Current State of the Mobile App industry – Business Models, Developments and Marketing
Mobile apps refer to the software applications which are exclusively developed to be used on smartphones and tablets. These apps can be accessed from app download platforms such as Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry App World where it can be downloaded to your mobile device. In the world’s leading app store, Google Play Store has about 2.8 million apps available, followed by 2.2 million in Apple’s App Store. These numbers are increasing every day, hinting at the popularity of mobile apps.
According to Statista, by 2020, it is estimated that mobile apps will contribute to global revenue of USD 189 billion through in-app advertising. This hints at the highly promising scope of mobile app marketing. However, the competition is stern too. With more and more companies investing in mobile app marketing, one needs to come up with innovative strategies to be successful in their ventures.
The rapidly growing numbers of mobile apps has already led to a booming mobile developer population. In fact, there are innovative strategies such as the ‘hybrid monetization model’ being developed, in order to maximise the revenue though in-app advertisements and purchases. Interestingly, mobile-app consumers’ rate is progressing rapidly than the mobile app developers. It is estimated that by the end of 2018, there will be 369.01 million internet users, among which majority of them are mobile internet users. By 2022, a whopping number of 442.5 million smartphones will be sold in India. Thus, there is a huge demand for mobile app development in India.
A recent study reveals that an iOS app generates an average monthly income of 11400 USD, while an Android app induces USD 4900 per month. Nevertheless, 75% of the developers intend to increase their business through Android apps, since 82.18% of the smartphone users in India alone are Android users. The major types of app that are gaining demands are: customization apps like lock-screen, icons, wallpapers, and mobile versions of newspapers and magazines. The other popular apps are shopping, lifestyle, travel, sports, health and fitness apps.
Four Monetization Models of App Development
There are four effective business models that have yielded monetary success to mobile app developers. They are as follows:
1. Direct Sales Model: where one needs to purchase the app, in order to access it. Typically, even if a user dislikes paying for apps, these apps can be successful only if they offer unique features. Generally, apps of entertainment values follow this model. Gaming app such as Minecraft Pocket Edition has succeeded to yield revenue of USD 6.99 per download.
2. Freemium Model: as the name suggests, is a combination of Free and Premium services, where the users are allowed to access a free version of app, or for a specific duration. If the users wish to access the full version of the app, they can do so by paying the subscription fee. Gaming app such as Clash of Clans is a good example for freemium model. Although, the number of users opting for subscription may be lower, the developers focus on making money through increasing the number of app downloads.
3. In-App Purchase Model: In this model, monetization is done through in-app purchases, where the users are encouraged to make purchases that appear through ads. This model is highly popular, especially among free apps, where the developers collect revenue through advertisements rather than from users. Best examples for this model include Pou, My Talking Tom and Candy Crush Saga.
4. Crowdfunding/Sponsorship Model: In this model, the developers seek funding assistance from online platforms by presenting their idea for an app. If users like the idea, they contribute to its development. The revenue generated out of advertisement is shared among the sponsors. This is a new model of monetization, which is gaining popularity among the app developers.
Although the Direct Sales model is beneficial to generate revenue directly, majority users dislike the idea of paid apps. Freemium Model may be successful to an extent, but the developers will have to persuade the users to buy it. In-app purchase model may seem feasible, but constant ad pop-ups may irritate the users. Crowdfunding may seem economical but may fail to start if the people are not convinced with the new idea. Hence, all the four models have their advantages as well as limitations. Hence the only way to succeed in gaining monetary income from mobile apps depends on the way they are marketed.
Strategies to Market your Mobile App
Here are some of the pointers to market your app successfully:
- Create an informational website for your app. People wish to know about your app before they invest in it.
- Promote your app on Social Media. Keep your users engaged. Award them freebies.
- Create Buzz. Organise Press Release and Interviews. Invite guest speakers and guest bloggers to speak about your app.
- Release promotional videos. Create user anticipation and participation.
- Name your app in a unique manner. Be concerned with the user ratings. Respond to all reviews.
- Concentrate on traditional advertisings such as TV and newspaper.
According to a recent study, 74% of the internet users in India fall under the category of less than 35 years. This suggests, the mobile apps can be developed by considering them as the target audience in order to maximise the revenue. Nevertheless, the age group above 35 must also be considered, in order to thrive on a long run. Ultimately, the success of any app depends on its reception by the users. Hence, sufficient attention must be given towards marketing the app in a unique manner.
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