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App monetization describes the concept of making money from a mobile application without having to apply download fees. With free apps becoming the new norm in today’s app world, users are growing more reluctant to pay for services.
Integrating app monetization methods to get the cash flowing is growing to be the popular way to achieve ultimate success with your mobile app. Thus, it is crucial that when developing a free-downloadable app you have a solid monetization strategy in place.
In this guide, we take you through the best practices and strategies of app monetization and let you in on the top app monetization companies out there to ensure your app is the most profitable in the market.
What is app monetization?
App monetization is a process in which you convert your free app installs into revenue. It refers to how app developers take advantage of their user base to make money, and comes in varied formats of monetization, such as:
Main app monetization formats
While these are common practices within the mobile monetization realm, they do come with risks, including third parties not protecting user data adequately, overpopulating your app with adverts, or making pop up banners distracting for users, especially when browsing on a smaller mobile screen.
Other options for app monetization include developing a free app that offers its basic services, with the possibility to download a premium version so that users can get more value out of your services.
In-app purchases are also a common way to monetize your app. For example, if you develop a gaming app, you may provide users the option to upgrade their account by purchasing currency or additional characters.
Free trials have become another popular method in the app world, giving users the option to pay for your services after using it for a certain period in order to familiarize themselves with your app.
You may also want to look into sponsors for your app after your product has been successfully received by your target market. These sponsors will pay you to display their brand on the app, generating a smooth cash flow without having to charge users to download your app in the first place.
The good news is that there are many ways to monetize mobile apps without impacting the user experience. App monetization companies specialize in these models, making them a strong choice for app developers in need of such services.
But first, let us look into how you can monetize your app, getting into greater detail of the methods mentioned above.
So you’ve accomplished developing ‘the’ mobile app your target users will need like no other app. They will be able to interact with your business in the best way possible, finally seeing the true value your services have to offer.
But what about conversions?
Surely, you want to make money with your app in this competitive market. So how do you make a bargain out of a free-to-download app and still stand out in the crowd of endless free apps?
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FansRevenue - The fanbase monetization accelerator for content creators
App monetization models
Implementing in-app advertising is one of the most popular methods amongst app owners, proving how successfully advertisers target consumers, with people spending more time on their smartphones, creating a greater opportunity for monetization.
Amongst these innovative concepts, in-app advertising includes a diversity of ad formats, and because this is of course no simple one size fits all approach your app will integrate advertising differently.
So let us take a look at the different in-app adverts types to see which best suits your app:
Banner ads is the most simple and original ad format there is. They are usually implemented at the top or bottom of the screen, and can include static or animated content within your app.
Remember to focus on producing quality graphics and strong advertiser calls to action (CTAs) here.
Full screen ads
This ad format avoids the potential blindness of common banners and presents ad content in full-screen, occurring in between users’ natural pause points, maintaining a smooth browse as much as possible.
Get to know how your users interact with your app to avoid interrupting their experience, giving them time to understand the ad minus the frustration.
These ads are more naturally integrated within your app content, making them blend in with the rest of the page with the matching designs and layout. They are the least disruptive of most ad formats, causing higher engagement with its natural and seamless appearance.
This ad format is particularly popular in apps that are used over a longer time period, for example, in a gaming app. In essence, you reward users for watching a video ad, which is say 30 seconds, with a discount or extra assets to a game.
Remember to keep the ad content relevant and make sure it is presented at the right moment, without disrupting your users’ experience.
Although in-app advertising has been around for quite some time now, there are still some factors app advertisers need to consider to really ace the consumer journey and ensure the survival of the app as well.
Here is a list of the pros & cons of in-app ads to keep in mind if you choose to implement this method of app monetization:
Pros & cons of in-app ads
Apart from leveraging the free option for your app, another popular monetization method is to offer a paid version. This approach entails requiring a one-time fee from users that is paid upfront and upon download to get full access to all features and services of the app.
This is the oldest and most straight-forward app monetization strategy, and while this model can generate revenue almost instantly, it is not necessarily the best model out there.
Users may be unwilling to pay for something they haven’t tried yet and may rather seek free alternatives instead, causing a barrier for growth.
However, this does not mean you should not consider paid downloads at all. You may just want to focus on nailing other aspects surrounding this feature to ensure you convert as many searchers into users as possible.
Here is a list of other features to focus on to successfully implement paid downloads:
Features for successful paid downloads
Now coming back to our free download option, another great way to monetize your app is to include app purchases. When app downloads are free it will convince users to tap the ‘Get’ button, as there is no instant commitment, which will allow them to familiarize themselves with your features first.
For example, there are great opportunities to make money by integrating the ‘freemium’ concept, in which users access your app for free but pay for locked features, such as buying extra lives or currency in gaming apps.
Remember, that this monetization method can work well for highly interactive apps, such as games and health and fitness apps, as it creates an urgency for users to want to get the most out of your services as possible to get the full experience.
Make sure that this model will make sense for your particular app, as not all users are willing to pay for random items. And when done right, in-app purchases will allow you to convey the true quality of your app to your users, which is a win-win on both ends.
