Since Gartner released a not-so-positive study predicting the financial future of apps, the question of monetisation in app development has resurfaced. Among other things, it has reignited the in-app purchases (IAP) debate.
No prizes for guessing that the average app user gravitates towards free apps. By our very nature, we always look for the best deal we can get, and when apps are split into ‘paid for’ and ‘free’, the latter is always going to get more attention. Gartner estimates that 94.5% of downloaded apps will be free by 2017, which is why so many developers are going down the IAP route.
This isn’t as depressing as it may first seem. Yes, there’s always the risk that you’ll be giving out your apps for free; but there’s also the potential to earn more than you would from selling your apps to consumers. Often, with extremely popular games like Candy Crush Saga, there is continuous revenue to be made from regular IAP, with total revenues per user far higher than what somebody might pay to download an app.
Similarly, you can create your free app as an introduction to the fully powered version that will be infinitely more attractive to the consumer. An example for this might be a dating app, where users can browse their potential matches, but only spark up conversations in the paid-for version.
Recurring revenue is the positive outcome of this trend for the developer; but consumers benefit too, because purchases are based on how much the user likes the app. Apps that make money must be designed to help or entertain users for as long as possible, delivering a better experience for everyone.
There’s a great post on the Intel Developer Zone that explores the benefits of IAP for both consumers and developers, with some handy tips for using the software itself. While some have taken the Gartner research in a negative light; I reckon the rise of IAP is going to be a win:win situation for both developers and app users.
• This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.
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