Mobile App Monetization
With the rise of smartphones, many developers have started targeting the mobile devices. The Play Store and the Apple Store contains so many apps that if you start downloading and using each one of those, you will need many months to finish the process. The main reason behind such majestic size of the stores is the fact that the applications are easy to create thanks to endless gigabytes of training material available online and in the form of books.
Recently Apple has announced that since it launched in 2008, developers have earned over $70 billion from the App Store. However, many developers are finding it hard to Monetize their Applications. Mobile advertising is such a nightmare these years, with terribly low revenue and click-through rates crippling both commercial companies and indie developers. To help you, we are listing 11 monetizing methods for mobile apps and help you decide what will work for you.
1. Paid Apps
This is one of the most sought after monetizing method for application. Other than being developer’s favorite method, this method makes the most money and converts easily (if it is really very helpful).
- Simple and easy to implement
- Involves good money
- Store keeps certain amount of money (30% in case of Apple)
- Cost of future upgrades is also covered within this cost
Popular with the free application, this method involves displaying advertisements within the application. When the users click on these adverts or even if they view adds, you mint some money (cents actually). Most of the developer allow users to make an in-app purchase (which is another method of monetization) and then display all the features available in the premium version. We can also include the (much-hated) notification adverts in this section.
- Simple and easy to implement
- Since the app is free, expect a lot of downloads
- Need a lot of downloads to make some appreciable income
- Rate of conversion is too low
3. In-App Purchases
This method allows the user to purchase some points or premium stuff from within the app. These purchases than can be used to enhance the experience of using the application in some way or the other. For example buying coins in a game app to upgrade guns and tanks.
- Almost unlimited offers can be promoted
- New items and premiums can be added with each update and hence capture more money through a single app
- Moderate conversion rate
- If you sell through the official store, store keeps a fixed percentage for every deal and every offer promoted throughout the life of the app
4. Users Pay To Access The WebApp
This is a kind of monetization I avoid. Although many successful app builders have been able to do wonders with this kind of a solution, it involves double the work than other methods. You create and distribute an application for free for mobile phones but users have to pay a fixed amount to get access to the Web or Desktop app. The basic feature associated with such apps is the syncing of tasks or notes and other such data when accessing the app from different sources.
- Reaches more customers (web apps has its own charm)
- Extra time and money required to develop web-app
5. Signups and Emails
If you have a newsletter, push it through your app. There is nothing wrong with having an app that drives consumers to your website. It may not be the easiest thing to track, but it works. Remember that your app is just another leg of your brand chair. It does not have to survive on its own but does need to add value to your audience.
- Gets more viewers to your main revenue website
- Extra time and money required to maintain the mobile app
This is my favorite method of capturing fixed amount of money every month. Just like a magazine, people subscribe to see the content of your application on a weekly or monthly basis. For this method to work, content must be fresh, informative and helpful in day to day life.
- Not much competition in the app stores
- Can implement more sources of income like in-app purchases through affiliate links
- Monthly income
- Conversion rate may fall if you fail to deliver appropriate content
- You compete with the free information available on the Internet
7. Affiliates and Lead Generation
This method works for the apps that have the ability to sell services. For example, if you create an application for air ticket booking you can earn huge money in commissions if people book tickets using your affiliate links. BUT one major problem with this app is that that it requires a lot of trust from users.
- Huge money involved
- Conversion rate is very low
- Volume of traffic is the key
8. VIP Levels of App Usage
I think that having two versions of your app, a free/cheap version, and a paid version is important. It is part of the strategy of giving your customers a taste — a trial period to get a sense of all that your app can do — and then build from there. You want your customers to integrate this app into their lives and then realize they cannot live without it when it comes time to upgrade. Beefing up your upgrades is a big way to establish your product’s importance and value to your customers as well.
- Once users like your app, it serves as a constant stream of income (particularly if it is a subscription based)
- Conversion rate is low
- You need a superb free version and the paid version needs something the customer cannot live without
9. User Base Monetization
In this model, traction and growth are your main objective. You develop an application, get a good user base, and later sell it to the big venture at a good price. Instead of selling this to the enterprise, you can charge your users through above-mentioned models or can sell units of your app to advertisers as well. The perfect example of this model is Facebook.
- Since the app is free, it generates lot of downloads, which you can sell to a big venture
- Privacy concerned users will not use it
- You need to have a good number of users for it to make profit
10. Selling intellectual rights of apps
There are moments when an app fails to create a mark in the market but its algorithm or research on the user base behavior is worthy. In such cases, you can sell off those to the enterprises. Also, you can either rent out or sell your infrastructure to the enterprises in order to get a return on the investment made on an app.
- Huge money
- Need to have a great code base or infrastructure to make it profitable
11. White Labeling & Templatization
For start-ups reaching out to the maximum potential customers could be a difficult task since they have limited resource and money. In such cases, you can identify an established company and give them the authority to brand your app amongst their clients. You can charge those enterprises for doing so and can generate enough revenue.
Developing an app and maintaining it is an expensive affair. With app monetization, companies can reach the break-even point and sustain themselves in this competitive market. Above mentioned are some of the most popular models used by various companies for app monetization. Understand your requirement and choose the one that would fulfill your needs.
Different applications demand a different monetization model. While paid app model works excellent for Games, affiliate model will work like a charm for flight booking application. You just need to spend a little time thinking about the approach your users will have towards your application. For example, if you launch a train booking app under a paid app model, I will never spend a dime on such an app because I know there are a lot of free sources available. Now if the same application is provided for free, I will definitely use it to book my flight ticket and unknowingly generate income for you too.