The mobile app market has completely transformed the way we live our lives. There are a number of different ways to profit off of mobile apps, as monetization tactics are becoming increasingly diverse and versatile in order to deal with the various companies that are being established in order to fulfill the enormous demand we are currently seeing. For the purposes of this article, the definition of an app will be narrowed down a little. Basically, we will be referring to universal apps which differ from those apps that can only be accessed through browsers. Mobile apps tend to be easier to access.
People that work in the field of app development and offer the apps and services they are working on in the various app stores often wonder the actual value of their app. The answer to this question is complex because there are a number of different factors involved, all of which need to be taken into consideration before any kind of consensus can be reached on this particular topic.
Some of the factors have to do with the industry. These are called macro factors and they take into account the various intricacies of the larger ecosystem in which these apps exist. If you are looking for an exit strategy of sorts you need to be prepared for these factors so that you can get the best price possible for your app.
There are also a number of factors that can’t be helped. These include how old the app is as well as the company that created the app, as well as the particular niche that it is in. For the purposes of this article we will mainly be talking about those factors that can impact the value of an app whilst simultaneously making the company that manufactured said apps as profitable as possible.
All in all it is important to get a general understanding of all of the factors and variables that can impact the success of your app. It is important to realize that this information isn’t just helpful to people that are looking to sell their companies. This information is also very useful indeed for people that are looking to excel and succeed in the app market in the first place.
Understanding the value of your app can help you better understand the direction that you can take your app in, as well as how you should handle any future ventures that you might end up taking part in. Another thing to note is that it doesn’t matter how well established your business is, you can always take steps in the right direction if the value of your app is lower than you thought it would be. All in all it’s never too late to make your app more valuable than it was before.
A Real Look at Earnings in 3 Ways
If you want to improve the value of your app, the first thing you are going to have to do is figure out how much you are earning right now. This is will become the base upon which you can build the rest of the valuation process. There are two techniques that you can use in order to figure out how much you are earning at this point in time: SDE and EBITDA. Which one you use depends on how your business is structured as well as your gross revenue.
This stands for Seller’s Discretionary Earnings, and is usually used for apps who are estimated to be worth less than five million dollars. Another reason to use this method is if the app or the company is run by an owner operator which is usually the case with smaller businesses. In situations like this, the person that owns and runs the business usually lists money used for personal reasons as business expenses. This is generally done so that the owner operator pays less tax. Another factor that is taken into account in this method of ascertaining the value of an app is that the person that owns the company is usually getting paid a regular salary from that company.
Because of the fact that personal expenses are deducted from company money and the owner gets paid a salary, the amount of gross revenue is calculate differently. The money spent in these situations comes from gross revenue, and is thus included in the calculation process while attempting to ascertain the baseline earnings of a particular app. Not counting these expenses would be a huge mistake because of the fact that it would make the app seem a lot less profitable than it actually is.
This is a much more complicated system of calculation. The reason that it is so complex is because of the fact that it is used to estimate the value of much bigger companies, those whose value goes beyond the five million dollar limit for the SDE. The companies for whom EBITDA is used are generally not operated by the person or people that own them. The full form of this method of calculation is Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.
It is the most accurate calculation method out there which is a big part of the reason why it has become an industry standard. Businesses that use this method often have several sources of income in order to expand as quickly as possible. All of these revenues are taken into account in order to make the calculation process as easy as possible.
Whichever of these two calculation methods are used, once baseline earnings have been ascertained, it is time to move on to the next step of the valuation process.
The 12 Drivers of Mobile App Value
This terms basically refers to the number of customers that download your app but then never use it. A lot of tech companies funnel a lot of money into marketing campaigns that are supposed to help users discover the app without realizing how important engagement can be.
Abandonment is a hurdle that a number of app developers are facing. It is estimated that a quarter of all downloaded apps are used once after they are downloaded and then never used again. These apps also use three quarters of their DAUs or Daily Active Users about half a week after they have been installed. A good way to fix a high abandonment rate is to look at the point where users stopped using your app and figuring out how you can entice users into coming back.
