Giving your app for free does not mean ‘not earning money‘ from it. Just look at the list of Top Grossing apps in the App Store and you’ll see that 6 out of the Top 10 apps come for free. In the second post of the ‘freemium app model‘ series we are analyzing the ways you can use your free app to earn money or generate business leads.
Incorporate mobile ads in your apps and earn money from impressions and clicks. This option is especially beneficial for games and other apps which keep users attention over prolonged periods of time. In certain cases you can earn much more from advertising than if you charged your users for the app, in other cases they won’t generate too much but will help ease the pain a little bit.
Implementation is a fairly simple process, no matter if you are using
- iAd – Apple’s native advertising platform, which is probably the easiest to implement
- AdMob – Google’s mobile advertising network, a choice of many app developers
However, the service we believe is most interesting at this time is AdWhirl which allows you to combine several advertising networks together with your house ads so you can make direct sales of ad space or promote your own products. The advice we got from the developers is to attempt an iAd, and then show an Admob ad as a backup since iAd has lower fill rate while CPC rate from AdMob won’t really pay your mortgage unless your app is extremely popular.
Promote other apps you develop
Having a free app with big user base is a great way to promote other apps you use. You have the target audience, they are using the device at the moment (so they are only a tap away from installing your other apps) and you control how often and in what way you will promote your new apps. Since this promotion is free, you can repeat the ads as many times you want, and at least you’ll achieve brand awareness. In other words, if they don’t install right away, they will be more likely to get your app the next time they go to the Store and look for this kind of application.
Promote your website or other products
You can also promote other products from the offline world or services your company provides. Get the people to your website, to the online shop (for example sell toys, accessories etc like Rovio does), and you can earn big bucks if your game is successful. If you provide services in either online/offline world you can get a lot of good leads from your app – since your app has already proven its quality in the field, you have established trust with your customer. All it takes then is to give them a good call to action at the right time while using your app and they could soon turn from non-paying app users into paying customers of your services. In this case your app is your lead-generating machine.
Offer in app purchase of (virtual) goods
This is probably the best way to earn money at the App Store. A customer who did not want to pay $1.99 for your app can end up paying twenty or fifty times more through in-app purchases. It sounds absurd, but it’s true. Here is why:
- They have already experienced the quality you provide and know what they’ll get when they buy upgrade/new level/additional service. As one of developers we contacted said: there are a lot of apps out there that simply don’t work, and people are reluctant to purchase an “expensive” app because they have had a bad experience.
- They have got ‘hooked’ to the game and have the ‘unfinished job’ syndrome so if they are offered the option to continue they will most likely do it.
- If your app uses the power of social networks (which it should) they can brag to their friends about the achievements in the virtual world (your game). Furthermore, since your game is free the chance that their friends are using it is greater, or when they see the message on their friend’s wall they will be more likely to check it out, especially since it’s free. Therefore, you not only earn money from the user who purchased the extras, but your app gets promoted, too.
There are other ways to earn money by offering the app for free and we could continue the discussion on the subject in the comments section.
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