7 Mistakes App Developers Make When Monetizing Their Apps (part 2)

App developers often struggle with marketing and monetizing their apps. Unfortunately, too many app developers are taking a passive “build it and they will come” approach to app monetization. Are you making some of these big mistakes? If you missed Part 1, don’t worry – it’s here.

4. Letting advertising interfere with game play: Mobile advertising is an ideal way to make money from free apps, because you can monetize the value of all those eyeballs looking at the screen while they use your app or play your game. The challenge comes when developers allow the ads to overwhelm the user experience. For example, the free version of Angry Birds presents the user with a brief TV-style advertising spot after the user has played a certain number of rounds of the game. This is not excessively intrusive, because the ads only play between levels, and do not interrupt the user’s immediate experience with the game. However, if your mobile ads are poorly situated within your game, you might be annoying your users and driving them away. The goal of an app developer is to engage your users as intensely as possible, so they cannot put your game down. Interference from advertising makes your users more likely to stop playing your game – and causing you to stop getting revenue from mobile ads.

5. Not setting consumer expectations: Every app on the App Store or Android Market (or other app marketplace) gets a brief area of description where you can write some text that explains to the world what your app is, why it exists and why they should download it. This is an ideal way to set expectations – and be sure not to promise too much or make any exaggerated or false claims. If there are features that your app does NOT include, explain it up front. If your customers have high expectations for your app (which the app falls short on delivering), then your app is more likely to get bad reviews, leading to missed opportunities and lower revenues. In the app development market as in other forms of marketing, it’s essential to “underpromise and overdeliver.”

6. Not being honest about the app’s value: Many app developers have overinflated opinions about their app’s value and have unrealistic expectations for how much money their app is going to make. Be honest with yourself, before you start marketing your app, and ask yourself: “Just how good is your game? What is it good for? What will people be willing to pay for it?” Don’t try to sell your app for $0.99 just for the sake of picking a number. As we discussed above, you might be better off giving away the app for free and then making money from advertising, subscriptions, premium upgrades or virtual goods.

7. Not taking advantage of analytics: For most of the history of advertising and marketing, companies have been largely “flying blind” when it comes to their advertising spending. With TV advertising, you don’t always know who’s watching the ad, and you don’t know whether they’re making a buying decision based on the ad. One advantage that app developers have when marketing their apps is that there are many great ways to track user behavior and measure user responses to app marketing. You can find out how many people downloaded your app, how many people are visiting your site on the app marketplace, and how many people read your app description without buying it. You can find out what works, and fix what doesn’t work. You can adjust your app marketing at every step of the way to get closer to getting more downloads and making more sales.

Are you making any of the mistakes on this list? Good news: it’s not too late! Even if you’re making every one of these big app marketing mistakes, there is plenty of time to change your ways.

The app development world moves really fast, and part of being in this business means you can always learn new things and adapt to new ways of doing things. Every mistake is bringing you closer to bigger success.

What’s your take on this? What was the biggest mistake you made when you first started as an app developer? If you “knew then what you know now,” what would you do differently with your app marketing efforts? 

By Ryan Morel

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