Promoting your App through Apple Search Ads

Apple providers Apple Search Ads as an advertising service to help developers promote their apps. Developers can set up ad campaigns with predetermined monthly budgets and have them displayed to relevant users. With over 2 million apps listed on the App Store, gaining visibility is extremely difficult. A paid campaign allows developers to showcase the best features of their apps. With a steady funnel of users flowing to download their apps, an app can generate a critical mass of users, which then puts it on the road to long-term sustainability.

Basic vs Advances

When developers create their Apple Search Ads account, they can either choose to use a basic or advanced option. A basic account allows a user to set up a simple campaign where they just select the app they want to promote and their monthly budget. Apple’s technology uses the app’s metadata to automate how and where ads are displayed. The account owner, though, still gets a simper dashboard to track campaign performance.

An advanced account places more control in the account owner’s hands. The advanced account is more likely to be used by advertising professionals and agencies on behalf of clients. They can choose to have ads placed on search results, on the Today tab, and in other places for greater visibility. Whereas ads on a basic account are charged at a cost per install, the advanced account would have ads charged per tap. As expected, the account has a more detailed reporting tool and a myriad of recommendations for campaign improvement.

Why Is Search Ads A Must for Developers

Apple Search Ads is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any developer regardless of whether their app is a mass market product or a niche one. First, the tool is powerful in increasing the discoverability of an app. By just using the app metadata, Apple Search Ads will place an app in relevant search results. Users who are on the lookout for specific solutions are therefore likely to install and try out your app.

The pay-per-tap or install model applied by Apple Search ads is also quite cost-effective for developers who have great products. Users who click or install an app are considered high-quality leads. They are more likely to end up as customers. Paying for such leads only means that the cost of customer acquisition will be low in the long run.

Using Apple Search ads is a great way to create synergy with your app store optimization strategy. While app store optimization increases organic visibility and discoverability, ads serve to maximize the number of eyeballs on the app.  The two can complement each other. By taking feedback on which keywords and visuals are performing better, this information can be used for such things as app descriptions and product pages.

Making the Most of Apple Search Ads

Finding success through Apple Search Ads is a result of sustained efforts and well-planned strategies to build a brand, gain visibility, and convert leads into revenue-generating customers. The rest of the article dwells on specific best practices for developers using Apple Search Ads to drive new customer acquisitions.

Carefully Planned Campaigns

Great campaigns must be well orchestrated from start to finish. There are multiple constraints in any marketing campaign, and the plan must consider this. A recommended best practice is to have multiple campaigns under one account. You could have a brand campaign, a category campaign. competitor campaign, a discovery campaign, and a generic campaign. You then could have keywords and ad groups attributed to each campaign group.

Brand campaigns will have keywords that are specific to your company. Category campaigns encompass keywords relevant to what the app does and the genre under which it falls. Competitor campaign keywords will be mainly focused on other apps that provide the same service as yours.

A well-organized structure ensures your ads have specific and measurable targets and they complement each other. The structure also allows for the effective spreading of the available budget so that areas with the highest return get the most while also ensuring no base remains uncovered.

Thorough Keyword Research

A common mistake Apple Search Ads users make is to slack on proper keyword research. The result is often inefficient use of their advertising budget. Proper keyword research involves using a keyword planner to find statistics on keywords. It also involves looking at the keywords competitors are ranking for and the ones they are bidding on.

There is a feature called Search Match within Apple Search ads that allows users to connect ads with queries. This feature is helpful when attempting to choose which keywords to prioritize for a particular campaign.

Lastly, the use of synonyms is a proven way to expand the pool of keywords. Through this, you may find high-volume search keywords that competitors may not be focusing on.

Negative Keyword Research

You can use negative keywords to add precision to your ad campaign. A negative keyword prevents your ads from being triggered if a person includes the keyword in their search. It is sometimes a good practice to include certain keywords as negative keywords in one campaign when they are the primary keywords in another campaign. This could help prevent an overlap between campaigns and possibly improve overall budget efficiency.

Curate App Metadata with Care

As a developer, it is important to ensure your app’s metadata reflects what exactly the app intends to fulfill. The title, subtitle, and descriptions should not be intentionally misleading. The risk is that the app may attract a large number of people who are not the true target audience. There has to be a balance between the attraction or engagement garnered from ads and relevance. It is not beneficial for an app to appear in search results that are not related to the app’s core functionality.

Carrying out multiple A/B tests for variations of the metadata could help decide on what to settle on. For instance, you could have two versions of an app’s description displayed to separate audiences. Both descriptions would carry the same keywords but have different results in terms of engagement. The same goes for the choice of a name for an app. It should be powerful and memorable as well.  Carrying out empirical tests before launch would be ideal.

Multiple Product Pages

Just as with metadata, it is possible to have different product pages displayed in ads for different target audiences. It is possible to create up to 35 different product pages and this is now seen as a best practice in app advertising. It allows the developers to capitalize on the versatility of an app by showing its different pages and functionalities to relevant audiences.

While creating multiple product pages may seem a daunting task, it ensures that the return on the advertising investment is higher than it would be with just a single page. It may be worthwhile working with professionals to create the different variations of the product page.

Optimizing the Campaign

Apple Search Ad’s reporting tools should be used to continually adjust and optimize your campaigns. Monitoring impressions will reveal well-performing ads versus non-performing ones while you could also adjust your bids on important keywords. The keyword volumes are also changing every so often. As such, keyword research must remain a continuous process within the team so that the available budget is directed toward the most effective areas.

The development team should also review performance from a creative angle. See what creative material yields the best results and double down on it. Normally, the team would have to go through multiple iterations of creative approaches until they settle on one that seems to work best.

Studying the Competition

The competition in the App Store is fierce and only a small percentage of all apps end up as viable and profitable businesses. As such, the space can be seen as a zero-sum game where your success might push a competitor out of the market. It is imperative to monitor what other apps in your category are doing, both in terms of advertising and design.

Find out which keywords they are ranking for because this may help you find gaps to fill. Study their creative assets because new trends are always emerging. Your creative designs should help your app stand out.

Lastly, settle and double down on a bidding strategy. With a big budget, you may decide to bid higher for keywords that your competitor is using. However, a more realistic approach would be to go for variations that allow you to still funnel customers to your app but at a lower cost.

Post Install Performance

One way to further track the performance of a campaign is to monitor the post-install events. Certain actions would signal that a user is likely to keep using an app and can certainly be classed as a successful customer acquisition. Launching an app, completing the registration process, or watching an in-app user guide can all be tracked for a more accurate estimation of the cost of user acquisition.

Post-install events could help to identify specific issues with app features or performance. For instance, if a lot of users do not complete the registration process, it could be a result of the process being too long or the registration feature not working as smoothly as initially intended. This is how an app’s development roadmap evolves organically over time.

Staying Updated

Slight tweaks in Apple Search ads policies and industry trends could make a huge difference in the app advertising landscape. Developers have a responsibility to keep up with the changes both within the platform and the advertising space in general. Beta-testing new features ahead of the competition could give you an unbeatable lead.

A need to strongly focus on return on investment cannot be understated. With multiple campaigns in one account, funds should go towards ad groups and channels with the highest return.

A world-class user experience within the app strongly compliments the advertising efforts. A smooth registration and sign-in process helps to ease any skepticism that first-time users may have about an app. Quick responses to concerns about glitches and bugs have a strong bearing on brand perception. No amount of brand campaigns can paper over poor user experience.

Combining Search Ads with Other forms of Advertising and Marketing

An app listed on the Apple store could benefit from other channels of advertising besides Apple Search Ads. Social media channels are particularly effective because a user who clicks on a post lands on the app download page. Some apps would benefit from awareness campaigns done through influencers. Mentions on podcasts and videos go a long way in building top-of-mind awareness for brands.

Throughout any campaign, all decisions should be data-driven. Behavioral targeting has helped to make campaigns highly nuanced. Users can be re-targeted based on past actions, such as having installed an app before but not using it frequently.

Work with NS804

Creating successful Apple Search Ads campaigns requires a lot of planning and exquisite implementation. Careful thought must go into planning objectives and the metrics to track. The team must determine the different campaign buckets to use and the keywords for the different ad groups. As highlighted, Apple Search ads complement the App Store optimization efforts.

Throughout the Search Ads campaign, the team has to monitor metrics, iterate different versions of ads, and study the detailed reports from Apple’s Search Ads dashboard. They must see audiences through different targeting lenses including demographics, device types, and customer types. It is prudent to have ads that target users based on the different existing segmentations.

All promotional efforts are likely to fail if the app itself fails to meet customer expectations. Building a truly world-class app is the only way to guarantee sustainable success for an app. Finding the right app development partner is the first step in this journey. At NS804, we pride ourselves in delivering world-beating iOS and Android applications for businesses in all sectors. With decades of experience in our team, we deliver projects on time and budget. We advise on every stage of the app development process, including launch and promotion.

To discuss your app development needs, reach out to us today.

