Making apps that make money10 August 2016 ‐ 3 min read
It may seem like every second story nowadays focuses on great mobile apps that make money while making just as many waves in the media. But there’s a lot more to mobile apps than just a great idea...
When it comes to monetising your app, you’ll need a lot more than just a thought – it takes effort, attention and building something just as important as a beautiful mobile service – a user base.
So, you made an app
You’ve invested time, attention, energy and, of course, money, to create the perfect mobile application for your business purpose. But building a user base is the next most important move so attracting your target audience should be your priority. Despite what you may think or read, there’s no such thing as an overnight success (unless you’re Pokémon Go, but that’s another story for another day!). While the mobile app greats like Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook are monetising their mediums, the reality is that they’ve taken their time to do so – by building an engaged, active and involved user base that not only contributes to their growth, but keeps coming back again and again.
A quick guide to building your base
Spoiler alert: there is no quick guide to building your user base, even if you are the creators of Pokémon Go – remember, those cute creatures have been much loved and hyped for twenty years before we met the application that’s got everyone talking. And the big names in mobile applications, like Snapchat and Twitter have created active, vibrant communities around their platforms and worked to improve them, long before they turned into apps that make money. In terms of Snapchat, the mobile-only application that lets everyone get a little silly while telling stories, it only began paying attention to advertising opportunities in 2016 – yet it launched a whole five years earlier in 2011. So when it comes to making money through your mobile application, remember that you’ll need a big base to begin with – and that’ll take time to create.
Make the investment
Mobile apps that make money cost big money to make, and there’s no certain guarantee on whether they’ll fly or flop. The money you spend on the first phase of your app’s development will be long forgotten by the time you reach the point of being able to monetise. Don’t be afraid to invest in your product if it’s got great potential, but remember that you’re just beginning the journey towards being able to see a return.
Building a product that’s easy to use, loved by your users and that responds to user needs is the best way to attract the audience you desire.
Focus on your base
The best way to build an active, engaged base is to make them your priority. Building a product that’s easy to use, loved by your users and that responds to user needs is the best way to attract the audience you desire.
Ads aren’t everything
While rolling out advertisements and enabling brands and companies to utilise your app for advertising and related purposes seems to be the order of the day, that’s not the only way to make money through your mobile app. Finding creative ways to monetise your app through user behaviour or other techniques can be a lucrative way to do it. A simple example, of course, is offering additional functionality to your application at a cost to the user, but the best way to figure out what works for your app, is to see what your users are doing.
Being the first to solve a problem puts you ahead of everyone else by a fair margin.
Be first to market
Being the first to solve a problem puts you ahead of everyone else by a fair margin. Everyone talks about Uber, but the cities where Uber first launched already had effective public transport services. That’s because Uber doesn’t solve the problem of transport – it just makes it simpler to use, and even easier to participate in. Uber was the first big brand in a marketplace that didn’t really exist – the one where secure payments were a key element mostly ignored by other transport providers.
In summary, making apps that make money takes some serious initial investment. The bigger your base the bigger your chance of success, so be sure to have a strategy around that and be prepared for it to take time. Instead of focussing on trying to create something that’s cool, rather focus on one thing that solves a big problem for many – they tend to be the things that ultimately redefine and rewrite the meaning of cool. If you can find that magic point, that's where the money flows...