Developers and business owners want to make money from their apps to ensure they generate a profit. With so many ways to monetize apps, it can be difficult to choose the right monetization strategy, but the fact is that each comes with its own unique benefits and applications. Some strategies will work better than others, depending on the type of app you offer and your audience’s preferences. At the same time, you don’t want to irritate your audiences with overbearing ads or paywalls that prevent users from progressing too soon. The best monetization strategy will strike a balance between profitability and user satisfaction.
If you’re having trouble deciding on the best app monetization strategy, the following are some of the best ways to approach monetization.
1. Using the Right In-App Advertising Formats and Frequency
In-app advertising remains the most popular type of monetization strategy for app owners and developers. However, not every type of in-app strategy will work for every app. Depending on your app and audience, you will want to select the right types of ads to incorporate into the user experience.
In-app ads have the potential to generate plenty of revenue, with app revenue reaching $111 billion in 2020, a growth of almost 50% compared to 2018.
The different types of ads to use include:
The first in-app ads to come about were banner ads, but users quickly became impatient and annoyed with these ads, which are unappealing and interrupt the user experience. One of the ways developers began to avoid using banner ads was the development of interstitial ads.
Instead of showing large banner ads that feel more intrusive to users, interstitial ads show a full-screen ad between screens. For example, in a mobile gaming app, a person might complete a level and see an interstitial video ad before returning to the game’s main menu.
To benefit from these types of ads, you must gain a deep understanding of how people use your app, along with who uses it. This will help gauge the best placement for these ads, whether at the beginning or end of user flows.
Unlike interstitial ads, native ads appear within the app during user flows, without any intrusiveness. Ads will appear similar to other in-app content for a more seamless experience among users. For instance, native ads may appear in a timeline as a user scrolls through a social media app.
While native ads are intended to more or less blend in with surrounding content, users should still be able to tell them apart from other in-app features. Otherwise, users could easily become frustrated when clicking on an item they think is in-app content, only to discover that it’s an ad.
Many gaming apps use reward ads that require users to view them to earn an in-app reward. A game might use a kind of in-game coin currency, for example, and users can earn more coins by watching a 30-second ad. In addition to games, reward ads could work with other apps to offer certain exciting rewards, such as earning scratch cards with potential prizes in an eCommerce app.
Affiliate ads entail advertising other products, services, and apps to generate revenue from them. If people naturally trust the referred source, affiliate ads could effectively convert users. Affiliate ads also need to be relevant to the advertising app, such as a mobile arcade game app advertising games within the same or a similar genre.
Using one or more of these ad types is an effective way to generate income, and it will remain that way for many years to come.
2. Driving In-App Purchases
Considering most apps available today are free, many of them rely on in-app purchases in addition to or in lieu of ads. This app monetization strategy involves selling items to users within the app, which could include either physical or virtual products. Shopping apps could use in-app purchases to sell physical products to customers, for instance, while other apps may sell in-app currency or other items. Taking the right approach with this strategy can deliver great value to users to keep them satisfied while benefiting the app owner.
In-app purchases are also incredibly lucrative, accounting for 48.2% of total mobile app earnings. To get the most from them, you need to ensure that the price is just right and that the items are worth the purchase. You can experiment with different price points to better determine what people are willing to pay
3. Offering Freemium Apps
The freemium monetization strategy enables users to download an app for free while requiring users to purchase certain premium features to get the most from the app. The goal is to encourage users to download the base version of the app, leading them to pay to dig deeper into the app and all it has to offer. The main benefit of this model is the ability for users to give your app a try before making a purchase, which can help them determine if an app is right for them.
On the other hand, it can be challenging to determine which features should be free and which should count as part of the premium experience. By monitoring user engagement and the number of purchases for various features, you can identify bottlenecks that keep users from going beyond the free experience.
Many app owners have found success with this strategy. One survey of 400 mobile app developers in the U.S. and the U.K. found that freemium apps ranked second to the subscription model among respondents, with 33% of developers generating the highest amount of revenue from these apps.
4. Implementing the Pay-Per-Download Model
The pay-per-download strategy is both the simplest and oldest model. This strategy requires users to pay a fee to download the app and immediately access all in-app features. The biggest downside to this model is that people won’t be able to try the app before downloading it, unlike free or freemium apps. This could make people hesitant to pay to purchase the app if they’re not sure what to expect.
While the pay-per-download model might seem a little less lucrative compared to others, it’s possible to generate a great deal of engagement and revenue with sufficient marketing and advertising efforts. For instance, you can encourage purchases and downloads with great press and plenty of buzz about the app, along with in-depth descriptions and screenshots in app stores and on your website. The more information and positive reviews there are for a paid app, the more sales you’ll get.
5. Incorporating a Subscription Model
Subscriptions are somewhat similar to freemium strategies, as they block off access to certain content as opposed to features. The subscription model involves offering an app to users for free, giving them access to a certain amount of content before people must pay for a subscription. Essentially, the free app functions as a free trial that people can get a feel for before requiring them to pay to go further.
Like freemium apps, the subscription model is a great way to bring new users on and show them what they’re getting with your app. Once you’ve engaged users and gained their trust, they’ll be far more likely to invest in a subscription, which could include multiple tiers to give them some options.
Subscriptions are extremely popular today among users, making them highly profitable. In fact, subscriptions drove an impressive 97% of consumer spend in the Apple App Store for the top 250 non-gaming apps in 2019. Additionally, they accounted for 91% of revenue in the Google Play Store.
6. Partnering With Other Brands for Sponsorship
Another option available to app owners is brand sponsorship, which could include a mix of ad formats to promote one or more businesses through your app. This eliminates the need to go through ad networks when you partner with a limited number of brands. If your app is popular within a highly specific niche, other brands within that niche may want to have ads featured within your app to help increase awareness and engagement. Ultimately, if you think your audience would like to see ads from brands within your niche, sponsorships may be a great way to monetize your app.
Choose the Ideal App Monetization Strategy to Meet Your Needs
Any of these strategies can help you drive revenue with your app, ensuring you get the most out of it upon launch. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all monetization strategy. Different models will work for different types of apps, depending on their niche and the audience for them. With the right strategy behind your app, you’ll experience unbridled growth that boosts both user engagement and profitability on a long-term basis.
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