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app monetization

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

App monetization is a means of making money from a mobile app without charging for it. Users often balk at paying for apps because the vast majority of them are offered free of charge. Despite that fact, however, according to The Verge, free apps are the source of 98 percent of Google Play revenue.

One of the most common ways to monetize an app is to collect user data and sell it to third parties, usually advertisers. That often puts data at risk because it may be inadequately protected in transfer. Furthermore, those third parties may not protect the data well and it could be accessed by cybercriminals for identity theft or targeted attacks, among other possibilities. Although app developers may stipulate how they will access user data and what they will do with it, end users often fail to even read that information before they agree to the seller's terms. Another unpopular option is advertising within the app, which can be particularly distracting for users given the small screen size.

Other options for app monetization include:

The freemium model, in which a basic version of an app is available free of charge and a premium version is available for users who want added value. In this case, it's important to ensure that the original app is fully functional and that the premium version is a significant upgrade.

In-app purchases, which offer enhancements for purchase from within the application. In a game, for example, users may have the option of upgrading their skill levels or buying currency, characters, tools or weapons.

Free trial periods, after which the user has the option to pay for the app to continue using it.

Once an app is somewhat established, it may be possible to find sponsors who will pay to have their branding on the app. This practice is known as white labeling.

 

 

This was last updated in August 2016

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