There are many reasons you might launch an app for your business. Perhaps you’re looking to expand your digital presence. Maybe there are services currently offered on your website that would be far better suited to a mobile device. Or maybe you’re looking for another avenue to generate profit.

If your main goal is the latter, you might be surprised to know that you can still generate money from a free app. In fact, believe it or not, selling your app for the upfront price of $0 might be the most profitable strategy you can implement when engaging in Android or iOS application development.

Free vs. paid app statistics

Regardless of your preferred operating system — Android or iOS — there are a lot of apps available to download. Millions, in fact. There are currently 2.87 million Android apps available on the Google Play Store, and the App store is not far behind with 1.96 million iOS applications.

Of these, the number of free apps far outweighs the number of paid apps on both platforms. It’s estimated that 96.7 percent of Android applications are free and 93.9 percent of iOS apps won’t cost you a single cent.

With that in mind, if you do choose to set a fee for your app — even if it’s only a few dollars — you’re really behind from the get go in terms of attracting customers. The general attitude from people browsing both application stores is that they should be able to get what they want for free — regardless of how much time, effort, and money has gone into the iOS and Android application development.

Monetisation strategies

These statistics don’t mean you have to give up altogether on making a profit from your app. Teams that provide mobile app development in Melbourne will tell you that there are many monetisation strategies available to you, depending on what your goals are.

In general, these strategies work well for both iOS and Android platforms, but if turning a profit is your main objective, it’s a good idea to get tailored advice from your development and marketing team as to which operating system will best suit your needs.

In-app advertising

In-app advertising can be very effective or completely ruin your app, depending on your skill and subtlety. Consumers don’t respond particularly well to ads that interfere with the flow of an app or the overall user experience. It’s a very fine line you have to walk to ensure both your users and advertisers are happy.

Interstitial ads, for example, are pop-up ads that take up your entire screen. In most cases, they completely detract from the user experience, as do in-app video apps that cannot be closed without watching.

Native ads, on the other hand, are designed to closely mimic the user interface of the app. It’s far less intrusive, and your users may even be more likely to engage with the ads, given they are less irritated.

In-app purchases

The in-app purchasing model is becoming more and more popular, as it gives users a chance to try out the main features of an app before committing to a purchase. It’s particularly effective for game-based apps. You can give users the opportunity to purchase additional lives or in-game currency, which they can use to buy game assets like armour, weapons, or outfits, depending on the game.

Subscription model

The subscription model is perfect for apps that offer some kind of service. This could be a streaming product, like Netflix. Fitness apps also often use this type of structure, where users have to pay a weekly, monthly, or annual fee to access classes and resources.

Unlike other monetisation approaches, this strategy allows you to effectively track and forecast your profits, which is always an added bonus.

Collecting and selling data

Data is fast becoming an incredibly valuable asset. Companies will pay significant amounts of money to access user data which they can then use to tailor their own products and services.

However, it’s important to keep in mind your rights and responsibilities when conducting Android and iOS application development and collecting this type of information. Both the App Store and Google Play Store have strict policies in place designed to protect users as best they can. Depending on the platform you are developing for and what kind of data you are collecting, you may have to seek user permission and clearly explain what personal data will be used for.

There are endless ways for free apps to make money — you just have to understand user behaviour and preferences. A good iOS or Android application development team will understand your target audience and what type of monetisation strategy they will respond best to.

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