January 27, 2023
min read
App Monetization

How to Recession-Proof Your App Monetization Strategy in 2023

Initially, app publishers uploaded their apps to the Apple App Store in 2008, many of which weren't free. However, app developers quickly realized consumers were more likely to download a free app than paid apps. This shift to free app downloads led to app monetization strategies becoming crucial for app publishers, now more than ever.

When app owners publish their products on the App Store and Google Play Store, they are already daydreaming about app monetization. But creating a successful app business takes more than an app and a dream. First, app publishers need the right app monetization strategy that considers their app's user base, revenue potential, and User Experience (UX).

Monetizing mobile apps requires creative thinking.

With app monetization, businesses need an innovative alternative to the traditional strategies — or potentially see their app business fail. inBrain.ai offers app publishers an alternative with survey-based app monetization strategies tailored to their app's particular needs. Keep reading to learn more about app monetization with inBrain.ai and how app publishers can recession-proof their app monetization strategies in 2023.

What is Mobile App Monetization?

Mobile app monetization is a process where app owners or publishers generate revenue from a free app. With careful planning, combining several monetization methods to create new and unique revenue streams is possible. The ideal app will determine the vertical and targeted user base before evaluating User Acquisitions (UAs); choosing the monetization model that bolsters your UA strategy is the priority.

Today, allowing users to download an app for free is a standard procedure, which implies that monetization is paramount to continued success and growth. Therefore, mobile and web app businesses should evaluate UX and its impact on revenue potential. With inBrain.ai, app publishers can analyze user behavior, track app performance and optimize mobile app monetization to drive higher revenue.

The best monetization strategy maxmizes revenue.

Logically, the first step requires stopping the mobile app monetization strategy that frustrates users and instead supporting an experience that drives them to return.

Tell Me the Importance of App Monetization?

Brands want to know how consumers change their behaviors, leading to more market research to obtain consumer feedback about products and services. Meanwhile, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, steadily rising inflationary pressure, the war in Ukraine, longtime big brand companies trimming their headcounts (Google, Amazon, Wayfair, Twitter, and more), and other geopolitical factors, users want to spend less and get more value for their money. 

Why? Because macroeconomic factors continue to apply downward pressure on consumers - think rising grocery store bills, light bills, etc.

These factors make consumers more selective in their buying response to these conditions, but this also presents an opportunity for app owners. 

The stage is set for increased demand for more ways to earn without spending money (i.e., taking surveys); consumers perceive value where value is established. With a popular app monetization strategy, companies demonstrate perceived value and convince them to take your company surveys and earn more in-app currency and rewards.

How to Monetize Your App?

App monetization requires careful consideration and understanding of your unique app and target audience. While there are numerous models to choose from, some work better than others in specific applications. To effectively utilize a strategy that works for you, you must have the proper knowledge about your application and its users.

Any old app monetization model won't do; thinking about it and pick the best one.

Understand current market trends

To monetize an app effectively, software companies must understand their app's functionality and the current market trends. The ideal app should have suitable app monetization models that are consistent with the app's intended purpose and user preferences. Innovative app publishers will also track app performance and make necessary adjustments based on app performance.

Publishers knew this was coming, but app monetization has become more challenging with the introduction of Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and Google's announcement that it would be phasing out third-party cookies. As app publishers must turn to app data analytics in search of different approaches, data monetization strategies must factor in the importance of first-party data.

With inBrain.ai, app publishers can quickly identify high monetization areas, track performance and app revenue, and launch a first-party survey experience for app users.

Assess marketing trends before you choose your monetization method.

The changes in macroeconomics have forced change on a multitude of mobile marketers, but there is more change to come. Most marketers will continue on without much near-term disruption, but consistency is critical in marketing and casting an eye forward can help app publishers achieve consistent growth in 2023.

Leverage customer feedback in product development

What is it that drives people to use your app? Consider the features they'd like to find and their expected outcome while using your creation. This analysis lets you determine which approach generates a good user experience.

