8 Ways to Make Profit with Free Mobile Apps

Information 11th September, 2012

Mobile marketing and mobile development are considered really important because of their success in the industry. This is due to the reason that many personal services like payment, banking, travelling and advertising have become mobile. The evolution in mobile technology and the availability of almost every possible service has led the designers to create exceptional mobile applications. These applications are considered more useful than mobile websites because they target the customers directly. If we take a look at the applications’ development industry, then it becomes clear that the competition among developers has taken its toll. The creators of mobile applications probably bear some expenses, be it in the form of money or energy but the question is, do they get something in return? Well! This is a bit difficult to answer at this time, but you will probably get the answer when you read further.

Developing an app from scratch is a very difficult task. The developer must have knowledge about that particular operating system for which he is designing the application. It is not like a piece of cake. You definitely have to research and then build what should be built according to that mobile’s functionality. The problem becomes prominent when cross-platform formatting comes in a developer’s way. Cross- platform formatting is making an application compatible for different mobile operating systems.

These brainstorming really cost something and to further explain the expenses spent on developing a mobile apps, here is some information.

Categories of Mobile Applications:

Mobile applications are commonly of two types. The first type of applications is created to generate some income by selling them and the other type of applications are created for promotional purposes.

From the first type, you can generate profit by two ways – directly and indirectly. Directly means that you sell your application to a company or individual and get its profits. Indirectly means generating profit with applications that are standardly free. Some examples of free mobile applications are gaming apps and pocket applications (dictionary, etc.). There are several companies and individuals that generate profit from these free apps through ways that are described below:

1. Enter a Contest or Event:

The first benefit of entering a contest with your free mobile app is to gain exposure. The second benefit of putting your app in and event is that it will give you a great amount of money. It does not matter if you win or not, at least you get a chance to put your app in front of others. These kinds of contests are attended by many people who are not among your friends and relatives, so you get appreciation and feedback also.

Entering different contests gives you a chance to explain what your app is about and to let people know about your upcoming ideas. This increases the chances of direct sales of your mobile application.

2. Use Mobile Networks for In-App Advertising

Mobile ad networks such as AdMob and InMobi are very helpful if one is looking forward to earn by his free mobile application. These networks provide a way called In-App Advertising which is probably one of the best ways to get profit. These networks help you in earning quick revenue by mobile application with easy integration. But CPM rates become a disadvantage when you choose these networks. Actually they offer low CPM rates. This can make amateur developers depressed but is a good way to earn recognition and a little monetization. Remember, you cannot directly earn a lot from your starter applications.

3. Employ Rich Media Networks

Rich media networks like GreyStripe prove very useful when it comes to gaining profit from free mobile applications. First, they help you get recognition and sometimes make your viewers return more. These ad networks help in attracting more buyers and give more CPM as compared to in-app advertising networks. The disadvantage of these ad networks is that they put strain on your resources, both in terms of finances and server space.

4. Mobile Advertisements

The main benefit of a mobile device is that it provides contextual information to its users through different applications and features. This is a plus point for advertiser too. The aim of advertisers is to reach their targeted traffic through any mean and if you tell them about mobile advertising then they will surely go for that. The fact is that these advertisers do not pay high. It means that you cannot earn as much as the price of your application. Well! This leaves only one way and the way is that you bombard your application with a lot of advertisements. You may have known that popular websites like Hulu generate their income purely through advertisements. So, by using some tricks, you can definitely generate profit through mobile application advertisements.

Getting a direct advertiser for your application can help you in generating more income. It also gives better integration of your app with that sponsoring brand. But the rule is that your application should fulfill the purpose of that particular brand. Developing relationships with brands and managing it is a really difficult task which is really time consuming but you can go for paid mobile advertisements, which you can show on your mobile apps.

This is a tricky way but you can incorporate mobile advertisements in your mobile application and earn profit through impressions and clicks. This way is profitable for gaming and other similar applications that can engage the users for a long period of time. Sometimes these applications help you in earning far more than your expenses and sometimes these applications do not generate much profit – just enough to ease your pain.

