10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part Two

Disruptive apps create a ‘new normal’ for consumers and businesses alike. They make life easier and often improve upon the traditional practices that came before it. We look at five new apps that are changing the way we shop, find a car park and do chores.

A disruptive app strives to challenge the status quo within an industry – so much so that the traditional way of doing business becomes obsolete. That’s easier said than done, and a lot harder than creating an app that follows market trends and consumer demand. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

Well, as the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

In the first part, I discovered apps that aim to change the way we live. For instance, grabbing a coffee, finding nearby friends and even monitoring our health. I also discovered that these app startups that are crazy enough to think they can change world, are the ones who do.

Related: 10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part One

In this second part, I examine five more apps that disrupt the way we live our lives for the better.

 

1. Witness

What if live streaming, like those that run today on apps like Periscope or Meerkat, could be used to save lives? That’s the premise behind Witness – An app that does everything your phone can do to keep you safe in an emergency. With one touch, the app broadcast your location, audio and video to your loved ones and emergency contacts.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Live Mobile Video Streaming

Winner of the TechCrunch 2015 Hackathon, Witness can be activated by launching the app and pressing the ‘Witness’ button. As soon as you activate it, it will call and text your emergency contacts.

In addition to alerting your friends and family, Witness will record your location, camera and microphone activity. It also streams it over data and Wi-Fi to your emergency contacts in real time. In the meantime, your screen fades to black so nobody can notice that you’re streaming what’s happening.

Witness App

Source: iTunes

Changing the way we stay safe in an emergency

What makes Witness a game-changer in the live streaming app market is that rather than having the stream sent out to the public via social networks like Twitter, only designated contacts you’ve previously configured in the app’s settings are alerted to the incident via phone calls and text messages.

“Whatever emergency I have, I pretty much always have my phone and my wallet with me,” developer Marinos Bernitsas explains. That’s why he says it made sense to take advantage of the smartphone’s camera, microphone and GPS to build an app that could help keep people safe.

Operating as a ‘panic button’ of sorts for your iPhone, Witness empowers individuals and law enforcement agencies with a secure and efficient way to capture and deliver digital media in an emergency situation.

 

2. Membit

While searching for disruptive apps, I found that one of the most difficult industries to shake up was social networking. Companies like Facebook and Google are always striving, and spending, to remain at the forefront of how we connect to one another. With that being the case, how can a startup disrupt an industry where the most powerful are also the most innovative?

Well, when your app has a feature that Snapchat filed a patent for, it’s safe to say that you may have the attention of Silicon Valley. That’s what Membit has – a breakthrough mobile image sharing app that utilises a patented Human Positioning System (HPS) to share images.

Membit is a new way to share memories by letting users unlock past clips (‘membits’ ), captured at a specific location.

Changing the way we share memories

“Membit is destined to become the world’s way of memorialising and sharing moments that matter.” It’s a bold statement by Membit Founder Jay Van Buren. But when you consider the patented form of augmented reality the Membit has for geo-locative photo sharing, it’s a statement that he can say with confidence.

Membit photos know where they belong in the real world, and users can share Membits simply by leaving them in a particular place. Others can experience these images through a 3D interface or through their mobile devices at the Membit’s actual physical location. It’s a uniquely compelling way to experience and share photos.

 

3. Mallzee

Tinder-esque ‘swipe to filter’ interfaces (A.K.A. ‘Tinderfaces’) are in app vogue right now. ‘X app is the Tinder of Y’ has become the standard descriptive shorthand for this trend, named from the dating app Tinder which popularised making snap aesthetic judgements swipe style.

U.K. startup Mallzee is just one example of apps following in the gestural footsteps of Tinder by applying a Tinderface to high street shopping decisions.

The self-proclaimed ‘Tinder for Fashion’, Mallzee has captured the attention of fashion labels and investors alike. With a database that let’s you search over 2 million products from around 200 major brand retailers, the company has raised a nearly $6.7 million since being founded in 2013.

mallzee-app-screenshots

Source: Student Fashion

Changing the way we shop for clothes

Mallzee’s personalisation technology and retailer analytics appears to be the biggest draw here. The former creates what the startup describes as unique personalised style profiles that make finding ‘the perfect outfit’ quick and easy. This includes sending you alerts when items you have swiped-to-like are reduced in price.

