How to create a successful app - finding app ideas (Part 4 of 4)

This is the final part of our "How to create a successful app" article - see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

  • The scope of mobile (Part 1)
  • How you can acquire customer (Part 2)
  • Show me the money (Part 3)
  • Finding app ideas (This part)

Finding app ideas

We haven’t talked much about how you come up with app ideas. Instead we have discussed three key things to consider: scope of mobile, acquiring customers and profiting from them. Personally I find reducing the options is a great way of coming up with a range of ideas - from which you can then ruthlessly discard and see what survives. Without the context within which apps exist it can be hard to come up with ideas that can be delivered.

Here are five points to guide you:

  1. Look for niches in the market that people can easily search for that seem under-served. This could mean there are no apps, or that the ones that are there are weak, over-priced or simply poorly rated. Tools: iTunes/Google Play/AppAnnie (link)

  2. Following on from 1, check using the Google Adwords Keywords Tool what sort of search volumes you get for terms from step 1. This will point to how popular that term is (which should relate to possible app store searches) and also the cost of advertising, if you need do this later (see point 3). Obviously a niche that isn’t well served but also not popular isn’t great (the exception being if it is a well paying niche)

  3. When looking at the advertising cost, try and determine what return you are going to need from your customers in order to pay for advertising. A simple rule of thumb would be a 1-5% conversion from people clicking to downloading and then apply what the apps likely conversion to paying might be. Doing this you should be able to work out what the maximum bid price should be

  4. Look for new technology that can be leveraged on the latest devices. Existing developers will be maintaining their apps, so this normally provides a (time critical) window of opportunity. It does however limit the size of the addressable market

  5. Look for things that suit mobile –based on the limited attention/screen/input/time – anything people currently do to “fill time” is a good candidate – chatting/dating/browsing/reading/playing games/newspapers/magazines. Perhaps you will spot the next meme.