What Android Developers Need To Know About Google Play Submissions (2024 Guide)

Google Play Store is the original and biggest store for Android apps. As of 2024, there are over 3.3 million apps listed on Google Play Store. The store organizes apps into categories to help users find apps more easily. There are features such as charts indicating the highest rated and most downloaded apps in each category. It is a rich marketplace with stiff competition for visibility. Google also has policies that developers must abide by and every app must pass a review process before listing.

In this article, we explain all that developers must know about the Google Play Submission process in 2024.

Creating a Developer Account

Publishing an app on the Google Play Store requires a developer account. A standard account only lets you download apps and other forms of content on Google Play Store. A developer account has more features including publishing apps and receiving statistical data on such an app. A Google Developer account costs a single one-time fee of $25. The account owner has to provide their name and address for verification.

A developer account lets a developer into Google’s cloud environment for app building. From here, a developer can access services and tools such as Google AI Studio, TensorFlow, Keras, Firebase, and Google Play. The Play Store is not only meant for app listing but it also has tools to help app owners create engaging experiences for users and maximize app revenue.

Google Play’s Developer Policy Center

Google Play has explicit policies that developer account owners must comply with to remain part of the community. First, Google Play classifies certain apps as ‘restricted content’ and has policies on each. For financial services, for instance, any app that provides financial services must comply with local laws wherever the app is offered.  The goal is to protect users from potential financial risks.

Google Play also has a policy on the appropriate use of other people’s intellectual property. Impersonation is also prohibited, including where an app is presented in a way that might mislead target audiences.

It is important to read all of the policies including that on the appropriateness of content that targets children.

Following App Development Practices

The success of an app is highly dependent on app quality, even before its submission for listing on the Google Play Store. Developers must pay close attention to the performance and speed of their apps. By hosting app servers on the cloud, developers can reduce an app’s dependency on the device’s processing power as well as minimize battery drain. Other best practices include thoughtful UX writing for easier and more intuitive navigation. With the use of consistent design elements (icons, color schemes, and typography), developers can achieve a great-looking app.

Carrying out proper tests before submitting an app not only saves time but also minimizes the chances of going to market with a bad product. An app that is ready for the market should be responsive when users are interacting with it. In addition, remember that an average user has over 30 different apps installed on their device. A single app’s drain on resources such as CPU, battery, and memory must be reasonable. Developers must track such metrics against world-class benchmarks.

App Packaging

An Android Package file (APK) is the file format used to distribute Android mobile apps. Developers prepare this file by compiling their code as well as images and other assets necessary to run the app. All these must be digitally signed for authenticity.  Normally, a production release APK should be signed by a certified authority.

Google Play requires developers to version each APK they upload to distinguish it from previous releases. A useful feature is that developers can submit incremental updates containing only changes to the app. This means that end users need not download a large file. Updates, therefore, take a shorter.

Your Google Play Product Page

The Google Product Page is the page users see when they click on your app from search results or from a list in a category chart. The page contains information users need to decide whether to install an app or not. During the submission process, you are required to provide the following information that will feature on this page.

App Name

The name of the app can only have a maximum of characters. Developers have the option to use different names to localize the app in different markets and languages.

Short Description

This is a summary that tells users what your app does and its unique selling point. One best practice is to avoid having a call-to-action at the end, inviting users to install the app. If useful, you should localize the description too.

Screenshots

These are images of your app’s different pages. Google Play allows developers to submit screenshots of the app on different device types. Developers can upload up to 8 different screenshots for each device type.

Icon

An icon is meant to be a memorable image that communicates what your apo is about. A high-fidelity image is recommended as the icon is used in different locations in the Google Play Store.

Preview Video

A preview video is meant to capture the essence of your app’s user experience. It communicates what still images cannot. The video is hosted on YouTube and developers only submit a YouTube URL in the preview video field.

Pricing

Google Play provides pricing templates to help developers simplify the distribution of paid apps. However, developers can opt to create their own pricing structures with the option to localize or use universal pricing. Google Play takes a service fee for paid downloads and in-app purchases too.

The App Review Process

When publishing an app for the first time or when pushing an update, developers should expect that a review could take up to a week before approval. There are quite a few tests that an app must pass.

An automated checks process looks out for malware and compliance with Google Play technical requirements. The app should be compatible with different user devices and Android versions. If the app passes this step, there will be further checks on the app’s content, functionality, and overall user experience. Human reviewers carry out this process to ensure that prohibited content and low-quality apps do not get featured in the Store. Normally, developers fill a rating questionnaire as guidance on the age appropriateness of the app’s content. This must be verified.

There are cases where the developers may be asked for further information to aid the review process.

Other reasons for rejection include cases where an app plagiarizes content from another app. The automated checks run by Google Play are meant to prevent spamming, which is the publishing of an app multiple times. Instead, the store is designed to prioritize value for users seeking solutions.

If an app Is rejected, developers receive a detailed explanation of the reasons. There is an option to appeal the rejection through the Develop Console. The support team considers all additional information provided and there are cases where this leads to approval after an initial rejection.

App Store Optimization

App store optimization is the practice of understanding factors that affect your app’s visibility and taking the right actions to maximize such visibility. For any app category, there are thousands of apps seeking user attention. Only through a combination of high quality and app store optimization will the chances of getting a critical number of downloads increase.

Keywords are the primary method to improve visibility. An app’s description must feature relevant keywords users are likely to use in their search. In addition, if there are other marketing efforts taking place away from the Play Store, such as on blog posts and social media, that content has to be optimized for the right keywords.

As mentioned earlier, high-quality screenshots and app icons will affect the first-time impressions of potential users.

Encouraging happy customers to leave reviews is extremely important. People rely heavily on what real users think of apps before deciding whether to engage or not.  Positive reviews are worth much more than an inorganic marketing budget.

App Analytics

The Google Play Developer Console provides a rich pool of analytics tools for developers to understand how their app is performing. Some of the most basic metrics include total installs, active users, revenue generated, and reviews. Users can quickly understand their churn and retention rates from the number of uninstallations.

Another category of insights revolves around user engagement with an app. Besides the number of active users, developers can see the average length of user sessions, the number of times users log in in a day, and how long it takes before a user returns to the app. This information is used to infer user satisfaction and to make improvements over time.

Crash reporting.

Google Play provides crash reporting tools to help developers understand the nature of errors that users encounter and other information to help troubleshoot and improve the overall availability and stability of the app.

Ratings

App users can also benefit from Google Play’s breakdown of user ratings and reviews. It is not enough to see the average ratings of an app. Developers can benefit from seeing how average ratings are evolving. Besides this, there are tools to analyze user sentiment, which can help understand users’ reactions to feature changes and pinpoint areas for potential improvement.

Geography and Demographics

Developers receive a detailed report on how their app is performing across different regions and age groups. Other useful ways to break down the data are device type, language, and Android version. All this helps determine the nature of content to feature on the app. For instance, if an app is attracting a global audience, the content should be relatable to a worldwide audience.

Carrying Out Successful App Launches

Once an app receives the green light for publishing, it is essential to have a well-coordinated launch process. A pre-launch marketing campaign helps to build anticipation for the app. Social media, newsletters, and influencer campaigns are just some of the ways to gain attention and build up to the launch date. A lot of apps also tend to have a website from where users are redirected to app stores to download the app.

It is possible to do a beta launch of the app to a limited audience who get to test and review the app. This helps gather feedback used to improve the app before it is available in more markets. Such segmentation can be done through geography or by sending an invite link through newsletters.

Once the app is live, you can get it featured in magazines, blogs, influencer channels, and newsletters. Where appropriate, events that gather user communities could also be used to create a buzz around the app. App owners also have the chance to use promotional pricing to help boost downloads immediately after an app launches or during significant moments of the year, such as Black Friday.

App Maintenance and Updates

Developers should have a policy regarding app maintenance and updates. It is very likely that once an app launches, users will have suggestions to make on how the app can serve their needs better.  In addition, any bugs realized should be fixed within a short window before they become a reason for uninstalling the app.

Updates should be based on user comments as well as a product roadmap. The development team should also look out for evolving security threats and push necessary fixes to address them.

Finding the Right Development Team

For app promoters, finding the right team to build your app from scratch until its launch on the Google Play Store can be quite a challenge. The right team should possess the right skills and experience in handling mobile app projects from start to launch. Failure to keep up with Google Play technical standards and community guidelines can cause projects to stall at the launch stage.

At NS804, we endeavour to deliver world-class business applications. Regardless of the stage at which we meet you, our team will walk with you until the app is ready for market. To engage with us, reach out through our website here.

App Store Submissions For iOS Developers (2024 Guide)

The App Store is undoubtedly one of the most successful digital storefronts ever conceived. And that’s proven by a barrage of App Store submissions, ultimately leading to approximately 36 billion iOS mobile downloads in 2024. Interestingly, Google Play’s 129 billion mobile app downloads overwhelmingly surpass the App Store’s download figures. But that’s due to the higher number of Android devices in circulation. 