#2 Financial Records
If you want an accurate assessment of how much your app is worth, one of the most important things that you will have to look into is getting all of your financial records in order. Not only do these financial records need to be accurate and complete, they need to be verifiable as well. A lot of owners don’t keep good records which is why their apps end up being undervalued. If you own an app you need to ensure that you keep your books in order from the very start, otherwise an accurate assessment of what the app is worth is going to be pretty much impossible to ascertain.
#3 Rate of Growth
Whenever someone is thinking about buying a particular develop or company, one of the factors that will affect their decision is rate of growth. If your app has been growing steadily, chances are that there will be more buyers interested in getting in on the action. However, if your app has not been growing as of late you will find that there are fewer offers and you are going to have to settle for a lower offer. This is because of the fact that there are going to be certain things to handle in order to ensure that the growth rate can be reversed.
There needs to be documentation that signifies that growth is occurring and there is also the fact that well kept books are going to be a factor here as well. Google analytics are also going to play a role here in terms of documentation. Providing data that will show the actual popularity of your app will help boost the value of the app.
It is also important to get into the nitty gritty of the performance of your app. All the details are going to help, and you can bet that anyone that might be thinking of buying your app is going to want as many details as possible. Look into tools that will allow you to get the best analytics possible. If the app you are offering is an Android app then App Annie is a good choice. For Android apps, AppsFlyer is a great option that is both powerful and precise.
#4 Level of Control Afforded to Owner
If you own the company that you are trying to sell, you need to first figure out how involved you are in the day to day operations of the company. You need to outsource as much of the work as possible to people that you have hired. This is actually going to boost the value of your business because of the fact that anyone looking to buy your company is probably going to want something that can earn them a fair amount of income without them having to work too hard. If you are working full days at your company, anyone that buys your company will have to do the same and this is something that will make them want to pay less for your enterprise.
#5 Level of Expertise in Code
Any kind of software including apps is built through codes. Anyone that is thinking of buying your app is going to want to look through the code in order to figure out how well the app has been made. Hence, if you are intending to sell your company at any point, you need to make sure that the code is going to be top notch. No one will want to buy an app that has bad code because it is going to result in problems in the future. That is to say, no one will want to buy an app like this at a high price.
#6 Diversity of Offerings
One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that potential buyers are going to want to buy a company that is as diverse as possible. No one wants to buy a company that is a one trick pony, and that is depending on a single app for a majority of its earnings. The problem with this is that tides can change at any point, and if this happens the person that buys your company is going to end up with a company that is no longer really worth anything.
#7 Number of Engaged Users
A lot of people look at the number of times that an app has been downloaded as some kind of sign that the app is valuable. However, just because an app has been downloaded does not mean that it is actually as popular as all that. Indeed, one of the more important factors that you should be looking into is how active your users are.
User engagement needs to be ascertained and verified, because it is only then that the actual popularity of the app can be figured out. User engagement means more people watching ads, and a much higher chance that one of your users is going to end up making some sort of in app purchase. These are pretty much the only two ways in which apps can end up earning money, so it is obviously going to have an enormous impact on how much you are offered for your app.
Another reason that user engagement is extremely important because of the fact that it helps the developer figure out how well the app is working. Whenever you use an app, if there is a problem you can choose to report it. These reports can then be analyzed and used to improve the app in various ways. It is pretty clear that all of these things are going to end up playing an important role in how much you are offered for your app.
#8 How Old The App Is
This is one of those factors that you can’t really do anything about. That being said, it still affects the value of your app. A newer app is going to be more relevant, but older apps tend to be considered more stable especially if they have a steady and consistent rate of growth. This makes them seem like more sustainable options that are going to allow the buyers to have a steady source of income for the foreseeable future.
A younger app is going to be seen as riskier because it has yet to prove itself in the arena of platform risk as well as the other storms that most apps have to weather. Buyers are going to pay less for younger apps because they are going to predict a number of pitfalls in the app’s future.
If the app is a year old, the affect that newness has begins to decrease. After the two year mark it becomes much less of an issue, and by the time the app is three years old its age is now something that can actually drive up its value by an enormous amount.
Age itself is not going to cut it of course. Your app will need to have grown consistently as well, something that is not as easy as you might think it is. If there were any problems or down rounds during the course of the app’s history this could prevent premium valuation from occurring.
