Once you've spent all that time and effort developing your Android app or game, it's time to release it out into the world. Time is money though, and while you can't turn back time, you'll want to get some of that money back, and hopefully turn your app - be it your first or your latest endeavour - into something of an earner for you and your team. There are plenty of different monetization methods out there, but for a small team of developers, what are the best - and most straightforward - ways to recoup some of your costs and start to earn money? Below, we look at three of the best ways to monetize your Android app.
Ads, Ads, Ads
Ads are the necessary evil that keeps the Internet moving, and over the past five years it's been the de facto way for many to monetize their Android app, and with good reason. Offering ads in your app is a great way to get some of your money back, and it also allows you to offer your app for free, which is the best way to get people to actually download your app. After all, people don't like paying for things up front too much. Using ads inside of your Android app is a great idea, but you need to do it properly.
It's no good to just sign up to one of the many ad agencies out there and flip a switch. That works, and it will get the job done, but it's not enough for a long-term solution. You need to choose your ad partner well, choose a platform that is respected and reputable, rather than a firm with a bad name among users, like AirPush ads, for instance. You'll also want to make sure that the ads inside of your app are tailored for your users. If you're looking to monetize a children's game for instance, you need to steer clear of dating app ads and adult content.
In-app Purchases and Add-Ons
This has become one of the most lucrative ways to monetize your app these days. It works on a similar principle of offering ads in that it allows you to offer your app for free. However, it offers much more flexibility that ads. As with the in-app purchases model, you can have an in-app purchase to remove ads right off the bat, or more exotic purchases to offer new functionality or to extend their gameplay. In-app purchases are way to keep a title going over time as well, because you can constantly update your app or game with new items and features, hopefully bringing more purchases with them.
The problem with this sort of "freemium" model is that you need to have a large audience available to really make the most of it and bring the money in. Which means that you'll need to work in-app purchases in with some sort of marketing to ensure a steady flow of interest, otherwise you might not make any more than if you were relying just ad revenue.
Charging for Your App
Last but not least is flat-out charging for your app. This is a potentially risky option however, as we mentioned above people aren't too keen on actually paying for things these days. Offering up a paid version of your app is of course best paired with a free or trial version of your app, so keep that in mind. For apps that are a sort of buy-it-once affair, like utilities or standalone games, paid apps can offer you a way of bringing in the money, but it's not as simple as just slapping a price tag on it.
You'll need to offer a definite incentive for users to cough up the cash, and a few sales here and there and some great marketing will help as well. This sort of strategy will perhaps ebb and flow in sales, rather than offer a constant revenue like ads or in-app purchases, but don't forget you can always advertize in the free version of your app.