Strategies To Monetize Your Mobile App
By: Rani Arsanios
Friday, July 27th, 2018
Table of content
Mobile app best practices are more important than ever. The mobile app industry is one gigantic baby. The reason I call it a gigantic baby is that I believe it is still in its infancy stages, yet it is already huge. Revenues from apps surpassed $80 billion dollars last year and the number of downloads is estimated to be circa 170 billion. Another interesting metric is app users spend around 3 hours a day on apps with a 30% increase in daily time spent vs 2015. Why is this important? The future is in mobile apps folks.
It doesn’t matter what business you are in, having a smart well-designed app will significantly improve your business value, enhance your brand, improve your customer experience aside from direct monetisation opportunities. If you do have an app, are you getting the maximum value out of it? There is always more juice to squeeze.
But let’s say you decided to build an app or in the middle of the process. Why are you doing so? Is it the core of your business or is it there to supplement your business operation? Is it your main source of revenue? Is it your main communication channel? Are you planning to monetise your app?
Indeed, not all apps make money as a direct revenue channel and not all app developers intend to make money out of their apps. There are several reasons people make and deliver apps.
1. The top-down App development model: ADMM
1.1 Add Value – Design & Build – Monetise – Measure
So, when it comes to building apps there are many things that you need to think about. Some folks are always thinking about the best mobile app design ideas which are great, but design thinking needs to come at a later stage. The most crucial part is when thinking about how to make a successful app is asking – what value will my app give to my customers and prospects? And is that very valuable? Will our audience perceive the value as much as we do? Why would they use it and how often and for how long? Am I building this app as an integral part of my business operation? Is it to provide support? Or do I actually need to make money out of it? Identifying the primary purposes for your app will set the tone for everything else.
Then, you need to come up with the top three objectives that should be loud and clear to your users. Is this app going to help tell them more about your business? Is it going to help you and them with admin tasks? Is it going to entertain them? Is it going to help them be part of a community? You see, there are so many things an app can do and with users today using mobile applications on over 3 hours a day on average, you need to make sure that when they spend their time on your app, its quality time and that you don’t only engage them but also give them true added value and a unique experience.
Source: Ketan – Mobile app development illustration
2. Big app development trends that will allow you to stand out
So, what are some things that you could do with your app to ensure you are on top of your mobile app best practices? What features and functionality that can set you apart from your competitors and really help your business give value to its customers from a functional perspective?
A Voice Activated App! Why? Voice search and voice technology including smart home devices or Google Voice or Alexa and many others out there – is the present and the future. Consumers are getting more and more used to voice technologies and the adoption rate has been quite impressive. There are a lot of major brands already experimenting with voice enabled or activated applications and so being one of the fairly or relatively early adopters can have a huge payoff. That is only from a functional perspective. What else can your application do to make your customers’ lives easier?
Think Augmented Reality! Yes, do it and do it asap! Of course, it has to suit your business in some shape or form, but there could be several ways your app can use Augmented reality to improve your users’ experience. A good example here is let’s say you are an e-commerce website or brand that sells high-end fashion items and you want your customers to be able to see how your products would look on them. Having augmented reality technology embedded in your app can really allow you to provide an exceptional experience and in turn, improve your revenues.
3. How do you price an app?
When it comes to pricing your app, there are essentially three main models.
3.1 Free Apps
The first is one of the most common and that’s the Free app. In most of the cases when you press this way your app acts as an added value and a method of engaging your users and providing a better and easier form of communication which allows you to retain your customers and increase their lifetime value. Bank apps is a great example of this. Are Banks monetising out of the apps? Of course not. But can you be a bank today and afford to not have an app for your customers? As a business and product owner of the app, you need to be able to accurately measure the attribution and return on investment of the app to understand is it worth it or not and how successful has it been in meeting your business objectives.
3.2 Advertisement Apps
The second type is the Advertisement apps. Your main aim here is to gather as many relevant users to start using your app and then offer advertisers space inside your app to target these users with relevant ads. A classic example here is game apps but this model is not limited to the gaming industry. If done right, this model can actually pay off but you have to be careful about making sure your advertising doesn’t turn off the app users. There are tools that can help you provide a better experience with advertising. Check out Google AdMob.
3.3 Paid Apps
The third main type is Paid apps. While they may not be very popular, they have worked before and we don’t see why they wouldn’t work in the future. The most important bit to make it work is having a strong value proposition with unique selling points. If any other app does half or more of what your app does and is offered for free, think twice before you go down the paid app road.
There are also pricing strategies that combine these pricing options but essentially, it all boils down to your customers perceived value, how niche or how broad your target audience is, how your competitors are pricing and what your medium to long-term objectives are including using it as a marketing funnel.