Want to know how to build an iOS app? As a mobile developer, having a firm grasp on Apple's App Store is essential if you want to tap into one of the most profitable channels for reaching ready-to-buy customers.
It's true, in 2018 iOS apps made around$46.6 billionin revenue, while Google Play only brought in $24.8 billion.
Mastering the App Store can ensure your mobile app realizes its potential and brings significant growth in terms of both user acquisition and revenue.
In this guide, we will go over ways to maximize success with your app's launch on Apple's platform.
From planning your app, launching on the iOS store, and tracking performance, we will cover the journey of how to build an iOS app. We are going to try and be as comprehensive as possible so you can get listed on the top charts in no time!
Planning Your iOS App
How you are going to build your iOS app is dependent on what it is you are making.
Whether you are designing an app that is complementary to your business, a standalone app that is your business, or a mobile game, planning is one of the most important steps to take before building your iOS app.
A plan should always start with a complete outline of your idea on paper.
Try to map out exactly what your app will entail, noting which features are the most important to prioritize.
It’s helpful to think in terms of aMinimum Viable Product (MVP)for your first app, carefully deciding what aspects of your app are the most important and should be prioritized for your launch.
Using the freemium model, developers allow users to download their app for free and usually provide some form of full-functionality without paying.
Monetization and the “premium” of freemium come in the form of in-app purchases.
Digital content and services can be sold within apps, and it’s remarkably easy for users to spend money within an app.
Freemium is frequently encountered in mobile games, but it is quickly becoming the most common business model across most apps.
For example, a lot of apps will keep most of their most desired content behind some form of payment.
This allows them to use their app as a demo of sorts.
It is required in your App Store listing to be transparent about your in-app purchases, so use this space to give users an idea as to what kind of monetization to expect from your app.
Here's an example of this on an app's listing:
Apple makes it very easy to implement in-app purchases and does everything required to facilitate payments to you.
This comes at a price though, they take a fairly hefty30% commissionon all in-app purchases made on digital content.
This may sound like a lot, but this business model is so lucrative that it is often worth the fee.
Oftentimes your app might involve some sort of recurring transaction, perhaps on a monthly or yearly basis.
This can be very profitable if your app becomes a big part of its users’lives.
It’s safe to say, if your users love using your app, they will be long-time paying customers in no time.
The App Store platform makes it easy for users to subscribe to your app to continue paying for their services, as auto-renewal is automatically enabled when users subscribe to the services of your app.
You can even easily implement differential pricing depending on the payment terms of a user’s subscription.
A subscription business model is still privy to Apple’s commission structure, but they have policies in place that rewardiOS developersfor retaining long-term customers.
First-year subscriptions give Apple a 30% cut, but after a user has subscribed for over a year, this commission fee goes down to 15%.
It’s nice to see Apple rewarding developers for good retention, it's an example of one of their platform's policies that can be considered developer-friendly.
Despite it seeming like all apps are moving to some form of a free business model, there are still some apps that run on a paid model.
This is quite simple, it involves a user paying an upfront fee to install an app, sort of like purchasing any sort of product.
Buying a paid app grants users continual access to the app, and support through updates.
Some developers have started selling apps on a paid model and implementing in-app purchases within these paid apps.
This can be viewed as a form of ‘double-dipping’, but it’s certainly profitable to utilize this mix of freemium and a paid model to maximize revenue from your app.
When you've finished the process to build your iOS app, it's time to launch on the App Store.
Don't get too excited and rush through the listing process though, you want to make sure to do it right.
It's important to ensure top-notch quality in this stage, as it can increase the chance that users will find your app.
This is coupled with the fact that Apple has a fairly strict review process for which apps they allow on the App Store, you can seea list hereof common reasons they reject app listings.
The overall quality and professionalism of your listing will likely reflect your success, so be sure to focus on some of these aspects in your store listing:
The quality of your written description should be of the highest possible quality.
If you don't have an in-house writer or feel confident in your writing abilities, consider hiring somebody to write yours.
This is the space where you must be creative and strategic with how you describe your app.
Consider utilizing bullet lists to detail your features, and keep textual content short and concise.
Doing this will take into account consumers’increasingly low attention span, and respect their time.
It's important to fully describe your app here, making sure to include as many important details as possible.