Even with this notable difference, no appreneur, business leader, or developer should ignore the iOS marketplace. Consumers in the US and Western European territories prefer iPhones over all the Android alternatives. The brand recognition, better security, and premium quality of iPhones have won over these consumers over the long haul. 

Furthermore, App Store users spend more on apps via in-app purchases, premium app purchases, and subscriptions. Whether we like it or not, iOS users are significantly more valuable to appreneurs and businesses than their Android-using counterparts. Unfortunately, this has led to a degree of elitism within Apple’s user base, but it’s best to ignore this sentiment and focus on what it takes to succeed in the App Store. 

Creating a marketable and high-quality iOS app should always take precedence. It’s usually your second step after planning your app or your third step if you’ve already built a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP). 

But what do you do once you’ve completed your app — do you hand it over to Apple and call it a day? No, App Store submissions are a more complicated affair requiring about as much professionalism, foresight, and dedication as your app development procedures. You can’t cut corners if you want to enjoy a smooth submission process in 2024, so we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you succeed with your iOS app launches.

Why Are App Store Submissions So Important? 

Apple built its reputation by delivering a computing experience that often exceeds anything similar by rivals. The computing giant’s world-beating product design and no-nonsense approach to quality leave many competitors far behind or trying to emulate the Apple formula. In most cases, these competitors fail since Apple has amassed the resources and top talent to remain in the lead.

But Apple hasn’t set the bar high only for itself and the industry; it has set the bar high for you as well. If you want to partake in the Apple ecosystem — especially the highly lauded App Store — bring your A-game to make it worthwhile. While the App Store was once a place for newbie developers to launch their careers or try out all sorts of quirky app ideas, this is no longer the case. 

Like many popular digital storefronts, the App Store has no shortage of apps of varying quality. As is the trend with most app releases, the higher-quality apps do better while their low-effort counterparts languish behind.

Inevitably, the more successful apps bring home more revenue, which also benefits Apple since it charges a 30% commission on in-app purchases and subscriptions. However, Apple offers other rates for small businesses and the European Union (EU). In either case, Apple earns more from its chart-topping apps like Roblox, TikTok, and Uber. 

Not every iOS app will set the App Store charts on fire, and Apple doesn’t necessarily expect this from developers. But it does expect them to meet their significantly stringent app review guidelines. The App Store is much more curated than rival storefronts, so iOS developers must meet a certain quality threshold when making App Store submissions

Why It’s A Prerequisite To Join The Apple Developer Program? 

Apple wants you to deliver your best work, so they’ve created the Apple Developer Program to help you with all the ins and outs of the development process. Enrolling in this program is mandatory if you want to develop for Apple’s platforms and release your apps on the App Store. There’s an annual fee involved that will set you back US$99. Apple also offers a program for enterprises for a fee of US$299 per annum.

Do note that enrolling in this program is legally binding, and Apple expects the following from you:

  • Apple ID with two-factor authentication activated.
  • Full legal name and address, and you must be of legal age.
  • Provide a D-U-N-S Number if you enroll as an organization.
  • Your organization must be a legal entity and have a publicly visible website under a domain name registered with your company.  

What Are The Benefits Of The Apple Developer Program?   

Apart from allowing you to make App Store submissions, membership will grant you access to the following tools: 

  • The latest operating system (OS) betas and software development kits (SDKs): iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, visionOS, and watchOS.
  • Apple’s proprietary integrated development environment (IDE): Xcode. 
  • Additional tools to facilitate quicker and easier development: CreateML, Reality Composer, and Xcode Cloud.

The Apple Developer Program also includes the following services for better app integration and a more meaningful user experience (UX): 

  • AirPlay: Allows users to stream across all their Apple devices. 
  • CloudKit: Access Apple’s iCloud service to store all your app’s data.
  • Core ML: Easily implement the latest machine learning (ML) models into your iOS app.
  • DeviceCheck: This helps keep the services running on your app and devices safe from bad actors. 
  • Face ID and Touch ID: Allows users to access your app with safety and usability in mind.
  • Handoff: Allows users to work uninterrupted when moving from one Apple device to another. 
  • HealthKit: This feature regularly provides users with the most up-to-date fitness data on their iPhone and Apple Watch devices. 
  • HomeKit and Matter: Users can control all connected devices in their homes. 
  • In-App Purchase and Subscriptions: By implementing the StoreKit framework, it’s possible to unlock additional app features and content when users pay. 
  • Push Notifications: Inform users of the latest content updates and events to retain or increase engagement. 
  • Sign in with Apple: Make app and website access simpler for users by allowing them to sign in with their Apple IDs. 
  • System Extensions and DriverKit: Enhance app functionality and security with Apple’s wide range of extensions. 
  • WeatherKit: This handy framework lets users access up-to-date information to help them stay safe during rapidly changing and adverse weather conditions. 

What To Check Before Making App Store Submissions?

To ensure that all your App Store submissions proceed smoothly, be sure to follow the points in this checklist: 

  • Rigorously and regularly test your app for any bugs and crashes.
  • Provide accurate and comprehensive app information and metadata before submitting. 
  • Keep your contact details current so the App Review team can contact you when necessary. 
  • Ensure that the App Review team has full access to your app, so provide a demo account if it relies on having an account to access features. 
  • All your app’s backend services must be live when under review.
  • Provide additional documentation to detail all your app’s more advanced or cryptic features. 
  • Regularly refer to Apple’s development, design, and brand and marketing guidelines to ensure your app complies with all these. 
  • If you’re a European developer, review the guidelines and notarization for iOS apps in the EU. 

Which Safety Rules Does The App Store Enforce?

The App Store places user safety and satisfaction front and center. Thus, objectionable content of any kind isn’t welcome. To avoid failed App Store submissions, be sure to comply with the following rules: 

  • Don’t add discriminatory, distasteful, or offensive content to your app. Be mindful of any content that aims to harm, humiliate, or defame users of any specific race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic group. 
  • Avoid content that aims to shock and disgust users. 
  • Cut out any realistic or overly violent scenes from your iOS app or mobile game. 
  • Pornographic imagery of any sort is unacceptable, and so are any so-called hookup apps that lead to exploitation, human trafficking, and prostitution. 
  • Provocative and falsified religious messaging is not allowed. 
  • No depictions of illegal behavior, drug usage, or dangerous use of weapons must appear in your iOS app or mobile game. 
  • Never submit an app with false features or information or attempt to trick or defraud users. If your app tries to prank users via calls or the SMS/MMS messaging features, then the App Review team will reject it. 
  • Don’t submit an app to profit from human suffering due to wars, terrorism, and pandemics. 
  • If your app relies on user-generated content (USG), make it easy to filter and block abusive users and objectionable content. Be sure to publish your contact details so users can notify you of any related issues.
  • If you’re creating a children’s app, you may submit it for the Kids Category under specific conditions. Your app must not entice children to make purchases or have any external links. 
  • As an iOS developer, you must protect user data and disclose which third parties you partner with that collect user data.

Why Performance Matters During App Store Submissions?

The App Review team first looks at the overall completeness of your iOS app. So, you must submit a fully functional app that includes all metadata, even during the pre-order phase. If you submit a demo, ensure that it fully showcases the functionality of the finished product. Never submit an app with placeholder content, text, and non-existent app and company website links. 

The overall performance of your iOS app is another aspect that the App Review team will scrutinize. To ensure you submit a relatively polished and bug-free app, you must beta test regularly before releasing it officially on the App Store. Use Apple’s excellent TestFlight SDK for beta testing, and ensure that you submit these builds to TestFlight App Review.

Keep in mind that you’re not permitted to offer any form of compensation to beta testers. Also, you may not release your iOS app to the public during the TestFlight process. 

A big part of App Store submissions includes the correct and accurate completion of app metadata. Never leave this task to the last minute, as there’s plenty of metadata you must carefully evaluate and complete. You must include an app description, privacy information, screenshots, and previews accurately showcasing your app’s core features.

Every time you update your app, you must include new metadata that reflects these changes. Never misrepresent your app and its features in any way, as you risk being banned from the Apple Developer Program if you’re deemed untrustworthy.

Be sure to test your app on several iOS devices to determine whether it runs well on a wide range of Apple hardware. Moreover, ensure that your app runs smoothly on the latest version of the OS (currently iOS and iPadOS 17). 

Which Factors Will Impact Approval Of An iOS App? 

The App Review team will expect your iOS app to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Smooth functionality: Your iOS app must perform flawlessly and work as detailed by the notes and documentation you provide. 
  • Overall usability: Ensure that your iOS app complies with the Human Interface Guidelines set by Apple. The App Review team wants to see a well-designed user interface (UI) with consistency on every page of your app. 
  • App accessibility: Make your iOS app usable for those with disabilities. 
  • Easy navigation: Use recognizable UI elements for the buttons, tabs, and gesture controls of your app. New and longtime iOS users should feel right at home when running your app for the first time. 
  • Satisfactory performance: Your iOS app must load quickly and be responsive at all times, regardless if it’s running on newer or older devices. Ensure that your app keeps battery drainage and memory usage to a minimum to avoid rejection by the App Review team. 
  • Tight security: Ensure that your iOS app complies with Apple’s guidelines regarding app permissions, data encryption, and privacy. 
  • Legal compliance: Your iOS app must comply with all relevant regulations, copyright, and trademark laws in your region. In some cases, laws applicable in other territories may impact your app, so seek legal advice if necessary. 