For your help, here are some networks that provide you with different ads which you can show on your mobile application.

iAd is Apple’s native advertisement platform which provides ease in earning advertisement revenue through apps created for iGadgets.

AdMob is the first choice of mobile application developers because it is one of the most trusted mobile advertisement providers. Actually it is a platform by Google Corporation.
Other useful mobile advertising networks include Mojiva and Jumptap. However, the most interesting and most useful service in today’s mobile world is AdWhirl. It allows you to take benefit from several advertising networks at once. Secondly, it enables you to put your own house ads in your mobile device, thus promoting your own products. For iAd, you have to create a backup ad too because it does not provide good fill rates. So, as a backup you can use AdMob. AdMob does not provide good CPC rates either but standardizing it as a backup ad can give you some benefit. Admob only works well if your mobile application is exceptional and popular as well. So, try the first two ways to gain popularity and then you can earn good profit from AdMob.

5. Promotion

Making a free application with huge user-base is a good way to make people know that you have other apps too. In other words, with promotion of your free app, you can get benefit from your other paid apps by using the targeted audience which is using the device and knows what you are up to or what you are going to develop. This can only happen if your free app has gained enough recognition. Since this kind of promotion is free, you can reuse the advertisements as many times as you want. This will also help you in achieving brand awareness. In other words, if your application user do not install your app right away, then he will be more likely to go to the store and download a similar application. This means that you can use your free app for promoting your paid apps.

6. Offer App in Return of Virtual Goods

In an App store, you can definitely get profit by your free app. Look, a person, who does not want to pay for your application will end up paying more than that if he uses in-app purchases. Behind this, there are many reasons which include:

  • If your application is of good quality, then they will probably get attracted. People always look for good applications and in this search their experience sometimes goes bad. Every application in an app store does not work. So, if you are confident that you application will work and is better than many applications, then people will definitely go for it even if its price is ten times higher than an ordinary application.
  • They have really liked your game and they want to continue it further. So, if you ask them some compensation after that, then they will definitely buy it. You can first check the feedback and then you can try this option out.
  • If your application uses social networks, then they will brag to their relatives and friends about your achievements in your virtual world. Furthermore, since your application is free, the chance that user’s friends will use it gets high, or if they see a notification on friend’s wall, then they will surely check this thing out. Therefore, you will earn money as well as promotion through this way.
    Other way is that you can buy virtual goods from application too such as gift vouchers, domains, hosting, or other things that you need.

7. Subscription Fees

Now, if your application is really very useful then you can play with your users. Put ads on the regular version of your application which may irritate your users. Provide your users with the option to upgrade to the version that will not show any ads and you can use it without any difficulty and put a subscription fee on the premium version. The idea is really useful and popular applications like, Grooveshark and Hulu use it accordingly. Now you must be thinking that why would one pay for something that is free. Well! Let’s make a scenario; you like television shows very much and you want to enjoy them without any distraction. However, advertisements do not let you do this. So, for this, you will definitely pay for premium subscription which lets you watch your favorite shows without any distraction.

8. Sponsorships

Some of the above mentioned high quality ad networks work with best publishers and advertisers to make rich ads for developers’ sponsorship based apps. Medialets‘ technology is well suited to sponsorship advertisements. Medialets benefits from hardware features such as accelerometers and vibration. For instance, Dockers’ shakable ad had dancer Dufon – a dance expressionist, suited in Dockers Khakis iBowl – a bowling game. You can also try these sponsorships in your mobile applications. But this example can only be applied when your application has not reached its final development stages.

So, if you are a mobile application developer then you must be facing the same problem of how to generate profit from free mobile applications. It is a fact that no one works for exposure only, money is a need of life and it can only be fulfilled by making some efforts. Just follow one of the above ways and I am sure you will be able to generate good income with your free mobile application. You can use more than one ways for your application so at least one will work for your app. Remember, your efforts never go wasted, so try harder and harder and you will definitely achieve your target.