Developing a successful app is not an easy feat. Many startups and entrepreneurs make several common mistakes that can lead to failure in the app marketplace. In this article, we will look at the top 8 mistakes made by app developers and provide advice on how to avoid making them.
This article is based on a conversation between Vivino founder Heini Zachariassen and Reflectly founders Jakob Brøgger-Mikkelsen and Jacob Harboe Kristensen. Vivino has over 60 million users all over the world. The two Reflectly founders run a total of 25 different apps with over 50 million downloads. The video is embedded below and the article continues under the video.
Here are the top 8 app-building mistakes that app developers should avoid:
#8 Thinking you're ever done building
Your software product is ever done. Even when you have a finished version 1, this is just the beginning. Software products require continuous improvement and innovation. It is crucial to keep improving the product every day, even if it is just 0.1% at a time. Over time that has a big impact..
#7 No Go-To-Market plan
You need a go-to-market plan to get your app in front of the right users early on. Even great products might fail if the app is never seen by the right users. A successful launch requires a well-executed plan, and there are many steps to follow to make it happen.
#6 Only rely on paid marketing
Paid marketing can be dangerous as it gets more expensive and less efficient over time. Do not base your growth strategy solely on paid marketing, as it should be seen as a tool for testing.
#5 Making the app a copy of the website/desktop app
Apps are different from websites or desktop apps. You have limited space on a smaller screen and must make some hard choices about what you want to include in your app. Simply putting the entire website on the app will not work. It is essential to keep it simple and remember that the app is not a website.
#4 Too many platforms at the same time
Focusing on too many platforms at the same time is a common mistake. It is crucial to focus like crazy in the beginning and not spread yourself too thin. Too many platforms will suck up your resources, and you won't have time for what is actually important - building an app that solves one problem.
#3 Focus on downloads instead of retention
Downloads are essential, but they are not the only metric to focus on. Retention is how long people stay and how many people use the app. It is important to measure both, but a sole focus on downloads will not do the job - retention is more important.
#2 Not making an MVP
Building an MVP (minimum viable product) is essential. Ego and perfectionism can get in the way, so it is essential to take them out in the early stages of app building. Get the app out there even if it is ugly and that might hurt your ego. Any time spent where the product isn't in the user's hands is wasted, so it is crucial to get the app in real users' hands as early as possible.
#1 No focus, too many features
It is essential to solve one problem when building an app. With Vivino, the focus was on solving one problem whether a bottle of wine was good or not. It is crucial to keep moving in the direction of the main problem you are trying to solve. If things are not working, a new feature is almost never the solution. There are two ways you can go - you can double down on the focus you already have and keep improving it, or you can stop and do something else if you realize the product isn't working. Building a new feature is not going to save you.