In Conclusion

If you closely follow the pointers we’ve provided, your App Store submissions should go smoothly in 2024 and beyond. Expect to hear back from the App Review team in about 48 hours after you submit your app. On the off chance of a rejection, the App Review team will provide feedback and guidance on what you need to fix before submitting again. 

But you can make life easier for yourself by partnering with a reputable mobile app studio. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create iOS apps that will please the reviewers and your users! 

There’s an App for That: 8 Innovative Apps to Inspire Building Yours

There are millions of apps listed on both the Apple Store and Google Play. Chances are that if you come up with an idea for an app, it already exists in some form. Interestingly though, less than 1% of all apps created end up achieving their intended success levels in terms of downloads, user retention, and monetization. It is therefore safe to assume that ideation is not a problem for most applications. However, there are other underlying issues, which if well addressed could significantly improve the chances of success for a new mobile application.

Researching the Competition

If businesses are offering an app similar to what you are building, take time to understand their model. What core problem are they solving and what features have they built for that? Read reviews and where possible, collect data from users to find out if the competitors do well and where they miss the mark. Your app should be geared towards delivering a better experience for users. The competitors’ scorecard is likely to include pillars such as security, speed and reliability, and UI and UX.

A Marketing Strategy

Building a great product is one part of the equation, getting people’s attention is a different ball game altogether. It is important to put together a comprehensive strategy to funnel people so they can download your app. This might include organizing or participating in physical and virtual events where you meet potential customers and present the app to them. It is important to have a website or a landing page from where you redirect traffic to your app’s listing on official app stores. Using reviewers, influencers, and news publications will also amplify the buzz around your app.   

 

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Leveraging social media and Content Marketing

Creating quality content consistently is never easy and may require you to invest in a team to help you leverage that as part of your growth strategy. Search engine snippets, blogs, and video content can elevate your brand’s position but it doesn’t come cheap. Fortunately, such content is timeless and can be repurposed across multiple platforms. It will keep funneling people to your app.

Your team must understand how to best interact with users and potential new users on social media. Find out which type of posts will maximize your reach, engagement, and conversion. In most cases, it will be a combination of different types of posts.

In case you decide to run paid ads for your app, you will need to invest in getting the best copy, graphics, and video to maximize your ROI. Use A/B testing tools to see how different options perform. Have a sizeable enough budget to ensure the ads run long enough to achieve tangible and sustainable results.

Innovative Ideas to Inspire Your App in 2023

Now that you understand that novel ideas are not the only thing that matters when estimating the chances of an app’s success, we can agree that you can draw inspiration from already existing apps. Here is a list of applications in different industries that could help inspire your next app idea.

TrueBill

TrueBill is a subscription-tracking application in the personal finance management space. The app has both free and premium tiers. The app allows users to set preferred cancellation dates for services such as Netflix and Spotify. The app partners with thousands of banking institutions to make this possible and even has the option to provide a user’s monthly credit report. However, users will need to grant TrueBill various permissions for the soft credit check. The company offers additional services such as bill negotiation on behalf of users.

Headspace

Headspace is a mindfulness and meditation app that has received very good reviews from people in the online wellness community. The app provides tools such as guided meditation, dance tutorials, and focus exercises. The app offers a 7–14-day trial where users can test out all premium features. They do offer discounted prices for students and for family subscriptions.

Creating an app that can compete with Headspace is an enormous task requiring a deep dive to gather resources, market the app, and offer a UI better than what the Headspace team offers.

HiveBrite

HiveBrite is a SaaS application geared towards helping founders of social impact communities manage their workflow. Community founders can easily create landing pages, have a managed news feed, and create guided paths to help onboard new members and stimulate participation by existing members. The platform allows for branding customization through fonts, color palettes, and typography all within the platform and without any coding being needed. HiveBrite also allows founders to manage subscriptions through safe payment handling.

But perhaps the biggest advantage it offers is discoverability for organizations. Volunteers constantly seek to join communities and causes that resonate with their values. Through HiveBrite, founders can make their organizations easier to find.

Focus Booster

With the amount of distractions people have to deal with today, it is not a surprise that there are so many productivity apps in the market. However, you may want to narrow down on creating an app that helps people concentrate on single tasks much better. Focus Booster is one such app that allows users to block out short bursts of time for work and frequent breaks throughout the day. So for instance, a user may schedule 10 half-hour tasks with 5-minute breaks between each. Focus Booster also gives insights into how users have utilized their days (goal tracking).

You could create a similar app with a better implementation of the UI, analytics, as well as additional features such as reminders for scheduled tasks.

LifeAt Communities

This is an app in the online self-study space. It provides a platform where people can join communities to power through tasks such as coursework or projects together. With different study rooms, people get to choose one that suits them. They can block out time for studying, have the camera on or off, attend and even create their events, and much more.

Another popular app in the same space is called Gather. It allows people to create avatars, design virtual working spaces with aesthetics they like, and even share personal wins with people in the community. The app also has a room for online games such as Tetris, just to keep people within the app during study breaks.

Developing an app in this space would require a lot of research to add features that significantly improve the experience for users beyond what is currently available. Integration with document editing solutions, storage, and meeting rooms are just examples of what could be possible. Study resources for students could be included as part of the subscription package being offered to them.

Strava

Strava is one of the best-built apps in the fitness space. It is geared towards helping people find communities and outdoor fitness challenges around them. Based on location, Strava users can find new running or hiking trails and challenges around them. People can share their achievements both on the platform and externally. They can also take part in group activities. Strava uses GPS data to ensure the accuracy of the data or results from a user’s activity.

To build a successful app in the fitness space, you would need to invest heavily in the product features as well as in marketing to ensure you reach a critical mass in audience numbers. Social apps need to be people-driven. Once enough people join, the numbers can quickly snowball to tens of millions of users thus unlocking profitability.

Fitbob

There are numerous ways that you can integrate artificial intelligence into the fitness market today. Fitbod is an application that provides customized workouts based on personal goals, available equipment, past workout history, and muscle recovery data. Over time, the app increases the difficulty level of the challenges to help users elevate their fitness levels. For a trainer, the app is useful in helping design workouts for clients who have different equipment at their disposal.

Other apps combine fitness goals with nutrition guidance. They provide custom recipes based on what ingredients a user has available. Apps in this space need to have a simple UI so that users do not feel too overwhelmed especially when inputting data. An extensive food database is necessary to accommodate a wide enough audience of users. Additional resources such as information on nutritional deficiencies of ingredients and possible alternatives would add to the utility of a fitness and nutritional app guide.

 

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Viator

Viator is a travel app that acts as a booking guide for people going to new places. The app has curated over 300,000 experiences across the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. This means that users can get suggestions of things to do depending on their budget and time in their itinerary. The app allows users to book activities within the app. The app has robust customer-support systems, which have built user confidence over time.

When building such an app, you need resources to curate enough activities for people. You could invite service providers to make a listing on your platform. However, checks are necessary to ensure customer expectations are met after making an online booking.

Actualizing Your Idea

As we have seen, there are multiple opportunities across different industries where you can build a mobile app today. However, actualizing your idea will take loads of work. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Research- You must study the market to identify a gap. Do not attempt to do too many things in one app. Surveys, interviews, and other forms of data-gathering techniques are useful in narrowing down to a particular problem that your app seeks to address.

MVP- Once you have a problem to solve, it is then important to list down the features to be included in the app. You need to build a minimum viable product first, with only the core features first. Test it in the market and continually iterate, adding new features while improving the primary ones.

UI and UX- Customers want an easy experience when using your app. Dedicate enough resources in developing a user interface that is empathetic to your user’s needs. Make the customer journey as easy as possible else the app will have a low user retention rate.

The Right Tech Stack- With the help of your development team, decide on whether to go with a cross-platform application or a native app for iOS and one for Android.

Marketing- Creating a buzz around your market will take up a significant amount of resources. Have enough set aside to run a marketing campaign before, during, and after the launch of your app.

Continuous Development- Your team should take into account that the app should keep evolving in response to customer feedback and changing needs. Innovation will improve revenue generation for your app too.

Mobile Application Development Services at NS804

Our team at NS804 has the right mix of tech skills and experience to bring your next mobile application idea to life. We have built tens of mobile apps for businesses across multiple industries. No matter what stage your idea is currently at, our team will work with you to deliver it to completion. You are welcome to book a call with a member of our team through our website. 