For the retailers, Mallzee provides a data insight tool, which claims to provide ‘actionable real-time knowledge’ of how their products. For instance, how they are perceived and used across various consumer demographics, such as location, age and gender.

It’s quite the innovative shopping startup, but it’s Mallzee’s clever social twist that’s shaking up the personalised shopping experience for users. The app lets you share the item you intend to buy with friends. If the consensus is a thumbs-down, Mallzee will actually prohibit you from making a purchase — the buy button becomes disabled — helping to avoid any potential fashion faux pas. This feature could prove to be a viral hit with the young demographic. Or just a bit annoying. Time will tell.

 

4. DoStuff

Algorithms can’t tell you what to do tonight. You need a local who knows about all the events and can tell you what’ll actually be fun. That’s why DoStuff hire natives from cities across the United States to power recommendations in its new event discovery app.

The app is smartly designed to find awesome local events that are the real deal. While most other event aggregation apps force you through the chore of sifting out what’s good (I’m looking at you, That’s Melbourne!), DoStuff has real humans curating the events.

Changing the way we… well, do stuff!

So how does DoStuff stand out from the heavily saturated event discovery market? “There’s probably been 87,000 companies that have tried to tackle this,” DoStuff’s founder and CEO Scott Owens admits. “Where we’re different is that we’ve become a part of the scene in those communities by partnering with people.”

DoStuff understands that it doesn’t have to build an empire to create a disruptive app. The fact is that the companies perhaps best equipped data-wise to nail event recommendations just don’t care. EventBrite only makes money by selling tickets to events on its system, so Owens says “they’re fighting against themselves if they surface other things.”

Owens thinks similarly about Facebook. “It’s not in their DNA to be a part of a local community. They’re a platform.” Facebook knows where your friends are going, just not if where they’re going is any good.

Event discovery may be saturated, but that just shows there’s a clear need for it to be done well. DoStuff have realised that it’s people that are needed to do that.

 

5. Parkhound

After publishing the first part of this blog, I had a mate astutely say ‘Cool apps bro. Any Aussie ones?’. Considering Launchpad is Melbourne-based helping Australians develop their innovative app ideas, he had a good point.

As such, this app startup is disrupting a something that most Australians can relate to: finding a car park!

Enter Parkhound – An online marketplace that connects drivers looking for parking with local property owners who have spare parking spaces. A 2014 Australian Mobile and App Awards nominee, the app aims to make sure you won’t have to drive around aimlessly looking for a parking spot ever again.

Changing the way we find a car park

Parkhound works very similarly to Airbnb, but as a marketplace for empty parking spaces instead of rent accommodation. Drivers reserve a parking spot in advance and parking space owners get to make extra income on the side.

As a Melbourne motorist that heads to the city every morning, here’s how I feel about this app…

Blog Meme

As indicated in the above meme, parking has been a major issue for all Australian motorists. Lack of investment in infrastructure meant that parking is either unavailable or is too expensive.

Instead of ignoring the issue, Parkhound has decided to challenge it head on. The solution? parking spaces need to be better utilised. Through collaborative consumption, here’s hoping that Parkhound can give the Australian parking industry the much needed shake-up it deserves.

 

Bonus App (Surprise!)

Apps like Tinder have gained popularity by shallowly focusing on physical attractiveness. It’s unfortunate, but also understandable. How is another way someone can find the perfect match with an app? Well, Oscar Mayer believes it has found the perfect equation for this and it all comes down to bacon.

Last month, the company released Sizzl, a dating app that allows lovestruck users a closed network of bacon lovers where they can scour for their ideal dates. This ‘totally real dating app’ allows people to “specify their bacon preferences in a customisable profile, upload photos and start swiping through profiles of local fellow bacon lovers, with the ability to message and meet up with other Sizzl users based on a mutual-matching system,” according to a company press release.

