Mobile app marketing and monetization are so inherently connected that both processes need to be implemented at the same time. In fact, they complement each other, so you should develop a cohesive strategy that will include both. Main monetization strategies for small businesses include ads, sponsorships, in-app purchases, and freemiums. These can boost marketing by getting your app promoted by sponsors or getting good deals on advertisements of your own.
I advise taking a good look on how mobile marketing and monetization strategies can be developed individually. Then, think of how you can tie them together to enhance one another. Meanwhile remember that the mobile app development industry is growing by the minute. It’s predicted to reach over $101 billion in revenue by 2020. For a small business this means two things:
- Launching your own mobile app is a great opportunity for strengthening your brand and making more money.
- The competition in the field is intense, so you have to both monetize and market your mobile app most efficiently.
Mobile App Marketing and Monetization Guide for Small Businesses
Mobile App Marketing Strategies
- Social media ads.
Advertising your app through social media is a must, especially on Facebook. Today, the vast majority of active Facebook advertisers are small businesses (CNBC), which in itself is a proof of efficiency. However, don’t forget that the primary focus of your marketing efforts should always be the social media network most popular with your target audience. For example, for millennials it’s Twitter, while young professionals favor LinkedIn.
Additional Note: I strongly suggest advertising not only on social media but also through online and even printed publications your audience reads.
- Using influencers.
Mobile app marketing and monetization come together on this one as you can turn it into a variation of a sponsorship deal. For example, you advertise the influencer in your app, or provide another service they require. In turn, the influencer endorses your app/brand/both on their channels.
- Use publicity for boosting credibility.
Press releases and even guest posting on renowned blogs both boost your credibility. You can also get some publicity by joining various campaigns related to your business or relevant for your target audience. Promoting your app there will boost your downloads and raise your business’s profile instantly.
- Encourage sharing with perks.
Here you can look at the connection between mobile app marketing and monetization from a different angle. You market your app in order to monetize it, so the more downloads you have, the more money you’ll get. This means taking an extra step and even making some special discount (a seeming setback for your money goals) will pay off in the long run. As you should always strive to popularize your app as soon as possible after the release, you should not only add a CTA like ‘Share this app with your friends!’ You should offer some kind of bonus that will boost the people’s desire to become your co-promoters. If you use some clever strategy, like a giveaway for all those who shared the app through social media, you can attract people who will initially come for the ‘freebies’. At this point, any marketing boost is a good thing.
- Integrate your app into your content marketing strategy.
Just like mobile app marketing and monetization go hand in hand, so do business’s content and apps. Spread the word about your new app not only through a dedicated blog post. You should add an URL or download buttons on all your pages and in the footnotes of every post, both on your website and guest posts you create. Simply put, add that link everywhere as long as there’s even a tiny chance people will see it. This also includes adding a QR code to all your printed marketing materials. You can create QR codes for download pages using solutions like App QR Code.
While all those ways of mobile app marketing (and monetization in the meantime when you’re clever) are effective, you need to remember one thing. SEO.
GooglePlay and AppStore are search engines in their own right. Therefore, it’s essential to optimize your app page to the relevant keywords so the users have a chance to actually find it there.
Mobile App Monetization Strategies
- In-app advertising.
Adding ads to your app is the simplest way of monetizing any kind of application. It actually gives you two monetization routes. You get money from the ads, for this use services like Google Ad Mob. The other route is to make removal of ads one of the bonuses users get upon subscription.
This will be an effective strategy only if the content offered through your app can work for this format. However, as I’ve mentioned before, you can find more opportunities if you are clever. For example, if you run an eCommerce shop, you can offer subscriptions for special discounts and limited offers. Consider using tiered payments system for your subscribers, like Twitch does. And these people know a lot about mobile app marketing and monetization.
The ‘freemium’ strategy also fits in well with the subscriptions scheme. It basically means offering your app for free download, but only a limited version of it. And offering people to subscribe to a Premium version for full functionality. Again, you can make this a tiered scheme and unlock different features depending on the level of subscription.
- Sponsorship (think affiliate marketing).
A sponsorship means partnering with a bigger brand that you’ll promote in your app and that will pay you and/or promote your app/brand in return. It’s a perfect symbiosis of mobile app marketing and monetization.
- In-app purchases and transaction fees.
Even if your app isn’t meant to be a store, you can add this feature for monetization. Offering digital goods will work best for this strategy, but everything depends on the type of business and app you have. For example, if you have a calorie calculator app, you can sell digital guides for dieting, workouts, etc. If you have a game app, offer cheat sheets, special guides to finding easter eggs, etc. Do steer away from anything resembling loot boxes, learn from the EA Games’ spectacular fail with Star Wars: Battlefront II.
One other common strategy used for mobile app monetization is selling the data collected from your users to third parties. While it’s a viable plan and many use it, I do advise against it. In fact, as the average internet user of today is nearly obsessed with online privacy and security, you should highlight that you are NOT going to do this. That’s another way to enhance mobile app marketing and monetization at once. It’ll motivate those who seek more privacy to use your app instead of a competitor.
Mobile App Marketing and Monetization: Two-Headed Beast with One Heart
As you can see, monetization and marketing might not be the same thing, but they can work together to boost each other. However, I’d also like to remind you that while it’s a two-headed beast, the heart of it is one, and it’s the audience you target.
In order for your app to succeed in any capacity, it must be designed for and marketed toward the right audience. Take your time researching your competition and your audience both. Then, develop an offering that offers more than your competitors and ‘hits all the buttons’ for your targeted customers. Your mobile app marketing and monetization strategies will also need to be developed based on what exactly your audience likes and wants.