In the age of email and smartphones, people are increasingly turning to mobile apps to do everything. For those who expand their business through mobile web development, however, this doesn’t always equal profit. Luckily, with the right
strategy and the willingness to stick out the early development, a mobile web designer can help your business produce apps that serve as a long-term source of revenue.
As we proceed through the following tips and techniques, however, try not to view them as distinct from one another. Many monetization techniques blend easily into one another, and with a proper plan in place there is no reason you can’t make use of more than one of them at a time.
It’s a Business delivering value Â
The single best way to monetize a mobile web app is to treat it like it is a business from the very beginning. Not weeks after you’ve launched the app, not days into the development process, but from the very beginning.
This is not to say that you cannot monetize a web app at any time you choose, but rather that your business should never treat monetization as an afterthought. An app that is intended for monetization from the very beginning, that is crafted according to a well-laid plan, will almost always bring in more money than one that proceeds without any firm guidance.
Remember to treat your web app like it is a business from the very beginning, including when you look for someone with the right expertise. This way you not only provide for yourself with your app, but don’t have to settle for some of the more intrusive or annoying monetization techniques (which we will talk about next).
Advertisements App MonetizationÂ Model:
Advertisements (or ads) are one of the oldest forms of monetization. From the days of dial up to the fast-paced Wi-Fi of today, anyone with an internet connection has probably encountered ads at one point or another. They pop-up, they talk to you, they scroll across the screen, and they generally serve to annoy you as you’re trying to do something else.
When it comes to mobile web app development, ads are often an afterthought. They are something that are added to an app in order to make a little money long after the app was developed or published. As such, it is probably the one way to monetize a web app that it is best avoided. The advertisements will rarely bring in much money for your businesses, and they are likely to drive users away long before you turn them into leads.
This is not to say advertisements can’t pay off big in some cases though. If you have or expect to have a large user base, such as Pandora, then you can use highly targeted ads to great effect. Or, if you’re interested in working with a mobile web developer to produce a large portfolio of apps, then you can also advertise your other applications to encourage further sales.
If you are looking at simple PPC (price per click) ads, however, it might be best to rethink your strategy rather than destroy an app’s credibility for just a few bucks a months.
One-Time ChargeÂ App MonetizationÂ Model:
A very simple way to monetize your app is to charge for it, just like you would any other product. The one time charge should help you to bring in a bit of money to cover your development costs, and if you grow a popular following then you may see a large amount come in within a brief period of time.
The only problem with this technique is that it limits your sales to the number of times your app is downloaded. Whether someone uses your app for ten seconds or for three months, you will still only get the initial amount you charge. While if you charge a lot of money to download your app in the first place, fewer and fewer people will be willing to make that purchase.
Perhaps the best time to use a one-time charge, however, is when you intend to monetize your app through other means as well – such as in-app purchases. This way you bring in a little money no matter what, while opening the door for further sales in the future.
In-App PurchasesÂ App MonetizationÂ Model:
If iTunes’ top grossing mobile web apps hold any clue as to the best ways to monetize an app, then in-app purchases are one of the way to go – and a strong mobile developer should have no problem guiding your business to the best areas for in-app purchases.
In-app purchases are a relatively simple concept: a person downloads your application and then can choose to pay for additional features or content. This is an extremely popular option for game developers, as an addictive or entertaining game can easily drive purchase after purchase in a person’s need to beat the game for good; which if your mobile application developer is good (and keeps new updates coming), should never happen.
The use of in-app purchases isn’t just limited to games, though, it also works well for any businesses with a portfolio of other apps or content. You can attract a user with one type of app, and then suggest another one of yours that would complement it well. Or, if you are a more traditional content publisher, you could use your app to sell other materials such as books, images, music, etc.
FreemiumÂ App MonetizationÂ Model:
Often regarded as a form of in-app purchases, the freemium approach is one that all business owners should actively consider, if not for your business’s first application then for its second or third. The basic idea is that you offer a cut down or trial version of your application to the user, as well as a decked-out premium version too. The user will try the free version to see what they think, and then if it seems worth it they will pay in order to upgrade to the premium version – up-selling themselves.
In order for the freemium method to work, however, your app needs to walk a fine line in terms of capability. Users need to be able to see how useful or entertaining your app is, but they must be left both wanting more and with the knowledge of what your premium version has to offer. Here an experienced mobile developer is key. They can help you increase interest from the moment user’s open your free trial app, and they can drive the sort of experience that allows you to charge higher amounts for the final application than you ever could otherwise.
SubscriptionÂ App MonetizationÂ Model:
A subscription based mobile web app is one of the best options in that it will provide a long, sustainable source of income. For those just looking starting out with apps, however, this is a complicated path to go down. You will definitely require an experienced developer by your side, as well as a long-term plan for content production.
Part of what makes a subscription service successful is that it offers customers some sort of life value. It may be that it provides information they need to do something, or that it is is very entertaining. Whatever the case, though, it needs to make them feel like they are getting something out of it that they would have lacked otherwise. As such, this style of monetization is a very popular choice for content-heavy businesses, such as newspapers, blogs, magazines, professional publications, etc.
I cannot emphasize this enough though, if you are not looking to provide regular updates to your app and service for years at a time, then you may want to steer clear of subscription services. Or at least focus on producing something that people want access to other than content, such as a programming tool, and then have them subscribe in order to continue using that tool.
Affiliate MarketingÂ App MonetizationÂ Model:
Amazon Associates and a number of other smaller programs rely on the hard work and dedication of other people to make their sales for them. Luckily for you, though, this means that you can also take advantage of other people’s purchases to put a little money in your pockets.
Affiliate marketing is all about linking to content that people can buy, and having a deal set up so that you get some of that money. It might be physical products (such as on Amazon), digital downloads, or even some sort of ongoing subscription or service.
In order to make money from your mobile app with affiliate marketing, however, you will need to establish a trustworthy reputation for your app, which can and usually does take time. Or you will have to make yourself so appealing at the first impression that people are willing to brush aside any worries or doubts they might have at that moment. In either case, you’ll require a polished and professional looking app, and should look for a mobile web developer with experience both designing and producing professional apps.
E-CommerceÂ App MonetizationÂ Model:
One of oldest and simplest ways to monetize a mobile app is to use it as an e-commerce store. If you have something special to sell, or if you are focusing on a very specific niche, you might be able to sell people something specifically through your app.
On a large scale, the Amazon.com application is a great example of how people will turn to an app in order to purchase items. But for anyone without an established e-commerce store elsewhere, it can be a little hard to draw people in and get them to risk that first purchase through your app (or even to download the app in the first place). You will need a mobile web developer with experience in the e-commerce world, as well as a solid business plan and a unique target market. With those things in hand, however, you should be able to parlay your business into a solid online store, and over time a consistent form of revenue.
Whether you are looking to develop a new app, or have an older one you feel could do more for your, the right mobile web developer can help you produce a winning, monetized application. Plus, as the above list shows, there are many ways that you can monetize a simple mobile app, both before and after you launch. You just have to be willing to put some time and effort into perfecting the ideas, and into the content that will ultimately sustain it.
With a little endurance and the right amount mobile web developer, however, your business can turn your hard fought apps (both new and old) into long-term sources of income.