app-monetization-dos-donts

When it comes to being an appreneur, the dream has always been making big money off your app, right? The trick is getting that to work out for you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve developed the best app on the market, if you don’t plan your monetization strategy well, you won’t return a profit.

There are so many alternatives out there for monetization that you might find yourself bewildered about where to start and what to avoid. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top five do’s and don’ts for app monetization.

Be sure to do these things!

Here are a few things you should be sure to hit on in your app monetization strategy if you want to have the most successful experience possible.

1. Build monetization into your app idea right from the beginning

Ric Militi, founder of Zip, the Question Answer App, says that it’s vital that you think about monetization from the very onset of your development efforts. You might not turn it on right away, but Militi points out that “It’s critical that you have it coded in and it makes sense on a sales level from the onset. You can always activate it later.”

2. Look to your competitors for ideas

You should absolutely identify your closest competitors, not only to make sure your app offers a better experience than theirs, but also to best strategize your monetization efforts. Gabor Papp, growth marketer at Shapr3D, explains why this is important: “Because users will most likely compare your price to theirs. It happened to us as well. We did value based pricing, but as competitors were charging less, we had to lower our prices to be competitive.”

3. Test various monetization methods

Chris Holle, a top marketing specialist from Flippa, the Entrepreneur’s Marketplace, points out the importance of testing the many different ways of generating revenue through your app.

Advertising is just one way, but other options include freemium apps (free apps requiring in-app purchases), paid apps, affiliate apps, product apps, and more. Picking the best option for your app can lead to a high revenue growth.

4. Know your audience and market

Getting your app listed in the App Store is only half the battle. Next, you need to make sure you intimately understand your audience and market. Kyle Van Dyn Hoven, the CEO of Creation Burst Studios, stresses the importance of analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t work.

Integrating some analytics into your application can make all the difference in knowing what users are liking about your application and what they’re not. There are plenty of free tools on the market that can help you with this and in return make a huge impact on the amount of money you will make.

5. Be straightforward about your monetization strategy

If you’re offering cash or rewards to your users, they’ll often get suspicious about how it all works. That’s why you want to be as up front and straightforward as possible about how your app is generating its revenue.

Keith Shields, the CEO at Designli, stresses that “if the way your company makes money at all seems suspicious, explain to your users in plain-English what it is you do to bring in revenue. This builds trust.”

Don’t make these mistakes, though …

Of course, there are also things you should avoid when you’re trying to generate revenue in the app space. Here are some pitfalls you should avoid.

6. Don’t turn on your monetization strategy right away

Let’s face it, some users will be turned off by any monetization strategy you pick. These people want free everything, without any advertisements or any of the other ways you might try to turn a profit from your app.

You want to remember the importance of having a decent-sized user base to begin with before you start driving these folks away with your monetization efforts. Ric Militi, founder of Zip, stresses this: “Don’t be greedy. Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered.”

7. Don’t expect an immediate jump in sales

Daniel Saks, president and co-CEO of AppDirect, points out that “it takes time to build your partner network and to get those partners up to speed on the best way to sell your product.”

Even if you’ve picked the most winning strategy possible to monetize your app, you need to give it time to work. Definitely watch the numbers and be ready to change your plan of attack if something isn’t working, but give it time to build momentum before you give up on it.

8. Don’t abuse push notifications

You want to make sure that any push notifications you use in an effort to monetize your app are as personalized as possible. You also want to avoid forcing users to subscribe to those notifications when they first open the app.

Instead, as Jonathan Levey, digital marketing manager at Skyjet points out, “It’s better to prompt the user to ‘opt in’ at some key experience point when they’re likely to be interested in receiving notifications.”

9. Don’t use round numbers

For some reason, ending your price with a round number like 0 or 5 leads potential customers to think the offer is overpriced.

Gabor Papp, from Shapr3d, suggests ending your price point with a 7 or a 9, as these figures tend to lead customers to thinking they’re getting a bargain.

10. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Remember, there’s a reason there are so many alternatives for monetizing your app. Katie Meurin, director of marketing at Zco Corporation, points out the dangers of relying on just one source of monetization from your app. “Try a few different options,” she says, “so you have a safety net if one option outperforms another. Most successful apps have some kind of monetization diversity.”

Conclusion

If you keep these tips in mind, your app will have the best possible chance for success, both in terms of userbase and generating revenues. I think the most important thing to remember is not to get greedy: pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 28 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.