Alternative App Monetization Strategies

App monetization is “THE” priority for hundreds of thousands of developers that spend nights and weekends coding their way into app stores. In an overcrowded app store ecosystem, this is not a trivial goal – monetization matters to everyone involved, but most certainly for the developers who depend on it for their livelihood.

There are several primary app monetization models: free with in-app ads, freemium, paid, and in-app purchase.  But creative developers will look to these, as well as outside of the norm, to monetize. Let’s dig into some alternatives that can support, or in many cases, replace the traditional app monetization models.

app monetization methods

Subscription is a monetization model similar to freemium but more focused on purchasing additional content, not necessarily more features. In this scenario, users have free access to a preset amount of content and are pushed to upgrade for a paid subscription if they want more.  A great example of this would be the music streaming services.

Sponsorship is based on a partnership between app makers and advertisers that will reward users for completing particular in-app actions.  One example is a scenario where a fitness app may reward the user with promo codes and discounts or coupons from the advertisers for each fitness goal achieved. It’s a smart monetization strategy based on gamification theory – of course, this model would not be a fit for all apps.

In-app consumables work well for games, particularly.  Users addicted to mobile game playing can spend literally hundreds of dollars on in-app consumable items, including better skills, new looks for your avatar or virtual goods that can enhance in-game abilities.  It’s very similar to in-app purchases, which is probably the most successful of the traditional monetization strategies.

In-app currency, like consumables, is predicated on the desire to move the app forward.  This method allows users to purchase in-game currency with real money to be used for buying virtual goods or extra playing time.

Co-branded games or apps are perfect if you have already developed a successful app or game, because you have a proven track record and can bank on your success.  Brands will come to you and offer money to tailor the next version of your product in a way that promotes the brand. A good example of the branded app is the Angry Birds, Star Wars edition.

Incentivized installs works by offering in-app or in-game virtual goods in exchange for an install, hence driving downloads that will make ad networks and app developers happy. 

Tracking user behaviors will generate additional revenue if you sell reports based on user data.  Some developers find this to be lucrative enough to offset the privacy issue.

Rewards for user feedback can allow your users to offer up information in exchange for a sweet deal in the app.  Customers voluntarily answer questionnaires that can be sold to advertisers for better ad targeting. In exchange customers may get virtual goods (e.g. more space in cloud storage) or virtual currency.  

Mira is an option that appeals to developers who want a clean UX, but still want to monetize via ads.  Once our SDK is integrated into the app, we trigger relevant advertising outside of the mobile experience – these ads appear in real life, when a user isn’t buried in an app, like on TaxiTV screens, Gas Pump displays, kiosks and digital signage.

Without in-app ads interrupting the app, Mira’s technology keeps developers and users happy, while advertisers love both the relevance and the more timely impression.

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