5 Mobile App Budgeting Mistakes

Building a solid budget for a mobile application can be tough to estimate. Most companies don’t understand how complex and costly it is to create a successful, user-friendly app. Mobile apps usually have hidden complex structures that are not usually noticed by users. App development is also a rigorous process with many pitfalls if it’s executed poorly.


Developing a mobile app can easily take a large chunk of your projects budget, which could leave companies with limited resources. This article will go over 5 points that the budgeting team needs to consider when developing a budget for a mobile app.


1. Confusing Mobile Development with Website Development

Compared to websites, mobile applications need more components and features that need to be integrated into the software to function efficiently. Mobile apps require a longer development cycle and intensive testing for functionality. As apps scale in size, the infrastructure to support them increase exponentially and costs can quickly build up.


Mobile apps have different UX/UI experience compared to websites with its own nuances. One of the main considerations to take is that mobile developers are forced to work with much less screen space. The small screen real estate requires developers to compress and optimize every feature that the app will support. Apps tend to make more server calls when connected to the internet compared to website apps which requires efficient multi-threading. Websites can be built on CMS’s such as WordPress and SquareSpace. CMS’s are designed to be fast and easy to use for non-developers; there are no CMS’s for apps and apps always require a developer. Confusing mobile development with website development can result in low budget estimates.


2. Backend and Data Infrastructure

A mobile app without a dedicated backend is just a blank screen that does nothing. The backend of an app is a server that acts as a central point of communication for all app users. One mistake that companies often make is trying to budget on the UI experience alone, adding pretty animation and custom layouts. All these features in creating good UI (user interface) and generating great UX (user experience) can deplete you budget and leave you on limited resource to create a well functioning backend. The reality is that the UI only makes up a small fraction of the the mobile application’s infrastructure.


Backend infrastructure can easily become complex and costly if not built efficiently. Creating a relational database, creating multiple backend functions and unit testing each of them is a task that is mandatory when developing a backend. Connecting the app’s backend to cloud infrastructure such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) can also be a daunting task. The backend is the most critical part of any mobile application. Design your budget to ensure that the backend is correctly integrated into the mobile app. Without a scalable backend, companies will need a higher budget for maintenance in the future as the developers will have to continuously make adjustments to ensure proper functionality.


3. Failure in Marketing

The mobile market is highly competitive and 90% of the apps on the app stores are free to download. Competing with the thousands of apps on the market can be difficult; apps needs to have innovative and useful features to stay competitive. Companies need to employ effective marketing strategies to ensure that their app is getting the exposure it needs. Forgetting to include marketing costs in a mobile app budget can be devastating to the success of an app. Promotion periods are vital for the success of a mobile app and they can be quite expensive. An app is no different from any other product on the market and will need to be advertised as such.


The budget for marketing needs to be considered early on in the development cycle, before developing the app. This will ensure an accurate estimate for the overall cost of the project. Clear conversion metrics (e.g number of downloads) need to be set up for the app so that the effectiveness of the marketing can be measured. An app with no users will be a sad app indeed.

4. Full Company Integration

To create a successful app, a company needs to integrate all their departments with their platform, not just their development team. A cohesion needs to be created between your marketing, sales, IT and engineering teams. This cooperation will lower the cost of development time and be well equipped when the app launches. Integration also allows teams to voice their opinions on improvements and additional features they may have in mind. Integration will help the mobile development team create a better design and development structure, saving your company from paying extra for those features.


A lack of cohesion within the company will decrease the company’s revenue. The marketing team will need to know every feature, so they can tailor an effective marketing strategy and create brand awareness. Your sales team will be able to support your in-app purchases system. The engineering and IT teams can integrate and combine any other critical components. A healthy team results in a happy app.

5. Continuous Content Updates

Frequent updates and generating new content is vital for retaining your app’s user base. Your app’s success depends on active users. Maintaining the quality of life of an app’s active users should always be the first priority. Higher user activity on an app will result in an increase in revenue. Users are demanding, mobile technologies are constantly evolving and competitors are always improving their apps. Every app needs to keep with the times lest they become obsolete. Mobile app are in constant need of maintenance, especially when they have an integrated backend. There will always be bugs and issues, no developer or company is perfect.  Budget accordingly to the needs of your business and leave room to always improve or fix the app. Maintenance and content updates are vital and is practiced by every successful company with an app.


Final Words

Creating a well functioning mobile app is expensive to develop and deploy. Many hidden components are layered behind the software that people will never get to see. For the app to be profitable, you will need to integrate your entire team and implement a solid marketing strategy. It is also worth noting that creating a mobile app is a lot more expensive than creating a website and has its own set of pitfalls. Always remember to take every detail into account and leave room for error. We hope we’ve helped inform the decision when building a budget for your next app.