How To Make Money From Your App

You just came up with the best app idea ever. It is a guaranteed, top download. Users will share their joy with your app on…

You just came up with the best app idea ever. It is a guaranteed, top download. Users will share their joy with your app on their social networks, sending your app trending past the competition. Bloggers and journalists will clamor over your app’s sudden popularity and high acceptability amongst users.

Now that you have developed the next best thing, one question looms over its success. How will it make money and be profitable?


Every app developed may not be produced for the purpose of driving profits. Apps like VSCO Cam add greater utility to our daily maneuvers like taking pictures without cost, but mobile app monetization is both practical and lucrative. Developers can offset market costs associated with development, and turn a profit, by monetizing their apps. Mobile app monetization can be a gateway to both real profits, and successful business for developers, but in a crowded marketplace that becomes even more engorged by the day, the sale-for-download model is no longer valuable for users who expect, and seek out, free apps. Even the forethought of investment as a revenue stream stands in question as it does not afford growth past initial fundraising.

To make their apps profitable, developers must identify multiple revenue streams they can align with their app’s usage.

Here are a few ways developers can turn their app into a real money maker.


Advertising is one of the most used revenue streams by app developers. In March 2014, click-through rates on mobile ads for iOS devices increased five times from the previous year, three times as much on Android devices, where app users clicked on in-app ads and engaged with the marketer’s content. Developers can place and prioritize user relevant advertising in their applications, linking the user directly to products and services. Developers can employ native ads, which Sharethrough defines as paid media where the ad follows the natural function of the UX, to seamlessly incorporate marketed content into the user experience.

The value for mobile app advertising will continue to increase as marketers look for new ways to connect with consumers who continue to move further away from traditional media onto mobile devices and new electronic payment products like Apple Pay and Plastc afford greater in-app, direct ad-to-sale capabilities.

Content producers prefer mobile apps for legacy media (newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks) who find high value in mobile advertising. Marketers use legacy media and their data of record to develop effective consumer engagement strategy and easily pair themselves with captured audiences with content. Marketers like Ralph Lauren have taken their pitch to consumers’ smart phones using mobile ad platforms provided by digital versions of publications from legacy publishers like Hearst Corporation. Ralph Lauren placed editorial content across Hearst publication apps that in the form and function of published content.


Freemium Service

With sale-for-downloads waning behind an influx of free content, developers may find it hard to entice users to purchase their app at first use. To manage user speculation and meet their expectations in the marketplace, developers can offer their apps for free but deny access to premium services and tools. Free apps with high utility and acceptability will draw users, affording developers the opportunity to capitalize from purchasable upgrades and app updates.

The best examples of the premium model are gaming apps such as Candy Crush or Angry Birds. These gaming apps offer a free product through which the experience can be enhanced with small purchases. For gaming apps like those listed above, this may mean more access to in-game tools like extra lives, multiplayer capabilities, or different versions of the game itself. For non-gaming apps like Swiftkey, premium offerings may include anything from exclusive content and purchase codes for product discounts to data or usage reporting.


Data For Sale

What do marketers value just as much or more than a sale? They value data.

Marketers want detailed insights on user preferences, product requirements, and behaviors. Developers have access to that information, and it can be pulled directly from metrics reports their mobile apps produce. Developers can then package and sell this data to marketers based on relevance and need.

Lifestyle apps that gather data related to our behavior tend to find value in selling data to marketers looking to optimize sales, strategically place their products, and build better products using the information gathered by mobile apps. Lifestyle apps like Nike’s Plus platform, WebMD, Nest by Google and others gather information about how we move, where we go, how we use energy. These apps tell marketers exactly how we live our lives, and app developers can capitalize off these data by selling it to the marketers who need it.

Branded App Development

As consumers move deeper into the mobile space, small businesses, NGO’s and corporations need mobile apps to transform their business and take their brand to mobile devices. Developers can align their apps with the needs of these businesses, developing apps for businesses case-by-case, or selling fully developed apps to corporate customers.

Branded apps can be used to launch campaigns for marketers, promote specific initiatives and reach new niche target consumer groups. App developer Fueled has produced apps for major consumer brands like Proctor & Gamble. Fueled developed the “Future Friendly” app for Proctor & Gamble, promoting environmentally-friendly consumer behavior in the present to maintain a healthy planet for the future. The app pushes P&G branded, environmentally conscious and energy saving content to users and markets P&G products that help users live a greener lifestyle.

Mobile app monetization will be profitable for developers in the years to come as smart technology continues to evolve as wearable tech products become available, traditional products become connected to the Net of Things, and new forms of electronic payment are adopted by consumers. App monetization can make profits for developers and turn their product into a sustainable business. How will you make your app make money for you?

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