DOWNLOAD THE MILLION$: Distributing Mobile Apps

Mobile applications have a vital role in the wireless industry of smart phones, tablets, and IPODS. Many app developers have found it a challenging business to be in creating a product that will find success and provide revenue out of it. But in fact, projected revenues for next year for mobile apps is whopping $13 billion. Developers can work part-time, full-time, or just as a hobby to make the next big hit. But, the real question is how are they making this money?

appsBen Hanley, senior product manager at Evans Data answers with, “We expect the industry to mature, over time you will see the proportion of full-time developers grow relative to the other major profiles.” Fierce Developer The word “mature,” I think, is an appropriate word to use as a description of both the technology as well as money to be made through creativity.

With this rapidly growing industry the structure of distribution has to adjust to this newer technology. Just like with any new item on the market today there needs to be a plan for how revenue will be made, and how the item will continue in the “long-tail of things” according to Jeffrey Ulin’s Rule of Distribution.

A couple of larger companies that program apps (OneLouder, Riverman Media) have found successful routes of doing just this. OneLouder is a social mobile app developer company that offers free app downloads for the consumer. Their plan is to generate revenue through advertising within the app, and to lock-in loyal long-tail consumers they create by updating the app once a week. They launched the business by having a clear cut vision of what exactly they want, and sold the pitch to capital firms to back their operation.

As for Riverman Media, they have a different method for creating profit. They sell their apps ranging from $0.99-2.99 per downloaded 2D game. They focus on making quality games that will keep loyal consumers coming back for more. Their strategy is to create quality games at a low cost with minimum employees. They do this so they can self-support and have no outside source conflicting on programming ideas because of investments.

apps2There are other ways in order to create money out of a “free” mobile app. Along with the upfront cost of downloads and in-game advertising there are other ways: level advancement costs, hints, special purchases, and free trials with later subscription costs. App designers need to figure out how they want to generate revenue. The Utility-Engagement Model shows the way in which one should look at constructing a game and what the goal and vision is in creating the application. For a better understanding of the model here are some bullets to make sense of it all.

•Utility, meaning how useful a person finds the app

•Engagement, meaning how often a person uses the app

•Value, meaning how much the person likes what the app provides, relative to the universe of other options

Flappy Bird as a prime example of an independent programming studio gathering the green president faced paper, we all so desire. The game was created in 2013 in a Vietnam-based developing company. The creator locked down the in-game advertising model of the game and made $50,000 per day from this.

It seems that most app creators are within a studio setting and are working full-time, but there have been some who have figured out how to make money on their own. With all the resources available online today do you think it possible to use your own imagination and create a new mobile app hit? Will the app market continue to mature and be a money maker and job maker?

Stacey Krull

4 thoughts on “DOWNLOAD THE MILLION$: Distributing Mobile Apps

  1. I feel like with mobile apps, the fairly cheap price tag makes it more likely that people will feel comfortable trying things out. There is low-risk in trying out a .99 cent app and if it something that doesn’t appeal, well there goes a pack of gum or a bottle of soda – not a big loss. It is easy to realize the success of mobile games in general as opposed to console games. Most people have a phone readily available in their pockets and can quickly whip it out, look up the game and download and play within a minute.

    Also advertisements make up the majority of revenue from just about anything online. It is easy to believe in a app that can rely on this for their main source of income and still provide a free app.

  2. I think really anyone with an idea that is actually good can make an app that sells and makes a ton of money. Someone who works with an actual company can definitely make a living off of apps. I don’t think apps are going anywhere any time soon. It is definitely a good career choice for someone right now.

  3. A friend of mine who wants to go into game development says that mobile games are the way to go if one wishes to break into the gaming industry. The problem with these games is that they often are incomplete at release and require a boat-load of updates. Not only that, but smartphones are always changing as well, which adds further complications. I recently just finished helping a developer play-test for the their next update because my brand of phone in particular was acting up. The other problem they will face, and are facing, is the flooding of the app market. Since more and more apps are being created it is harder to get your name and ideas out.

  4. It is interesting reading about the different strategies of money making between the apps you pay for and the ones you do not. I have never paid for an app so the only ones I have any experience with are free apps featuring advertisements. I never thought that those little advertisements could create such huge revenue like it did for Flappy Bird.

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