Mobile apps can be a lucrative source of income. If you build the right app and time it right, you could potentially become a millionaire, or even make enough recurring revenue to retire from your full-time job.
Of course, building the “right” app is incredibly difficult, and not something that any developer can do. So what is it that makes for a successful mobile app? What elements do you need to make a reliable stream of revenue?
On this page
First and foremost, the app needs to be useful. There needs to be a reason why people want to download and regularly access this app.
Fortunately, there are a lot of potential avenues to achieve this:
- Information. Your app could offer information or be a gateway to information; for example, it could serve as a large-scale database or a search tool to browse other forms of content on the web.
- Entertainment. You could also use the app for entertainment. Mobile games and video apps are especially common.
- Communication. The social media and communication markets are highly competitive, but viable if you can come up with a unique strategy. Find a way to bring people together.
- Miscellaneous utility. It’s also possible to design an app with miscellaneous utility for example, it could serve as a niche type of calculator or organizer.
You’ll also need to think about the design, including:
- Aesthetics. The aesthetics of an app may seem superficial, but they could make or break a user’s inclination to download it. You need to make a good first impression and distinguish your app with a high-quality design.
- Usability. The design also dictates usability. Your app should be clean, intuitive, and easy to use, even for a first-timer.
- Distinctiveness. If you want a chance to stand out, you’ll need a design that sets you apart from your competitors – more on that in the next section.
One of the best ways to ensure you have a well-designed mobile app is to work with a mobile app development company like Dev.co. Designing an app that succeeds in all these categories is tough unless you have a lot of experience and knowledge.
There are a lot of apps on the market. Even if you have a semi-original idea, there are probably at least a dozen apps similar to it already in existence. If you want to stand out and get attention, it’s important to differentiate your brand. What does your app do that other apps can’t? Where do you excel where your competitors fail?
There are many possibilities here. For example, can you offer a well-designed app? Can you offer a lower price?
A Path to Monetization (and Controlled Costs)
Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to monetize a mobile app, including:
- Upfront costs. Though it’s no longer commonplace, it’s possible to charge a fee for downloading the app. Some apps cost a few dollars upfront and make their money by attracting new downloads.
- Subscription costs. If your app is part of a more robust service, you could charge a subscription fee. Even if it’s just a few dollars per month, it can add up quickly.
- In-app upgrades or purchases. You might also monetize by offering in-app upgrades, bonus content, or cosmetic changes for a small fee per transaction. This adds up quickly as well.
- Advertising. You could also monetize the app with the help of advertising. Just make sure it doesn’t distract users or compromise the quality of your app in any way.
- Secondary forms of revenue generation. Your app could also serve as an avenue for a secondary form of revenue generation. For example, you could sell merchandise or offer coaching/consulting through the app.
Additionally, you’ll need to figure out a way to control costs. Once the app is developed, you may feel like your costs disappear, but you’ll still need to plan for things like hosting, ongoing updates, and user support.
A Plan to Scale
Finally, you’ll need some kind of plan to scale. Even with a solid monetization strategy in place, you’re only going to increase revenue if you can consistently grow. For most mobile apps, that means reaching a larger number of users and encouraging more purchases and engagements from current users.
For the former, you can invest in marketing and advertising. A combination of content marketing, targeted ads, and social media marketing can accelerate your mobile app growth. For the latter, you’ll need to work on making your app “stickier” and creating more opportunities for revenue generation.
It’s almost impossible to build a successful mobile app from scratch when you have no experience. Remain patient, get more experience when you can, and keep tinkering with your app until you get the right combination of features and improvements.