Changing the way bacon lovers find their soulmate

“In love, as it is in bacon, it’s important to be discerning when selecting your perfect match and to never settle for less than the best,” said Eric Dahmer, Oscar Mayer’s marketing director in a statement. “With the launch of Sizzl, we’re thrilled to give our true bacon lovers the chance to find each other and potentially meet their soulmates, in life and in bacon.”

This is a real app, and you really can attempt to meet your love match via a bacon-based matching service. It may not be disrupting the online dating industry anytime soon, but let’s be honest — it can’t be any worse than what’s already out there.

Are there any other disruptive (or bacon-centric) apps we should be checking out? We’d love to hear about them.

 

VALIDATE-MY-IDEA!

 

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10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part One

‘Disruptive’ is a common word amongst app entrepreneurs and startups today. Everyone aims to have the next Uber or Airbnb in their respective industry. By what exactly is a ‘disruptive app’? And why are so many entrepreneurs and startups in pursuit of this title being bestowed upon their app?

A disruptive app is one that challenges the status quo within an industry – transportation, retail, lifestyle, etc. It does it so much that the traditional way of doing business becomes nearly obsolete.

In essence, these apps create a ‘new normal’ for both consumers and businesses alike. They make life easier, more fun, and often improve upon the traditional practices that came before it.

So what are the ‘game-changer’ apps that we can look forward to in the future?

During last week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference, we got a glimpse of the next generation of innovative apps that aim to change the way we live.

Here are 10 apps that could soon change the way we travel, exercise, grab coffee, and much more.

 

10. Hopper

Hopper is an iOS and Android app that shows travellers where to go, when to fly and buy tickets. The app analyses data from billions of flights to determine the best time for purchasing a ticket and flying.

Hopper

Hopper has been building out its Price Prediction tool since 2007 to focus specifically on the challenge of helping users get the best flight deals. Source: TechCrunch

Changing the way we find flights

The aim of Hopper is to help consumers find the cheapest flights possible. It does so by using data sets comprising billions of flight prices to help app users find the best possible deal for the right destination.

As noted by Investopedia, Hopper doesn’t want to just be an app that provides available flights and price information. If it did, then it’d be no different to all the online travel companies readily available to consumers.

Instead, Hopper wants to give the data-driven results for the lowest possible flight prices. For all the consumers wanting to avoid the complexity of flight prices and just be confident in their purchases, travel apps don’t get more convenient than Hopper.

 

9. Foodful.ly

Automatic reminders and delicious recipes to help cook your food before it goes bad. That’s the mission a Foodful.ly – a mobile app that is designed to help users save money, time and food waste in their home. The app catalogues everything you have in your fridge – along with expiration dates – to send you timely reminders and recipes so you can cook your readily available food before it goes to waste.

Changing the way we waste food

According to lunchalot.com, Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase. Furthermore, up to 40% of the average household bin is food, which equates to an average of $1,036 worth of food being thrown out each year.

One reason for this is that food is mistakenly thrown out before the use-by/best before date. We are also prone to not planning our meals and menus like we could to avoid such waste.

So how does Foodful.ly help to avoid such a state of waste? Well, let’s see what the app knows when integrated with your food purchases: 1) What food you have on hand, 2) What you like to eat, and 3) How much you save. With such seamless integration into the consumers’ lifestyle, Foodful.ly can change the way we save money and be less wasteful with food around the home.

 

8. Pull

Alright, I should note at this stage that I’m presenting these 10 disruptive apps in no particular order. However, Pull has firmed as a personal favourite from this very impressive bunch of apps.

In my ‘3 Steps To Validating Your App Idea’ blog, I examined the need to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to only include app features that address the problem you are trying to solve and demonstrate the core value of your product. Pull does exactly that.

Simply put, it is a location-sharing app without the map. The app lets you find your way to your Facebook friends that are within 1000 feet by using a compass instead of a map.

Pull

Pull allows you to navigate to any Facebook friend within 1,000 feet, using a glance-able compass.

Changing the way we find any friend

On most mapping and messaging apps, you can drop a pin to save and share your exact location. However, with the amount of data stored on such apps, users have become wary to their exact whereabouts being geo-tagged on a map. That’s where Pull gets it right.

