent in order to maintain the features that make up the app. In addition, the complexity of your app’s design will influence how in-depth updates must be to be effective.

According to a report by Standish Group, approximately 45% of typical application features on both web and mobile are never used, with an additional 19 percent of features deemed as being rarely used. These unnecessary features mean that a large portion of what makes up your application is costing you money with very little or no return on investment. Removing unused features, which can be determined through accurate analytics, from your app early on in development will not only lower initial cost of development, but also lower the cost of future maintenance and updates.

Frequency of Updates

How often will you try to update your mobile app, and will these updates be small tweaks or large overhauls? While regular updates will be necessary in order to ensure that an app is functioning correctly and growing in order to meet the changing needs of a user base, these updates will affect the long-term cost. Small, frequent updates can provide minimal but necessary tweaks while large updates can provide big overhauls and changes to major portions of the app. In either case, a company will need to determine what is the best balance between providing a consistent app and their yearly budget.

Application Maintenance

What is involved in application maintenance? This is a continual process that includes managing and correcting issues, backing up data, implementing small needed enhancements, preventing future bugs, patching in the event of a sudden problem and more. All of these aspects of maintenance keep apps running as they should in order to provide users with the consistent experience they expect. According to research, typical yearly application maintenance costs are between 15% and 20% of the original development costs, which will help you determine a general cost outlook for your app’s future. In addition, this projected percentage means that you should make informed decisions regarding the initial development cost of your application.

Hybrid or Native App

Will you build a hybrid or native app? These two types of applications will have their own unique development and maintenance needs, which will impact your long-term mobile strategy. In addition, hybrid app updates allow for a single update to be applied to all apps, while native apps will require updates to be applied based on their operating system, which leads to additional work and an increase in cost.

Non-Development Costs

While development costs are our main focus, spending related to actual development must be taken into account. These costs include marketing to drive new and returning users to your app, fees from the App Store and Google Play, the cost of running servers and back-end support, accounting and legal fees, and any other extraneous costs that come with providing for a team of developers outside of the direct costs of developing and maintaining an app.

Get the Details on Your App’s Cost

There are numerous tools available online that will help you combine these estimations for an outline of your app’s cost. However, many of these only determine the initial cost of development and not the long-term costs. Take these factors into consideration and remember that they may change over time, which will require you to rethink your app’s cost and what you can do in order to meet these shifting needs. Long-term success can come from accurate estimations, a willingness to adjust your mobile app to meet your audience’s needs and a budget that will help achieve long-term success.

What Makes an Effective Long-Term App?

There’s always more to learn when it comes to creating an effective mobile app that meets your unique needs as a company.

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