Are you making as much money as you should be from your mobile app?

Whether you’ve recently monetized, been using it for awhile, or haven’t even started yet, there are several key concepts every app developer or publisher should know.

We’ve already covered the four easiest ways to monetize your mobile app, but now let’s dig a little deeper and show how to best benefit from them. We’ll be talking from the perspective of gaming apps, but these principles apply across the board to all categories.

1. Experience is King

Banner Ads, Interstitials, In-App Purchases, Offerwalls, Videos and Rewarded Surveys – there’s no shortage of ways to make money with an app. But which ones you choose and how you implement them should be driven by one thing above all else: User Experience.

When monetizing user experience there are three factors to always keep in mind:

  • Engagement
  • Retention
  • User Flow

Anything that hurts or diminishes these three will likewise decrease the effectiveness of monetizing. This is a big problem with interstitial ads, because they often seemingly appear suddenly without rhyme or reason, disrupting the user flow and creating a jarring experience.

The goal with any app is to engage the user in a meaningful way so they keep coming back for more. That’s why it is a good idea to clearly show the value of currency in a game early and demonstrate the different opportunities to earn it. This way your monetization efforts are integrated into the user experience right from the start so user’s will not only be more receptive when they appear but they will come to favorably expect them.

Which leads us to the third factor of UX…

2. Go with the Flow

User flow (or journey) is the path a user follows through an app to complete a task, such as buy a product or pick a character. More specifically, it is their ability to accomplish those tasks with the least amount of friction. Which is where an app’s Core Loop comes in.

Take for example Clash of Clans whose core loop is:

  1. Collect Resources
  2. Build and Train Armies
  3. Battle!
  4. Repeat

The core loop determines how the game flows and thus where the user goes. The most effective monetization calls appear along this path. In Clash of Clans, providing an opportunity for a player to earn extra gems while building their army encourages a more fun experience.

Long gone are the days of relying solely on a user to visit a shop to make a purchase. Placing ads strategically within the core flow of their experience is far better. Which is why a developer shouldn’t just throw as many monetizing opportunities as possible into their app. Rather they should place them in a way that naturally ties into the user experience or, even better yet, enhances it.

3. Tap Into Your Monetization Potential

Have you ever played a mobile game and after awhile ended up with more coins or gems than you knew what to do with? That’s because the app’s developers detrimentally limited their monetization potential.

“Monetization Capacity” is the amount someone can sell something before it disrupts performance. Or, to put that another way, it is the number of opportunities a willing user has to spend money in your app. An unlimited monetization capacity means there is no end to the amount a user can spend and still come away happy. (In case you’re wondering, everyone’s goal should be to have an unlimited monetization capacity.)

While many games offer the ability to endlessly buy upgrades, health restorers and the like, there usually comes a point when the user doesn’t care anymore. Finding the right balance of providing users with in-game currency and offering them engaging ways to use it all up is the key. That way your monetization potential never hits a wall, and your app continuously increases its profits.

4. Monetization Should Be Fun

A few years back Gamasutra interviewed DeNA’s Chief Game Strategy Officer Kenji Kobayashi about the remarkable success of his company’s mobile monetization. The article is just as relevant today as it was then and is well worth a read for anyone interested in using psychology to improve app monetization. One part that particularly stands out was when Kenji says,

“The thing that I worry about the most is whether or not the user is getting excitement, or entertainment, that’s commensurate with the money he’s using.”

This is a sentiment app developers don’t usually dwell on when thinking about monetization. But the feeling of having fun while playing a game is an intricate part of the experience and it’s what ultimately keeps users engaged session after session. So every aspect of the game should strive towards that goal, including your monetization strategy.

Having fun in gaming apps is inherently tied to challenge. If a game is too easy, the user will be bored and eventually leave. If it challenges them just the right amount so they feel a sense of achievement when succeeding, they are more likely to stick around. They’ll also be more likely to do things that reward them with items to help overcome that challenge, like watch a video or take a survey.

As Kenji says later on in the interview,

“Giving users the opportunity to spend money and get something really exciting as a result is really neat, I think. The act of spending money, in itself, becomes appealing and fun.”

Now obviously there’s only so much “excitement” to be had from a banner ad or offerwall. Likewise not all apps depend on an element of fun. But the general concept still applies, that everything within an app should be engaging and embody the overreaching purpose of it.

5. Analyze Your Key Data

Data is the heart and soul of mobile app monetization. The analysis of it is the best way to understand an app’s ability to remain both financially stable and competitive. Though knowing which data is the most important isn’t always obvious. A lot people get hung up on numbers related to downloads, bounce rates and time spent on app. But when it comes to monetization perhaps even more crucial is information pertaining to:

  • LTV (life-time value of a user)
  • ARPU (average revenue per user)
  • Ratio of Paying-Users

Say you have an ARPU of $20. That’s fantastic, but if only 2% of your users are spending money then there’s a lot of room for improvement. Analyzing your data will help you find out by just how much.

There are plenty of tools available that can help with this. There are also several well designed app monetization platforms that serve these analytics up on a silver platter. These platforms provide the necessary data a developer might need to gauge performance with easy-to-understand analysis. But no matter where the information is coming from, without it an app dependent on monetization stands little chance of sustaining through the long term.

Conclusion

Maybe this is all new to you or maybe you’ve been in the app game for awhile and have heard this all before. Either way, it never hurts the bottom line to brush up on the essentials of getting the most bang for your buck from monetization.

If you would like to find out how you can put these five key concepts to use in your app please feel free to contact us at anytime. Here at TheoremReach we specialize in helping developers achieve monetization success through Rewarded Surveys.

Why Rewarded Surveys? Because we’ve found they increase engagement, can fit seamlessly into user flow, and improve the overall user experience of an app. And best of all, they’re really fun.

See how else Rewarded Surveys can help give your app’s monetization a boost today.