Congratulations, you have an idea for a mobile application that just might be the best one ever (the next Candycrush?)! Now stop. Before you rush and hire a software developer to transform your genius idea into materialistic reality, you need to validate your idea to avoid making costly mistakes.
Creating a mobile application does look like a good way to make a profit that’s and not without a reason – mobile app market generates $122B per year, with 2.46 million apps available for Android and 1.96 million for iOS users.
Don’t let the numbers fool you – not all apps that make it to the store become as profitable as Clash of Clans, Game of War, and Candy Crush. In fact, Gartner reports that only 1 in 10000 apps would be considered a success from a financial point of view. Considering the cost of app development, promotion and other expenses, you don’t want it to wash your money down the drain.
App idea validation minimizes the risk of your product not meeting the market demand. The principle behind it is not complicated – to make the mobile applications a success you need it to generate revenue and for that, you need people to use it. Meeting market demand with an app that solves a certain problem and a necessity for the users will give you more chances for success than taking a wild guess.
Choosing a viable idea accounts for one-third of its success, aside from the software development process and promotion. It is the foundation for the product’s creation and building businesses around it, so it is important to take time to validate and tweak it if necessary before moving onto the development phase.
How to validate an app idea
Asking your family and friends what they think of your idea hardly qualifies as validation. To get a complete understanding of whether your idea is worth investing in (both time and money) you need to perform thorough research. The more data you manage to collect – the better understanding of the current market needs you will gain.
Of course, you don’t have to use all suggested methods, even one can give you a pretty clear idea about your app’s potential, but using several approaches can help you have a perspective from different angles and observe more points for improvement.
It makes sense to start with the fundamentals. Market research is a necessary study that provides you with an overview of possible competition, opportunities in the market, niches that you can develop in, target audiences, potential demand, and estimated profit. Try to see your application with the eyes of your users – think of their problem/needs first rather than your solution to get better insights.
This will help you answer the questions about the potential competition, the pricing strategy, monetization methods and if people actually are downloading that kind of app. Researching your competitors can identify the weak spots of their applications that can become your competitive advantage and show you the ways to improve overall customer experience.
Don’t skip checking the reviews – they show both what rivaling application lack and excel at. The feedback from users is a great source to direct your application development process.
Analyzing search trends will help you get a clear idea of what users are looking for and what is trending in certain locations. If your future app will be geo-location it might make sense to specify your research in certain regions where you are planning to operate. You might find the results surprising as the demand in different areas can differ dramatically.
Run paid ad campaign
Develop a teaser to see how many people you can attract and at what cost. Facebook and Twitter offer advanced targeting options not only by demographics but also by interests, connections to other people and behavior. With a relatively small budget, you can reach thousands of people and get first sign-ups.
If you want to take it one step further, you can design a landing page that would explain the idea behind your app and see if people subscribe. This way you will a number of people interested in using your app before the release. You can also use their feedback for beta testing in order to optimize your app better and detect bugs.
Ask for feedback from potential users
Getting feedback from potential users will give you more relevant ideas than observations from friends and relatives. There is nothing wrong with their input, in fact, it can be extremely valuable, but you want to get the opinion of the people who would actually use your app. If you are designing a fitness app for aspiring athletes, look for people who are interested in sports and active lifestyle – their ideas will have more specific feedback that you can implement.
Building a Minimal Valuable Product is usually associated with the development process, but if you have the opportunity to create a very rough draft of your application and run it for your users, you will get real-time feedback on the actual features. Doing this would make it easier to adapt to changes as the development process goes on.
If you would like to know more about building an MVP check out “How To Build An Outstanding MVP?” for actionable steps.