You’ve taken the steps to create a memorable brand and now you’ve created an App. Now what? Sure, your app has enabled you to collect data on your users and how they interact with your brand but are you getting the most out of your app? In order to do this, you need to look into monetising your app. How do you do this? Well, this article is going to break down the best ways to create real revenue for your app and thereby improve the user experience.
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What is App Monetisation anyway?
Simply speaking app monetisation is creating a revenue stream from your app. To do this you convert your app users into revenue. This process involves employing multiple strategies. Some categories of apps are more suited to certain app monetisation models than others. While other apps focus on one particular area of app monetisation, or they may incorporate multiple aspects.
If you’re thinking about developing a mobile application, generating revenue from it can take you to a whole new level. In the app world, it can be difficult to stay afloat. While mobile site optimisation is key and a huge boost for usability and SEO, if you implement a solid app monetisation plan that’s when you will have great success.
Why is App Monetisation important?
App monetisation is important because it has become more common to find that apps are free at the point of install from the app store. The app business model, as a result, needs to be adjusted to account for this.
You must swing your revenue model to generate income after download. By income we mean real cash, no virtual coins or tokens, unless it’s crypto currency. This is where your strategy comes in. Taking the time to make a plan that ensures these two things happen is key:
- Your app generates an upward spiral revenue that is continuous.
- You keep your users and the user experience moderately intact.
Many people forget about the second point- don’t let this be you. It’s just as important to look at how app Monetisation affects the app experience as it is to maximise revenue.
Why is User Experience important?
Experience is crucial to a successful app monetisation strategy because revenue requires happy users. Users that are happy with your app are more likely to feel comfortable spending money.
Monetisation mostly has a negative effect on the app user experience. This can be mitigated and reduced by implementing the right plan, but it is still there. Poor user experience turns off some people – I can attest to this. Obviously, you want to avoid this as an app developer or a prospective app owner.
Monetisation revenue is generally calculated based on the number of active users. As this figure is directly affected by user experience, it’s important for developers to consider this when deciding on an app monetisation strategy.
Best Strategies for App Monetisation
There is a myriad of ways available for app monetisation. Though, growing trends in terms of highest revenue generation show that the following are the leading ways to create revenue.
- In-app Advertising
- In-app Purchases
- Virtual Currency
- Freemium and Subscription Plans
- Data Monetisation
In-app ads are still the most popular option in terms of app Monetisation. If you don’t include ads in your app, you might be missing out on an incredible opportunity for Monetisation. There is absolutely no simple one size fits all approach for in-app adverts. Each app implements advertising differently. But there are some general tips for mobile advertising in apps.
- Benefits – quick to implement, simple app monetisation process.
- Concerns – can affect the app experience, only generates large figures if you have a large app audience and engagement.
The hard truth is this – without in-app advertising and mobile ad networks, a lot of apps wouldn’t exist. This is why this form of monetisation has worked so well, especially for free apps.
Here are the various types of ads used by developers:
1. Interstitial/ full-screen ads
These ads are usually placed at natural pause points, like when moving between menus. Because these aren’t actually interfering with the experience of using your app, they’re more likely to generate clicks without causing frustration. Remember user experience is key!
2. Notification ads
These pop-up in the mobile device’s status bar and make users more aware of the ad’s presence. Be warned, these aren’t the well-loved ads out there and could damage your app’s reputation due to poor user experience.
3. Capture form
Relying on user opt-ins, these offer incentives (like points or tokens) for users who enter their email addresses. This is usually found in capture forms in mobile games.
4. Advanced overlay
These use transition points like interstitial ads but are interactive instead of being simple clickable images. They’re sort of a mixture of capture form and full-screen ads.
5. Banner ads
These are usually found at the top or bottom of the screen and can be somewhat ineffective because they are more distracting than other forms. They can also irritate your users, so think twice before agreeing to incorporate one into your app. These were very common with free ads and a lot of developers offered a paid option without ads to boost user experience.