If most are unable or willing to pay for membership upgrades, you should steer clear of subscription options or the in-app purchases model. However, thoroughly considering their wants and needs lets you distinguish the best strategy for your app development project. Here's where app publishers will gain the most usable first-party and zero-party data.

Track app and revenue performance

Tracking your app's performance is necessary to understand the app's current market position and the effectiveness of your efforts. Big data and app analytics helps app publishers optimize app monetization strategies by analyzing app performance and user engagement metrics.

By displaying the hard data, you demonstrate your app's value and the ROI of your marketing efforts. The standard metrics every app publisher should consider are:

  • Customer Retention Rate - The percentage of users who install and continue using the app.
  • Churn Rate - The percentage of users who stop using the app.
  • Return Rate - The percentage of people who install the app and then return and use it.
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU) - Calculate your app's ARPU to gain insight into how much revenue each user generates with their app usage.
  • Average Revenue per Paying User (ARPPU) - ARPPU reveals your average monetary value from a single paying customer over one month, quarter or year.
  • Average Revenue per Daily Active User (ARPDAU) - To better understand how user activity will help your business, look at the average revenue generated per daily active user.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) - The rate at which app users interact with app ads, reflecting the ad's creative design and overall effectiveness.
  • Cost per Click - The amount app publishers spend to acquire app clicks.
Track KPI's for your mobile app.

With inBrain.ai, publishers get visibility into the ARPDAU and engagement rates due to its native capabilities and optimized UX.

Adopt the best practices for App Monetization

How are app publishers able to increase revenue while making their apps engaging? App monetization is all about creating a balance between app earnings and UX. While many methods are available, each with case studies proving their effectiveness, app publishers should elect to implement relevant monetization efforts.

What are Some App Monetization Models and Strategies?

App creators can consider other monetization strategies, such as app advertising, app subscriptions, app install ads, and in-app purchases. Although, it's necessary to focus on interacting with app users and creating targeted app monetization campaigns.

Focus on content first...followed closely by the monetization

Once app publishers can establish user engagement strategies and app monetization models that go hand in hand, monetization rolls out more naturally. Therefore, app owners should focus on a content generation strategy.

Written content, videos, and social media posts are just a few of the content methods that typically keep users engaged. Instead, the content should focus on improving the UX by offering advice, stories, and even the opportunity to test new features to foster user loyalty.

Partnership or sponsorship model

Sponsorship could be an excellent value-adding strategy for publishers seeking to maximize revenue. For example, suppose your app has garnered a considerable user base with high engagement levels. In that case, brainstorm the advantages of collaborating with other companies that can provide services for your audience and how those offerings will benefit them.

Rewarded video ads may double as affiliate opportunities.

This model allows you to have one decisive advertiser in your app that will maximize all of its revenue generation potential. In addition, a sponsor can be presented symbolically with a brand by featuring their logo on a splash screen when it first launches and through Push Notifications.

Affiliate marketing and lead generation

App developers have long been successful through the hit monetization strategy of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing for mobile apps enables you to be compensated with a commission fee every time an app is downloaded, or a specific action happens via your app's link.

To make your app monetization strategy successful, you must decide the best apps to promote within your application that can give a positive user experience to complement yours. One of the most common forms of affiliate marketing is Lead Generation.

Instead of selling products, it focuses on capturing contact information from people interested in buying distinct goods and services. By participating in this type of affiliate marketing program, you are rewarded for collecting and providing data to companies who need it.

Provide an exceptional onboarding experience

Make it easy for users to understand the key functionalities of your app that make you unique. Ensure you lead new users to 'first value' as fast as possible by solving their pain points as quickly as possible. Make the most critical links immediately visible, create an app tutorial, and design a user-friendly interface.

Your mobile app needs more lead generation opportunities.

By presenting helpful partner links to your users, you can optimize your lead generation tactics by giving them the desired value. inBrain.ai's app monetization platform helps publishers recession-proof their strategies by optimizing new app user onboarding experiences with relevant content.

Email marketing

Email marketing has existed since the early 2000s and is a powerful tool. With so many businesses now utilizing social media and mobile devices for communication, it's no surprise that email is returning to mainstream use.

