Now that your organization has decided that it needs to develop a mobile app, you’ll want to consider whether your mobile strategy should include monetization. There are a number of ways to make money from apps and we’ve assembled a list of the top methods to consider:
Charging users to download your app is probably the simplest and most obvious way to monetize. The upside to charging for apps is that you’re paid every time someone installs it and there’s guaranteed revenue per user. The downside is that competition is high and your challenge will be to rise above the noise so that your app stands out to users who may have hundreds of choices. Some apps like games, books and productivity tools are better suited for the paid route.
Another way to make money is by running ads. Although ads can interrupt the user experience, if they’re relevant and strategically placed they can be effective without being annoying. You’ll want to make sure users are engaged by interesting, fresh content so that they come back multiple times. Ad click rates can range from half a percent to five or six percent depending on the offer, so rather than generating a download you have to generate maybe a hundred ad impressions; however, there’s no limit to how many times a user can click through and ultimately purchase. The most popular ad networks for iOS is iAds and Google’s Ad Mob, but there are many others.
In-app purchases are purchases made from within a mobile application. Users will usually make an in-app purchase in order to gain special content or features in an app like, restricted levels, virtual money, special characters or boosts. Purchasing is completed directly from within the app with the mobile platform provider facilitating the purchase and taking a share of the money spent. The rest goes to the app developer.
Sponsorships are similar to ads, but you sell your own sponsorships and have more control over content, frequency, placement, size, etc. With sponsorships, one company might sponsor the entire app and their branding is seen throughout the experience. So that the experience is less intrusive marketers and developers can work together to create content that flows naturally within the engagement. It is important to find a sponsor that is a fit for an app’s target audience and know what products or services that they would be interested in. You want to be sure that sponsorship integration is organic and authentic so you won’t run the risk of turning your audience off with information that’s irrelevant to them.
Another way to make money in your app is an affiliate sales relationship which is when a third party pays the developer each time they bring a user to the third party’s product or service. Popular affiliate marketing programs are offered through LinkShare, Commission Junction and One Network Direct.