7 App Store Optimization Strategies To Improve ASO

When you reach the point of marketing your mobile application, you must apply the correct app store optimization strategies. These strategies help drive traffic and installs within the App Store and Google Play. While app store optimization (ASO) can never replace paid user acquisition (UA), you should use both for optimal results. However, we’ll focus on ASO for now, as there’s much to cover relating to this topic in this guide. 

If you’ve released an app before, you likely have some experience with ASO. Or you hired an app marketing team to handle ASO for you instead. But if your experience with ASO is limited or non-existent, you may wonder how it works in 2023. Or ponder if the app store optimization strategies that worked several years ago still work today.

The good news is that many strategies from a decade ago still have their place in 2023. Any prior ASO knowledge and experience you’ve acquired will not go to waste. But the same old, same old — doesn’t work either! For example, many ASO experts focussed primarily on keywords to gain in-store traffic about a decade ago. But nowadays, experts also optimize screenshots, analyze user reviews, and look at the user journey holistically. 

Of course, that’s a lot of additional work and complexity added to the mix. As a busy appreneur or business leader, you may find all this daunting or beyond scope. If that’s the case, we’d always recommend that you work with an experienced studio like NS804 to handle ASO for you. But if you wish to tackle ASO in-house, check out the tips below. 

 

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1. What You Need To Know About ASO

ASO shares many similarities with search engine optimization (SEO) for indexing and accessing content efficiently. A similar philosophy exists for increasing visibility for a website as it does for a mobile app. Furthermore, the biggest search engine, Google, also owns Google Play — and most users have witnessed similarities in both. 

But how does this all impact your app store optimization strategies? As part of your app marketing campaign, your key performance indicators (KPIs) will not align with your SEO KPIs. But they must align with the following ASO ranking indicators:

  • App quality: The higher the quality of your app, the higher it will rank by the store algorithm. 
  • Uniqueness: Fresh ideas pay off, as app stores often reward unique apps with a higher ranking or a featured app placement. 
  • Scalability: The ability of your brand and app to scale to user demand will impact app ranking positively. 
  • Traffic: If your app proves popular, the algorithm acknowledges this and will ensure that more users see your app. Paid traffic will further boost your app’s ranking and won’t negatively impact your organic traffic. 
  • Categories: Your app can rank higher for specific categories or if it enters the top charts. 
  • Downloads: The higher your downloads, the better your app’s ASO ranking.
  • Ratings and reviews: When users leave ratings and reviews, it helps increase your app’s keyword rankings. Positive ratings and reviews also convince other users to try out your app. 

2. Do Research Before Formulating App Store Optimization Strategies

All your app store optimization strategies will be for naught if you don’t research the market beforehand. After all, you need to know which apps succeed and fail in today’s app marketplace. But that’s not all, as you must uncover what strategies successful competitors use for ASO purposes. Since this guide is not about formulating an app idea but app store optimization strategies, we’ll focus exclusively on the latter.

While this seems dubious, spying on competitors will help inform your app store optimization strategies. But if you avoid this path, your rivals won’t have any issues spying on the most successful apps, including yours. 

Thus, it’s pointless to reflect on the ethical ramifications of spying on competitors when it’s a common practice in the industry. Besides, we’re not referring to corporate espionage or anything illegal but a way to gain valuable insights by doing the following: 

  • Spot competitor weaknesses: Read the user reviews of competing apps and compile a list of all their pain points.
  • Discover the keywords of the top apps: Pinpoint the keywords that make successful competing apps appear during searches. 
  • Identify the keywords that drive maximum downloads: Determine whether branded or generic keywords lead to more downloads.
  • Check out competing app metadata: Keep a close eye on how often a competitor rolls out updates and metadata changes to determine their ASO strategy. 
  • Use the correct tools to analyze competitor ASO: Try free and paid tools from vendors, such as App Radar, AppTweak, and ASOMobile.

3. Use Search Ads To Improve Your ASO

In 2016, Apple introduced its advertising platform — Search Ads. It’s a paid platform renowned for its sheer power in targeting various app markets. App marketers, in particular, love Search Ads and have made it their go-to tool for advertising purposes. So, there’s little reason not to integrate it into your arsenal of tools that will work with your app store optimization strategies

But what does Search Ads do so well to make it essential? While Search Ads is a paid tool, it helps save app developers and marketers money. After conducting keyword research, you’ll likely have a long list of keywords you plan to use. But that’s counterproductive, as not all these keywords will drive a reasonable amount of traffic to your app. 

Therefore, you need to reduce that list of keywords to only those that will bring favorable results. That’s where Search Ads comes in, as it will help you pinpoint the keywords relevant to your app and its target market. You’ll quickly pare down your keywords, reducing ad spend and increasing the possibility of successful searches.

4. Prioritize Visual Quality Within Your App Store Optimization Strategies

Whether developing a mobile game or a non-gaming app, you must make it visually appealing. This makes your app more marketable and gives users more reason to leave favorable ratings and reviews. And all this helps with ASO in several ways that we’ll discuss in greater detail.

An app with high-quality visuals will please your users and provide you with plenty of assets for ASO and marketing purposes. Start by taking high-resolution screenshots and record clips for previews and instructional videos. If you wish to add any branding to your screenshots or edit them, consider working with an experienced graphic designer. Likewise, consider hiring a professional video editor to make all your videos slick and impactful. 

Look at ways to optimize your screenshots and videos for the App Store and Google Play. Ensure you arrange the screenshots to convey a coherent story about your app’s usefulness and core features. 

If your app is exclusively text-based, you may want to spruce things up with graphics that flow harmonically from screenshot to screenshot. Moreover, this may enhance the story-telling component of your app’s presentation and ASO, which will help draw user interest.

While these screenshots are crucial, your video preview must never take a back seat as it’s equally important. Create a 30-second clip that hooks the viewer within the first 10 seconds. This early part of the video must highlight the core capability of your app and later reveal two or three of its prominent features. 

Don’t forget to prepare a visually striking but comprehensible app icon. Ideally, work with a graphic designer who understands ASO, the app market, and your brand identity.

5. Focus On Localization At An Early Stage

Never draft your app store optimization strategies just before you launch your app. Instead, outline your ASO and localization during the planning stage of your app. It’s crucial to have clarity regarding the territories where you will launch your app initially.  

For example, if you target English-speaking territories from the get-go, you’ll limit your localization strictly to English. You may also limit your initial release to the App Store due to the higher adoption of iOS devices in these territories. Once your app achieves a reasonable amount of traction, you can target other markets.

You may decide to target Android devices that are predominant in developing economies. But if you’ve made provisions for additional localizations when hashing out your app store optimization strategies, you can move forward with the necessary translations. Most likely, you have budgeted for all your localization costs and decided on the localization team and testing process. 

Localizing your app to all target markets is worthwhile because it will enhance its visibility. Furthermore, it increases user trust, engagement, and conversions. Targeting multiple markets will inevitably expand the reach of your app and bolster its profitability with the right monetization strategies.

 

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6. Update Your App Page Regularly

One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to leave your app product page as is, even after a successful app launch. And even though you’ll spend many hours optimizing your page for your launch — that’s not enough. That’s because app marketplaces are very dynamic in order to respond to user demands and market trends. These marketplaces are also very seasonal, meaning that holidays help drive additional demand. 

It’s common for the app stores to run special offers during Black Friday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. So, you’ll need to update your keywords, screenshots, and icons to optimize your page for these holidays. And even though holiday-specific keywords don’t gain significant traction, they will still bring some traffic. 

But the real reason to put in extra effort during holiday seasons is to align your app page with app store seasonality. Users often have more leisure time during holidays to discover interesting apps and great deals.

Thus, these users are browsing the app stores with intent and have certain expectations that your app page must meet. If they’re browsing during Christmas, ensure that your app’s description, promo text, screenshots, video preview, and icons convey that quintessential Christmassy feeling. 

But be forewarned, your app’s category will play a crucial role in whether or not it gets a high number of downloads during the holiday season. For example, a travel app won’t do so well during Christmas, as most users spend time at home with few travel plans. However, a gift idea app will be in high demand during Christmas since most users will seek unique gift ideas.

7. A/B Test During The Entire Lifecycle Of Your App 

You’ll never truly know the effectiveness of your app store optimization strategies without testing them out. The best way to do this is with A/B testing during every phase of your app’s lifecycle. Your first A/B test will focus on finding the keywords that drive the most traffic. Then, subsequent A/B tests will focus on your app’s conversion funnel and how your strategies impact the user journey. 

You should also A/B test each time you change your description, promo text, icon, keywords, screenshots, and video preview. But you can also do A/B tests when entering new markets, during seasonal promotions, or when introducing new features. 

But how long should you run A/B tests to gain significant analyzable data? Run A/B tests as long as possible, but never less than seven days if you have time and budget constraints. Furthermore, run separate A/B tests for the App Store and Google Play. You’ll find that results differ widely between these two platforms due to considerable differences in user behavior and traffic. 

