How to make real money from your Mobile App?

by Duwain Macek on 27 December 2012

There are many reasons to expand into having your own app. A tailor made app will not only allow your business to increase it’s publicity, but could even be a business by itself if managed in the right way.

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There are many reasons to expand into having your own mobile app. A tailor made app will not only allow your business to increase it's publicity, but could even be a business by itself if managed in the right way.

Why monetise?

Unless you're just making an mobile app for sheer enjoyment and as a creative outlet you'll probably be wanting to make some money out of it. Even if you're not in the game for profit , creating an app can often be a costly business so a bit of experimental money making can help you to recoup your costs.

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First Considerations

Before you start selling off your intellectual property and making binding contracts that you'll regret in the future you'll need to analyse the following factors:

1. Do people engage with your mobile app regularly (use it quite often and for meaningful periods of time)?
2. Is the app attractive enough to put a price tag on?
3. What do competitors in your niche and on your platforms of choice do to make money?

If you're new to the app business we recommend trying to make money after your app has been around for a while, if you're going to follow any other strategy apart from straight up payment for your mobile app. Once your app has been released and has a good user base installed it might be time to start going down the route to making money-we recommend using Google Analytics as a means of seeing a lot of useful metrics about your mobile app which will give you an idea of your future fiscal policy. Once you've done the research on your app and you're confident enough that there is enough engagement you can consider one of the following strategies to earn back your time and money.

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Paid Mobile apps

The simplest and most traditional way to earn from your apps is to make them a paid download. We're not going to go into great detail about this way of earning money as it is the type of topic that could run into many volumes of research.We'll just give you a few takeaway points to consider if following this method:

● If you saw your mobile app would you pay for it?
● Are there apps similar to yours that are free or are charged at a much cheaper price?
● Which platforms are you targeting? The Apple Appstore has a tradition of being "friendlier" to premium apps, whereas rival Google Play apps make money in less traditional ways.
● If you charge for your mobile app will you be limiting its uptake and hence make it less viral?

Ad-supported

Did you know that most of the 45 Billion dollars that Google has in cash comes from ad revenue? Of course Google products (AdMob is the Google product for app marketing) aren't the only ads that can earn you money for a popular mobile app, other companies that allow you to make money off the back of ads include:

InMobi: Serving over 550 million users this ad network has a great reputation and also includes world class analytics software to check on all the different metrics of your app.

Leadbolt: Recommended by many, who for one reason or another want to move away from Google, this library of ads is becoming increasingly popular.

Really if you think that your app has enough of an engaged user base to warrant being ad supported then the choice of an ad network is a very personal one and requires you to engage with the ad network. Speak to them and find out what they can do for you, after all the more popular your mobile app the more money they will make too.

Jargonbuster: To help you in your choice we've got a small glossary for you to help you out when it comes to selecting your ad network.

1 CPM- Basically how much you money you will make for every thousand people who view the advert.
2 CPC-How much you will get every time a user "clicks" on the ad banner.
3 Creative- The ad banner or logo that will be displayed on your mobile app.
4 Fill rate-Will every ad space on your app be filled with a paid ad or will there be free ads or even blank spaces there. The higher the fill rate, the better.

Freemium Apps

A premium app is one that you will pay for. Freemium is an exciting business model adopted by apps in recent times that is proving to be a great revenue earner.

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A quick look at the Appstore sees four of the top five grossing apps being Freemium apps. In the week before Christmas popular game Clash of Clans and its sister title Hay Day are bringing in revenue of $500,000 a day for Finnish developer Supercell! The top app purchases for Clash of Clans being a "pile of gems" which acts as in game currency, the freemium model is, quite literally, a goldmine for this app!

The premise behind this business model is that your app will be provided for free. Hopefully thousands will download it and find it crucial for their needs or immensely addictive. It's at this point that they can purchase additional content, virtual goods, additional features, longer play/use times. The combinations of purchaseable content, when planned adequately and in an app with larger uptake, can be very lucrative.

Subscriptions, sponsorship and more

If you come across an app you really like and use it constantly only to find at the end of the month that to carry on using it you'll have to pay a subscription you can look at the event in two ways:

1 Be irritated that you're now being asked to pay money for something that was initially free or
2 Be grateful that you had a months free use.

If you're an app developer with a great product regard your first month as a great marketing tool and look forward to earning from the subscription model.

Or perhaps you'd like to get some sponsorship from a brand. Just look at the apps providing the mobile face of Ebay, Nike and untold number of sports teams. Business really is interested in having a high profile in the app world so creating a mobile app with a business in mind and with their money behind you is a route worth exploring.

Dotcom v2

Everybody in technology remembers the fortunes that were won and lost when the Dotcom bubble burst. Comparisons of course have been made between then and the booming app fad. Whether there is a bubble to burst or not is besides the point, because reading this you're part of one of the biggest money spinners on the planet right now!

Whichever way you decide to monetise, or even make up you own business model to do so, there are many fortunes to be made.

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Ways to monetize your App

Ways to monetize your App

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