Outline the exact features that your users can expect from your app, and describe why they should use it. This is your chance to sell your potential customers on what to expect from your app, so make a concentrated effort to be clear about what they get from your app.
This can be a perfect section to describe the differences between different versions of your app, perhaps a paid or a freemium version.
You will gain your user’s respect if your store listing is clear, and they can understand your app before they download it.
Pictures and Preview
People are visual creatures, so it's important to put an appropriate amount of energy into this part of your apps listing.
Visual content will shape the first impression of most of your potential users, so make sure to keep it high-quality.
Remember, a lot of users won't even scroll past the screenshots before making a decision regarding installing your app. Consider this when choosing visual content to represent your app, you want
For your more visual users, screenshots and videos can make a huge difference in getting installs.
If you show examples of what using your app looks like, users can get a good idea if it is what they are looking for before they install.
It is important to getscreenshotsfrom your most important product features for your app and try to display what it looks like in-use.
It is also suitable to putcaptions and graphicsover your images, just make sure that they are clear and describe exactly what your app is like in action.
Putting avideodisplaying your key features can be effective too, and can go a long way for gaining the interest of your potential customers.
A lot of users browse the App Store’s various categories when searching for the perfect app.
Ensuring your app is listed in the appropriate category is key to capturing these users in their search process, and turning them into installs.
You are required to assign a primary category to your app, with the option for a second category as well.
For more niche, harder to categorize apps, secondary categories can be quite useful:
Does your app deal with transactions or monetary payments?The Finance category is the place for you.
Are you designing a food delivery app?Food and Beverage have you covered as a relevant category.
They may be fairly broad, but the App Store’s categories give you a chance to be specific about what your app is about.
Apple gives you increased visibility in your respective categories for popularity, so dominating your category is important if you want to drive growth for your app.
Take a look at the kind of premium visibility a highly popular app like Shopify gets:
Make sure to list your app in a category that describes it well, it factors into Apple's approval process and can help you capture new users.
A lot of App Store users use the various categories to find new apps to install, making sure your app is in the right place can ensure you find the right users who can become long-time customers.
Apple has a large list of various categories, they cover them in more detailhere. It's worth taking a close look and deciding on your app's ideal category before launching.
Post-Launch: What To Do After Building Your iOS App?
Reviews and Feedback
Consumers these days live and die by product reviews, and it’s no different for apps.
Getting positive reviews is essential to succeed in the App Store. There are a few ways to ensure your app gets and maintains a high overall rating.
Kindly asking users for reviews within your app can be an excellent way to get more reviews.
Doing it in a way that’s tasteful and not intrusive to their in-app experience is advised if you wish to get positive reviews from this.
Apple makes it easy through its App Store developer tools to respond to reviews. This is a great way to give your company some presence in the review sections and reply to questions and concerns in reviews.
Maintaining positive and professional composure is crucial here, as your responses are essentially the face of the company.
Overall there’s no hidden secret to getting high reviews in the App Store, it all comes down to creating an app that users enjoy using.
Ensuring your user experience is top-notch, and that your app is maintained are two ways you can do this confidently.
It is possible to erase your app's reviews after each update, but be aware that this removes all reviews in the process; both positive and negative.
One of the best ways to ensure your users have the best possible experience with your app is to keep it updated frequently.
Nobody likes an unstable app that is plagued with issues like crashes, or slowdowns, so it's important to stay on top of updates to prevent poor user experience.
Keeping tabs on your user feedback is vital to know what needs to be added, and fixed within your app.
Providing a place in-app for users to leave feedback is a good way to stay on top of this without relying solely on App Store reviews.
Make your user's feedback or suggestions feel valued, consider providing some sort of in-app reward to show your gratitude.
Frequent internal testing will be another great way to know what to prioritize in updates. Make sure to take advantage of testing software such asTestCompleteorAppiumto make testing a bit easier.
Use them to visualize and understand key performance metrics in your app, this can help guide your update roadmap.
Depending on your app's business model, frequent updates can often increase your active users and retention.
This is especially true for mobile games, where seasonal content and constant updates can keep users coming back for extended periods of time.
Now that you know some of the key things to consider to build an iOS app for Apple’s App Store, you can start to make your dream app a reality.
It’s a competitive market, but there is still a ton of room for apps to be very successful in this mobile marketplace.
If you’d like to learn more about planning, launching, and tracking your iOS app, Trio can help you.