If you have a severely restricted budget, it’s better to pick one app store to launch and A/B test initially. You can also use your chosen store’s native A/B test tools to test and tweak your app’s page. Gradual improvements to the app page will improve your ASO. 

In Conclusion

Your app store optimization strategies are crucial to the overall success of your app. The app stores have matured, so finding the applicable keywords and making a few tweaks to your app page isn’t enough to drive traffic consistently. 

Every aspect of your app page will impact ASO, so you can’t ignore minute details. But if all this seems too much or too complex, consider working with an expert. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you boost your ASO and meet your KPIs.

What We Learned From Building The PreVue Dating App

At NS804, we love developing apps like PreVue that positively impact users. PreVue is a dating app that breaks the mold of what users have come to expect from online dating and modern dating applications. Nowadays, popular options include the likes of Bumble, OkCupid, Tinder, and many others. And while these have revolutionized modern dating by allowing users to meet those outside of their ethnic backgrounds, social circles, and even geographic locations — they’ve also introduced a lot of problems. 

The founder & CEO of PreVue — Lucanus J. Grady — briefly described these problems in his mission statement: “Dating app profiles had become just this fabrication to attract a quantity of candidates like it was a game. And it’s just hard, right? So I just kept thinking, there must be a better way! How do we filter out all the nonsense, cut through the heavily-doctored pictures, the wordy biographies, and just the genuine lack of honesty?”

Grady’s assessment regarding the current state of the modern dating app holds true, and there’s a real need for a fresh approach. Fortunately, Grady did approach things differently when formulating PreVue, a video-based dating platform. With PreVue, users take a short 22-second video without filters, showing off their true selves. The nuances in their facial expressions and mannerisms provide a far more authentic picture of who they are than edited photos, biographies, or text messages. 

We helped bring PreVue to life and feel privileged to have worked closely with Grady on his innovative dating app concept. Our partnership on this exciting project has been a relatively smooth process. However, we did learn several important lessons that we’ll discuss in greater detail below.

 

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Modern Dating In Crisis

Now, you may think that there are already too many dating apps flooding the marketplace — and that’s true. But have you asked yourself if these apps help or hinder users from dating successfully? And if you’ve been out of the dating pool for a while now, you may be shocked to learn that the modern dating scene isn’t very healthy, to put it lightly.

While apps such as Tinder make it incredibly easy for users to find matches in their area, that doesn’t mean these are quality matches. If anything, Tinder and many similar dating apps facilitate hook-up culture, where sexual encounters are at the forefront, and long-lasting relationships come last. Gen Z and Millenials in the younger age range may only be looking for short-term relationships or ‘situationships.’ And that’s perfectly fine for some but completely wrong for those wanting deep and meaningful relationships. 

Furthermore, things don’t look rosy for most American men under 30 who remain single. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, approximately 63% of men in this age bracket find themselves single compared to 34% of women. And if that wasn’t bad enough, fewer single American men are looking to date now than before the Covid pandemic (42% now versus 49% in 2019).

Things get worse still, as an overabundance of online pornography and OnlyFans models grab male attention and interest at a disturbingly high rate. And while we hope this trend will change at some point, it’s definitely an ominous sign that we can’t afford to ignore. From a societal and economic standpoint, it isn’t good if young men forgo dating and relationships, as this will lead to a demographic decline in the foreseeable future. 

How Does PreVue Solve Notable Problems?

The best and most successful apps solve problems that users often encounter. And as we’ve already covered in significant detail, modern dating is in crisis mode with plenty of problems. Moreover, the creator of PreVue, Lucanus J. Grady, has experienced the pain points of modern dating apps firsthand. With most dating apps, it’s too easy for users to enhance their looks via filters and present a false self through their biographies. 

And that’s why he set out to offer an alternative that allows users to date with intention, where they can see, hear, and get the vibe from a potential candidate before taking things further. Thus, it’s difficult for users on the PreVue platform to present themselves inauthentically, as the short form 22-second videos are great at conveying subtle changes in facial expressions and voices that accurately reveal the candidate’s appearance, emotions, and desirability. 

But another reason why video is such a powerful medium is that it’s become the number one way to distribute and consume content today. Platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have carved a path for creating and sharing short-form videos effectively, and it’s time that dating apps catch up! 

How Does PreVue Work? 

PreVue offers users a dead simple onboarding process that’s as frictionless as possible. This dating app only requires the most applicable information from the user, their location, and their dating preferences. Then, it’s time to film the 22-second-long video with no filters or uploads permitted. Once done, the user may access the portal with all candidates that match their criteria. Furthermore, PreVue will match users based on what they said and even the backgrounds in their videos. 

PreVue officially launched in Boston, MA, due to the city’s vibrant and ethnically diverse culture. This works well, as dating with intention is something that the people of Boston want in a dating app. And it’s a great success thus far, with over 7,000 downloads and 1,200 active users over the past two months. 

While it’s still early days, users have responded positively to PreVue. Many are happy with how much more natural matches feel compared to other dating apps in the marketplace. It’s also easier for users to initiate conversations due to how PreVue manages profiles, and there’s a refreshing lack of spam accounts and creepy users. 

And similarly to other dating apps in the marketplace, there’s a free version of PreVue available. However, users can opt for in-app purchases, such as PreVue Premier 1 Month at $19.99, Unlimited Connections 24h at $6.99, and Video Chat 1h at $2.99. 

What Surprised Us About The Target Demographic Of PreVue?

PreVue successfully eradicated issues commonly found in other dating apps, such as catfishing. And so far, it seems that users are having more meaningful interactions in PreVue than with other alternatives, which was one of the primary goals of this project all along.

However, we initially anticipated that college users between the ages of 20 and 25 would make up our target audience. But we resonated more with the young professional demographic instead.

At first, this was surprising, but it makes sense since younger professionals are more likely to seek long-term partners for fulfilling relationships. And PreVue’s video-based approach facilitates the pursuit of these types of relationships, as users can easily screen out the chancers, players, and other disingenuous candidates.

 

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What Was The Development Process Like? 

The development process went smoothly, but we could have benefited from an entirely Agile approach. In hindsight, it would have been better if we released smaller feature sets since we’re now making changes on the fly based on user data and feedback we’ve obtained. 

That’s why at NS804, we always recommend that our clients scale back on their concepts to get their apps to market quicker. Users will always reveal what they want, and we can always pivot quickly based on user feedback. 

However, we did proceed with simple and clean code that was modular and flexible from the early stages of the project. If there’s one thing that every developer should know is that planning proper architecture saves a ton of time.  

Our development team includes four members, two founders, a marketing team, and a public relations (PR) team. While the development team may seem small, it’s actually the right size for this project and managed to complete it successfully. The build process took 12 months, which included a very long BETA to ensure we gathered enough feedback to launch the best product possible. But without the BETA and the additional scope, it would have taken around eight months. 

Which Programming Languages Did We Use During Development? 

NS804 is fundamentally a native mobile app developer. That means we use programming languages, frameworks, tools, and APIs for creating native apps for Android and iOS. We could choose hybrid mobile app development tools like Flutter or React Native to reduce development time and cost. However, that would result in lower-quality apps lacking the native look, feel, and performance users have come to expect. 

And given that PreVue is a dating app that must deliver video content regularly and consistently, we had to go native since performance is imperative. Thus, we chose Swift for developing the iOS version and Kotlin for the Android version.

Both Swift and Kotlin are modern, high-level, and statically typed languages that are easier to debug and maintain than the languages they’re gradually replacing, namely, Objective-C and Java. A side benefit of using Swift and Kotlin is that they integrate flawlessly with the latest user interface (UI) toolkits, such as SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose UI. And that allows us to create attractive and responsive UIs that look and feel native on a wide variety of modern mobile devices.   

We also used the Structured Query Language (SQL) for our back-end relational database. And Node.js, as it’s an efficient and powerful runtime environment for creating servers, modular applications, and even video streaming apps such as Netflix. It’s written using the JavaScript (JS) programming language, which has played a pivotal role in front-end web development.

How Crash Reporting And User Journeys Helped Us?

While we did not have any bugs reported, we did implement crash monitoring and user journeys built into the app. So we know if any issues arise before users report these to us, which allows us to take a proactive approach and fix these issues. 

The user journeys allow us to see where users may drop off during the process. And this allows us to refine and tailor our offering that will best suit end-user needs. The ultimate goal of the user journey is to determine the optimal path within the app that will enhance the user experience (UX). Ideally, users must reach their goals quickly and easily without being stumped by an unintuitive UI or other questionable design choices.

Due to our user-centric approach to design, we’ve regularly updated the UI to meet users’ needs. To date, our users benefit from a clean, slick, modern, and highly intuitive UI. And this allows them to engage with our dating app in a fun way without breaking their flow since the screen isn’t cluttered with text and any design elements that cause confusion.

What’s Next For PreVue?

PreVue has made a notable impact in a short space of time, and the future bodes well for our dating app. As we’ve already witnessed, there’s a real need for a platform that makes the dating experience much more honest and meaningful.

