There are a plethora of mobile applications available in the market today. Be it Android’s Google Play Store or the iOS App Store, every application distribution platform is flooded with a variety of free and paid apps.
The number of mobile application downloads have kept increasing exponentially worldwide. As per the reports released by Statista, the number of mobile app downloads summed up to 2.52 billion in 2009 and in the following years – 2010, 11 & 12 – it saw a massive rise, amounting to 4.52, 21.65 and 64 billion downloads respectively. App downloads have kept increasing enormously ever since they were first introduced and in the year 2015, a never-before figure of 200 billion was recorded for app downloads. The number is expected to increase to whopping 269 billion by the year 2017.
While the number of app downloads have kept themselves multiplying ever since the advent of mobile applications; the number of free app downloads have always downsized the paid app downloads. While free apps have accounted for 69 per cent of the total app downloads during the past 2 years; paid app downloads remained struck at 31 per cent. It is to be noted that out of the top 25 apps in the app store, around 15 are ad-supported free app versions. These facts map the consumer preference directly.
Making money with apps
Smart devices are becoming omnipresent across the globe. Owing to this, more developers are making their way to the niche of mobile app development now. While the Apple App Store is growing by over 1,000 apps per day; the Google Play Store welcomes around 3000 apps on a daily basis. Still, there are selective applications on these platforms which perform exceptionally well on the verge of user engagement, retention and revenue generation.
In the mobile app business, it requires exceptionally high brand name recognition and high awareness to get users buy an app. The app developers can no longer monetize applications by selling them. Developing and offering useful free mobile apps, the developers are struggling to generate revenue through advertisements which, generally manifest as disruptive prolonged pre-roll or third-party pop-ups and create major deterrents for regular usage. Proficient mobile applications integrated with advertisements provide a major revenue source for the mobile application developers, which is quite crucial for their growth
The above facts map the importance of user engagement on the apps for monetizing them. So, what are the challenges faced by the app developers and how can they improve the user engagement on their app in order to mint money with it?
Below are highlighted the biggest challenges associated with app monetization and the ways one can overcome them:
Making your app get noticed- The crowded mobile app market creates a pressure for the apps to get noticed without getting lost.
Solution – Create apps with great appeal. Include usable features, graphics and intuitive design to provide a wholesome experience.
Dealing with the device screen size – Users may access your app on multiple devices with different screen sizes. Designing your app only for the latest OS is a big no. Create an application which can run seamlessly on as many devices as possible.
Solution – Responsive Design give more liquidity to screens and thus, the same can be adjusted to suit different formats and screen sizes.
Make the application interactive – Interactions have the same importance as design responsiveness. Make maximum use of mobile sensors to create an interactive experience.
Solution – Consider interaction during the designing phase. Target a comprehensive experience without restricting to tap and swipe gestures. Use various click options with buttons and tangible interactions like shaking, tilting, flipping to play etc.
Maintaining a smooth on-board experience – Most of the apps do a poor job taking the new users onboard once downloaded is completed. Reports suggest that 26% of downloaded apps are used just once.
Solution – Use a simple and clear interface for your app. It must be kept in mind that a new user judges whether the downloaded app is engaging right off the bat or not.
Existing user engagement – Creativity and innovation have made the mobile app market highly active. Gaining happy and loyal users becomes a challenge.
Solution – Analyzing the way users interact to your app supports their retention. Offering value during downtime, an app can keep the users engaged in a meaningful way.
Paid download isn’t the only way –Higher the engagement, higher will be the advertising bucks. Higher revenue implies that the developer can keep the app free for download and increase downloads, which will eventually bring more advertisers.
Solution – Even minimal detail can prove to be delightful for the users and may result in high engagement. You can try rewarding them. Saving even a buck courtesy of your mobile application may be outright delightful in this economy.
Enlisted above are the major challenges faced by the developers in application monetization. There are various other small hurdles that may creep in every time they initiate working on a new app. All we can suggest for the mobile app developers is that they should put more emphasis on ‘what not to do’ than on ‘what to do’.