Pricing a mobile application: what factors affect and how to save

Often, customers in five words describe the functionality and ask to immediately name the approximate price of the mobile application. Unfortunately, five words are not enough - without a detailed description of the project this cannot be done.

Any calculations on a calculator or a fork of prices are just misleading, because they denote the lower limit. The real cost of the expected functionality is often 2-3 times more.

We tell you what factors affect the price of a mobile application, and what you need to know about them in order not to pay for work that is of little importance to the result.

Number of mobile platforms

In 2018, Android and iOS occupied 99.9% of the operating system market for mobile devices. There are so few devices on other mobile platforms that it makes no sense to create applications for them. The fact is that operating systems differ, and creating an application that will work equally well everywhere will not work. Development under Windows or BlackBerry OS is not paying off now.

iOS and / or Android

Development for Android and iOS takes into account the following operating system differences:

  • Application Interaction with Mobile Device Architecture: processor, RAM, graphics core and other components.
  • Design. On iOS, on the previous screen, the left-to-right swipe returns, and on Android, a click on the navigation bar. There is no navigation bar on the iPhone, so when adapting a “foreign” application, you need to cut it out.
  • User experience. On Android, the date is selected according to the calendar, similar to the pocket. In iOS, it resembles a slot machine window. With an unusual calendar, it will be more difficult for the user to arrange delivery or sign up for a service.

You can create an application that will work only on iOS or only on Android. This will save on development, but "cut off" users of one of the platforms. The application for both platforms will cost more, but will provide full coverage of mobile audience.

How to choose which platform to start developing an application with a limited budget?

With a limited budget, there are three ways of development.

The first is to run the application on only one platform. In this case, we study the idea, tasks, competition, and together with the customer decide which operating system will be easier and more profitable to start.

The second is to use cross-platform development and create one application for two platforms. This direction has disadvantages, but it is often the best way to reduce launch costs, for example, if you need to check a niche with the maximum coverage.

The third is to reduce the number of functions to the minimum necessary. You always want to do it right away, but, in our experience, it is better to start with a minimum, assess the demand and response of the audience, and then gradually improve the application with updates. So we distribute investment in the project for a long time and can evaluate which functions to connect first.

Target audience analysis

IOS users

Mobile devices on iOS are used by 19% of owners of smartphones and tablets. Frequent buyers of iPhones and iPads are people under 45 years old living in large cities. They have their own business or a well-paid job, a car, they often travel and shop online.

Mobile devices are actively used for work, business contacts and automation of household tasks. IPhone owners more often use social networks and messengers, work applications and tools, services for ordering food, taxis, car sharing, online shopping and more.

IOS users are comfortable shopping in a mobile application, so it’s easier to monetize paid versions with enhanced functionality.

However, IPhone users can also be found on the bus while playing Zuma Deluxe.

Android users

Android accounts for 80% of the mobile device market. The portrait of a typical user is blurred due to the strong variation in prices for devices. There is:

  1. Budget smartphones for 3-4 thousand rubles.
  2. Popular with middle class "Honor", "Xiaomi", "Meize" for 10-15 thousand.
  3. "Killer flagships" for 15-25 thousand.
  4. These flagships for 50-80 thousand rubles, in terms of comparable to the "iPhone".

According to the Svyaznoy-Euroset network, the average price of a smartphone in 2018 was 15,000 rubles. And in the price segment over 40 thousand IPhone models are selling better than the flagships from Samsung, Honor and Xiaomi. This means that the main sales of Android devices fall on the budget and the average price segment.

The average Android user has an average income or below average, while seeking to obtain adequate quality for little money, preferring a powerful iron camera and a battery with large capacity. He uses social networks, instant messengers and work software less actively than games and entertainment applications.

There are a lot of free Android apps in stores, users are not paying so actively, therefore, monetization with ads is more common.

Highlighting the target audience of Android users, factors of a large number of operating system versions and screen sizes are taken into account.

Android version support

Android users are less willing to update the operating system, because the resources of low-cost and outdated devices are not enough for more demanding fresh versions of the OS. When developing a mobile application for Android, you need to consider which versions of the operating system the device will support, and the price depends on it.

To determine which OS versions the application should support, we will give an example of a taxi service:

  • Taxi online is most often ordered by advanced users with an average income and above, so the application for the passenger must support the latest OS versions, be promptly updated and updated. There is no need to support older versions.
  • Drivers, on the contrary, often use budget models of smartphones to work, so support for Android 6.0 or even 5.0 is required for them. Updating the application for drivers can not as quickly as a passenger, because the devices are not replaced regularly.

Screen and mobile support

iOS differs from Android in that the number of device models equipped with it is limited. Ensuring stable operation of the application on each of them is much easier.

Thousands of devices with different screens and variations of the operating system, modified by hardware manufacturers, work on Android. Android application developers are constantly faced with the fact that it does not work or does not work correctly on a particular device.

