At first glance, jumping onto the mobile application development bandwagon seems like a good idea. And why not-as per data released by Statista, customers are keeping themselves extremely busy downloading these offerings. To illustrate, In May 2012, the number of available apps in the Google Play Store surpassed 1 million apps and was most recently placed at 1.6 million apps in July 2015. Clearly, no small numbers, these!
But, wait, there’s a catch-while there is no dearth of great ideas on the kind of application one can develop, having a “Eureka” moment isn’t enough. Here’s why-imagine you just launched a one-of-its kind mobile application. So, what’s next? What do you have to show for your efforts, i.e. where’s the money? How do you acquire the customers? How do you manage to register a good number of downloads in your first month. Do you plan to pull an Uber and offer coupons for free rides, as well as free Wi-Fi in the vehicle? Or do you prefer following in Flipkart’s footsteps and offer almost too good to be true discounts on certain products?
Simply put, monetizing the application is the tricky part, one which trips up even the best developer. At this point, allow me a brief side-note and to go back in time to the era of the dot-com boom-i.e. roughly between 1997 and 2000. Just a quick refresher-there was a major rush to launch internet-based companies back then. The frenzy was so strong that a company’s stocks had the potential to rise significantly, merely by adding “e” as a prefix” to its name or a “.com” at the end.
Business Model is the key
Of course, the frenzy didn’t last for too long. In the end, every company was left scrambling for whatever was left over of their business and of course, their monies. So, what did this turbulent time teach us? In a nutshell, just that many start-ups were fundamentally uncreative. Many failed Internet start-ups began with ideas that involved little more than rehashing an existing business model onto a web site – or copying another company that did it. Companies followed the herd and didn’t give much thought to how best to monetize their business.
Now, let’s transplant this example in the context of mobile applications. Lesson number one: no matter how cutting-edge and fresh your ideas may be, they won’t necessarily bring in the dough. Monetization WILL, though. So, put that calculator down, you don’t need to know how rich the mobile application will make you (well, not yet, anyway). Instead, focus on how best to leverage your creation. Baby steps, for it’s a long-winded process.