A similar method to the ‘freemium’ model is incorporating subscriptions as part of monetizing your app. However, this method focuses more on gating access to services rather than selective items, and usually includes a certain level of commitment over an extended period.
In order to make the most of subscriptions and persuade users to participate in this model, it is best to include a free trial to give users an idea of what they can expect when paying for a subscription.
When developing a free trial, it can be difficult to determine how much content and features a user should be able to access, just enough to convince them to subscribe. So make sure to reveal just the right amount of your best features, for example, a limited number of exclusive news content to give your users a good teaser.
Subscription models are best suited for news and entertainment apps, as you can easily play around with how much media content you want to provide users with, with each subscription they opt for.
The sponsorship model, which also ties well with the concept of influencer marketing, is another effective way to monetize your app.
In particular, if you have managed to significantly grow your user base over time and have created a well established business, brands may be interested in establishing a sponsorship deal with you.
The way it works is that brands will use your mobile app to reach their target audiences, and vice versa, creating a win-win situation for the sponsor and your business.
So not only will you be able to effectively monetize your app, but also increase brand awareness, attracting new users via another industry-related brand partner at the same time.
Why is app monetization important?
Other than the fact that you can make more money in clever ways than simply launching a costly app, app monetization is a valuable strategy to remain competitive in the app world that is primarily dominated by free apps.
With mobile apps growing in popularity, along with the extensive use of smartphone devices, it is crucial to integrate app monetization when launching your product. It will promise a consistent and healthy ROI, making the growth and success of your app more sustainable in the long run.
And while paid apps are still prevalent in app stores, with several app developers still using this model as a primary revenue-making concept, the growth of in-app advertising, purchases and subscriptions as part of app monetization is seemingly turning out to be more appealing to the new age of the app developing world.
So there are genuine reasons as to why it is important to see this strategy as the best app revenue model your free app needs to excel.
For example, app developers can personalize their in-app ads, especially when using native ads, to target users naturally by matching the banners and ad copy to the overall layout and design of the app.
This, in turn, attracts the relevant content to the user and encourages them to engage with the ad, whilst still maintaining a natural browse flow.
Moreover, personalized ads as well as other interactive features will make the user feel recognized and valued, convincing them to continue using the app for guaranteed satisfactory services.
App monetization naturally promotes the elevation of better user experience, greatly increasing user acquisition and retention, making the monetization strategies extremely important and valuable to the long term success of your mobile app.
What are the best mobile app monetization strategies?
We have already discussed how you monetize your app, but there are more complex app monetization strategies that can take your ROI to the next dimension when the following techniques are carefully selected and implemented.
Whether you choose to go with in-app advertising, app purchases, a subscription plan or paid version, you need to choose the app monetization strategy that suits your individual app.
Understanding the way you should go about monetizing your app is key to successfully making money in a sustainable manner.
Yes, we are saying it again. In order to really improve the performance and success rate of your app, you should prioritize user experience at all times. When your app does not appeal to users, in terms of design and architecture, even your best features and services will not be able to shine through.
In other words, poor user experience equals poor monetization of your app.
Make sure to optimize your experience and adapt it to any in-app advertising you implement so that the impact is kept to a minimum. Not only will you promote user acquisition and retention this way, but also actively increase engagement.
Use more than one app monetization method
The more app monetization methods, the better.
When you are developing a monetization strategy, you now know to focus on optimizing your users’ experience making sure there are no disruptions when browsing. But you also want to include multiple monetization methods in your strategy.
For example, take advantage of implementing native ads as well as offering in-app purchases and subscription packages will continue to generate cash flow on a diversity of levels.
Implementing hybrid app monetization is highly recommended to leverage the opportunities the different monetization methods have to offer. This way you can secure increase in revenue, knowing that you have more sources to count on.
Tracking & measuring
Another important app monetization strategy is to keep tracking, measuring and analyzing your monetization efforts. This will allow you to optimize, improve and adapt accordingly, and where appropriate.
Staying up to date with your current metrics will allow you to effectively fine-tune your app monetization strategy with the help of these useful and valuable data.
How do I choose the right app monetization platform?
Monetizing your app requires a lot of planning and strategic thinking before you can actually start making money with your efforts. From selecting the right model and identifying your business objectives to developing an effective monetization strategy, you want to choose a platform that suits the goals of your unique app.
The good news is that there are several app monetization companies that specialize in these monetization models, making them a valuable support to app developers in need of such services.
So let’s lay out everything you need to know on how to choose the right monetization platforms for your mobile app.
App monetization companies and platforms help app developers to monetize their apps effectively. Specific benefits of using app monetization companies include the following:
Know your app
Before you start thinking about your monetization strategy, you need to start with your app itself.
A helpful way of understanding which ad monetization platform is the right fit for your business is knowing the ins and outs of your individual app. Having a thorough understanding of your overall business objectives will dictate your strategy and approach in monetizing your app.
Ask yourself these questions to become a mastermind of your own app:
More than anything, it is extremely important to know your app in order to understand which model and strategy will lend themselves better to the type of app yours is.
