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The Developer’s Guide to Hidden Costs in App Development

So, you have a great idea for an app. You want to get it on the Apple or Play Store as soon as possible. But how do you navigate all of the costs?

Even if your app is completely free, there can still be some costs to distribute it online. Between development costs and maintenance, a traditional app can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1,000,000.

To keep from incurring these high costs, it’s important to understand how apps are built and maintained. Knowing the hidden costs before you develop your app can keep you from spending money needlessly.

1) Server Hosting

Unless your app does not use the internet in any way, you will need a server for it. This is because most are connected to the Cloud, which may require running one or more servers.

The server hosting cost for an app depends on how large your application is, and how many people will use it. You must also consider how much projected growth your app has. Companies like ServerMania can give consultations on your server size and calculate your costs.

2) Push Notifications

Most apps use push notifications. Your app sends these notifications to a user's phone when there is an important update. These are effective for boosting engagement and leads to more in-app purchases.

If you want to use push notifications, you will likely have to subscribe to another service. The annual cost is approximately $2,400, as this is something that is necessary among developers.

3) Social Media and Instant Messaging

Social media functions like upvoting and instant messaging are great tools for encouraging consumers to use your app. Popular sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to interact with each other, share, and "like" content. Even if your app has a simple instant messaging feature, it can help promote your product.

Like with push notifications, these features require a subscription service. Companies like SendBird and Applozic can allow you to program chat features and other social aspects into your application.

4) Updates

No project will come out perfectly the first day you release it. Many developers find bugs well after the release date and have to account for updates. Whether you are on Android or iOS, you will probably need to update it frequently.

You should always account for further development when budgeting for your project initially. Saving money for updates down the road can save yourself from having a buggy, dysfunctional product.

5) Analytics

Though the people who use your app will not see this, access to analytics is vital to you as a developer. These stats will tell you how people engage with your app—telling you how long they use it, what they click on, and what they buy.

All this information will help you understand how you need to update your product. Tracking users and their behaviour can help you deliver a better product and make more money on the way.

In Conclusion

Building a mobile app is more than programming something and releasing it. You must be prepared to spend the money to buy a server, any necessary third party services, and to update your software. These hidden costs may seem like a lot at first, but you can calculate costs based on the specific software you want to develop.

Always consider the way in which your app will earn money. Whether you have in-app purchases or you have sponsored ads, you should have some way to account for your losses. Not being afraid to spend money to improve can turn your mobile app into the next Uber or Instagram!

About The Author
Russell Emmental

Russell is a finance journalist and ex-banker. He lives in Utah with his family and is a keen aviation enthusiast in his spare time.

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