#9 Customer Acquisition Cost And Customer Lifetime Value
These two terms are pretty self explanatory. The amount that you spend trying to get your customer to download your app is the former, and the amount of money each customer earns while they use they app is the latter term. There obviously needs to be some kind of balance between the two. A low CAC and high CLV is going to send the value of your app through the roof, but this is easier said than done. While it is possible for an app to function even if the CAC exceeds CLV, it will be difficult for the app to continue working for a long period of time.
#10 Consistency in Revenue
This basically means how much revenue you get and when you get it. If the rate of revenue has remained relatively consistent, it will make your company look like a much safer bet. There is also the fact that it will ensure that the buyer will enjoy stable income in the future. However, if the revenue stream ended up being lower or higher than average it will make your company seem riskier and thus people will be less willing to pay a premium amount for it. You should try to justify dips or spikes in income by showing the seasonality of your app or something of a similar nature. This should help reduce the impact that such factors end up having on the overall value of your company.
#11 Number of Downloads
We now get to one of the most obvious factors that affect the value of your company. You need to boost download numbers while keeping all of the aforementioned factors in mind. This will allow you to show people that your app has value, and that the way it has been marketed allows it to be seen by people as a solution to certain problems.
This also shows the conversion rate that your app is enjoying. The fact of the matter is that if you are marketing your app at all, you are going to get people visiting your profile in the app store. You need to show that these people are also downloading your app. A good conversion rate is always key in situations like this.
If people are visiting your app in the app store but they are not downloading your app there are a variety of things that are probably impacting it. Here are the factors that might affect the conversion rate for your app:
- Doesn’t Solve a Problem: Your app basically doesn’t do anything important so people just don’t feel like downloading it. The first rule of an app is that it should handle some kind of problem for you so that users have a reason to download it in the first place.
- Lack of Compelling App Content: When users come to the app page the content that describes what your app does and why does not seem engaging to potential users. Hence, they assume that the previous point is true of this app and they end up passing it over in favor of something presumably better.
- Bad Reviews: This is one of the most obvious reasons why people might not be downloading your app. This is rather easily fixed, all you need to do is remedy the issues and ask people to start rating your app.
One thing you should make sure of is that you are never too intrusive while asking your users why they might not be downloading your app. This will further lower your reviews and ratings and might end up making your valuation go even lower.
#12 How The Business Runs
Your business’s new owner is going to know how things are done. If things are complicated and there is a lot of red tape they are probably going to pay a lot less because they will have to work to streamline things. One thing you should keep in mind is the fact that the easier you make it for your business’s new owners to earn money without doing anything, the more likely they are to pay a higher amount for said business.
2018 was a momentous year in the world of tech, but now it is drawing to a close. Over the course of the year, mobile apps conforming to various niches in the market ended up being download several billions of times. In fact, the actual number ends up approaching around 27 billion or so, a remarkable number indeed and a sign that mobile apps are a firmly entrenched aspect of our internet culture.
This number also shows us that the mobile app market has grown by over ten percent. Mobile apps first came into the market about a decade ago. That’s a fairly long period of time, but it is fair to say that in spite of the length of time that mobile apps have been widely available they can still be considered a growing market.
Hence, if one wants to understand which direction this growth is headed in, it is very important that they look into the trends that are appearing. These current trends can then be used to innovate and change the course of the mobile app market.
Some aspects that businesses will definitely have to focus on are mobility and the pace of innovation. Customer demands need to be catered to, so understanding trends is not just something you might do in order to expand, it is something that you might have to end up doing in order to survive in the first place. Listed below are some observations that experts have made about the current trends in the mobile app market, as well as how these trends will translate into the situation in the market over the course of 2019.
#1 What’s Better, Native or Hybrid App Development?
A lot of app developers tend to wonder whether building a native app is better or whether they would be better off developing a hybrid app that has its own unique benefits. This debate has been raging for a while now, but we might be finally getting somewhere in terms of a definitive answer of some sort.
While it is definitely true that hybrid apps have been making a lot of headway in recent times, and the developments in the tech industry might have levelled the playing field to some extent, but at the end of the day there is nothing quite like a native app. Hence, native apps are probably going to continue to dominate the market in 2019, which is something that one should definitely keep in mind if one is working in this field.