Based on the analysis of the target audience, a list of priority mobile devices is determined, to which the application must be adapted first. The price depends on the number of devices in the list.

Native or cross-platform application

Native application is written specifically for iOS or Android, taking into account the architecture of the selected mobile platform, design features and user experience. In this case, stand-alone applications are created for each platform.

Pluses of native development:

  • Higher speed of work.
  • Greater individuality due to fewer limitations in the interface and design.
  • Ability to perform complex calculations and implement any functions supported by the device.
  • Design and usability are fully adapted to the user experience of the owner of the device on this OS.


  • High price.

With cross-platform development, only one application is created, which with the help of special software adapts to both platforms.


  • Relatively low price.
  • The project runs faster due to fewer code jobs.


  • The application is slower than the native one, because it is not optimized for the architecture of the “foreign” operating system.
  • It may not be possible to use some of the functions of the devices.

When can I use cross-platform development?

It is hard to say 100% that cross-platform development is good or evil. From the point of view of a regular user, such applications are almost the same as native ones. For example, Instagram is still a cross-platform application, and this did not prevent the creators from promoting and selling the project profitably.

Now cross-platform development has two significant drawbacks. First, the adaptation to the device architecture is worse, so it is not suitable for demanding applications. Secondly, there is a dependence on the developer of a platform that provides a “translation” from the language of one OS to another.

Application functionality

Modern mobile applications are able to perform a huge number of tasks. For example, let's take the functionality of the Sberbank mobile application, one of the most stuffed in runet:

  • Demo mode for new or potential users.
  • Automatic device scan for viruses upon entry.
  • Automatic generation and sending code to enter the application.
  • The ability to set a PIN or graphic code to enter the application.
  • Sending event notifications.
  • Search for branches of Sberbank on the map.
  • Card transactions: sending a payment, transferring money between accounts, locking a card, keeping a history of operations.
  • Transactions with payments: sending a payment to a bank customer by phone number, card number and account number; payments by QR-code, payments to organizations from the list without specifying details; connection of auto payments, savings accounts, payment templates.
  • And much more.

Of course, the cost of developing such an application is measured in tens of thousands of dollars, but this is only an example of possibilities. We further analyze the main functions that are used in most cases and affect the price of developing a mobile application.

How to determine which functions are needed for a mobile application, and which are not?

In fact, there are no general recommendations on whether to add some function to the application or not. This question can be answered only after a detailed study of a particular idea, a study, comparison with competitors.

It happens that without some function the application is uncompetitive and there is simply no point in launching it. Or, on the contrary, it is possible to make a broader functionality than the others, and become unique. For example, “Yula” at one time became a serious competitor to “Avito” because it made it possible to buy from private traders like in an online store: with home delivery and payment by credit card.

Let's just say that the functions of paying for an order online, tracking the status of an order, storing the purchase history, authorizing in the application and creating a personal account use the greatest demand. They are relevant for business in many niches.

Online order payment

The function of payment orders from the application not only improves the usability of the service, but also reduces the turnover of cash, eliminates the need to equip couriers with terminals for non-cash payment.

In addition, studies show that the number of mobile purchases in 2018 increased by 78%, and in a few years it can be equal to the turnover of the desktop sales market. And from Friday evening to Sunday, mobile sales are already surpassing desktop sales.

Modern mobile applications allow you to bind a bank card to your personal account and to pay automatically. To do this, you need a synchronization function with a mobile aggregator like Yandex.Money.

User account

Personal account allows the user to:

  • Quickly make an order without entering data for registration again.
  • View your purchase history.
  • Monitor the status of the application.
  • Cancel or move an order to another time.

The content of the personal account in the mobile application depends on the needs of the user. To reduce development costs, you can start with a minimum set and gradually extend the functionality.

For the organization, the personal account is useful in that it is possible to collect additional information about the customer: gender, age, and other personal data. For example, find out the make and model of a car for a car service center or an auto parts store, the breed and the nickname of an animal for a veterinary clinic or a pet store. All this can be used in advertising and pre-sales.

Entering a commercial application by a combination of login / password is not relevant now: users do not like to store unnecessary codes. The best way - authorization through an account on a social network or by phone number. Distributed authorization option in Google, "VKontakte" and Facebook. For games for Android, Google Play Games is used.

The more authorization methods, the more expensive the application, so it is important to analyze the target audience and determine which methods are preferable for it. For example, for business applications, Facebook is often more relevant, for entertainment, VKontakte, and Android OS is tied to a Google account.

Contact with user

In the mobile application, you can promptly notify users about the change in the status of the order, the arrival time of the courier or the arrival of a purchase at the pick-up point, as well as remind you of the events that have been ordered, report news and promotions. You can provide information through a personal account, automatic sending of SMS-messages or push-notifications.