Once logged in on Facebook, Pull only allows you to find friends when they are nearby. This is done so with a simple compass function to let you know how far they are and in which direction. Furthermore, you can select how long the location sharing last to ensure that your Pull session is readily available to your friends for only the applicable time required.

 

7. Café X

Australians are one of the world’s great lovers of coffee and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. According to industry Research Company IBISWorld, the cafe and coffee shop industry will continue to grow over the next five years by an annualised 2.6% to total AUS$4.96 billion.

Even though there seems to be a café wherever you turn in Melbourne, supply still hasn’t caught up with demand. The lines to get a coffee are getting longer, especially in the morning and early afternoon – right when you need coffee the most.

We could interpret this in two ways: 1) Us Melburnians need to scale back on the caffeine, and 2) the café culture is ripe for disruption!

That’s where an app concept like Café X comes in. The Café X app lets you pre-order and pay for any coffee right from your iPhone or Android Phone. After ordering, users head to the nearest Café X robotic café to pick up their premium coffee.

Cafe X

Café X designs and manufactures its Robotic Café to serve pre-ordered, premium coffee. Source: IT World

Changing the way we grab a coffee

Café X’s mission is ‘to accerlerate the adoption of robotics in the service industry to increase human productivity’. This is quite the mission statement for the HAL 9000 of Baristas, but it’s the type of advanced thinking required to create a ‘new normal’ for coffee consumers and the café industry alike.

Right now, the robotic café start-up is only established in Hong Kong, but the company is looking to expand globally into airports, shopping centres and university campuses. If it can make a decent Latte with one sugar in half the time and a fraction of the price, the Australian cafe culture could be disrupted a lot sooner than anticipated.

 

6. Supercharged

Based on 12 years of research in quantum biology, Supercharged was a featured participant at TechCrunch Disrupt. When you consider how the groundbreaking mobile app is aiming to change the way we look at health, it’s featured billing at the San Francisco event was more than justified.

When it comes out, the Supercharged app will be able to analyse your health based on the sound of your voice, combining voice resonance technology with machine learning to create a personalised health profile. The app then becomes your personal health and wellness coach with recommendations on how to optimise performance through innovations in quantum biology.

Changing the way we monitor health

“The way Uber changed transportation, this app changes healthcare. Like a personal health coach, it offers specific solutions to help relieve your problems and SuperCharge your health.” – Harry Massey, CEO and Founder of Supercharged.

It takes a bold App Entrepreneur to attempt a disruption of the healthcare industry. But Massey has streamlined the physics of biology and created a health performance product that is effective and affordable for consumers.

SuperCharged claims it can help users detect and correct their own health without going to the doctor or hospital

Now I don’t see myself replacing my local doctor with an app any time soon, but healthcare is the world’s largest industry today. When you consider its lag in innovation for almost five decades, the disruptive startups that are striving to revitalise and transform the healthcare system need to be given the attention they deserve.

The healthcare industry can be improved by enhancing the experience of care, bettering the health of populations and reducing per capita costs of healthcare. SuperCharged may have just launched, but it’s on the right path to revolutionising such aspects of the industry.

 

To be continued…

Later this week I’ll show you five more apps that aim to disrupt the status quo.

Until then, do you know of any disruptive apps out there that we should be checking out? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

3 Steps To Validating Your App Idea

All successful apps begin in the same way – as innovative ideas. To help you validate your app idea, we examine what you need to know, do and expect to determine the market demand and long-term viability of your app.

So you’ve got a great idea for the next app that is going to change the world. Most likely, you’ve browsed the App Store and seen there’s nothing else like your idea, so now you’re seriously considering joining the new wave of App Startups taking the shortest route to financial freedom.

But will your idea stand out from the crowd in the app market? How do you know whether there is a target market large enough that are looking for an app like yours?

Based on a small sample size of you and those you’ve mentioned your idea to, these are difficult questions to answer.

Before you start investing time, money, and effort into developing an app that others may or may not use, you need to spend the time upfront to validate your idea. Idea validation will help you focus your efforts on creating an app that people want to use and increase your chances of building a success app startup.