One of the reasons why the domination of native apps will continue to be a feature of the mobile market is the fact that both of the tech giants currently influencing the mobile app market, namely Apple and Google, are aggressively working on native features for their individual operating systems. This is because of the fact that they are trying to differentiate themselves from one another and give users valid reasons to choose between them.
As for hybrid apps, while they do provide benefits such as cross functionality and access to a wider user base, there are a few issues that need to be ironed out. Maintaining hybrid app systems is more complex than working with native apps. Fixing errors and rolling out updates is also a lot more complicated than it should be. Finally, one of the biggest reasons why hybrid apps are not going to supersede native apps any time soon is the fact that they compromise on user experiences. If you are working on a native app, you will be able to customize said app for the needs and specifications of the platform it will be native to. Hybrid apps need to be more versatile, which ends up making them jacks of all trades but kings of none.
#2 Marketing Apps Is Very Important
One of the main things that any app development enterprise or professional works on as hard as possible is, obviously, the app itself. Functionality is considered a top priority, as are things like the problems that these apps actually solve. However, app developers tend to skimp out on one of the most important aspects of this entire industry, an aspect that often means the difference between success and failure: marketing the app itself.
As a result of this apparent disinterest in marketing, companies end up spending vast amounts of capital on getting users to install the app in the first place, but then fall off the radar. Essentially, what is happening is that these companies are focusing on the initial interaction rather than focusing on getting returning customers.
What companies truly need are people that are loyal to the products and services that they are offering. You need users that engage with the app that you have been working on, and a proper marketing campaign that focuses on every single aspect of the app downloading process. What these marketing campaigns focus on is turning users into actively engaged users. They won’t just install your app, they are going to use it a lot and tell people about it.
Engaged users are important for a number of different reasons. First and foremost they allow you to better understand your own app. If there are problems within the app these users would be able to give you the updates and reports you need to isolate the issue at hand and fix it permanently. Engaged users are also far more likely to buy things from within the app. This is one of the most important things to focus on because it is an enormous source of revenue that your company often sorely needs but is unable to get for a variety of different reasons.
This lack of focus on the right aspects of the marketing campaign is why so many great apps end up disappearing without being fully appreciated. The thing is, brands are starting to realize this which is why they are starting to invest in engagement a lot more than they used to. Monetization strategies are going to become a lot different in the coming year. Hence, if you want to stay on par with the rest of the companies out there, you are going to have to make similar investments in the world of engagement and user loyalty.
#3 A Rise in Moment Marketing
Over the decade during which mobile apps have become such an important aspect of our day to day lives, one thing that has consistently become more popular is personalization. Not only does it make users feel more at home while they are using a specific app, it also helps the app become a lot more functional and helps it learn from what user preferences are so that in the future these apps can be developed in such a way that they end up feeling personalized from the get go.
However, things are starting to change. Gathering data on in app user behavior is not going to be enough anymore, at least if your goal is to get a more engaged userbase overall. The fact of the matter is that personalized messages are now no longer getting that same level of engagement. Instead, open-rate messages have been found to be a lot more effective, with open-rate messages being messages that are sent based on location and the activities that they are currently involved in rather than who they personally are.
Three years ago, there was a huge discussion about a shift that was being noticed in the world of marketing. Google gave this movement the name of “micro moments”. It was also often referred to as moment marketing, as well as right time marketing. This movement is all about trying to understand what the intent of the consumer is in the real world through their in app activities.
Context is starting to matter more. Companies are starting to realize that we don’t live in a digital bubble. The real world affects how people tend to use apps and engage with the digital world in general. Location based offers and deals, offers that take into account how people might react in their normal day to day life, making the user experience more seamless in terms of expanding their horizons to newer platforms, all of these are things that matter greatly in the world of modern mobile app marketing.
Basically, what businesses need to do is that they need to figure out what the right moment is to market to someone. Random marketing gimmicks are no longer going to help. If you hit a user with the right kind of offer at the right moment, they are going to be far more likely to accept that offer in general. People that are on their way to work, people that are in class, people that are bored and tired at the end of a long day at work, all of these are people that need to be approached differently. 2019 looks to be the year when this finally becomes the way things work.
