There are a lot of reasons you might come up with an app idea. You might be a solo entrepreneur looking for your next big project, or maybe you own an established business, and you’re looking for a new way to connect with people including your existing customers.
It could also be the case that you stumble upon something that you think would make a fantastic mobile app. Regardless of the specifics, coming up with an app idea can be lucrative.
Last year, Ian Blair of the app development firm Buildfire wrote the following: “In 2017 there have been 197 billion app downloads. That number will explode by a factor of three in a couple of years.”
It’s apparent why you might want to be part of that, but as many people become successful and are able to be profitable with their apps, there are many more that aren’t. This is where validating an idea is so important.
It’s not just about having a good idea or even having a good idea that also is entirely new. It’s also about determining whether there are an interest and a need for that idea. For example, maybe your app idea isn’t entirely revolutionary, but it’s going to tackle a problem from a different approach. Is that something people will be interested in?
The following are some key things to know about validating an app idea.
In the fast-paced, innovation-driven world of technology and mobile apps, it’s easy to see why some people might underestimate the importance of more traditional practices, including market research. Market research is something that is valuable, however and is worth the time and monetary investment it might require to get it done.
Market research needs to look not only at the general app market or the industry that your app will fall into. It should look specifically at the competition you might face, and the more you can drill down and research your niche, the better.
You may find that your app idea isn’t necessarily so viable, or your market research could lead you in a different but perhaps better direction.
Market research also doesn’t have to be overly complex for it to bring value to the validation process. It can start as simple as going to the App Store and seeing what you come up with by searching there.
Connect with Your Target Audience
Hopefully doing market research will make this step in the validation process a bit easier—you should try to speak directly with the people who represent the audience your app will ultimately be targeted to.
You will likely be reaching out to people directly and talking to them about what they want, what they aren’t getting, and what their problems are with current apps on the market that may be similar to what you have in mind.
Going only to people you know isn’t going to cut it for this. You’ll need to speak with people who don’t know you, to get an authentic perspective that’s honest and useful.
This tip may sound odd since you haven’t yet created a product when you’re in the validation phase, but it can be helpful. You want to create some sort of promotional content, such as a video, and you also want to try and advertise this video or content on Facebook.
There’s a reason for this. You can get a feel for how engaged people are likely to be with your app idea. If you’re advertising on Facebook or even Instagram, you can be highly specific in your audience targeting.
For example, you can create audiences based on people who like the pages of the apps that may end up being your competition.
The data that you collect during the advertising phase can be used in addition to your market research as a way to validate your concept.
Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Finally, once you’ve done in-depth research, you may be ready to create a minimum viable product or an MVP.
An MVP is something that you can have created by a developer, and it should integrate some of your general ideas, but you don’t have to be at the stage where your idea is fully fleshed out for this to work.
What you do want to be able to do is use what you have here to further your research and continue getting feedback from your target audience. It’s still part of the learning experience, and again during the MVP part of validation, you may find that your idea isn’t going to work, or that it can work but with changes.