So, what have we got planned for PreVue moving forward? Currently, it’s only available in Boston and Washington DC. But we will open availability to new markets and expand our international footprint. Furthermore, we’ll use Machine Learning (ML) to enhance our existing matching algorithm. We started with a basic algorithm designed for maximum matches while the user base scales. 

It will be a learning experience as we use tools that improve the matching process over time. Our goal is to ensure that PreVue users will only have candidates appear in their feeds that align perfectly with what they’re looking for in potential partners. 

And speaking of partners, Lucanus J. Grady shared a few thoughts about his experience working with us: “Top Tier communication. Excellent relationship with the CEO. Always extremely knowledgeable and eager to help. Has provided assistance outside of the scope of responsibility and is an intangible member of our team. The company and its founder are now personal friends due to NS804’s core ethos and incredible professionalism.”

The Bottom Line

Working on PreVue, coupled with our close and fruitful relationship with our client, has made the development process an enjoyable and eye-opening journey. Furthermore, it’s a privilege to work with talented people that have all contributed to a dating app that conforms with our client’s visionary approach. Contact https://www.ns804.com/ today to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal and trailblazing dating apps!  

Android vs. iOS: Choosing The Right Mobile App Strategy

Every development lead must comprehend the pros and cons of the most popular mobile platforms. Therefore, it’s common to engage in lengthy and strenuous deliberations regarding the age-old Android vs. iOS debate. And yes, this may sound passé considering how firmly established both platforms have become and how often the fanboys on both camps have had to eat humble pie

But we’re not talking about fanboyism here, as that’s detrimental for any app developer. After all, the best app developers and publishers don’t pick favorites but focus on tangible results. And there’s no point in favoring Android over iOS, or vice versa, in an era when both platforms satisfy billions of users globally. 

Therefore, the wisest option is to target both platforms if that fits the budget and capabilities of the development team. But we do want to stress that it’s crucial to implement a different strategy for each platform. And that’s because Android and iOS each serve specific markets and demographics better than others. 

For example, Android is the mobile gaming heavyweight and has a far larger global audience. Thus, it makes good business sense for game developers to focus their efforts more on Android vs. iOS in most cases. These efforts could involve the game assets, code, testing, marketing, and ad campaigns. 

On the flip side, iOS users love apps that enhance their photos or help them edit videos. That makes sense, considering that iOS devices are known for their excellent cameras and are used extensively by content creators and social media influencers. Understanding these differences allows every development lead to stay on top of the Android vs. iOS discussion and even steer it toward a fruitful direction.

But What Is A Mobile App Strategy?

A mobile app strategy encompasses the early planning stages, development phase, marketing efforts, and release. Ultimately, it serves as a roadmap for bringing your app to fruition. Without a mobile app strategy, your team will have scattered goals and priorities, and your project will fail.

And this is a problem because too many small indie developers treat mobile app development as a feel-good endeavor. They watch several YouTube videos, then read some articles and Reddit posts, which convince them that app development is fun. 

And while app development is indeed fun, professional studios always focus on delivering results. That means the fun and excitement of app development take a back seat to work within the parameters of a carefully conceived plan instead. Clients who partner with studios such as NS804 expect high-quality apps that meet their requirements. Therefore, there’s no room for aimless “what if” scenarios or raw experimentation, which indie and freelance developers may embrace.

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Android vs. iOS: A Mobile App Strategy That Applies To Both

As we mentioned earlier, you’ll likely target both Android and iOS platforms for your apps. Therefore, when you start putting together your mobile app strategy, you’ll have to consider the following for both platforms: 

  • Research the marketplace to determine whether other apps already solve this problem. And if they do, can you implement a feature that innovates or improves on what existing competing apps offer users? If you cannot forge ahead with a better alternative, reconsider your app idea before entering a market with an oversupply of similar apps.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your app business will likely face.
  • Draw up user profiles of the types of users who will likely embrace your app. Consider several demographic examples about these users, such as their age, sex, location, occupation, education, salary, and interests.
  • Define the capabilities of your app in detail, even if some of these don’t make it into the end product. Also, create a wireframe to prototype the user interface (UI) to show all stakeholders involved in the project.
  • Document all the data accessibility and management systems you’ll use for your app. And don’t forget to design your privacy and security protocols early on. Moreover, be sure your team’s up to speed with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if you’re releasing your app in Europe.

Android vs. iOS: When Your Mobile App Strategy Will Differ

The primary areas that impact your mobile app strategy for each platform relate to the app stores, marketing, monetization, and tech stacks. Let’s take a more detailed look at these factors below:

  • App stores: The App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) are where most users will download their apps. But given Android’s more open philosophy and a wider variety of device manufacturers, there are way more stores to download Android apps. However, all these stores have their own app store optimization (ASO) requirements and user expectations that developers and publishers must meet. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but a different strategy for each app store leads to success.
  • Marketing: Brand positioning, public relations (PR), outreach programs, pre-launch promotions, sales offers, and even post-release strategies will impact the success or failure of your app. Also, ensure you tailor your marketing messaging specifically for Android and iOS users and your app’s potential user demographics.
  • Monetization: iOS attracts more affluent users, and they’re more likely to spend money on apps than their Android counterparts. Therefore, an iOS app can make money with in-app purchases, subscriptions, or even as a paid app. But an Android app will likely generate more income via advertisements. So, a completely different monetization strategy for each platform will work best.
  • Tech stacks: Apple provides its proprietary Xcode integrated development environment (IDE), the Swift programming language, and platform-specific application programming interfaces (APIs). And Google offers its Android Studio IDE & App Tools and the Kotlin programming language. Developers should use these two tech stacks, especially if they develop native apps for each platform.

Additional Mobile App Strategy Considerations

It’s not uncommon for app developers to utilize cross-platform tools and other handy tools that aid productivity. For example, a developer may use the Visual Studio IDE, the C# programming language, and Xamarin for cross-platform development. And such a tool allows the developer to focus on a single codebase while enjoying the benefits of native performance. 

But what would this do for the mobile app strategy? It would simplify it somewhat, as the developer won’t have to deal with the complexities and costs of maintaining two codebases. But the developer should still consider a contingency plan in case Xamarin is sunset during development or any similar scenario, even if it seems unlikely.  

Another factor that will seriously impact productivity and development costs is cloud infrastructure. It may save company resources to use a cloud-based testing service to run unit tests, especially for a startup. And even a more established developer may benefit from additional security and scalability offered by a good cloud service. 

Understanding the pros and cons and associated costs of all tooling ahead of time is a huge boon. But it’s equally important to document all these within the mobile app strategy from the get-go. Furthermore, it’s essential to detail when Android and iOS strategies will be similar or different.

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION WITH AN APP DEVELOPMENT EXPERT TO GET A CUSTOMIZED QUOTE!

The Bottom Line

The days of getting into heated Android vs. iOS debates should hopefully be over. But that doesn’t mean that the development lead should ignore the core differences between these two platforms. In fact, it’s essential to understand these differences intimately and draft a mobile app strategy that works flawlessly for Android and iOS specifically. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you craft a strategy to bring your best app ideas to the market! 

Budgeting for an App? 6 Costs to Consider

There is really no single answer to the question of how much it costs to build an app. Most mobile app experts will give a long and structured answer to help you estimate what app that you have in mind will cost to build and deploy. Depending on the intended purpose, an app will have varying integrations with third-party apps. It will also use different built-in features in the hardware device it will be installed. These include GPS navigation and Augmented Reality.

Detailed preparation is required in order to ensure you set aside enough funds to oversee the development project to completion. Many development projects stall because the owners hadn’t factored in all costs involved in the project. App development is a capital expenditure akin to commissioning a new plant in a factory.

Here are 10 costs to consider when budgeting for an app.

1. Business Analysis

The first step in any app development project is establishing a business case for the app to be built. The business might even hire a business analyst to conduct a market analysis before embarking on the actual building. In fact, if there is already a budget for the app, 10% should ideally go into the analysis phase.

If there are existing competitors in the app, the proposed app must have a unique selling point to ensure that it can gain and grow its share of the market. Part of the preliminary work includes preparing the documentation for the project. All the requirements of the app must be put down succinctly before being handed over to the development team.

Another reason to carry out an analysis is to establish whether you can achieve everything in the project scope within the budget and time constraints. If not so, it may be necessary to scale the project down to make it achievable.

2. Prototyping

Once the requirements of the app have been established, the next cost item is prototyping. Here, the development team prepares mock-ups of how the app’s UI will look like. The goal is to ensure that the final app’s visual design is perfect and that the app is consistent in terms of colors, fonts, placement of buttons, navigation menus, and other factors that influence user experience.

Normally, the preparation of prototypes can take up 10-15% of an app’s budget.

3. The Development Phase

The bulk of your app development costs will go to paying the team to write the code to bring your app to life. The development team is likely to have a front-end engineer or a UI/UX designer, a backend engineer, a mobile developer, and a quality assurance engineer. Building an app requires experts in several fields to collaborate on the project. The cost of hiring each of these experts is north of $100 an hour.

