Most people create apps for one reason: to make money. But before you start developing that code, there are a few realities you should know in order to understand revenue modeling for free apps.
It’s not easy to make it. And it’s going to take persistence and money to get off the ground and get the word out for people to find your app. Don’t fall in to the trap of assuming that your app is so amazing that people will find it on their own. As of May 2015, there were 1.5 million apps available for Android devices; and 1.4 million available apps on Apple’s App store (source: Statistica). There’s no market where competition is fiercer than the app world. You will need to be ready to create buzz, visibility and traffic to generate downloads and this will require a dedicated budget spend.
So how do you start money coming in? Here are 3 key factors to building financial success:
1. APP UPGRADES
Attract downloads with a free, ‘lite’ version of your app which allows users to try out the app and get used to the features. Promote the benefits of a full/premium version of the app to generate conversions and paid upgrades.
2. IN-APP ADVERTISING
This is perhaps the easiest way to generate revenue from your app, as well as build engagement for your app. The way it works is by allowing advertising with linking to be integrated within your app. A successful strategy is to offer a free version of your app with advertising and offer users the option to remove the ads by upgrading to a paid app version. An easy way to do this is to tap into the services of a mobile advertising network like InMobi. In addition to handling effective integration of ads, they can also ensure that the advertising is delivered with the right ad experience for your app users.
3. IN-APP PURCHASES
Your app may be free yet you can make money by providing and charging for special features or content, subscriptions and bonus offerings that can be purchased directly through the app. Make sure that your app is set up to facilitate easy payment and delivery of purchased products. An easy an effortless integrated experience increases the opportunity for continued purchases.
Launching an app is hard work and real success is limited to the few. In addition to gaining downloads and users, you need to maintain them. Statistics show that there is often a drop off after three months. App developers need to be persistent and woo their users. The dream payoff is to make a sale like SnapChat or WhatsApp. It only happens to a few, but it's not a bad vision to have in your rear view mirror.