Mobile apps are becoming a preferred channel through which businesses can expand their offerings. iOS, as a platform, is popular with businesses, as an iOS app can lead to high profitability. But how can we tap into that profit base? We will show you 10 monetization strategies for use within an iOS app - an iOS that you can, for instance, develop with the help of our team.

Thinking about venturing into the mobile app business by developing your own iOS app? Or perhaps you are just considering what mobile operating system to use for your app? In both situations, you are probably quite keen to learn how to make money from an iOS app. Native application development in iOS has the potential to be extremely profitable - so let’s walk you through the 10 best monetization strategies for your iOS application.

Monetization strategies

There are few ways to cash-in on your iOS app. Let’s have a look on them.

  1. Subscriptions involves receiving frequent payments for offered new content in your app. You can propose weekly or monthly payments for access to new information, music, videos or whatever your application may propose. This option works best in content-driven apps, obviously, based on news feeds, music or film topics. The advantage here is that these apps generate recurring revenue and encourage frequent use. The disadvantage - that’s the fact that you have to constantly provide fresh, interesting and value-rich content.
  2. Paid apps are not a particularly common solution, though still applicable for very unique or high budget applications. Be prepared for harsher critique from users here - if they pay for something up front, they’ll be itching for better value. You can’t afford any flaws or bugs in your paid app. Getting revenue from a one-time paid app is quite straightforward and simple - it is tied to the number of downloads. Convincing people to pay for your app is a tough job nowadays, so this model is not generally considered lucrative.
  3. In-app purchases, which basically makes your app yet another sales channel after your webpage, shop etc. This works best if you are in retail, sales, or gaming. Bare in mind though, just because you have another sales channel available, doesn’t mean that your customers are necessarily willing to use it. In order to make them turn to shopping in your mobile application, the buying process needs to be seamless, convenient and/or fun - if not, they will stick to your old channels. Also, if someone buys an item in your mobile app, but it’s purchase they’d make through other channels anyway like online or in a shop (e.g. clothing, a streaming movie), this won’t gain you any extra profit. You need to bring new customers or convince hesitant ones - those who somehow weren’t digging your old sales channels, but are all about the mobile life. A difficult task, but with a user-friendly app, adding new, high value to the buying process, it can be achieved.
  4. In-app ads, which means having your app displaying advertisements of other products and services - earning you cash from paid ads. You have control over the content of the banner, the place of display and display intervals - but obviously you have to agree to the terms with your given ad provider. The important thing to note here is that ads shouldn’t interfere with users’ actions in your app.
  5. A Freemium app, which is one of the most popular and best known ways to make money from your app. Free applications currently amount to about 60% of the total available apps in Apple’s App Store, so freemium apps are certainly trending. But just because you offer an app for free, doesn’t mean that you can’t cash-in on it in another way. For now, freemium apps appear the best way to make profit in the apps sector. It means that you offer a basic version of your app for free, build interest among users in it and then propose a paid, upgraded, premium version of your mobile app, one with new or better features. So in fact, your app is free, but if someone wishes to get a better version of it - they are obliged to pay. This system is especially worth trying in iOS, whose users - according to researches - are more keen to pay for premium versions or subscriptions. The advantage of this model for users is the fact that they can try the application out before paying for its upgraded version.
  6. Sponsorships, which is having your app sponsored by third party vendors. This approach is often taken by vendors, who build an app for products or services related to some live event (e.g. festivals), as in most cases they already have sponsors. For a sponsor it is also an interesting deal - they gain better ad targeting and larger fees. This model also can contain a gamification approach - whereby advertisers give your customers relevant rewards when they complete designated actions within your app. Later on, that revenue is shared between you and the advertiser. This model engages customers in a game, which takes ad personalization to the next level, while providing your customers with real value.
  7. CPI (cost per install) network - you can use your iPhone app for promotion of other apps and get paid every time a user installs a promoted app via your mobile app. It is not only a good way to get additional money, but also to increase traffic in your app.
  8. Affiliate sales, where a third party company pays the developer each time they bring (through their app) a new user to the third party product or service.
  9. White-labeling, which is basically selling code of your application to another company, who inserts appropriate branding and then ships it off to their customers. This way your hard work on inventing your idea for the app, and developer’s work to create and build it, pays off.
  10. Data monetization - Use the anonymized insights gained from behaviors within your app to develop strategies for marketing add-ons to your customers, or for coming up with ideas for other business avenues to pursue. Mobile apps can be a vast source of information for your business - however make sure that you outline in your privacy policy how you may use this data for internal strategies!

    Numbers don’t lie

Let’s look at some numbers to make you realize that iOS indeed CAN bring you revenue.

  • First of all, a majority of online shoppers— 60%—are using mobile devices.
  • iOS is currently the second most popular mobile operating system, after Android.
  • To this day, Apple have sold 1.16 billion iPhones and 360 million iPads, with mobile applications for iOS collectively downloaded more than 130 billion times.
  • Apparently, the AppStore brings 90% more revenue than Google Play.
  • What’s more, the average iOS user spends 250% more on in-app purchases than even a dedicated Android user.
  • In 2015, as much as $20 billion was spent in the AppStore.
  • During the 2015 holiday season, the two busiest days for e-commerce were Cyber Monday followed by Black Friday, with mobile traffic outpacing desktop both days.
  • The average iPhone user coughed up $40 on premium apps and in-app purchases throughout 2016, as compared to $35 in 2015.
  • The average in-app purchase per user is $1.08 for iOS users and $0.43 for Android users, according to an AppsFlyer study.

There is money to be made in iOS mobile application development - you just need a clever and consistent strategy to reach for it. But firstly, you need to build a quality app - because without a high quality app you won’t have any users! iRonin builds solid applications providing excellent user experience, with experience in developing native mobile applications for iOS. Come and check us out and start making money from your mobile application.