How to Build an App: Your Options

As a content consumer – you can’t avoid apps today. Be it the CNN app on your phone, or Netflix and Hulu that you watch via Roku, it’s the best designed and easiest way to read or watch your favorite things. 

If you’re a content creator – large or small – you may have or are considering building an app for your articles or videos, but are finding the process of developing an app daunting. 

With any choice, it’s a question of time, budget and a customization. So, we’ve laid out a few options – looking for the trifecta of all: quality, fast, and affordable.

_______

 

Agency:

 

Working with an agency or third party development team is an option that will allow you to build and design an app from scratch. Every detail is made for your brand, and agencies will often provide user research intel, and marketing strategies to try once live. Cool pros. 

But, the process takes at a minimum, 6 months, and what often gets overlooked is the cost for maintenance. You’ll get charged initially to create an app for one device, and you’ll continue to be incur fees for every change made, any additional devices you want apps built for, and general maintenance. This option at a minimum would be $100,000 but could reach over a million.

If you’re an enterprise with little technical experience and a big budget, an agency can be a wonderful resource. However, timing and price can make it a difficult pill to swallow.

In-house:

Sourcing a team of developers and designers in-house has a lot of benefits. This a group completely dedicated to your goals that understands the business in and out. But, similarly to an agency, it’s a long process to design and build, and it’s even more expensive than an agency. Consider the competitive salaries of developers and designers and cost of third-party integrations, that could be half a million dollars alone at year one. 

The ability to afford and keep a talented team on board is an option for larger enterprise size companies, but a large investment to keep year over year.  

SaaS:

Softwares and platforms get a bad reputation for being poor quality and lacking in customization. Companies want unique solutions that feel personalized to them.

For companies that want to test out a new channel for your brand through mobile or TV apps, SaaS is an affordable investment. Platforms are quick to launch, and even quicker to maintain, update and make real-time dynamic chances to content and layouts. Many platforms are customizable across all devices, with enough optionality that you wouldn’t know the difference as an end user between a platform build and an in-house build. And above all, using a SaaS is affordable.

When you take the millions of dollars it might cost you to build a mobile or TV app, we might not do it. Platforms cost $12,000-$60,000 a year, usually billed at a monthly cost, inclusive of maintenance, third party integrations, and end user support, a way easier sum to work with when you’re investing in a new area.

 

 

DIY

For technical founders or coders, you can create an app yourself through open source codes and SDKs — without anyone’s help. The obvious drawbacks being technical requirements, time commitment, risk of failure, and not focusing on your core business goals and needs, but it is an option that would save money.

_____

As content consumption norms and expectations shift, we think apps are a tool that any content creator, big or small, should be able to tap into and benefit from. Discuss apps with an expert today at MAZ, we are a platform trusted by hundreds of niche and legacy brands, and have been working in the space for nearly a decade. Let’s talk.