Companies need to choose successful distribution channels to make their apps turn a profit. An effective app monetization model will increase a business’s return on investment and integrate seamlessly with the app’s user experience.
Although many businesses use their mobile apps as business tools, mobile apps can also generate profit.
Your company’s app monetization strategy should influence product popularity and income. The wrong monetization scheme can make users abandon an app.
Consider why your company is implementing a monetization strategy and what value this proposition will bring to your company and the user.
Distribution Channels You Should Consider
Distribution channels can be essential for marketing campaigns. Your company needs to choose the best platforms to advertise its product and attract brand awareness. Your company should see the most results if it targets its promotional efforts to a specific audience.
1. The Power of Content Marketing
Nearly 90% of business owners use content marketing to generate leads via blogging, vlogging, live videos, podcasts, or inbound marketing. Valuable, informative, and educational content is a must to convert new users into lifelong customers. Your company can start providing users with content and specific features free of charge. Your company can then grant loyal users full access to premium content for a price.
2. Landing Page
Consider a landing page for your business’ mobile app. A landing page is a standalone website page, specifically created for an advertising campaign. The landing page should capture visitor information through a lead form.
A landing page is a useful tool to sell an app and can be a critical part of a marketing campaign. As users first interact with a landing page, it’s an excellent opportunity to encourage users to download or buy a product. Make sure to provide a clear and engaging call-to-action in the right place.
3. Mobile First Indexing
Any web application should also have a mobile version. If your company has a web-based platform, optimize it for mobile devices. All menu items, sections, and texts should be identical on both the app and the site. Google announced it will be rolling out mobile-first indexing. This update means their browser will now use the mobile version of site pages for indexing and ranking.
4. Focus on Improving Your ASO
App store optimization helps to drive more traffic to an app page by ranking an app higher in search results. As recent data shows, nearly two-thirds of users discover apps through searching the app store.
Follow strict Apple App Store guidelines and Google Play Market requirements to write a relevant description. Design an effective icon, add high-quality screenshots, and videos. Don’t forget about localizing a landing page. Include success stories about your brand. For example, if app stores have selected an app to be featured, or TechCrunch has reviewed a product, the developer should mention these accomplishments in the description.
5. Advertising Campaign
Calculate how much your company is willing to spend on an advertising campaign. As of 2017, business owners spent 107 billion dollars on mobile ads worldwide. There are many ways to advertise a mobile app. You can use Apple Search Ads, Google Ads, social media, TV, or host an event.
Preloading allows your company to distribute its app by uploading it to a device upon first boot. Most of the apps that are preloaded onto phones are utility apps like calculator, weather, or contacts.
Preloads can be difficult to secure as your company has to convince the phone producer that the phone needs your app. For example, Android includes the CCleaner app on all its devices while the iPhone automatically uploads the Apple News app to all phones.
Recently, apps have begun partnering with carriers to have their apps downloaded onto phones depending on user demographics. If your company’s app does secure a preload contract, preloads can act as a powerful distribution channel. Considering most smartphone users look at their home screen 80 times a day, your company’s app will immediately have a direct point of contact with thousands of users.
7. Prioritize Social Media Marketing
According to Statista, investments in social media will grow to reach 48 billion dollars in 2021.
Define your company’s target audience, grow brand awareness, improve sales performance, boost in-person sales, increase return on investments, build a loyal fan base, and keep a pulse on competition to build a successful social media campaign.
8. Increase New Clients Using Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cost and time effective tool. It allows your company to optimize its product, boost sales, acquire new clients, increase brand awareness, and build loyal relationships with target audiences. In comparison with other distribution channels, eMarketing shows a higher ROI.
9. Host a Giveaway
Hosting a giveaway allows your company to grow sales and gain more clients. Include exciting prizes, fun content, and consistent updates on how to submit and win. Below you can see a giveaway example:
The above photo shows the different products visitors can win each day. Apple offers users licensed iOS apps and games via daily giveaways.
Mobile App Monetization Trends to Watch in 2019
Play Market, App Store, Microsoft Store, Amazon Appstore, BlackBerry World offer users instant access to over 7 million apps. According to App Annie, smartphone owners will spend 156.5 billion dollars on apps by 2022.