#4 Growth in Over The Top Media
Over the top media, often shortened to OTT, refers to things like Netflix, Amazon Prime and even YouTube in some instances, at least as far as their latest offering “YouTube Red” is concerned. These are basically services that allow you to get access to content without having to buy a cable subscription or anything like that. Basically you get content directly from the source without having to worry about the middle men that often end up ruining your experience entirely.
This market is growing by an enormous amount. We can already see how people are starting to prefer Netflix to traditional media outlets like TV channels. In fact, by 2019 it is estimated that total OTT subscribers are going to cross three hundred million in number. This is a vast number and it will definitely prove to be a complete game changer.
One area where this is going to be an enormous changer in particular is the mobile app market of course. The world is becoming a lot more internet friendly. Internet is now widely available to pretty much everyone that is involved in the mobile app market. TVs are a lot more conducive to OTTs. Even big companies like Disney are going to be offering a lot of content through their streaming platform.
The rate of content distribution on these platforms is definitely going to be massive. It is going to allow app developers to develop their own apps and services, whether those apps and services are in the world of OTT or whether they are to be used in conjunction with these apps. We will probably see a further rise in OTT in the year 2019. Indeed, it is fair to say that the whole world will be about OTT after a certain point. Mainstream channels are definitely on their way out.
#5 Exploration Into The World of Augmented Reality
Augemented reality is a field that has exploded after the release of games like Pokemon Go. We have been hearing about it ever since Google Glass was announced, and even though that experiment did not go as well as everyone that it would, it has not changed the fact that augmented reality is becoming a lot hotter in terms of the potential it has in the current market. Examples of new AR technology coming in 2018 is the ARKit by Apple as well as Google’s ARCore. With the release of these new updates to the world of AR technology, we can rest assured that the mobile app market will be following suit as well. This is in spite of the fact that adoption rates are not as high as people thought they would be at this point.
Smart Glasses and Lenses are probably where this market is headed. With Google and Apple’s major investments in AR frameworks, the technology behind these innovations is going to become a lot more important. In fact, Apple is investing so much into its AR technology that it is going to extend the tech across all apps that are currently available with iOS, along with the hardware that goes with these kinds of apps. Features like face tracking are going to become a lot more prevalent. This is a trend that will definitely gain a lot of steam in 2019.
The Shape of Things to Come
It has been a decade since the first apps were launched. They are now not just something we use to have fun, but necessary components of our routine. We can’t text without WhatsApp anymore, and for some people Facebook is not just a social media platform but a place where they can find work and stay in touch with loved ones even though they are quite far away. Hence, the shape of things to become is a lot clearer than it used to be.
Users know what they want. They want their experience to be personalized, they want instant gratification, and they want their content viewing process to be as seamless as possible even if they are using multiple devices to gain access to it. The mobile app market is going to grow next year. Only time will tell how far it can go before growth ends.
The way the world of business and consumer culture is expanding, one of the most important things that business owners are concerned with is customer service. This is because it has become more important than ever for businesses to provide customers with the very best in customer service if they want an edge over their competitors.
The modern customer is far more demanding than anything the world of business has seen before. The internet has created a need for instant gratification. Customers want their complaints to be addressed pretty much immediately, and they also want the process of approaching a service for support to be as simple and intuitive as possible. Indeed, one of the biggest reasons for app abandonment is a lack of adequate customer support.
One thing that companies working in the mobile app market need to understand is that there is no such thing as a unique app. No matter what your app does, there are probably dozens if not hundreds of other apps doing the exact same thing. The market has reached a saturation point at an unheard of pace. Hence, top notch customer service has become one of the most important things you need to focus on if you want a higher engagement and retention rate among your users.
And the great thing is that it is now legitimately easier than ever to give your users good customer support. This is because of the fact that we have services like Kayako that offer the best live chat software money can buy, which can streamline and optimize the customer service you provide. Listed below are some ways in which mobile apps can help you improve customer service and make it something that will give you an edge over your competitors.
#1 Automate Your Day to Day Business Operations
One of the most pertinent benefits that mobile technology can provide is that it can automate the various tasks that you would otherwise have had to perform yourself. Things that formerly required manual operation such as checking the times at which your employees are clocking in and getting reports on the day’s work as well as the recording and storing of various kinds of data will become a great deal easier.
