For every 10 mobile apps released, five apps will fail to make their developers more than $500 per month. Among the other five, two will fail to generate any revenue whatsoever. For any African Developer going into the ring of mobile app development; app monetization is one of the greatest challenges for any African mobile app developer. The hard reality that is that making money from mobile apps is a daunting tasks for African developers who have to compete with the developed countries that probably have the skill set, tools, team and investment to create a meaningful user-friendly mobile apps.
Gamesole CEO Abiola Olaniran who is probably one of Africa most successful mobile app developer’s said this about mobile apps “We don’t want to upload an application unto the store and have 10,000 to a 100,000 downloads, which we consider a failure. If you really want to make money with applications, you definitely need a lot of downloads and requests.”. From that statement; one could say that revenue isn’t the only way to measure the success of a mobile app. Those bottom five apps in the iOS or Google play store probably contain a lot of creativity and utility and are waiting for the right kind of investments to promote their app up the ladder. Needless to say; every mobile app developed would need to yield something other that bench warming trophy.
So if you are planning on entering the mobile app development ring and want to monetize your app, then you cannot afford to take app monetization as an after thought. It demands the utmost attention, even before you start building the mockup for your mobile app. Here are some of the trends you need to take into consideration before stepping into the arena of mobile app development.
1. Paid Apps are Dying
This is the oldest form of mobile app monetization where developers put their apps on display for a fee on the app store. Sadly, this old form of app monetization is well on its way to extinction. With so many number of free apps that continue to overshadow the number of paid apps by a margin of roughly 10:1, that should tell you where the wind is blowing towards.
There are a number of reasons contributing to this neglect of paid app. For example 4 out of 4 Africans using a smartphone now expect an app to be free regardless of the category. Also , developers who want their apps listed on major marketplaces like iTunes app store, Google Play Store, Windows app Store and Amazon App Store can expect to share approximately 30% of their revenue with the host.
That being said, this model of charging for download of an app is a very slim avenue for getting revenue(except you app is endorsed by Kim Kardashian). For a developer to ask anyone to pay for download of an app hinges on the ability of the app to deliver and communicate undeniable value to the customer
2. Mobile Ads are Gold Mines,but Complicated
Despite the recent rise of ad-blocking technologies, advertising remains a primary player in digital economics. Modern consumers understand that access to free online content usually comes with a catch, and they’re increasingly okay with this arrangement. More than 70% now expect free mobile content to contain some form of advertising, while just 3% pay for ad-free app experiences.
From a developer perspective, advertising remains the dominant app monetization model. However, this popularity does not necessarily translate to stronger payouts. While 46% of mobile app developers do employ advertising in their monetization strategy, only 17% of them generate more than $10,000 a month from this revenue stream. As a result, in-app advertising is probably best regarded as a supplemental income strategy that needs to be used in concert with more sophisticated monetization models for those hoping to hit it big.
Design will also dictate how profitable your in-app advertising can be. Simply splashing banners across the top of your app screens isn’t going to generate the kind of returns you’re looking for — no matter how good the targeting. Ads need to feel like a native part of the app experience to win consistent user engagement.
This is easier said than done, but planning for ad integration from your very first wireframes will surely place you at an aesthetic advantage. You can also look to gaming apps for inspiration on creative ways of embedding ads into the app’s functionality. For example, users who watch a full video ad can be rewarded with “currencies” (points, lives, unlocked skills, etc.) that directly enhance their app experience. It’s all a matter of determining which currencies your specific audience will respond to and transforming advertising into a mutually rewarding activity.
3. In App purchases are the way to go
So if paid downloads are a long shot, and most advertising strategies only provide a modest income, which app monetization model will get you the biggest bang for your buck? All signs point to in-app purchases (IAPs).
Apple was the first to capitalize on this trend, rolling out a single, simple IAP protocol that clearly resonated with iOS users. Between 2012 and 2013, IAPs were responsible for nearly 80% of iOS developer revenues. The transaction authorization process was so user-friendly, in fact, that it would later land Apple in hot water with the FTC.
Android and Windows Phone developers have not enjoyed the same financial success as iOS developers to date, but Google and Microsoft are certainly working to close the gap on Apple in this valuable corner of the mobile marketplace. As a result, market forecasters are expecting global IAP revenues to rise from roughly $14 billion in 2015 to nearly $37 billion in 2017.
4. Value Begets Value
The universal law of cause and effect states that for every effect there is a definite cause, likewise for every cause there is a definite effect. One of the reasons that Facebook mobile app is one of the most top downloaded apps aside form the fact that it is free, is the value that it provides for its consumers. the ability for one to stay in touch with friends and catch up on the things that matter to them is what makes Facebook such a popular app.
For any mobile app to get the kind of download requests like WhatsApp or Instagram, especially in Africa; whether your app is a utility app or a mobile game; there must be a need that your app solves. Your app must be providing solution to a pressing need in your environment or community for it to attract any sort of attention, revenue, investment, review or traction.
So before you dig into any further into development, consider this question first: Which premium features, privileges or products could elevate your users’ initial app experience?