As a developer, I have to say that one of the most rewarding feelings is putting the last lines of code into an app and having it published on app stores, where eager users start to download it. Developing apps in itself is a passion for all dedicated developers. But if you can’t make money off your app, you’ll end up having to find some other (boring) job that puts food on the table, and file away app development as a pastime better left for holidays and weekends.
As every experienced developer will tell you, monetizing apps is a daunting task. There are several models you can choose from, and each has its own challenges. Will you charge a one-time download fee for your app, or will you lure users in with free downloads and offer them paid features or premium account options? Orwill you remain toll-free and rely on content providers and ad delivery networks to gain earnings?
In this series, I’ll discuss each mobile business model and help you to decide which one fits your app best.
This post, the first of two parts, will focus on paid apps, including the market, key characteristics, and potential pitfalls.
Many app developers ask me when an app marketing campaign should begin. Upon publishing an app? A few weeks after publishing it, when you’ve gotten some real user feedback?
My answer is: Right this very moment, before you even publish your app, even before you’re feature-complete and finished correcting all the bugs.
If you think you’re working on a great idea and the app you’re developing is exactly what your users need, then you should let them know about it before it hits the stores. Creating buzz before you publish you app will make sure that you’ll hit the ground running when you actually release it and create the right momentum to keep you on the path to success.
The app Mylo managed to create much hype before even being release, and it has a very interesting success story to tell in this regard. Here is how the team managed to whet the appetite of tens of thousands of users before shipping the app.
The idea of being your own boss and publisher can sound appealing to any app developer who’s toiled too long under someone else’s thumb. And thanks to the advent of technology in the past years, everyone can have their shot at it: You build your very own app, publish it in your favorite app store (probably Google Play or Apple’s App Store, or both, if you’re a hybrid or bi-native developer), and then the cash starts flowing, right?
Wrong. Pinch yourself, you’re dreaming. On the ground, it’s a different story altogether. As an app developer, you have to overcome many challenges to live off your skills independently, some of which you’ll find in this post.
Making money from an app is risky business, especially when there are more than 1.7 million apps available across different app stores and thousands being submitted for review and publication each day.
When publishing apps, developers have to choose between charging a one-time fee on installation (and deciding what the price will be), or offering the app for free and monetizing within the app. Both options have their own set of challenges (although roughly 75 percent of developers choose the latter). Charging for installation is risky because users are likely to find the needed value in some other free alternative. On the other hand, in-app paid features have their own unpredictable nature and in most cases can’t be relied on to reach profit goals.
This is where mobile ads enter the fray, offering an alternative that can give your users full benefit from your app’s features while also making sure it generates a steady – and hopefully increasing – flow of income. Mobile ad spending doubled in 2014, reaching a whopping $14 billion dollars, which only proves how this monetization medium is growing.
But as with all types of advertisements, mobile ads have their own pitfalls and challenges. Not knowing and addressing them can lead to failed attempts at monetizing your apps, unsatisfied users, and even the possible deletion of your app. In this piece, I’ll offer several tips to help you make the most out of running ads in your app.