If you are going to create a successful app, you will definitely have to invest heavily in it. Apart from the initial idea, you have to elaborate on the development process, find investors, hire developers or outsource the project, and examine further prospects.
As a result, after the app is released, you will surely want to get the money back. And one of the ways to do it is to monetize the app.
Truth be told, you should design a monetization plan even before or on the early stages of the app development process.
The mobile application market can hardly complain about poor revenue. Nevertheless, it is distributed among the participants rather unequally.
The right monetization model will help you start generating cash. It will enable you to stay afloat after the release, avoid to be driven out of the market further, and enter the club of entrepreneurs who earn above $500,000 later.
There are several popular models to monetize the app; each has proven its efficiency at some time. Besides, no one forbids you using a few of them simultaneously, but every single method has its own pros and cons. In order to blend them appropriately, you need to get a closer look at each of them separately.
What model to choose notably depends on the type of your app. With games, things are a little bit easier. Certain players, not all, of course, are interested in different in-game items and don’t want to spend time acquiring them, so they buy them. And such purchases became a common practice a long time ago. The situation in other niches, however, is somewhat more complicated.
The model combines three similar but different approaches:
- Trial version. Allows you to use all the functions, but for a certain period of time (most commonly 7-30 days). After examining the app functionality, the user is able to decide whether to pay for the application or not.
- Free app with separate paid features. Skype or Viber, for example, enables the user to chat and make calls within them for free, but calls on mobile phones require you to replenish the account.
- Upgrade. The major disadvantage of a paid application is that customers may find it too expensive. Nevertheless, you can demonstrate to them what your application equipped with. Let’s take Tinder as an example: you can download the base application, study how it works, understand what restriction it has, and then adopt a decision whether to cope with them or purchase Tinder Plus or Gold, a monthly subscription that gives you more options.
- relatively easy to implement;
- users have an opportunity to try the product of features before the purchase;
- costlier and longer to develop;
- you need to carefully choose what features to make free and what to be paid, since the former have to unobtrusively encourage users to buy the latter, which, in their turn, should be worth buying.
In-app purchases are a significant part of freemium applications. The range of options here is quite wide: you can sell goods and services as well as charge users for some collectibles or stickers within the app. Here it is rather important to convince them of the benefits such purchases provide, in an unobtrusive way, of course, without affecting the natural interaction with the app.
- high proven profit (especially in games);
- major marketplaces collect 30-40% from digital or virtual purchases (the main reason behind the recent Epic Games’s decision not to release the mobile version of Fortnight in Google Play).
Subscriptions are another sustainable and reliable way to generate money. But in order to promote membership, you will have to update the app content constantly. Otherwise, clients will have no motivation to subscribe. The more frequent you updated the content, the stronger the motivation to purchase a subscription.
- re-subscriptions ensure a constant cash inflow.
- pretty hard to create high-quality content for users and maintain it relevant.
Advertising is another suitable option to acquire funds. It is important, however, not to affect the user experience by its means. Advertising can be rather fruitful. You can collect the user data and show well-targeted ads as a result. Irrelevant ads may repel potential customers, though.
- can be useful in all niches;
- easy to implement.
- can be annoying;
- can adversely affect the in-app experience.
The approach means that you partner up with advertisers who reward your users for fulfilling certain goals in your application, providing discounts in partner stores, for example. The income is distributed between you and the sponsor.
- ensures stable earnings;
- substantially improves your brand outreach.
- challenging to find partners.
There are some legal and profitable ways to sell the customer data you collect. It can be used to influence non-mobile businesses or promote services to existing customers more efficiently.
- a supplementary source of money.
- takes a lot of time and resources to process and store big databases.
Blockchain-based applications like Steepshot pay users cryptocurrency for likes under visual content. Those who post photos and videos receive most tokens. Cryptocurrency is distributed between the authors depending on the number of likes. Those who got tokens can promote their posts in the promotional action section and even become shareholders of the network, receiving some percent of tokens as dividends. The funds can be cashed through the exchanges and transferred to the card.
- a rather relevant and safe way of currency exchange.
- rather sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations.
The approach entails financing a project or enterprise by attracting investments from a large number of people, usually via the Internet. Developers present their idea on popular online platform, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and ask for contributions.
- sometimes interesting projects gather a lot more than they originally needed.
- chances not to gain the necessary funds are quite high as well.
Despite the tough competition in the industry, developers are using these monetization methods, combining them, or creating new interesting and useful solutions.
The subscription model works only in certain niches but is the most profitable of all. At the same time, Freemium apps implemented in a deliberate way are rather fruitful as well. And only paid applications are out of favor; they, however, are able to operate in black in some cases. Hybrid monetization models, such as in-app advertising and purchases, are clearly conquering the business world nowadays.
All in all, examine the market, study the audience, search for the best practices and blend them whereas necessary, and finally, you will be able to pick the right monetization model.