Mobile Monetization: Expectations vs Reality

A banner image and text about mobile monetization expectations vs reality with 2 faces: happy on expectations and sad on reality

After you have created your mobile app, it is time to start thinking about its monetization. In this post, we will discuss the usual expectations in mobile monetization, the actual situation in the field, and what you can do about it.

Expectation #1: People are willing to spend money on your app

Lots of app developers presume everyone will immediately recognize the effort and funds they invested in making their app and gladly pay for it. However, the truth is not that simple. App stores are overflowing with free apps, and people are growing less inclined to pay when they can get a free app from someone else.

In truth, the other app may not be as superb as your own but it is free. If you are worried that your hard work may not pay out, you should turn your attention to other forms of app monetization, such as advertising, in-app purchases, or even data monetization.

Expectation #2: People like ads

Although advertising is a good monetization strategy, it is not without its shortcomings. The hard truth is that plenty of people despise ads, especially if they pop out every minute, remain on top of the interface, are difficult to close, or otherwise hamper their experience in any way, shape or form.

When picking out the ad format, always put yourself in your audience’s shoes. How would they react to this specific ad type? How long should this ad be displayed? Which ad format is best suited for this app? Which ad type will be the least annoying? Make sure to always A/B test everything.

You should also consider combining ad monetization with other monetization strategies. Why not also introduce in-app purchases, merchandise sales, monthly subscriptions, partnerships, sponsorships, etc.?


Expectation #3: Immediate high conversion rates

You may expect your app to reach high conversion rates and fill rates from the very beginning of your ad campaign. In reality, it will not. You will need to wait at least a few (but probably more) months and do some serious optimization of your monetization strategies before you can notice some real results.

Expectation #4: ASO will bring in most of the new users

Speaking of optimization, you can also optimize your app’s visibility in the app store of your choice. This is called app store optimization (ASO) and it reminds a bit of SEO – search engine optimization, only the latter is for websites and blogs.

And while it is true that most users discover new apps by browsing and searching app stores, you should never exclusively rely on ASO optimization to acquire new users. Instead, Localytics suggests that you devise a go-to-market strategy that would include targeted acquisition campaigns.

They include ad campaigns run through partners like Facebook that will help you target the exact user base you want. Tracking these campaigns will show you where you get the most engaged users so you can focus on those programs and eliminate those resulting in inactive users.

Expectation #5: After the app is launched, there will be no need to make many updates over time

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Launch the app, put some in-app purchases, start ad campaigns, and watch the cash pour in. However, your job is far from over at this point. Your app will continue to evolve, and so will its users.

Unexpected issues will occur, the app will demand updates, bug fixes, and other improvements. Moreover, regular updates will show your users that you are devoted to constantly improving the app and making a better experience for them in accordance with their feedback. Localytics also suggests including well-written release notes along with updates and new versions.

Expectation #6: Analytics is only used to measure the app’s performance

It is important to analyze your app’s performance as it gives you an idea about which of your app’s features are most popular among users, where they lose attention, who your users (both free and paid) are, what they do in-app, and more.

That said, you should be making use of this information. In other words, you need to use analytics to improve your app. This means creating a better app experience by launching the necessary updates, improving features, fixing problems, and responding to your users’ behaviour in-app.

Expectation #7: Users will continue using the app after downloading

The reality is that in today’s fast-paced life we often download many apps and then just forget about them. This is especially true if the app does not consistently provide valuable experience to users.

Keeping users engaged can be achieved by creating a personalized experience with the help of smart marketing tactics. These include push notifications, in-app messaging, user segmentation, and automation. Just be careful not to overwhelm your users with unnecessary notifications that pop up all the time.

Expectation #8: All users are the same

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in this business is presuming all users are equal. PlayFirst CEO Marco DeMiroz talks about three groups of app users: minnows, dolphins, and whales.

Minnows convert early in the game, generate two to three in-app purchases, and their average lifespan in the game is about three months. Dolphins start engaging mid-game, generate eight or more in-app purchases, spend 13 times more than minnows, and their median age in the game is four to six months. Whales become prominent in mid to late stage, generating 16 or more in-app purchases and spending 43 times more than minnows.

Understanding their behavioural patterns is important as it helps you optimize your strategies and turn non-paying users into minnows, minnows into dolphins, and ultimately dolphins into whales.

Expectation #9: I can do it all by myself

Even the best of us cannot always do all the work by ourselves. Should you during your app’s development and publishing find yourself in need of expert copywriters, developers, designers, or virtual assistants, consider using freelancing or outsourcing platforms.

As for the app monetization itself, there are plenty of tools and platforms that can help you get the most out of your app. One such platform is SOOMLA, so make sure to contact us if you need help monitoring and optimizing your monetization strategies.

We hope our post has helped put you on the right path mobile monetization-wise and that now you have all you need to succeed in this highly competitive environment. Good luck!


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