In order to get the best value for money, it is best to work with a development team that adopts an agile delivery/development methodology. They should be able to provide weekly updates on the progress of the project. There must be deadlines in place for the achievement of major project milestones.

4. Features that Drive Costs

The length and cost of the development phase will heavily depend on the features intended in the app. Today, it is standard for mobile apps for instance to include screen optimization for different devices. Support for tablets, in particular, adds complexity and drives up development costs.

It also matters the number of platforms for which the app is being built. Normally, mass-market apps will need to include an Android as well as an iOS version.

Modern apps also require push notifications as an added feature to add to the amount of interaction users have with the app. It’s also quite common for apps to now allow users to create accounts and sign in using their social profiles. This is meant to add to the speed of signing into the app but it also adds a layer of security. If all these added features need to be present in the app, they will undoubtedly result in tens of additional development hours being billed.

5. App Marketing

An often overlooked but important part of the app development and deployment process is marketing. Having a marketing strategy and setting aside a budget for it is crucial in ensuring the target audience of the app is made aware of its existence and where to access it. The landing page can also be used to collect emails of interested users before the formal launch. These emails can be used in retargeting and user retention campaigns.

It’s best practice to have a landing page from where people can be redirected to various stores for download.  The landing page might also have a blog section where the company shares useful content to users. The blog content can also be shared across the different social media platforms that the company uses.

Your app must also be properly optimized for the stores where it will be available. This includes having proper description of what it does as well as high-quality images of what the various UI-screens look like. You must categorize the app accurately for users to be able to find it organically.

6. App Maintenance Costs

The success of an app greatly depends on the ability of the owners to respond swiftly to bugs as well as user feedback after the launch. The norm today is to go through many iterations of the app throughout the year, each with incremental changes. This way, customers feel that the app is constantly improving while the learning curve for new features of interfaces is not too steep.

Normally, app maintenance costs will amount to about 15-20% of the initial development budget. Besides bug fixing, part of the maintenance budget goes to paying of commercial licenses for technologies used in the app. Apps also require paying for hosting services.

Another common hack is to work with a development partner who can handle design, development, and maintenance. Negotiating for all these services with one partner is likely to be much more cheaper than working with multiple firms.

Ideas on How to Reduce Your App Development Budget

Limited resources means businesses will often have to make compromises or shrewd decisions on how to approach the app development process.

One such shrewd move is to use cross-platform development technologies instead of native ones. This means that the development team can simultaneously build Android and iOS version of the app. This will not only cut the development time but also costs.

Another move would be to strip down the app so that the first version to be released only contains fundamental features. This is called a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP approach ensures that the bulk of the budget goes to building the features that provide the most utility to the intended users of the app.

If your business is looking for an app development partner, reach out to NS804. We are a world-class mobile app development company. Our team will help your business develop specifications for the MVP, carry out the development and also help with the launch and marketing strategy. Book a consultation call here.

Which Comes First When Developing A Mobile App — iOS Or Android?

Should you choose iOS or Android for your next app project? Well, that largely depends on your goals. And that’s because these goals will help you determine which platform you should develop for first.

But you may have heard that it’s cheaper and faster to develop for iOS. And that’s true, but this is seldom a good enough reason to opt for iOS over Android. It’s better to consider the target audience and what platform they predominantly use. 

Ultimately, always consider where your app will likely succeed first. Below, we reveal a few handy tips to help you choose iOS or Android — but to do so wisely! 

1. When Developing A Premium App

It’s no secret that iOS users spend more on apps than their Android counterparts. Moreover, they prefer premium apps and are willing to purchase apps instead of watching ads like Android users. And that difference is significant, as users spent $85.1 Billion in the App Store versus $47.9 Billion in the Google Play Store in 2021.

So, if you’re planning on going premium with your next app, then iOS is the clear winner. The same applies if you’ll be monetizing via in-app purchases and subscriptions, iOS still leads the way here. But be careful with utility applications, as these tend to do better on Android and don’t engage iOS users as much.

2. Consider Your Target Audience

One of the most crucial factors that will determine whether you’ll choose iOS or Android for your upcoming project is your target audience. And then, you’ll need to determine their demographics, locations, and preferred platform.

Outside North America and most Western territories, Android reigns supreme, especially in the developing world. Android has a 72% market share, and iOS has 26% of the mobile audience. So, if you’re aiming for maximum downloads, especially with a freemium app, Android’s your best bet!

Since most Android users reside in low and middle-income countries, you’ll be reaching a diverse audience. And that means you’ll need to spend some time and money on localization.

3. Starting With iOS Or Android For Mobile Game Development

Between Apple and Google, the latter has historically been the more game-friendly company. But that’s slowly changing, especially after the introduction of the Apple Arcade subscription service. However, Google remains competitive with Google Play Pass and Instant Play games.

And then, there’s the wide variety of platforms and storefronts that Android reaches. Android apps and games run on Chromebooks, and Google Play Games (still in beta in some regions) now run on PC. Furthermore, the Amazon App Store, Huawei AppGallery, Samsung Galaxy Store, and several other stores host Android games. 

Thus, Android offers developers many more opportunities to reach gamers than Apple. And specific genres, such as arcade, puzzle, and racing games, tend to earn more as freemium titles, which suits Android perfectly.

However, if you want to be featured in the App Store, you may want to hold off on the Android version momentarily. The cool thing about the App Store is that it’s curated by humans who take an interest in titles that stand out. And if you provide them with a unique game that’s timed-exclusive, it’s possible to be featured, leading to many downloads and sales.

The Bottom Line

Both iOS and Android are fantastic platforms that offer developers plenty of solid opportunities. But you need to develop apps first for the platform that lines up with your goals closely. Avoid fanboyism and the hype surrounding a particular platform, and focus on the platform that will deliver the results you want instead. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you deliver phenomenal iOS or Android apps to your users! 

App Developers Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia, is a thriving and vibrant capital. Richmond is considered one of the oldest US capitals – Patrick Henry, one of America’s Founding Fathers declared in Richmond, ‘Give me death or give me liberty.’

Downtown Richmond has a remarkable collection of hotels, restaurants, museums, recreational areas, and real estate. All these businesses are gradually undergoing a massive shift towards digitization, especially in mobile app adoption.

So, if you live in Richmond or you’re running a business in either uptown or downtown Virginia, you’ll want to outsource the services of a mobile app developer.

The adoption of mobile apps has been a significant driver of Richmond’s economic transformation. The uptake of mobile apps by retail giants like Target, Mod&Soul, and Burlington continues to predict future trends in mobile app adoption.

So, if you’re looking for mobile app developers in Richmond, worry no more. NS804 has remained committed to providing superior mobile app development solutions – not only in Charlotte Colorado, but also in Richmond, Virginia.

NS804 serves businesses of all sizes and types and provides services tailored to your needs.

What to Expect from App Developers Richmond?

Here’s what to expect when you hire NS804 as your trusted app developer in Richmond:

1. Expertise

NS804 has committed itself to provide quality and reliable mobile app development solutions. Our team handles your project from conception to completion, following details and adhering to standard design procedures.

2. Versatility

NS804 mobile app developers have vast experience developing both IOS and android apps. We work with start-ups and middle-sized enterprises to identify their business needs and build apps that are targeted to their business needs. One of the things we pride ourselves in is the ability to provide cross-functional apps that serve both IOS and android.

3. Minimum Viable Product MVP

A minimum viable product is a prototype of the actual app. An MVP allows the buyer or client to test the performance and functionality of the app before the full product is developed. This prototype helps to identify gaps in operation and areas of improvement.

NS804 provides minimum viable products to its clients. NS804 app developer provides an MVP calculator to help clients determine how much they will pay to have the MVP developed. However, this step is critical because a prototype of the actual app will help you identify and fill gaps in performance, efficiency, and productivity.

4. Strategy

NS804 is a custom strategy provider. When you hire them as your preferred app developers in Richmond, they will sit down with you to identify what makes your business successful. From there, NS804 will scope a strategy on what your app needs to accomplish to suit your business.

5. Customer-centeredness

App development is a sophisticated process that requires careful planning and expert execution. App developers work with various programming languages and look at the interoperability of platforms in creating the best apps. So, to achieve superior results in app development, NS804 values the input of its clients. During the development process, the client’s input is critical. We capture details that the client wants to be included in the app and develop a product that best answers your questions.

Why App Developers Richmond?

Richmond is a thriving capital with immense growth potential. The presence of reputable shopping stores, malls, real estate, hotels, properties, and impressive infrastructure makes Richmond a destination for consumers and tourists.

Integrating mobile app solutions into your enterprise is a great way to keep clients engaged, whether inside or outside Richmond. Aim to create lasting relationships with your clients, whether they’re inside or outside Richmond.

App developers Richmond will help you connect with your customers with custom mobile app development solutions.

Contact NS804 if you’re looking for mobile app developers in Richmond.