Know your competitors
Once you know the objectives and characteristics of your app, defining who you are competing with is a must. Conducting thorough competitor research and analysis will help you set standards for the model and development scheme you choose to go with.
Ask yourself these questions when looking into your competitors:
Identify areas of improvement amongst your competitors to see what you can do differently to effectively boost your own revenue generation.
Know your users
Lastly, you want to look at your target users to help choose which monetization platform is best suited for your app.
Determine the demographics and characteristics of your potential customers by creating personas and categorizing them. Users need to feel valued and want to resonate with your app before they make any purchases, so make sure you prioritize this step.
Ask yourself these questions when doing user research as a base line:
Not only will these steps make you the genius and know-it-all of your own product, but they will help you carefully select the companies you want to work with, as you know what is best for your app.
The last thing you want is to invest in a monetization platform that is of no valuable use to your app’s revenue in the long term.
Monetize your app with only the best of the best
By now you are certainly a pro when it comes to making money with your free-downloadable app. Team up with the best app monetization companies and platforms out there with your new found knowledge in the field.
We have put a list together of only the top app monetization companies for you below. Choose the one that will take your app revenue generation to new heights and watch those figures skyrocket.
...platform and ad server that aims to help game developers and publishers maximise their revenues from app monetization.
Smaato’s digital ad tech platform is a completely omnichannel, self-serve monetization solution and free ad server all in one. Smaato gives publishers unparalleled controls to make monetization simple. Publishers can bring their first-party data and manage all inventory in one place. Marketers get access to the highest-quality inventory so they can reach audiences around the world and on any device. Headquartered in San Francisco, Smaato is part of Verve Group, a Media and Games Invest (MGI) company, with additional offices in Hamburg, New York, Beijing, and Singapore.
Mobile platforms: Android, IOS, Mobile, Windows Phone
Campaign types: CPC
Ad formats supported: Banners
Targeting: country, publisher, app, ad format, device, connection type, GPS data, device ID
Launchpad is the innovative SaaS solution for marketing. Build a custom plan on our online tool to get an instant quote, then get stellar marketing services on a flexible subscription. Track all your projects, analytics and messages on Launchpad ClientHub, one platform that streamlines all the marketing noise.
Services: App Store Optimization, Paid Acquisition, Video Production, Creatives – Graphics, Videography and Copy, Social Media Management, Customer Nurturing, Analytics, Cross-Channel Marketing, Branding and Design, Funnel Optimization, Monetization
Offices: London, UK, San Jose, US, Mendoza, Argentina
Tagline: Flexible Marketing Subscriptions | Human experts & a smart platform
InMobi drives real connections between brands and consumers by leveraging its technology platforms and exclusive access to mobile intelligence. Its Marketing Cloud creates new paths for brands to understand, identify, engage and acquire connected consumers. As a leading technology company, InMobi has been recognized on both the 2018 and 2019 CNBC Disruptor 50 lists and as one of Fast Company’s 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies.
Tagline: Driving Real Connections
Offices: China, USA, UK, France, UAE, Japan, Australia, India
Bango – a custom data platform that helps app marketers to acquire 2x more in-app purchase (IAP) users through Bango Marketplace. Bango analyzes detailed payment information from its global payment partners to gain insights into the buying behavior of hundreds of millions of users. Bango Marketplace creates high life-time value (LTV) audiences by applying these insights. App developers use these audiences in Facebook ad campaigns to boost user acquisition.
Braavo offers a better model for mobile app and game companies to receive non-dilutive funding for growth—one that arms developers and founders with insights to scale sustainably and capital to turn their vision into reality.
Tagline: Grow your app business with confidence
Services: Mobile app funding, game funding, accelerator-funding, Braavo card, analytics
RevU provides the industry\'s most flexible and premium Offerwall for Mobile and Desktop Apps and Games. We\'re the only true solution that supports virtually any platform and we deliver competitive eCPMs and revenue locally and abroad.
Singular is an end-to-end marketing platform analytics designed to maximize ROI with combinations and algorithms using different data silos in order to gain valuable insights. Since 2014 it has tracked $10 billion + in mobile app ad spend and has 2,000+ integration partners.
StartAppis an app monetization platform with a strong ad targeting and optimization engine which ensures the right....
StartApp is an app monetization platform with a strong ad targeting and optimization engine which ensures the right ads are shown to the right audience on your mobile application. With over 100,000 apps using the StartApp SDK and 300 million active users, the platform is used by high profile companies such as Disney, EA, Rovio and Yahoo!
StartApp\'s engine picks the highest-converting ad campaigns and pushes them through unique ad units, including interstitials, app-walls and native ads.
Recognized as an elite influencer agency, at HireInfluence we develop intent-driven influencer marketing campaigns that merge the needs of brands, audiences, and influencers. We hand-select influencers for each and every campaign to ensure an organic fit and authentic feeling content.
As a full-service influencer marketing agency we source and cast right-fit talent, develop creative content strategies, execute comprehensive, interactive, cross-channel influencer campaigns, and report back on campaign analytics.