To help validate your idea, let’s examine the three steps to making sure that your app can attract users and generate revenue.

 

Research

Researching the size and shape of your market is a critical step in influencing the direction of your app idea. Is your target market broad enough to support an app funded by advertising? Or is it perhaps niche enough to generate word-of-mouth recommendations and community loyalty?

Seeking out similar apps is an easy way to start, but we
 don’t necessarily need to identify existing competitors to prove that we’re building something that people want. If we can’t find competitors, we can alternatively look for people blogging about problems that the app idea solves, or discover if people search for topics related to the app. Luckily for us, there are more research tools and data sources freely available to do such research than ever before.

In a previous blog about naming your app, I discussed how more apps are discovered through the App Store’s keyword based search engine than any other discovery method. When it comes to validating your app idea, use the Google Keyword Planner tool to find the audience who is seeking a product like your app idea.

Type in words associated with your app idea, like the problem you are trying to solve, the benefits your app will provide or other terms associated with your concept. You can also use App Store Optimisation tools like Search Man or Sensor Tower to help find the right keywords for your app. The keywords can then be optimised based on search locations to see the average number of local and global monthly Google searches. This is a good indicator of market demand and, in turn, the validity of your app idea.

 

Minimum Viable Product

It’s tempting to include every feature that your potential users could possibly want as part of your app idea. This would appear to maximise the app/market fit and, in turn, the chance of market success. But there are three main problems with this ‘all-in’ approach:

  1. It’s possible to include ‘too many’ As the number of features increases it becomes more difficult to build a usable product, and the result is often a confusing interface through which the user cannot navigate even simplest functions.
  1. The market potential of your current list of features is anybody’s guess. You have yet to test all these features with real users, so would you really want to risk excessive development time for features that may be unwanted?
  1. It’s not practical and doesn’t make good business sense. Even if you can afford to do so, there’s no point delaying the launch of your app by months and investing thousands more dollars if you can launch earlier and still achieve success.

The challenge is to determine which features are required for launch and which can wait for later updates. At this idea stage, you need to build the minimum viable product (MVP). The idea here is create an app prototype that has just the required features that address the problem you are trying to solve or demonstrates the core value of your product.

The MVP can then be shared with early adopters to see their response. Are people excited to use it? Are their needs or problems resolved by using the app? Is it easy to use? Note this feedback and revise the app.

I should reiterate: Building an MVP is not the same as creating the best app product. Your app idea is not yet at the ‘sweet spot’ where the minimum features satisfy the maximum number of users.

MVP

The minimum viable product has fewer features than an app at the sweet spot.

The MVP is a much earlier product than this ‘sweet spot’. It’s the minimum product that can be presented to the market in order to attract some paying app users and to validate the research about what they want. Market research gives us a good idea of how to achieve the MVP, while the MVP enhances our findings and takes us to the next stage.

So how do you go about building the MVP?

Use your existing research

Your research into similar existing apps and target market trends provides the best foundation for feature prioritisation. You should have a good understanding of what really matters
 to your potential users: their principal needs and motivations, and their relative importance. If you researched the App Store and Google Keywords, the features that appear most frequently should come higher on the list.

Prototyping

A prototype MVP is something you can often build in a few days as an actual functioning stripped-down app with the core features offered. As part of Launchpad’s Idea Validation process, my go-to prototyping tool when creating the MVP for App Entrepreneurs is InVision. Not only does InVision allow you to transform your App Idea into a clickable, interactive Mobile prototype; it’s also free to use! Creating variations of the basic app interface on a prototyping tool like InVision will greatly assist you in identifying and prioritising the features that will maximise you app idea’s potential success.

VALIDATE-MY-IDEA!

Landing Page

Once you have researched your target market and conceptualised the MVP, you need to micro-test your app idea to validate it’s potential. You may not have an app yet, but you can still have potential users sign up for it by creating a landing page that describes the main benefits of your app, the key selling points and the core problem it solves.

