Mobile developers rely more on big data than ever before. If they are planning on creating new apps, then they can use data to:
- Develop a deeper understanding of customers
- Improve their ad targeting
- Scale production
- Produce apps much more quickly
DataVersity addresses most of these posts in Big Data Analytics: The Right Tool for Mobile App Development. They point out that most of the benefits of big data stem from using it to improve marketing, rather than developing apps themselves:
“to remain updated with these factors, you need to gather and manage surplus of data which is quite a daunting process manually. This is where Big Data plays a significant role in your market strategy.”
Developing mobile apps can be a fun and exciting way to use your technical and development skills. However, at some point, you’re probably going to need to find a way to monetize that knowledge. Your simplest option is to develop pay apps, but with so many free alternatives, people will almost certainly pass on yours without giving it a second (or even first) thought. What other options can you consider? Let’s look at some better ways to use big data to get people on board with using your apps and earning their money that don’t require them having to spend anything up front.
Selling in-app advertising.
In-app advertising is one of the most popular ways to reach customers on the web. According to eMarketer, 70% of all advertising dollars are spent on mobile. This figure is likely to jump to 90% by the end of next year. A large number of people buying mobile ads are using in-app advertising. This is one of the most natural and most common ways to make money through your app. By selling advertising space to third parties, you can gain money from every step of the sales funnel. You can earn revenue from both views and clicks. You can also get paid for conversions. In-app advertising can come in the form of banner ads, interstitials, or even native advertising within the app itself. Big data is vital for this. It helps you improve targeting, which boosts conversions for advertisers. Since advertisers can get better ROIs from a data driven in-app advertising campaign, they will pay more, which makes you more in the long run.
Develop a freemium version of your app.
A freemium approach involves creating two versions of your app: a free version that includes basic functionality and a core set of features, and a full version that contains all the features not supported in the free version. The idea is to give people a taste with the free app, and if they enjoy it enough, they’ll be willing to pay for the full version to get the really cool or useful features not included in the free version. Do people actually upgrade to the paid version? Yes. The conversion rate of freemium platforms is 2-5%, with most estimates pegging it at 4%. Big data is important here as well. You can use it to understand the factors that benefit customers the most and convert them into paying subscribers. This helps you optimize your freemium funnel to get more paid subscribers. According to one expert I spoke with, using data optimization helped him boost his conversion rate from 3% to 8%.
Include in-app purchases.
This is how most of the really insanely successful mobile games like Candy Crush Saga make their bank. Make the app generally free to use, but offer additional features at a small cost that can be accepted within the app itself. For example, mobile games that have been successful in this regard provide different costumes or items for your character, extra lives, or access to new levels not available in the base app.
Produce white-label apps.
Instead of marketing and selling your own apps, another route many developers take is to produce “white-label” frameworks that provide functionality that others can pay for the rights to, and customize in their own image. For example, you could create a music player that you sell to others who can develop their own proprietary features on top of your basic framework. They can even just skin it with their own color scheme and logo if what you developed already suits their needs.
Create a subscription model.
If your app is mainly focused on delivering some kind of content like news, videos, or other continuous information, a subscription model may be the way to go. This is similar to the freemium model, except instead of having separate apps, you can leave teasers for the premium content in the free app, but only grant access once someone has paid for access that content. As you can see, there are many ways to make money from apps without charging any up-front fees. You can make your prank apps free to use but include advertising, drive interest for your premium content with subscriptions, or use any of the other tips outlined above to get a monetary return on the time and effort you put into the awesome apps you created.
Conclusion: Big Data is the Key to App Monetization
As a mobile developer, there are a lot of ways to monetize your apps. Big data has made this easier than ever. Make sure you understand the benefits of big data and use it to your fullest advantage.