Mobile apps have revolutionised our lives in many ways. From the addictive puzzle game to the fitness tracking app, mobile apps are here to stay and they can mean big bucks for the brands that capitalise on their monetisation power.
However, turning that small screen real estate into money can be a tricky process, and it needs to be handled carefully. Monetise at the wrong time or bombard your audience with advertising and you could alienate and lose them completely. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the most effective ways you can maximise app revenue without driving your users away.
The Business of Building Apps
Building an app is a serious business and needs to be approached in the right way. Most app owners have two goals in mind when developing an app for their brand:
- To monetise the app to earn money that will keep them going
- To use app revenue to reinvest in further app development
Before we explore the different options available for monetising your app, let’s start with the golden rule of monetisation: make your monetisation method clear from day one. Whether you are running a free trial, offering in-app purchases or charging a set price for download, this will help you to validate your app idea and prove that your customers are willing to pay for an app that solves their particular problem.
Choosing the Right Pricing Model
When it comes to bringing in revenue with your app, there are effectively four pricing models to turn to:
- Freemium for games and apps
- One-time paid apps
- Paid apps with added paid features
- Free apps with advertising
Freemium for Games and Apps
This monetisation model is possibly the most popular model and one that generates the most revenue. Freemium apps are a great way to develop trust with your users and to demonstrate value without asking for any payment upfront.
When you offer your app free-of-charge you eliminate risk to your users and offer them a taste of what they can expect if they pay for additional features or a full version of your app. Free apps also eliminate any price point barrier that could discourage your users from downloading your app in the first place. This gives them an opportunity to get familiar with your app, explore its value and decide for themselves whether they want to make in-app purchases to extend its value.
One-Time Paid Apps
As their name suggests, one-time paid apps are apps that your users only pay for once. With this pricing model, your users will expect any additional features or updates to be offered free of charge.
For a one-time paid app to be successful, it first needs to give your users a compelling reason to pay for it. Why should they part with their money? Can they try before they buy? Do you have good reviews? Where’s the value? If you can answer these questions quickly, your app should start generating a continuous revenue stream in no time. Good marketing, fulfilling your promises and a tempting price point are all important here.
Paid Apps With Added Paid Features
The paid apps with added paid features model is one that has really only been introduced quite recently. This model needs to be approached with caution, as it is definitely a model that could alienate your audience if not approached in the right way. Many users feel that it is hardly fair to charge for more features when they have already paid to download the app.
However, when done smartly, this model can work very well. For example, a major update that includes many valuable new features could be snapped up for the right price by users who are already in love with your app and couldn’t live without it. They will be intrigued by the new features and will likely be more willing to pay for them.
Free Apps With Advertising
This is a model that is seen frequently and which comes with a number of pros and cons. On the plus side, free apps are attractive to users as they offer something for nothing. On the minus side, because the cost barrier has been removed, brands need to attract a sizeable user base in order to make revenue through advertising. This model is best for apps that attract frequent and prolonged use.
The biggest caveat with choosing this monetisation model is the annoyance factor. Run too many ads, the same ad over and over or at the wrong frequency, and you could put users off of using your app altogether. This is where user analysis can come in very handy. By monitoring app usage, user demographics and other insights, you can choose which ads are most likely to be tolerated and even enjoyed.
With so many ways to monetise your app, it can be tricky to choose the right model to suit your brand, your objectives and your target audience. Your main objective, however, should be to focus on attracting repeat transactions from your existing users at the same time as attracting new ones.
This may take a little time to get right, but once you find the magic formula, you can go on repeating its success for many years to come. Working with an app development agency with experience in design, development and ongoing monetisation is a wise investment and will ensure you get started with the right model from the moment you launch your app.