Lionel Messi and monetization – they have more in common than you think. The Argentina and FC Barcelona soccer superstar can teach software developers much about how to make money from apps and ads. How? Because Messi, like David Beckham before him, has become an adaptable but well-loved global brand.

This is the goal (excuse the pun) of all software companies, from start-ups to big-ups; everyone wants their app to get more users, gain more installs, and earn more revenue.

So, as all eyes are on the Brazil World Cup 2014, we at CodeFuel decided to look at how little Leo (one of his more unfortunate nicknames is La Pulga, meaning ‘the flea’) can help app developers and marketers score some goals.

The first monetization lesson from Messi is to persevere despite the challenges. Messi came from humble beginnings, born in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, his father was a factory steel worker, and his mother was a part-time cleaner. At the age of 11, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, which must have been a huge setback for an aspiring and talented footballer. Yet, despite all the odds, Messi kept doing what he did best, playing football for his club. He was eventually spotted by Carles Rexach, the sporting director of Barcelona, who offered Messi a contract on a paper napkin.

Likewise, developers face an uphill struggle, with millions of apps to compete with and a seemingly impenetrable and an over-saturated business arena. Yet, those in the know can still find their niche. As long as people keep downloading to their devices, there will always be opportunities for genuinely good apps to find their way to users.

Messi & advertising

The next lesson we can learn from Leo is marketing. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of advertising. And developers constantly need to spread the word to distribute their apps to new users. The options for advertisers are now wider than ever, with in-app ads showing the fastest growth.

Messi is no stranger to advertising. Indeed, in the build-up to the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Messi was featured in a range of commercials, including Gillette with Roger Federer, Turkish Airlines with Koby Bryant, Pepsi’s #Futbol Now campaign featuring David Bowie’s song ‘Heroes’, Adidas with Robin Van Persie, and many more.

While software developers may not have the same multimillion dollar ad budgets as these companies, they should consider carefully how to advertise their apps. Options range from conducting SEM campaigns on Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and other ad networks, as well as offering your apps as secondary offers during installation, post-install ads and even recommended offers during search.

Messi & advertising

Messi & apps

There are a plethora of Lionel Messi apps out there and these can teach us much about monetization methods. The web is filled with Messi apps including the Lionel Messi HD widget, Lionel Messi wallpapers, and games like FIFA 14 by EA SPORTS, available on Google Play.

These apps are all cross platform, meaning they are compatible with a diverse smartphone, tablet and desktop devices. To monetize in the ever-changing modern marketplace, developers need to create flexible apps that can be used on a wide range of devices and websites that are responsive in design.

Some of Messi’s apps offer in-app purchases to users, many using the now well-trodden freemium business model. For example, FIFA 14 by EA Sports is free to install but to enjoy all the extra features, users need to upgrade their game to unlock three extra modes: Manager, Tournament, and Kick Off. Although freemium is a good way to monetize established apps, users are less willing to pay to use features on younger, fresher and lesser-known apps. Therefore, developers need to find other ways to monetize.

Messi & apps

That’s where monetization platforms come in. By integrating with these monetization platforms, developers can effortlessly generate revenue by using smart installers, display ads, in-app search-feeds and more ingenious tools, all without compromising their brand and user experience.

Finally, Messi can also teach us about localization. Messi’s games are playable in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Dutch, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese to name just a few languages. Likewise, the goal of developers is also to segment their software and sites for different markets. More than simply translating content, this could involve redesigning UX and offers for certain countries.

So, as we can see, Messi and monetization have a lot in common, and the Argentinian star can teach us much about turning code into cash.