The business of app development is a risky one. Although the daily number of new apps added to the app store is 3,602, the vast majority of new apps fail.
According to Gartner, the success rate for apps could be as low as 0.01%. That means out of every 10,000 new apps, 9,999 never make the cut.
For developers, the message is clear. It’s crucial to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success. And that process has to start at the very beginning — before you’ve even begun to develop any software.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can validate your app idea before you start sinking time and resources into developing it. This helps you ensure your app stands a good chance of being successful, while avoiding any costly expenditures.
Why is it so important to validate your app idea?
- You don’t want to waste your money — it’s better to spend a relatively small amount of money upfront to validate your app than end up losing a lot in the long run.
- You don’t want to waste your team’s time and resources — designing and developing takes longer than validating. Take some time to make sure your idea is valid before asking your team to devote themselves to building the app.
- It helps confirm how important the pain point you’re solving really is to your customers. The validation process — as we’ll see — is a great way to feel out your audience and really understand whether or not you’re solving a meaningful problem.
Taking the time to validate your app idea is useful for a whole host of reasons. However, people tend to get excited and rush into the development process, investing deeply into an app that might not even work. Let’s look at some of the reasons why apps fail.
What are the most common reasons why an app idea might fail?
There are a number of reasons why apps fail. Here are some of the main ones:
- There’s no market for the app. In other words, it’s a cool idea, but it doesn’t actually solve a problem for users, so there’s no demand. Too many developers fall in love with their idea without really considering how it will benefit their users.
- Your app has to do one thing very well — and that one thing should deliver real value to users. Lots of apps try to do a series of things moderately well instead of focusing on one unique benefit.
- Your app isn’t connected to what your customers want on an ongoing basis. If you want to actually keep your users, it’s important to stay up to date with what they want and deliver ongoing improvements and updates.
To avoid falling into these traps, it’s crucial to take some time to validate your app idea. Here’s how to do that.
How to validate your app idea
Define your value proposition
It’s best to start with a hypothesis — X market would benefit from X product. This gives you something to test; something to disprove. Keep it clear and simple.
Test your hypothesis
Once you’ve established a hypothesis, it’s time to test it. One quick way to do that is by building a landing page that outlines the idea, features, and benefits. Sell your hypothetical app and try to garner interest.
Run some ads and see how many people you can get to sign up and express interest in your app. What percentage of visitors signed up (for example, by providing their email)? This is a good indicator of how popular your final product might be.
Remember that your landing page doesn’t have to be super sophisticated or advanced. It’s better to spend more on generating traffic at this point — the page itself simply has to introduce and sell the app.
Carry out customer interviews
A good next step is to talk to your potential customers about your value proposition. Here are some tips:
- Avoid yes/no questions.
- Ask your customers about specific instances in their life — for example: “When is the last time you used a rideshare app, and what did you like/dislike about the service?”
- Try not to steer your customers toward a certain answer — the most valuable responses are always honest ones.
Remember that it’s an ongoing process
The validation process should always take place before you start developing your app, but that doesn’t mean it should end there.
Once you’ve confirmed that your app has a reasonably good chance of succeeding, it’s time to create a prototype and keep moving forward. You’ll have to constantly validate ideas and decisions as you move through the creation process.
Remember to use lots of UX testing. Things that seem good in theory and have the support of your team might not work in practice with real users, and it can be hard to tell the difference without testing them out.
Validating your app helps you ensure that you’re not wasting time and resources developing a product that doesn’t have any potential. It helps you start the app creation process confidently, guided by real feedback, and gives you the best chance possible of making it work.
At Vermillion Sky, we help aspiring developers validate their app idea and get their initial round of funding through our startup program. If you’re interested in finding out more, schedule a strategy call today.