Top Tips For Developers When Monetizing Their Applications

February 20, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Over the years, there have been massive changes in how developers can benefit from their app-based products. One of these changes is the recent shift to free-to-download applications which instead of focusing on pay at the point of sale, looks to generate revenue from advertising within. Whereby, the developer receives payment based on the adverts shown to customers and not from the customers. Another example of the changes is what we now refer to as “Freemium” apps. Where an application is free to download, but progress is limited unless the customer pays real money to make progress. Changes like this have led to a boom in the app world, sales and most importantly, revenue. However, this has created a new problem: getting your application recognized in the marketplace. To try and help you avoid similar mistakes, here is a quick rundown of the mistakes that developers make when trying to earn from their hard labors!

First up, get help when planning an application. Many developers are bursting with brilliant ideas about their application and its purpose, but have not considered how to sell it! You’ll find that behind most successful applications is a lot of hard work from a dedicated team, combining the skills of development, app marketing, social media and public relations. Any and all help that you can give your application is going to help; consider how you are going to market the application. You can use social networks, word of mouth, the Internet and relevant technology websites. In short, plan your marketing before you plan your app.

Next up, the application itself; it needs to work. It also needs any revenue-generating aspects integrated right from the start, rather than thrown in at the very end! The application’s core functionality should be self-explanatory; customers need to understand what to expect from the application and it needs to meet (ideally exceed) these expectations. If your application is a coffee shop finder, make sure that it works in every region you support, not just in your local city. Moving on, the name and image of your application. It needs to fit both what the application is designed to do and the target devices and audience. Calling your coffee shop finder app “Lazar Turbo” might seem cool, but it means people will not easily find it in the app store. Also, your icon needs to reflect the application. Try to avoid overly complex icons with text, but instead stick with simple images that are in keeping with the rest of the platform. This might mean updating when the interface is updated.

Another prime exmaple of where mistakes can be made is ‘first impressions’. What will your potential customers think when they first find your application in the app store: this means the price has to be right. If you are just starting out, giving an unknown application a premium price of $0.99 is probably not going to help, because without an incentive or track history, customers will not want to risk financial investment. Do consider either making it free and supported by advertisements, or making a premium version which can purchased once the user has tried, tested and wants the app.

The next tip concerns advertisement built into an application. Try to avoid adverts which are intrusive, ads which interferes with normal use. Interrupting the core function of the application with an advertisement which requires the user to tap something is a sure-fire way to be uninstalled. Instead, try to use advertising at the end of a process: in the example of finding the coffee shop, perhaps have the application display advertising banners once the user is within a certain distance of the coffee shop? Bringing the banner up during the search is not ideal.

It is also worth noting that reviews do not have to always be positive in the app store. Customers like the reassurance that other customers like an application, but it’s important not to sweat the occasional indifferent, worse or bad review. Indeed, customers might be suspicious if your application only has five-star ratings and glowing reviews! You can use a paid app review service such as Android Headlines’ App Review Service to generate some interest; take advantage of the Android news websites to spread the word about your application. But it’s important that you don’t pester customers too much. Reminding them every day to give your application a five star rating is another great way to have your application uninstalled. On a related note, make sure you interact with your customers. Respond and reply to reviews, comments and feedback. Take onboard negative feedback and see if you can improve the app to respond to the criticisms. If there’s a fault or flaw with the application, or a new feature that you’re working on, if possible, give customers a realistic time frame. Aim to underpromise and overdeliver. Keeping customers in the loop builds confidence in your application as well as you as a developer.

The next tip involves selling the application across different regions: if you decide to utilize additional markets, make sure that the language and regional preferences are double checked. For instance, remember ‘American English’ is not the same as ‘British English’. Extra time spent ensuring that the localization of the application is spot on, will ensure you do not antagonize customers! In a similar way, if you are developing an application for multiple platforms, you may need to consider the differences between them. Not all app stores are created the same, so be sure to check the terms and conditions of each.

Finally, integrating your application into other services while also remembering not all customers use the major social networks – look beyond Facebook. Do not have your application spam a social network at every level or achievement, either! If you can keep settings and data safe for users switching between different devices, this is a great idea as it builds loyalty. Hopefully, these points should help your application capture attention and be able to start generating revenue.