6. Native Ads
Native ads are essentially ads that have been adapted to the feel of an app. The ads integrate seamlessly into the app. Typically involving a feed of some sort, where the ad resembles a normal post in the timeline. Which doesn’t interrupt user experience at all. These types of ads accomplish this because it looks and feels ‘native’ whilst also providing a clear indication to the user that the content they will land on is an advert. Twitter does this well on mobile.
“A word of caution with ads. Be careful with implementing ads as a revenue generator for your app.”
Though it is the longest running form of monetisation, it can also have a harmful impact on user experience. Remember that your user experience is paramount, therefore, use ad types that do not frustrate your user but engages them. Engagement on ads is key to proper revenue intake.
Although a lot of apps are free at the point of download and install, that doesn’t mean developers don’t employ other means of collecting continuous streams of revenue. One way they do this is by using in-app purchases. In-app purchases include the selling of virtual goods, features, and other items for the use of the app. This type of monetisation is used with gaming apps a lot.
In-app purchases help you make as much money as possible off of your otherwise free app and allow customers to interact directly with your product. Which translates to engagement!
In-app purchases can be anything that helps users while they are using the app.
“For example, if you have a Yoga App, and it is free at the point of install, then you can offer 3 yoga videos at 10 mins each for free but longer videos can be purchased separately as an in-app purchase.”
Remember when using this form of monetisation to strike a balance between what you offer for free and what is paid. User experience is always key so, make the free items so enticing that they want to spend more for the premium features.
App developers have cunningly tapped into a new revenue gateway by allowing the user access to a virtual currency. Users purchase this currency with real cash to do various things within the app to let them advance quicker to new levels for example. This is actually a form of an in-app purchase but this can stand on its own.
This is another strategy popular with gaming apps. Usually, this currency is used to get ahead in the game or redeem certain features and services that would usually take a long period of time to unlock or acquire through playing.
There’s a balance to strike here. The user must feel that they are getting value for their hard-earned cash. Plus, these same users must also keep playing the game to make more in-app purchases. That’s why it’s important to keep the game or app interesting for non-paying users as well. If other users aren’t eager to dig into their wallet or decide to stop playing then, paying users will also decrease if there’s no one to play with. Which brings us back to user experience. Do you notice a trend? Your app’s survival depends heavily on the user having an exceptional experience.
Freemium and Subscription Plans
The freemium version as we’ve said earlier is free at download and install. However, a growing trend shows apps having the freemium at install and then offering a trial for x-amount of days before offering a subscription opt-in for users to have the full use of the app.
“Some freemium models give you the bare bones of the app and then have the premium version for an additional fee. Having a free or cheaper version, allows users to get a sense of what your app can do for them.”
Think of it as a teaser. Then later, after using the free version of your app, your customers will realise that the app can play an important role in their lives – they simply shouldn’t want to live without it.
Then, if people enjoy what your app offers and want a better fuller experience, they might be willing to pay for the premium version.
This model works well once user experience remains intact. This can also lead to high engagement if done correctly.
We’ve talked about user experience a lot and how important it is. Well having an app with a large user base can also benefit you if you know how to monetise that data. When users use an app, they interact with your product and a lot can be gleaned from that information.
Creating a huge audience for your app can be valuable for many different reasons. Collecting information anonymously then quantifying it provides valuable insights into customer behaviour. This is known as big data. It is used for many things – from how to build smart cities to deliver better and more personalised advertising to users.
In order to monetise your user data, you must do the research and find a good partner company. The two benefits of data monetisation are that user experience is kept safe, and you are able to monetise your entire audience.
Hybrid app Monetisation
It’s perfectly fine to employ multiple app monetisation methods at the same time. In fact, we recommend this. You can use numerous app Monetisation methods alongside each other. Just be sure to couple monetisation methods correctly. Doing too much can negatively affect the user experience, which must remain intact.
Having an app for your business or as a developer is an excellent step in having customers interact with your brand and products. Monetising that app allows you to reap the full benefits while improving user experience. It allows you to interact, collect data and reach your audience in a way you wouldn’t normally. Take care to ensure that you choose the right monetisation method or couple a few together to enrich user experience and your own revenue.