The main benefit of this is that it saves man hours. You can take the time that your employees would have otherwise spent doing things like recording the complaints they get or searching for a solution and devote it instead to more personalized service for the people phoning in. A mobile app can greatly help this process because it will create a centralized location from which all of this data can be procured for later use.
One great thing about mobile app use in this field is that there really is no end to what you can accomplish. You would be able to have serve customers over the phone, through the aforementioned live chat software, as well as a variety of other means that would allow your customers to interact with their customer service representatives in any way they choose. Mobile apps also allow you to enter the world of social media. Having a presence on social media is no longer something that you can afford to skimp on. It is a necessity for the continued success of your company, and a mobile app can greatly improve your chances of succeeding in this area.
A mobile app will also make it a great deal easier for you to manage your employees. You will be able to get a list of all of the tasks that they have worked on at any point during the day, and you would be able to use this information to gauge whether the employee you are reading about is doing well or if they need to be placed somewhere else in order to take advantage of their unique talents.
It is important to develop a custom mobile app. Doing so will allow you to save time and money in your quest to give your customers the best service possible. Remember to reinvest this time in things like personal interactions with customers. This is the one thing that apps can’t do, but they can at least give you the time to do it.
#2 Make Self Service a Real Possibility
If a customer calls an actual person and asks them what the menu is, the process will be quite tedious for both of the involved parties. The fact of the matter is that an app can deliver a menu to your customer in a much faster way. They would be able to use the app to check through what is available and then order whatever they want and have it delivered. It is important to remember that personal interactions are not important all the time. Placing an order can be done in an efficient and impersonal way, especially if the delivery is going to be personal as are situations where a customer might have a complaint about something they have ordered.
Making self service possible is going to essentially remove a barrier that stands between your customers and the products and services you offer. This barrier is an inefficient platform for communication. Remember to incorporate personalized service in situations where a complaint or special query has arisen. These things are still better tackled by real human beings, offering a self service menu might not be the best solution in these cases.
Whether you use the mobile app to connect customers to a representative using a live chat feature or you just take a leaf out of the previous tip’s book and just automate the whole process, an app can make self service infinitely easier and will reduce the number of man hours that have to be spent on such situations.
Self service through a mobile app will make the recording of customer complaints a great deal easier as well. Tickets can be generated and automatically forwarded to a team that will attempt to ascertain what the appropriate response would be in this situation. Each ticket will be given a unique ID which can be cross referenced with the person that handled the complaint in order to check employee performance.
Queries and problems will also end up being solved a lot more quickly which is definitely something that a lot of people will appreciate. The reason for this is that once a ticket is generated, the system will forward it immediately to the relevant department. This will be marginally faster than what a human being would have been able to do, which will eventually add up and greatly reducing the overall time spent in this process.
Furthermore, any agent that gets assigned a query or problem will find all of the information about the customer that they might need right at their disposal. This includes any previous complaints they might have had, what exactly the product they bought is, where they bought it from, how often they purchase from your company and a lot more. All of these things will help your human CSRs deal with the customers you are getting a lot more effectively than they might have been able to otherwise.
#3 Offer Services 24/7
As has already been mentioned before and as you probably already know quite well, the modern consumer demands instant gratification. This means that if they have a problem or query at, for example, three in the morning, they are going to want an immediate response. Because there is a demand for this service, not offering it is going to put you at risk of sliding behind your competitors. Hence, it is essential that you work towards providing customer support twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
That being said, the main problem that companies face with this kind of demand is that it ends up demanding too much of their employees. It’s important to remember that this isn’t just inhumane, it is going to result in bad work as well. An overworked and exhausted employee is probably not going to be able to do their job as well as they need to. It can also lead to short tempers and resentment which are two traits that need to be kept as far away from customers as possible.
A mobile app can let you ease the load a bit and still provide high quality customer service at all times of the day. It can at least record queries and complaints and issue tickets, so even if you have employees pulling Sunday shifts they don’t have to work as hard and can thus focus on doing the easier job they have to the best of their abilities.
Mobile apps have ushered in a completely new era of customer service, one that is ripe with new possibilities. It is important to incorporate the functionality of mobile apps into your customer service ecosystem so that you can serve your customers in the best way possible.