App Monetization- What Works 2013

The app market is a place visited almost daily by hundreds of millions of people across the globe, not only that, but the market itself, and the smartphone industry, is still relatively new, and because of the openness of the development platforms required to make apps for these markets, it can be an extremely fierce battlefield out there.

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of money to be made within the appmosphere, but before developing your app, planning a decent monetization strategy for your app could make or break your chance for big profits. There is no go-to plan for every app out there, however, there are some strategies that you can pick from, and many developers have adapted to these because they work well.

Good App Monetization Strategies and Tactics

The Freemium Model

Due to the fierce nature of the app market, developers have been pushed to offer their applications for free, and now app consumers expect only to pay for the best of the best. This is bad news for anyone other than the big-name developers, so unless you get a super strong marketing campaign already in play, it’s likely that anyone coming across your app will dismiss it if it’s up for a download price.

Most developers follow a strategy that offers their app for free and relies on in-app purchases to monetize their application. If you have an app that offers a certain service, you could limit it and force users to pay for other features. You want to make sure you have the basis of the app there though; otherwise, most of your potential customers will just look elsewhere for an app that offers more for less. But once you offer the bone of the app for free, you can charge as little or as much as you want for the flesh of the app.

Pro and Ad-supported versions

If you don’t want to limit a user’s use of your application, then the freemium model is probably one you feel like avoiding. A good alternative would be to place adverts in your application, although numbers on how much you’ll bring in from adverts are hard to predict, you’ll bring in more money as more people download your app, and if you become popular enough, you could even contact a big-time developer like mobage and ask whether they’d like to place an advert within your game.

Mobile adverts need a little bit of tweaking, and as of now they are filled mainly with spam and links or images that look best to avoid clicking, and for this reason app users usually dislike adverts, so if they like your app enough, then there’s a big chance they’ll pay for an ad-free version.

You could even stick in a few extra features to make the ‘pro’ version seem even more appealing.

The least viable choice to go for when starting up as a developer, like mentioned before is to charge directly for the app itself. It may feel disheartening to offer your app up for free, but you’ll find you will make yourself more money from those who have tried and enjoyed your app than those that have stumbled upon it and have enough money to risk trying it. The above methods have been tried and tested by many developers, and they are now the typical standard for app monetization, however, a not so-used model, that I see could come into play later in the life of the app market is a subscription-based model or a ‘trial version that offers an app free of charge with a limited feature for a few days before a subscription is needed, or a one-off purchase is required.

This will certainly fit in with multiplayer online games, and a few other constantly updated services, but for now, it’d be best to observe the current market and follow the trends.

app monetisation comic
Dilbert’s view

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