If you’ve got a Mac app, then you’re probably ready to learn about Mac app store monetization.
On the one hand, it’s not too different from other forms of software and app monetization, but a few small tips can make big differences in your returns.
1. Follow the Rules
We don’t like to be glum, but if you don’t follow the first rule, you might not get into the store at all.
Apple stores are famous for their tight rules and regulations, and the Mac App Store even more so, since this store’s regulations have been retroactively implemented over time.
There are a few common reasons why apps will get rejected from the Mac store. Most commonly, these reasons are due to poor quality apps, which is the reason Apple created its app review process in the first place.
To stay ahead of the game and avoid having your app rejected, ensure that your app follows some fundamental quality guidelines:
Stability – An app with bugs, crashes, and broken links are all common grounds for rejection.
Unfinished App – “Placeholder images” and incomplete information can also cause rejection. This means you shouldn’t send an unfinished app in for review, since Apple judges apps as if they were final products.
Poor Quality – Everything from poor user interfaces to improper ad functionality can keep an app from being accepted. If Apple feels that your app doesn’t offer enough “lasting value” to Apple customers, they may not approve it.
Misleading Descriptions – The app description should match screen shots and clearly demonstrate your app’s functionality. Ensure that your app delivers on all the promises made in the description.
2. Use Ads to Monetize Your App
Not many people are willing to pay for apps any more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money from them. Advertising is quickly becoming one of the most effective methods of advertising.
Though the freemium model is also popular – offering in-app purchases and paid upgrades on the free product – only a minority of users end up converting on in-app upgrades.
To improve this metric, code and plan properly, then split test various in-app purchases to see which ones convert better. Since some offers convert better than others, this is perhaps why advertising converts well: advertising often rotates and automatically optimizes to improve the conversion rate.
For best results, use a pay-per-install program that monetizes OS X software, in addition to in-app purchases and in-app ads.
3. Optimize Your In-Store Marketing
When optimizing your in-store marketing, there are a few sides to the problem you should tackle:
SEO – No, SEO isn’t just for Google any more. App names and descriptions follow the same rules as website content. Use relevant keywords, key phrases, and descriptions that match potential search terms.
Informative Descriptions – Make sure your descriptions are as accurate as possible. Apple is particularly concerned with useful, relevant descriptions. Focus on the features of your product, but also highlight features that your product doesn’t contain so users don’t get the wrong idea.
4. Actively Promote Your App
App store listings can be a great way to advertise your app, but only if you rank high enough. Increase your app store rankings by getting great reviews, and get great reviews by creating a great app and promoting it online.
The best way to market is by networking in your niche. Take up blogging, guest blogging, and commenting on blogs. Seek out the press, and network with other members of your industry.
And the best way to advertise is to target your niche. Use a pay-per-install program such as CodeFuel’s InstallFuel that targets Mac OS X users. And use a monetization platform that lets you promote to a relevant audience.
5. Focus on Long-Term Value
Long-term value helps you make more money by keeping users engaged. The more that people use your app, the more they’ll be exposed to advertisements, in-app purchases, and other products you have to offer.
To add value, focus on these points:
Usefulness – Does your app offer users something that is actually valuable? Short-term, flashy apps that aren’t useful won’t last long on users phones or in the app store. They’ll also generate negative reviews, which can drive down your rankings and your app’s reputation.
Usability – Users who can’t use an app won’t use an app. Focus on a functional interface, not necessarily a flashy one. The appropriate color choices, screen layout, typography, and navigation all help or hinder a program’s usability. User testing is the best way to find out where you can improve your app’s usability.