Meanwhile, on average apps lose 77% of their daily active users during the first three days after installation. People abandon apps with poor performance, lousy design, bugs, and intrusive ads. Create an app people rely on so users will pay money for certain services. Consider how to generate application revenue at the start of product development. These are the top mobile monetization trends your company should watch in 2019:
1. Ads Within an Application
In-app advertising is the easiest way to earn money via clicks, views, and actual conversions. Your company can also consider banner ads, interstitial or full-screen ads, pop-ups, native ads, and notifications to integrate into your app. Ensure that promotion is relevant to a target user base and doesn't disrupt users’ experience.
2. Free Trial
With a trial version, users grow to depend on an app before a company charges them for services. Trials can help users understand why a product is better than other, similar, apps. Give people free access to your company’s app for a limited period of time. This trial allows users to decide whether or not they want to buy the app.
3. Freemium & Premium App Models
A freemium monetization model offers users a basic platform for free while then advertising users to purchase their premium site at a price. Freemium platforms usually use upsells, ads, affiliate links, and sponsorship to convince users to buy the premium version of their app. For example, the Evernote app uses a freemium model:
Evernote is free for a basic plan. Users can sync their notes on two devices. As well, they can have monthly uploads up to 60 MB and a maximum note size of 25 MB. The Evernote Premium plan costs $5.83 per month. With a premium plan, users can sync their files onto unlimited devices. Further, monthly uploads can reach up to 10 GB with a maximum note size of 200 MB.
A premium application model needs to give users content and opportunities worth the cost. Once users buy the premium site, they should want to keep paying for the features they are using. In the image below, you can see a great example of premium model usage by the Heads Up! application:
The Heads Up! app costs $0.99 and includes all the features and content in the one price. The app's premium model gives users added bonus content and games that motivate people to pay for the better version. Offer exclusive features to convince users to pay for the app.
4. In-App Purchases & Virtual Goods
In-app purchases and virtual goods are great monetizing tools, especially for gaming and entertainment apps. Advertise items, extra content, upgrades, or advanced features to users for a price while they use your company’s app.
5. White Label Services
A white label product is a product or service created by one company that other businesses rebrand. Your company can offer white label services once it has built a great app that has proven to sell successfully. Many brands are eager to save costs on development and may offer to reskin an existing app and use your company’s tech stack to build their products under commercial use.
6. Affiliate Marketing & Lead Generation
Affiliate marketing is based on marketing performance, where one business rewards an affiliate depending on how many customers that affiliate brings to the business through marketing. With this mobile app revenue model, you promote other brands’ products through your app. As a result, your company receives a profit for each sale or when its platform generates a lead for that business.
7. Subscription Model
By using a paid subscription service, people pay to sign up for periodic access to content, products, or services. To keep the brand relevant, offer clear solutions that drive value and quality. Localize and personalize content to build a loyal following. Keep pricing fair and transactions convenient. Improve offerings, refresh content, and update features. For example, Netflix offers users a paid subscription:
Netflix provides three paid subscriptions—basic for $7.99/month, standard for $10.99/month, and premium for $13.99/month
8. Take Advantage of Sponsorship
The sponsorship model is based on partnering with advertisers. Choose popular brands or influencers in your company’s business niche. Sponsors reward people when they complete certain actions within an application. Earn money from redeemed rewards and share revenue with a sponsor. This model effectively increases user engagement.
9. Paid Transactions
If a mobile app operates on the SAAS (software as a service) basis, it can provide a paid transaction service. Consider reasonable fees to encourage users to make purchases from your company’s platform. Booking, Airbnb, Uber, Slack, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other platforms work with this model.
What Monetization Strategy Should Your Business Choose?
There is no single answer to what monetization strategy your company should choose. There are many ways to generate mobile application revenue, including hiring an experienced mobile app development company.
Make sure your app is reliable with a great user interface. To monetize an app, make sure your company can justify why the user has to pay for it. Choose the monetization model that has the least costs and highest return on investment. Your company should provide a service for your customers and a profit for your business.
About the Author
Dmytro Dvurechenskyi is the CEO and technology consultant at openGeeksLab. He has 10+ years of experience in mobile and web development, blockchain and ICO. He is a specialist in full-stack, React.js, React Native, and Node.js development. He has a personal blog on Medium where he writes about his expertise in tech and business solutions.