Push-notifications are an effective marketing tool with which you can inform a user about a promotion, remind yourself if he hasn’t been in the application for a long time, and also analyze performance. But, like any unsolicited item, the push requires study: too annoying programs, the user can prohibit sending notifications or delete them altogether from the device.

Chat in the mobile application allows you to solve emerging issues without calls. Written communication among smartphone users prevails over voice, therefore chat is a native format of appeal.

In the mobile application, you can provide the functions of dialing a phone number, ordering a callback and sending feedback about the order. Feedback from the application is useful because it comes to the developer directly, and not to a comment on the application page in Google Play or the AppStore. Negative to the manager or courier, in the absence of other ways to express dissatisfaction, the user can bring one star and devastating comment on the wall.


Applications of network companies access to a GPS / GLONASS mobile device allows you to automatically determine the location of the user and transfer it to the local branch. This helps to avoid errors in the distribution of orders due to manual selection of the region.

Synchronization with maps allows you to show the location of offices / shops and automatically navigate to them on the navigator. For example, Yandex.Taxi synchronizes applications for the driver and passenger so that each of them can see the location of the second one. In the mobile application for field employees - freight forwarders, drivers, couriers, merchandisers and others - you can monitor visits to intermediate points.

Mobile app design

Design in the development of a mobile application is not only buttons, animations, pop-up menus, shadows, unique fonts and other beautiful. Design is a solution to user requests that need to be repelled in order to get the expected business effect.

The digital division of the Sibur holding, for example, tears up all the patterns of approach to mobile design, because the application is not used by office employees at lunchtime, but by technologists, sitting at a minus 40 on a pipe at the height of a five-story building. Conditions require a minimum of non-functional beauty, programming of physical buttons and setting up voice input in order to use the device without taking off the gloves and not pulling it out of the pocket.

Design development accounts for a significant share of the price of a mobile application. The cost of design depends on two factors: complexity and workload.

The complexity of the design of a mobile application

Main design requirements:

  • Functionality. The extra elements increase the cost of the application and complicate the interface. If it is not clear why the element is needed and what gives the user, it must be removed.
  • Understandable. Users of the mobile application do not study the detailed instructions for its use. If at a glance it is not clear where to click to place an order, they delete the application and install another one.
  • Nativity Android and iOS users have their own habits, which the mobile application must comply with. Не надо делать дизайн приложения для Android как на "Айфоне", потому что там красивее.Unusual interface ensures low user ratings and reduced positions in the search.

In design, balance is important. Too simple and formulaic is bad because the application will resemble the game in Dendy in 2019. It brings nostalgia, but the huge pixels and primitive possibilities are unlikely to be seriously carried away by anyone.

Complex elements expand the capabilities of the application, and animation and other effects make it more attractive, but the flip side is a high load on hardware, a decrease in performance on devices of the budget segment. If the program is aimed at the mass user, the design should be adapted to the resources of inexpensive smartphones and tablets.

The amount of designer work

The amount of designer work depends on the number of application screens. The screen is all that the user will see: starting with the greeting and ending with the subsection "About the application", which reads one of 10,000.

The number of screens depends on the capabilities of the application: reducing functionality, we automatically reduce the amount of designer work. For small applications, 5-7 screens, for medium ones, their number grows to 10-15, for large applications - more than 20 screens.

Optimize the cost of the design allows a prototype, which displays a general view of the mobile application with the expected functional elements and an indication of user scenarios.

Checklist for customer mobile application

The technical task contains a lot of technical information, therefore it is created by the developer. But in order to accurately convey the idea, it is advisable to know in advance the answers to the following questions:

  1. If the application is created for a mass audience, who will use it (gender, age, occupation, income level and any other information that affects the use of the application)? What user needs will the app close?
  2. What functions are planned to use in the first place?
  3. Basic design requirements: a palette of corporate colors, an example of the design of other customer resources (for example, a website) or other applications that the designer should focus on.
  4. The planned workload of the contractor.

The last item may include:

  • development of TZ and prototype screens;
  • programming and design, testing;
  • creating guides for moderator and administrator;
  • Placement of the application in Google Play and App Store;
  • promotion of the application, technical support and moderation in the process.

Creating a turnkey application implies the full scope of the work listed. There are other options, in which part of the functions assumed by the employees of the customer.


  • The cost of developing a mobile application is calculated on the basis of the technical specifications and the prototype. In these documents, the abstract "And make us a mobile application ..." turns into a specific task with a clearly defined number of functions and requirements for appearance.
  • Preliminary calculation of the price by the designer or developer fork almost always does not coincide with the final one, because it is impossible to take into account every nuance at this stage. The difference can reach two or three original price tags, increasing investment and the payback period of the project.

Watch the video: Care Cost Estimator: Know What You May Pay Before You Get Care (March 2020).


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