75% of millennials already use emails as their primary choice when communicating with companies due to other channels becoming overly saturated. In addition, email provides an effective means of obtaining crucial business-related information in an organized fashion without clutter or distractions - which explains why it's quickly regained popularity.

In-app purchases

An app's free version often incorporates in-app Purchases, allowing users to access specific features or items. Owners can monetize their apps by selling virtual goods such as ad removal, coins, avatar styling, and premium content opportunities. The iOS apps typically provide users with:

  • Consumables
  • Non-Consumables,
  • Auto-Renewable Subscriptions
In-app advertising could increase your gaming app revenue.

Benefits of in-app purchases

An in-app purchase will provide app developers with a steady income stream as users purchase extras. The benefit of this strategy is that app developers can extend their app's life in the app stores and acquire new customers through regular updates, promotions, user reviews, and more.

With inBrain.ai app monetization platforms, publishers can create and optimize in-app purchases for maximum revenue potential.

Offer a valuable upgrade

Since improving UX and app optimization are essential for app monetization, app publishers should offer app users a valuable upgrade. This could include premium features or bonus content that offers app users more value. For example, encourage users to upgrade their experience by providing time-sensitive discounts only available to users who upgrade.

What kind of apps should use in-app purchases?

In-app purchases are ideal for publishers who want to provide users with a free app that offers premium content or extra features. Mobile gaming, lifestyle (a dating app or health and wellness), utility, and educational apps are common app categories that use this monetization tactic.

In-app advertising

As digital marketing flourished online, app developers sought to capture the same success in their mobile applications. To do this, existing banner ads had to be reconfigured for smaller screens. Soon enough, interstitial ads, video ads, native ads, and text ads emerged as go-to options for mobile publishers wanting a profitable monetization method.

Banner ads may be more detrimental than any other type of ad.

Many successful apps employ multiple networks to advertise their applications and target specific audiences by placing in-app ads in other apps. This powerful service will allow them to increase traffic and drive more users to download their apps. However, not all apps pair well with mobile marketing like ads.

Testing and evaluating ad formats and their impact on UX revenue potential is crucial in this step. Still, the idea is to enable users to interact with app ads in an unobtrusive way.

Subscription and free model

Subscription models can provide many benefits, from creating financial stability to staying competitive. This model encourages customer loyalty and provides the consistent revenue streams that any app developer needs.

Subscription business model

With this model, a paid app can have multiple plans with options to upgrade and downgrade. However, the central feature that appeals to users is that with the subscription model, developers can offer a discount for a long subscription period.

Benefits of subscriptions

As mentioned, subscription apps can offer developers a predictable income stream, with users paying for their services monthly or annually. But the model can also:

  • Protect developers from market fluctuations and allow them to provide a specific set of features.
  • Enable app creators to optimize their apps for stability and sustainability.
  • Increase customer loyalty by providing app users with app updates, new content, and discounts with app subscriptions.
Increase your in-app purchase rate with discounts.

Offer discounts for long-term subscriptions

This model provides paid apps with many options, such as upgrading, downgrading, and crossgrading plans. In addition, with this subscription model in place, end-users can receive discounts when they sign up for more extended periods. Ultimately, this allows them to access more content at a lower cost.

What kind of apps should use the subscription model?

The subscription app monetization model is great for monetizing content-based apps like news apps, magazines, and blogs. It's also ideal for productivity apps, streaming, music production, and language learning services.

Free model

Better known as the Freemium app monetization strategy, publishers provide users with a complimentary version with limited features, allowing them to unlock premium content or digital items for a fee through in-app purchases. This model is as straightforward and efficient as a standard trial version of desktop software.

To be successful, you must consider carefully which app elements to offer gratis and those that will generate revenue for the company. Fortunately, Apple's iOS App Store policy provides developers with multiple tiers of in-app purchases, granting them flexibility when providing extra features.

Gift free trials

Many free apps offer users a longer trial than the typical 3-day, 7-day, or 14-day trial. This way, they can showcase their app's features and capabilities and attach them to the app early.

Gaming apps usually do well with free trials.