A promotional landing page doesn’t take weeks to plan and develop. A simple teaser page can be created in less than a day and will deliver a number of tangible benefits:

  1. It allows you to market your brand and benefits, even if passively to begin with. If you decide to talk publicly about your future app concept, for example in social media post, you can refer the people to the teaser URL.
  1. Search engines will be able to index your domain. It can take weeks for a new domain name/website to appear in some search engines, so an early teaser page can start this process while the app is developed. Furthermore, if the page looks beautiful and the app sounds appealing, people will link to you from their websites, which is great news for the app’s future search engine rankings.
  1. The teaser site can help you build a database of interested potential users. These people can be notified when the app is launched, which guarantees you some initial interest and early feedback. If they have granted you permission, you can also survey them during the application development, perhaps to ask whether a particular feature would be valuable to them.

To create your landing page, use platforms like Launchrock or KickoffLabs. Both platforms allow you to easily make a free website and email collector. Furthermore, they provide built-in analytics to include as part of your landing page. So pick a template, add content about your app idea and start sharing the URL.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 10.49.24 pm

The landing page for Cleaver & Co. Hair’s Web App. Source: Cleaver & Co. Hair

Once your landing page is ready, you need to start sending traffic to it. There are a number of free options to gain visibility for your landing page, like posting your app to applicable subreddits, sharing on social media, and contacting blogs and websites related to your idea.

There are also paid options that you can use to get exposure for your idea early in the process. A small ad campaign through Facebook Marketing or Google Adwords provides an affordable option to present your app to a wide audience of early adopters that may be in your target market.

Across all the promotional options for your landing page, be sure to focus on collecting the email address of visitors. This will allow you to engage with potential users throughout the full app development process and let them know when the app launches.

 

Before validating your app idea…

By applying these three steps, you will have a much more successful app upon release than you would have if you hadn’t validated your idea.

You will know the market demand for your app. You will know the features to include in your app. And most importantly, you will know that there is an audience waiting to download your app.

What other tips do you have for app validation? Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Make Your App A Money Maker

How can you be sure that you are moving forward with the best monetisation strategy for your app concept? We examine the ideal business models available to help you generate the most revenue.

When entrepreneurs and start-ups decide to develop an app, they do so with a variety of goals they want to achieve. More than likely, one of those goals is to make money.

In March 2015, a survey from App Annie found that 70% of app developers had an objective to earn revenue within the App Store (E.g. In-app purchases, paid downloads), while more than 45% wanted to generate income through in-app advertising (E.g. Banner Ads).

So the clear favourite goal for developing an app is to earn revenue, but what is the best monetisation model to achieve this?

As part of our Rocketfuel Workshop, I have collaborated with entrepreneurs on a variety of app projects to answer that very question. From my experience, the most effective monetisation models have been implemented based on the conceptualised app idea, the user experience it provides and what works in the current app market.

To help you move forward with the right strategy, let’s examine the three main monetisation models you can choose to generate income from your app.

 

Freemium

The freemium model is considered to be the market-leading method for app monetisation. Under this strategy, the app is available as a free download with in-app purchases and/or subscription options for a defined price set by you.

From 2013 to 2014, app revenue generated from the freemium model grew by over 70% across both the App Store and Google Play. This substantial growth can be attributed to freemium’s appeal to a broader user base by eliminating up-front costs, while also creating ongoing revenue streams for entrepreneurs.

When applying the freemium model, there are a number of value propositions to consider so the model is aligned with the app and it’s user base:

  • Usage – The app offers limited usage, so the user pays to raise or remove those limits (E.g. Tinder).
  • Free Trial – The app offers full functionality for a limited amount of time, and then the user pays to continue using these functions after the time period is up (E.g. WhatsApp Messenger).
  • Functionality – The user pays for virtual items, content, add-ons, upgrades, services or capabilities (E.g. Clash of Clans).
  • User experience – The app that is ad-supported, so the user pays in-app to remove ads or through a separate paid download (E.g. Words With Friends).
  • Combination – The app applies two or more of the value propositions (E.g. Evernote – Functionality and Usage).

So what are the right value propositions to choose as part of your monetisation strategy?

