While the app store and app development industry as a whole continues to boom, the increasingly saturated marketplace is incredibly hard to penetrate with a new or unknown piece of software. From the hesitation to spend money on something that may be available for free, to the limited resources that exist on your phone in terms of space and data, there are considerable obstacles to making your app stand out within the growing and ever-changing App Store. Rather than discuss ways to make money off your app by way of add-ons, registrations, or advertisements, today, we wanted to look at ways to monetize an app while simultaneously spreading the word and incentivizing users to download. From invites to limitations, there are a considerable number of ways to charge for a mobile application.

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The stage is set for your new app--from the initial concept to the release in the App Store, you’re ready to have a growing userbase and watch the positive reviews and revenue start rolling in. However, the price tag on your app seems to keep people from taking a chance.

 INVITES

By making an app free provided that the user has an invite from a friend, colleague, or current user of the mobile application, app developers can help maximize their revenue alongside the exposure for each app as well. A price tag on a never-before-used-piece-of-software is pretty difficult way to encourage new users, as many are deterred simply by having to pay for something they’re not sure will make it past a few days on their mobile device. Instead of requiring an initial payment, mobile app developers should learn to leverage invites.

By asking users to send the app to friends or colleagues to get the chance to download the software free of charge, there are a couple of huge benefits. First of all, the lower barrier to entry keeps a huge number of users excited about the fact that have the opportunity to try something for free that would not normally be free. Invites from friends and colleagues also have a powerful impact, allowing a user to instill trust in the product by sharing it with their peers. Similarly, the mystique of the product and exclusivity offered by an invite also help build enthusiasm and loyalty in the new app. It’s a great way to help expose users to your app, and a fantastic way to help keep your app on the tips of tongues of influencers, users, or potential customers. In turn, this continues the conversation, helps grow your audience, yet encourages even those who do not get the opportunity to try the app for free to leverage the buzz into individual downloads and sales.

PARTNERSHIPS

In addition to offering an app for free through invites, it’s also a great idea to offer an app for free of charge as part of a partnership with another company! Apps that are free for a limited of time or offered for free in conjunction with another paid product or service are a great way to not only build your brand, but strategically align your app with other businesses within your vertical or niche.

Consider this: A company with whom you regularly work or turn to for industry advice or guidance offers you the opportunity to download an app for a limited time only. The strategic trust imparted on the industry site seamlessly transfers to the new app, as customers are eager to find value and represent value on a new mobile application. This allows the app developer to piggyback on the success of other products and services while simultaneously advertising their authority as a leader in the field.

PREMIUMS 

 Lastly, another way to monetize an app has to do with offering particular features or content for a charge, while offering the barebones function of the app for free. This business model, often referred to as “Freemium” is a concept that we’d previously touched on, but one that’s very successful and adaptable within the app marketplace.

In this scenario, app developers can put their app on the marketplace for free, yet charge or demand some combination of the features above in order to access certain features. For example, app developers may decide to give the basic functionality of their mobile application away within the app store, but encourage users to pay for features that allow them to collaborate, share, save, or download the fruits of their labor. This allows users to experience the app with no barrier to entry, but still monetizes the app and rewards your hard work. Rather than a dollar amount, combining these with the two options above could be a pretty amazing opportunity. Premium features could also be unlocked by sending a certain number of invites to friends or colleagues, or by partnering with a larger company and combining your solution with their service.

Have questions about the best fit on how to market your app? Contact us today!  

With the nation’s midterm elections fast upon us, we wanted to take some time to talk about how the technical world of mobile applications and app development have impacted the very fabric of our society. From the fast-flying Tweets that make up the fabric of today’s national news and offer opportunities to interact with journalists and politicians alike, to the quick texts and cross-global communication that form the bedrock of our politics, mobile apps are no stranger to informing the democratic process. Below, we wanted to take a look at a few different ways in which mobile apps have affected democracy. 

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With the revolutions that traveled across the Arab world, from Egypt and Tunisia to Iran, Iraq, and more, Twitter fast became the app of choice for cataloging the fabric behind the “Arab Spring.” It’s hard to see how this political movement would have been possible without social networking, and specifically, the corresponding mobile applications that allowed for these demonstrations.

The core fabric of change that was espoused by the Arab Spring relied on the agility of mobile apps. Without these mobile apps, demonstrators, organizers, and more would have been unable to communicate, organize, help manage their message and its dissemination, and communicate to the outside world. In fact, the government found that social media and the mobile apps that protesters were using to organize was actually so effective, that it tried shutting down the Internet in Egypt! To write off the role of the mobile app in this particular social movement would be erroneous to say the very least. It’s incredible to see how these apps can shape the way in which people communicate.

Similar to the Arab Spring, the recent Umbrella Revolution that has dotted streets within Hong Kong has also leaned heavily on mobile apps for users to organize, communicate, and even engage and put forward their message. However, rather than shut off the Internet, China’s ability to impact the mobile app networks has been considerably more significant than the States in the Middle East. As a result, protesters and activists have turned to apps that lean on anonymity, like Secret and Whisper.

By using apps such as these, organizers have been able to evade the restrictions that were put on social networking sites in favor of those that lean on encrypted data. However, as these apps have continued to spike in popularity, the Chinese government has become more stringent about getting involved in what type of data is shared, and how anonymous it truly is.

Lastly, a host of apps have been developed just to encourage and foster a more educated electorate right here in the States. From political parties and politicians with their own apps for candidates and individual races, to apps by non-partisan groups, like Rock the Vote, there are a host of mobile apps that help voters get more involved. Some of these lean on communicating concerns directly to candidates or parties, while others focus on just helping users locate their closest polling station or register to vote.

How do you think mobile will evolve between now and the next four years? Contact us and let us know! 

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Impractical Jokers

Check out a clip from the episode at: http://www.trutv.com/shows/impractical-jokers/index.html

Watch the episode tonight at 9:30PM EST on Trutv.