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5 successful apps and their monetization strategies

By Sarah Watkins

Recent times have seen several big brands and even smaller business invest heavily on applications.

Marketing consultants strongly advise brands that apps are a sure shot way of improving consumer engagement. However, what many of them forget to mention is that just getting an app out is not enough – it is also important to devise in-depth monetization strategies to make the apps a success.

Here is an exploration of five successful apps and their monetization strategies.

This music app from 2004 may be old, but the lessons you can derive from its great monetization strategy are timeless.

Pandora is basically lets music lovers create and share custom radio stations and vote to include particular songs based on the genre. The app was bringing in almost $119,780 daily from consumer subscriptions and advertising as early as May 2014.

Pandora offered a free-to-use version to all users where they could access Pandora’s music database free of cost. However, these users would have to listen to occasional but mandatory ads in between songs.

Pandora made sure to tap every inch of the wide mobile market by launching its app for iPhone, android phones, windows phones, Kindle Fire and BlackBerry devices.

Pandora also offered a paid membership to all consumers for about $3.99 a month. These users could enjoy Pandora’s services free of any ads.

Angry Birds Friends
Riding on the success of the first Angry Birds app, Rovio launched Angry Birds Friends, an app that lets friends play the game against one another. Players were not only competing with their friends, but also other players across the world through the world leader board maintained by Rovio.

Whenever players paused the game or restarted the level after an unsuccessful attempt, Rovio showed them ads of their other games and products that helped increase their brand awareness multi-fold.

The multi-player option led to people encouraging their friends and colleagues to download the app and play against them. This helped increasing the app installs quickly over a short period of time.

This version of Angry Birds also featured in-app purchases. On offer were various power-ups that could help players easily advance in the game. This too helped Rovio earn good money from the app.

Another iPhone-first game app, Dots is a simple connect-the-dots game that garnered popularity quickly, and is now available across other platforms as well. The developers of the app were earning about $18,000 daily from the app. Here is what they did right.

Dots offered its Facebook and Twitter players a multi-player mode where they could invite their friends from these networking sites to compete against them. This helped spread the word about the app and the number of installs increased sharply.

Dots also has the option of in-app purchases where players can buy a wide number of add-ons – for instance, to unlock secret modes.

Swamp Attack
Developers of the popular Talking Tom app were successful in recording 16 million downloads for their game Swamp Attack in just about 4 months. Money wise, they were earning about $12,500 daily only via Swamp Attack.

This game is offered on iPhone as well as Android, which helps tap the mobile market more efficiently.

Swamp Attack features 78 levels for players to complete, which becomes much easier with simple in-app purchases of locked weapons and other accessories.

Make it Rain
This game, available on both iPhone and Android devices, lets people earn virtual money upon completing simple tasks. Players can then invest this money in different ventures and businesses inside the game, or even buy a politician.

With 60,000 installs soon after its release, the app was already making $7,104 a day at this point.

The app let people earn money by clicking on ads and watching sponsored videos. This encouraged advertisers to prefer this app for their ads as the chances of them getting viewed were much higher.

The Make it Rain app also promoted app discovery by promoting third-party apps internally and charged them for any downloads initiated from inside the app.

IN CONCLUSION, analysis of five successful apps and their monetization strategies shows that apps make money by focusing on good advertising strategies, multi-player options, in-app purchasing and cross-platform presence.

Sarah Watkins is online marketing manager at Global Traffic Jet, Malta. Reach her at [email protected]