Mobile apps are a fast-growing way to generate revenue. While many people are quick to dismiss free-to-download apps as poor moneymakers, they can be one of the best ways to generate income.


Gamers love winning things. There is no better feeling than hitting that achievement or winning the top ranking on a site. Working within that vein, using items which add value to your game can make people continue playing. Let your players win extra gems to get through those hard levels, extra lives to keep playing or coins to unlock those special levels. Then, in return for your generosity, ask your players to fill out a simple survey-a perfect way to start mobile app engagement and pull content which will allow for targeted marketing.

Push Notifications (Sparingly)

The ability to connect your app to SMS and in-game splashes can really hook players/users if not done in a pushy way. In fact, some of the messages in your app can be used as an in-app marketing platform. Introduce existing users to your complementary products after obtaining information about their usage. Target related products to users who are likely to enjoy them. With connection to SMS, you can even remind your users about how long it’s been since they’ve opened the app.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There’s also the ability to send SMS notifications via services such as iBeacon, the Apple branded proximity service that allows for sensors to notice when an iBeacon equipped phone enters the store. Imagine sending your customers ads, coupons and information without having to collect their information – simply because they have entered your store or place of business.

Involve Your Players (Useful for Gaming Apps)

One way to keep your players coming back, and therefore purchasing the in-game extras that you offer, is to create a convincing and engaging backstory for your game. Don’t just give your players the simple match-3 that they’ve been playing for years. Offer a story that engages them; create a playable character whom players really want to see win. A great incentive to purchasing those coins or lives is wanting to help your main character.

Even more exciting, games can be used to make local, live experiences part of their goals. There are a few games out on the different app stores that offer the idea of a virtual scavenger hunt, where players are given tokens (via broadcast) for visiting certain shops or restaurants. These shops and restaurants pay a small fee to be featured in the game, creating extra business while increasing app revenue.

Apps Can Bring You to the Experience, or the Experience to You

One usage of mobile applications that is less common on iPhones and Android is the use of proximity, or GPS, to orient the user’s experience to the location they are currently in. For example, a conference app might create two app experiences. One app experience might help guide conference attendees through the live event, and a second app experience would share conference content and engage users outside the event location.

One of the tips detailed in our e-book can help you with location marketing. Apps associated with companies (for example brick and mortar stores or restaurants) that let users know where the closest location is are far more likely to drive customers to the location.

Rewards Are Everywhere

Another way to get more people using your app is to offer rewards. One example is the application built for the KC Streetcar. This app, available for iPhones, allows people to reap the rewards of using the newly constructed Kansas City streetcar system. Through frequenting businesses, customers with the app earn points which offer rewards to be redeemed at participating retailers and businesses. With specialized apps, any credit or payment type can be used as a reward card, building points toward use at your company – whether brick-and-mortar or online. Those reward points often drive a much-larger purchase. These larger purchases are great ways to increase app revenue.

No matter which way you choose to monetize and personalize your apps, there is revenue to be had. Market to the right user segment and reap the rewards.

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