Pay-as-you-go model

With the Pay-As-You-Go model, app users can purchase app features and content on an a la carte basis; this allows app developers to offer app features and content as they see fit. The model also allows users to tailor their app experience to their needs and budget.

Typically, these models will utilize several elements from other monetization models for an effective strategy, like in-app purchases. For example, users can buy in-app currencies, consumables, and non-consumables.

  • Consumables - In-app purchases could be extra health points, hints, or tips for challenges.
  • Non-consumables - In-app purchases would likely be unlocked characters or levels, lifelong memberships, and more.

Create multiple currencies in games

Traditionally app developers create a virtual currency to incentivize users. The in-app currency enables anyone to purchase items in-game, such as extra lives or power-ups in gaming apps. This model can be used to monetize all app users, even those who don't purchase app features.

Create multiple currencies to enrich the user experience and provide new ways for them to earn rewards just for playing.

Other currencies should benefit users in separate ways, such as discounts toward future in-app purchases by utilizing specific amounts of different currencies or increasing app immersion by allowing users to purchase items with multiple currencies like cryptocurrency.

Create more in-game currency options for your users.

Avoid being labeled as a pay-to-win game

Pay-as-you-go models and in-app purchases can label your app as a 'pay-to-win' app. Game apps should balance the app's difficulty and monetization elements to avoid this label, as users will feel cheated if they cannot progress without spending money.

How Surveys Fit into a Monetization Strategy for Your App

The app monetization process doesn't end with app users making a purchase. User surveys are the perfect way to gain valuable insights into app user preferences and behavior and provide companies with more monetization opportunities.

When a survey pops up, an in-app indicator will prompt the user to participate. By completing the survey, they are rewarded by being entered into a prize draw where they can win gift cards provided by the platform.

If they are playing mobile games, everything on their screen will vanish and return them to their original app experience. Surveys naturally create a more user-focused ad experience, driving app engagement and monetization.

That's not all; some key value propositions of surveys are:

  • Users can interact with a different ad format than what they're used to; users are more engaged by exciting surveys. Unlike dull, widespread ads that redirect you to another website or app when clicked, some surveys are intriguing and exciting.
  • Survey participation results in more participation in drawings or other app re-engagement campaigns. User surveys are a great way to engage app users further and reward them for doing simple things like sharing their opinion.
Paying users to take surveys works well.
  • The critical app metrics will show a massive increase as users are more likely to stay in the app longer and be more engaged instead of getting redirected outside the app. The app publisher will also see app retention, usage metrics, user lifetime value, session length, and conversions.
  • Due to innovative API integrations, surveys are easily integrated into app monetization strategies. Not to mention that some survey providers utilize AI and machine learning to provide value and completely relevant surveys to each user.

How Does inBrain.ai Work as a Monetization Source and Generate revenue?

Our app monetization platform provides app owners a safe and secure way to monetize their apps. Through easy-to-integrate app monetization SDKs, app owners can select and customize a hybrid app monetization option according to their needs. In addition, with AI and free control, app owners benefit from more app engagement, better retention, and increased app revenues by setting and testing app preferences.

inBrain.ai: in-app advertising and monetization in a user-friendly, native survey package.

With the help of advanced analytics, app owners can quickly assess app performance and user acquisition to improve monetization strategies and app performance. Additionally, app owners can use inBrain.ai app monetization SDKs to deliver unique ads to their users and genuinely focus on the experience. With inBrain's native surveys, app owners can create app experiences for their specific use case and make monetization efforts more effective.

App owners can use our product to measure app performance and adjust app monetization by tracking revenue with inBrain.ai's publisher dashboard. Create a custom user ID in your settings through the dashboard and let AI take over. Publishers will have instant access to fantastic survey opportunities for everyone based on their profile.

With the evident changes in big data, app owners need to be more innovative and efficient with app monetization; multiple monetization methods will maximize revenue. Using inBrain.ai's native features, app surveys break the mold of traditional monetization and force publishers to create a monetization effort more sensitive to the macro environment but more prepared for the guaranteed fluctuations in a recession.