One of the decisions you’ll have to make when building your app is how to monetize it. Will you charge for it once, offer in-app purchases, or keep it free and just build a solid user base? It all depends on the type of app you have, and how your users are responding to it in the marketplace.
Charging a one-time price is great if you can entice people to pay it. You generally go about this by offering a free or “lite” version of your app, and then giving them the option of paying your one-time fee to upgrade to the full version.
However, getting your app downloaded can be hard enough, even when it’s free. Charging for it upfront can mean that you won’t get anyone to bite and your app will just go undownloaded. Still, it’s worth trying a few price points to see if you get any takers.
Giving your app away for free and then offering goodies and upgrades within the app can be very lucrative, as long as the user feels compelled to make the purchases once inside.
A perfect example of a free-to-download game that relies entirely on users making purchases as they play is the Candy Crush Saga. They only give you so many free plays, and when you run out you’ll either have to wait until you earn more plays, or pay to play now. Their entire fortune was made on people’s impatience and desire to play the game right away.
So instead of charging a one-time fee of $9.99 like Super Mario Run does, Candy Crush is able to slowly milk users out of much, much more. It’s something to consider if you have an addicting app.
Just because you offer in-app purchases doesn’t mean people will buy them. If they’re having so much fun enjoying the free features of your app they might not bother upgrading. You can create time limits and other barriers within the app and rely on its addictiveness to get people to pay to play sooner.
If you can’t decide between charging a one-time fee or providing in-app purchases for your app you could do both. This generally requires you to have a pretty amazing app that people want to play so badly they’ll pay just to be able to use it, and then want to upgrade once they’ve been using it awhile. Chances are you’ll need to pick one or the other, and test out which works best.
You don’t have to charge users anything, and just keep your app free. The value for your business would be in the number of active users you have. This way you could sell your app later and boast your user and engagement numbers as a way to prove how much it’s worth.
You could also show them ads in order to keep the app free, but many people will uninstall an app if it is too ad heavy. One popular method is to have a free version with ads, and then offer users the ability to turn off the ads for a price, a nice way to get it in their hands and then charge a fee.