Well, the most commonly used by freemium app developers are Functionality (55% of developers) and User Experience (43%). This makes sense when you consider that both can lead to ongoing in-app purchases from active users. However, Functionality and User Experience may not be applicable for certain app concepts and target audiences, so be sure to assess each value proposition in relation to your app idea and the market you’re entering.

Here are a few tips if you choose the freemium model for your app:

  • Choose your purchase options wisely – Provide the user with multiple features they can pay for, but don’t charge for every valuable function the app offers! The user needs to perceive value from the free app’s functions in order to spend money on enhancing their experience. Also, make sure that the purchase is optional and not a necessity. The user will be eased towards a buying decision if the purchase does not disturb their app experience.
  • Focus on WHY users should buy – By making the app free to download, the user has already been provided with their preference to ‘try before they buy’. This decision is based on emotions for the user, and so are their subsequent buying decisions within the app. So when determining which features to make available for purchase, focus on WHY they would spend money on it. Finding and presenting the emotional reason to buy a feature will guide the user towards purchasing it.

Freemium Mobile App Development

Freemium is the top monetisation strategy in most app categories. Source: Statista

 

Paid and Paidmium

Charging a fee to download is the most visible and easy-to-understand way of making money from apps. When applying this strategy, you can either do a once-off fee to download the full version of the app (E.g. Minecraft – Pocket Edition), or make it a paidmium app with additional in-app purchases (E.g. Card Wars).

The simplicity of this monetisation model might make it the most appealing, as it is the strategy that most closely resembles the traditional way of doing business. However, the success of paid apps is entirely dependent on the uniqueness of the product and the marketing of the product’s value.

Consider the psychology of the user when browsing the iOS App Store. Most people are not going to eagerly wait to pay even the small price of $1.29 for your iPhone app – unless they have a compelling reason to do so. The majority of apps are given away for free to create an audience and then generate revenue from them. Once you have that audience’s attention, you can find multiple ways to make money through in-app advertising, in app purchases etc.

Pay-per-download can be a good revenue source under the right circumstances, but for first-time app entrepreneurs who don’t have a proven track record and an eager audience of users, you’re better off giving away your app for free. Get users to download the app, and then make the money.

Mobile Game Apps

Almost 50% of the most popular games on Apple’s App Store are paid apps. Source: Apple

 

In-App Advertising

In-app advertising is a core strategy used to make additional income in conjunction with an applied monetisation model. It involves having ads (E.g. Banner ads, video ads etc.) displayed in certain places within the app. The advertiser then pays you a defined amount whenever users tap on the ad and are directed to a particular link set by the advertiser.

When utilised properly, in-app advertising can generate a profitable revenue stream for app developers. Research from market intelligence firm IDC found that 49% of developers used paid advertising within their apps in 2014, which was an increase of 7% from the year prior. This increase can be attributed to developers more recently focusing on app functionality and the user experience. Therefore, it is essential to find the right balance between monetising through the app stores and monetising through in-app advertising.

You need to be strategic in order to make your app stand out in the mobile app market. This makes picking the proper format/s a key to maximising in-app advertising revenue.

Static banner ads and static full screen ads are the highest earning formats for the majority of developers, with nearly 40% earning most of their revenue from banner ads and a subsequent 25% from full screen ads. These are the recommended formats to apply for in-app advertising as they are less likely to affect the user experience and, in turn, generate the most overall revenue.

In-App Advertising

In 2015, Facebook combined app installs with deep linking so a specific in-app purchase ad opens once the app downloads. Source TechCrunch

 

So what’s the right monetisation strategy for your app?

When choosing the business model to generate the most app revenue, you need to understand your app product first and foremost.

Find the underlying value of the conceptualised idea. Examine the user experience it provides to the target audience. Research the current market your app will be entering.

For our recent app products, the most effective monetisation models have been a combination of freemium and in-app advertising, but even this strategy may not be right for certain apps.

If you have a large consumer base that you know WILL buy your app when it’s launched, then you should charge a download fee for the value it provides!

The decision you make will ultimately affect the success of your app in terms of download traffic and generated income. Choose wisely.

What other monetisation strategies do you think are effective for apps? Please share them in the comments below.