One of the most common questions we get asked, as a no-code app development platform is, “How can I make money by creating an app?” While there are a few obvious answers, there are other, more lucrative, answers that are interesting to think about.
Making an app can be expensive ensuring there’s a way to make up for the expenditure is important. While not every app can be a goldmine, there are certainly app business models that can earn you a pretty penny.
One of the most important things to think about when coming up with an app idea is what problem you’re trying to solve & how big of a problem is it? The size of the problem and the number of people it affects can dramatically increase the amount you can earn. But let’s get into a few different ways to make money.
Pay to Download
The app stores are called stores for a reason — you can buy… well, apps! While there are certain apps that are free, there are other apps that you can purchase for a small fee. Oftentimes, a user will pay once for lifetime access to the app.
Prices can range from very cheap to very expensive depending on what the app can do. Making money this way can be very lucrative because it’s a simple business model to understand — one new customer translates into a certain amount of money. The downside: you’re not capitalizing on how frequently someone may be using your app & while 7 billion people exist on this planet, you can only rely on income for each user once. That’s where the next model comes into play…
Subscription fees for app access can be extremely lucrative, finding a customer once & retaining them over a period of time is much cheaper than trying to find a bunch of new customers like the business model above. However, creating a subscription app boasts a whole set of new challenges.
First, the product offering has to be appropriate for a subscription model — mainly, your user needs to continually get value from the use of your app.
Let’s look at an example, if my app was an ebook & the content was never updated, I’m not going to find any user that will pay me each month for access to that book (okay, maybe my dad would). Most people will pay for it, read it & then cancel the subscription. The best (and most successful) subscription apps continue to provide the same value over the lifetime of use — and once you figure out what that value is… cha-ching, baby.
The two models for making money above are pretty obvious options, but let’s get into some of the not-so-obvious ways to make money when creating an app.
The app market is hot right now 🔥 and so is the no-code market! With the emergence of tools like Adalo, there’s a whole new crop of people (hello, designers) that did not have the capability to create apps when you had to know how to code. Now, with the power to make apps without code, more people can use their skills to make apps for others!
Plenty of individuals, agencies, and shops have created entire business models off creating websites for people — the same can absolutely be true for using no-code app tools. In this model, you’re not looking to monetize an app, so much as monetizing your skills in an industry that is just heating up! There’s an advantage to being the first mover in a space, and no-code is ripe for first movers.
Have we mentioned, there’s a whole bunch of freelancers that currently work as Adalo Experts, check them out! We have people every single day looking for someone to help with the creation of their app idea, so there’s definitely a need for great freelancers.
Creating a Marketplace App
Creating a community where others can sell their goods & services is another way to make money from an app. How? Skimming a fee off the top of the transaction. This is a well known & highly-popular practice with apps like Etsy & even the Apple App Store using this method of monetization. In fact, the Apple App Store takes a 30% cut from transactions that take place in your app — now that’s a pretty penny when you think about all the downloads & transactions that happen on a daily basis in their marketplace.
Adalo’s Stripe component allows the app creator to set up how much a transaction will cost the individuals that choose to utilize the marketplace to sell their goods or services.
Monetizing an app based on an audience that serves a business can be extremely lucrative. What do I mean? Let’s say you’ve built an app that is a valuable resource and a business would like to use your app for its customers. In a case like this, that business would pay a lump sum to recommend your app to its customers. While there are likely extra stipulations that go into this type of agreement, branding & content, for example, depending on the app — multiple businesses may want to buy into your app!
Another way a business can buy-in to your app is if your audience fits its purpose. For example, if you have an audience of women that like shopping in your app, clothing brands may want to contribute coupon codes, or something similar, to capture the attention of your audience.
Expanding Your Business
Perhaps you already have a business, adding an app could bring in an additional type of engagement that could have major implications for your bottom line. Improving the way you relate to your customers, offering things like loyalty programs through an app, or creating another touchpoint for your customers to have a great experience is a wonderful way to stay involved with customers & increase lifetime value.
There’s a reason all the restaurants nowadays want you to download their app to get a free chips & queso (Moe’s, I’m lookin’ at you!). It’s because in this day & age, businesses are just trying to reach us where we’re at and that’s on our phones! Offering deals, providing faster service, saving customer information for a more personalized experience: these are all great ways to keep people happy & coming back to you.
An Ad Network
How many of you have been in an app with ads? 🙋 A more telling question is probably how many apps have you been in that don’t serve ads?
It’s very common for app creators to allow ad networks to serve ads within their app. While this is not the most lucrative way to make money, especially since the amount you make is directly correlated to the size of your audience, it is a way. This model becomes more advantageous if you have a large audience (Facebook, anyone?). The downside of using ads is they can provide a not-so-great user experience and that might negatively impact your app’s churn.
Because of this, oftentimes you’ll notice ads will be on the free version of an app and if a user upgrades they can enjoy an ad-free experience. Which brings us to our next monetization option…
There are many great ways to make money by creating an app beyond placing ads in your product. Thinking outside the box & using one of the less common methods to monetize can be very lucrative & open the door for many other opportunities.