Is there a point where too much monetization can have a negative effect on the app experience? It's more important than ever that mobile app developers understand the effect of app monetization.
Across app monetization strategies there are some mistakes that can have a negative effect on user experience. In these cases, it will cause you to lose valuable users.
Are in-app ads damaging the app experience?
It's amazing that so many developers fail to see this. Poorly implemented in-app advertising is one of the worst forms of mobile app monetization. It might be an obvious thing to say - but users don't like ads. An app monetization strategy should be carefully managed and well devised. A mobile app monetization strategy that consists of ads can be successful. But when the ads are poorly implemented, they start to have a negative effect on user experience.
Protecting the user experience means taking care and understanding the effect of in-app ads. Too many intrusive and you'll begin to lose those users that you've spent valuable time and money acquiring.
Typically the best ad formats for in-app monetization are native, interstitial and incentivized advertising. It's important that the ad feels like it was designed to be in the app, not forced in at every opportunity. It's also important that you think through where your ads appear. Do you have a clear idea of the best user experience? Ensure that your ads don't affect this flow. Failure to understand this will lead to a negative user experience, and cause you to lose users.
App monetization is about striking the right balance between revenue generating strategies and improving the user experience. In terms of ads, content is often overlooked. Your ad content should be relevant to the user. There are many tools to ensure this, but one way to do this is to engage with affiliate sponsors. Striking a more bespoke advertisement agreement will allow you to choose the ad content. Affiliate ads on mobile generally take the form of another app. This ensures that the content is relevant. You can even offer affiliate advertisers an ad spot for one in return.
This app monetization strategy has become very popular withe the decrease in paid apps. With freemium, in-app monetization is about building a large base of users. Make sit clear up front that your users will only be able to access certain features without paying. Failure to do so will lead to some unpleasant app experiences.
Be transparent - it will be helpful in the long run. With this app business model, you'll see that a small number of users will contribute a huge amount of revenue. In games, this type of user is generally someone who wants to advance throughout the game faster. Or unlock features that usually would take a regular user a significant amount of time. It is therefore important that you continue to generate and maintain the users that don't pay anything. These free users are important as without they there would be no reason for paid users to continue paying for extras.
You must strike the right balance - between free features and paid features. If you get it wrong you'll lose users. But of course, you also need to entice users to upgrade
In terms of experience, you can try educating the user better. Helpful, intuitive, experience first monetization is the solution. Also, don't let your app become the next news story about a child spending millions on added content. We don't need to tell you that's not a positive app experience.
Another model that relies on experience first app monetization is the subscription model. By placing the experience first, app owners will produce better user retention and engagement. It's simple math to understand that the more users on your app, the more that will enter into a paid subscription.
But placing experience first will also allow you to increase the percentage of users that enter into a subscription. Focus on creating improved UI and increasing user satisfaction. This will increase the number of users that subscribe to your service.
Don't over confuse your options - users will become tired and move on. With more app subscriptions resembling SaaS services, make sure that your strategy cuts through the noise. Focus on an attractive user experience to maximize upgrades. Focus on simplicity when explaining the benefits of subscribing.
Rather than only focusing on converting new users into subscribers, remember to listen to your current subscribers. What are their complaints? What are the features they want? Many developers think (incorrectly) that once they have a paid subscriber they have one for life. In truth app experience is just as important after the moment of subscription as it is before.
Most mobile app monetization strategies will have some kind of negative effect on the app experience. The exception to this is data monetization. By running in the background, app developers can generate large CPMs from their audience without having a negative effect on the user experience.
This opens up a wider debate on the nature of app monetization. It's important that users realise the tradeoff between experience and revenue model. When using this app monetization strategy developers must recognise user privacy. They must also be able to communicate why apps are free. It's important that developers and users engage in debate around the benefits of free apps. Users must also understand the reasons for this.
Other in-app monetization advice
To protect the user experience and maximise app monetization make sure that you don't make any of the following mistakes.
Make sure that your app monetization strategy works across platforms. If your app exists on multiple mobile platforms then make sure that your strategy is adapted to each. This could be as simple as optimizing ad formats on different screen sizes. It could mean that you'll need to utilize a completely different app monetization model. The main rule is to understand the audience across platforms. Then adapt your app monetization strategy accordingly.
Use analytics. One of the most important things that developers can incorporate into app monetization is data. Use data generated from monetization to understand your progress. There are plenty of tools to help developers understand app engagement and app retention. Combine this with an app monetization platform that can give you accurate insights on how app engagement can affect revenue. Connecting the two is key to succeeding at in-app monetization.