Android or iOS? It’s a Marketing Question!

Quick Summary - Android or iOS? Which is the best OS for your mobile app? The specifications for a lot of other software tend to start with what the software does and defining a technical stack that will do it best, and most cost-effectively.

Android or iOS?

Android, iOS, or Cross-Platform?

So, first things, first. In most cases, you have a third option for your application – a cross-platform app that works on Android, iOS, and desktops using Windows and Linux. Choosing between Native vs. Cross-Platform is a more complex discussion of its own. We covered it briefly in Choosing a Software Platform and Its Impact on Outsourcing, and in the near future will discuss it in more depth.

Native apps are the route to go when you need high-performance software that doesn’t need a constant Internet connection to work. Taking the native route makes it possible to take greater advantage of device-specific features and functionality. Native apps also tend to be more secure and intuitive to use. Otherwise, if your app doesn’t rely upon all of these issues so heavily, for simplicity, a cross-patform app might be your best option.

Going the native app route is more expensive if you want your software available on both Android and iOS devices. For this, you’ll need two complete versions of your app. When funds are not a limitation, many companies will develop concurrently for both. But, for many startups, it’s a question of, “Should I develop for the Android or iOS market first?”

And that brings us to a whole lot of marketing talk.

Understanding the Android and iOS markets

Two markets could hardly be more consistent and yet so differentiated than the Android and iOS user bases. We can capture a large part of the story with a simple map of platform dominance by country:

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Source: TheManifest

Android has consistently held its current global market dominance for years with about 72% of global mobile users. At the same time, Apple’s kept a solid hard-core iOS fanbase of about 27% – concentrated in the most developed markets. Everyone else is competing for the remaining 1% market share.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – OS Market Share

But, where Android dominates in terms of the total number of users, iOS users consistently spend 2.5 times more on their mobile apps. iOS users also spend more frequently, with 7 of 10 making at least one electronic purchase per month compared to 1 in 20 Android users. These two charts capture the data best and are corroborated as persisting through at least 2020 by GadgetsNow.

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These bird’s eye views of the Android-iOS divide effectively warrant one of two overarching strategies:

  • Android: If you want to go global, focus on the size of your user base, or get established in less-developed markets.
  • iOS: If you’re want to focus on the most developed markets and/or revenue per user.

Marketing strategies and considerations for Android apps

With small average spend rates and infrequent in-app purchases, successful Android apps depend heavily on acquiring a large user base while minimizing your costs of acquisition. A surprising number of developers are content to simply publish their apps on Google Play and call their app distribution effort done. Though it’s true that the lion’s share of Android users download their apps from Google Play, it’s not your only option by a long stretch. You’ll be competing with everyone else – the other 2+ million apps there.

Compared to product distribution via brick-n-mortar businesses that can take months and costs thousands of dollars for each store to set up; mobile app distribution is economical. Check out the other sizable mobile stores available like Amazon’s App Store, GetJar, and Itch.io, to see which ones fit your audience. For this, you might want to reference the Springboard Go To Market Strategy. In essence, you can leverage getting on top app lists in one store with other stores and increase your visibility on Google Play. Moreover, you can use this strategy geographically and by language. App localization should be a serious consideration of any Android app marketing strategy.

While all monetization options should be considered, this approach benefits from focusing on data monetization and in-app advertising. Every app should have an in-app store, but it’s likely you’ll want to optimize for “whales” – the 1-2% of your users who will generate 50+% of your sales. This means having a variety of products in your digital store including a selection of vanity items. Be careful to not overdo it, however, as focusing too heavily on microtransactions is starting to get a lot of pushback from users – as recently impact Amazon’s New World and playing a part in the tsunami of issues behind Blizzard’s World of Warcraft Exodus.

Marketing strategies and considerations for iOS apps

Competition for the prestigious (and lucrative) iOS market is intense – and the users are more likely to remain loyal to the App Store than download via open stores. In consequence, there are fewer tricks to getting noticed than with savvy Android marketing. With iOS, you’ll probably need to conduct a full-court press with everything from App Store Optimization (ASO) to Social Media, YouTube promotional videos or trailers, and connecting with journalists and media for app reviews.

Android and iOS technical stacks

In most cases, defining the technical stack for an Android or iOS mobile app is much more straightforward than with other types of software. Even so, it’s important to review your software specifications with an experienced software engineer to avoid costly mistakes – i.e. “measure twice, develop once.”

Several factors must be evaluated in defining the tech stack for your mobile app, including:

  • Goal or Business Objective – The core reason why you are investing in the app like to increase sales, expand customer support, increase engagement with customers, etc.
  • Scalability – how many people will use your app, what the load on your backend will be, provisioning for peak users, and contingencies for when you exceed it.
  • Security – critical and yet steadily increasing in importance to protecting your business and your user data, some types of apps may need to meet specific standards.
  • Complexity – how many different devices, device features (cameras, sensors, etc.), and other third-party software the app must interact with.
  • Development Time – how fast you need the app whether to bring an MVP or full-feature app to market and launch on the App Store or Google Play; but also perhaps just creating a prototype to show prospective investors.

We’ve discussed the variables that go into how much time it takes to develop an app previously, but for quick reference – it ties fairly closely to app complexity:

  • A simple app with ~6 screens is likely to take a team 1.5 – 2 months.
  • Your typical interactive app with ~12 screens will take 5 – 6 months.
  • Complex apps with ~24 screens, or more, will take 10 – 12 months.

You can also compare the relative ease of defining tech stacks for Android and iOS apps below to the many variables that exist with programming languages like Python or frameworks like Node.JS.

Android and iOS Tech Stack Components

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Hiring Android and iOS Developers

Let us help you source Android and iOS developers for your mobile app.

  • Our developers can be ready to start on your project within ten business days.
  • Israeli companies can typically add two outstaffed Ukrainian developers for the fully-loaded cost of an in-house employee. The cost advantage can double again for companies in tech hub cities like San Francisco or New York City.
  • Ukrainian developers are assessed by SkillValue, a leader in technical assessments, as ranking 5th globally in technical skill – scoring 8% and 13% higher than their American and Israeli counterparts, respectively. See what this means for your project.
  • Industry average turnover for software developers is 13.2% and twice that for tech startups. Ukrainian developers have turnover rates of less than 10%.
  • PerceptionBox covers all of the administrative and financial aspects of your outstaffed team.

BONUS TERMS! With PerceptionBox, for projects anticipated to last 12 months or more, you get a 5% discount straight off the top. By prepaying for 3-months on projects of 4+ months, you can get another 10% off. We welcome you to try out our developer cost calculator for free – to see how much you can save by outstaffing through PerceptionBox.

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