The app user engagement landscape in 2015 looks different, depending on whether you develop for iOS, Android, or another platform.
As app developers know, iOS has gotten all the attention in recent years. Users are more engaged, more willing to pay for apps, and the stricter app store policies keep out the competition.
Android phones are typically cheaper than Apple phones, so there are more low-budget users. In general, Android users have been less willing to make in-app purchases, pay for apps, and so forth.
Therefore, it’s natural for developers to gravitate towards iOS.
However, there have been some shifts that have affected the app user engagement landscape in 2015. In this article, we’ll look at that data to see how it affects app developers and the app industry.
Android Is Just Too Fragmented…Or Is It?
There is a commonly held belief that Android is a highly fragmented OS, with many versions that make it more difficult for Android apps to penetrate the market. On the other hand, iOS is completely closed and Apple has complete control over the hardware and software.
However, 90% of Android users are using 4.0.3 or higher, according to OpenSignal. It’s most definitely true that Apple iOS enjoys a much less fragmented state of existence, but the issue for developers should be one of targeting and backwards compatibility.
Other fragmentation issues that concern developers are device and brand fragmentation. OpenSignal’s same data reveals that Android’s brand and device fragmentation can’t even be compared to Apple’s: there are around 24,000 distinct Android devices, 28% more than last year.
The question for app developers is whether or not this fragmentation affects user engagement and monetization.
Some feel that Android fragmentation may actually be a good thing.
While this fragmentation may give developers headaches, it also gives Android a much larger market share. Android’s market share has hovered around 80% for the past few years globally. In countries like India, that number is higher, while in the EU and the United States, it is lower.
This level of fragmentation can certainly eat away at both market penetration and engagement, especially when it affects app performance, compatibility, and the user experience.
However, app developers should take global numbers with a grain of salt. If a developer is targeting a specific niche, geographically or topically, then those numbers may vary from OS to OS. According to some data, high-end Android phone users are actually 40% more engaged than iOS users.
While it’s widely acknowledged that iOS users are more engaged, it’s also worth noting that Android has more users. When building for Android, developers should focus on their target audience first and foremost.
If your target demographic is less engaged but four times as large, where should you focus your efforts? An app targeted at mass consumers in India, for instance, should probably start development with Android, which owns around 90% of the market share there.
Other Discrepancies Affecting Android Engagement
The overall user demographics and engagement levels are certainly big considerations for any developer.
There are other details, however, that affect engagement. A recent report revealed that the way each OS handles push notifications has a significant impact on user engagement.
The difference between the two is this: Android notifications remain visible until they are dismissed by the user, while iOS notifications fade away into the Notification Center when the phone is unlocked. This little UI discrepancy affects engagement patterns by around 12% for medium-performing apps.
iOS Still Rules User Engagement
It pays to dig deep into your target audience and your target market before unilaterally jumping on board the iOS ship. While it’s clear that fragmentation does rule the Android landscape, it’s also clear that there are some engagement peaks in that valley. Namely, using push notifications and targeting the right demographic can earn you significant bonuses.
This time last year, iOS app launches doubled Android’s and they were used for twice as long. For years, Apple has been touting that its users are more affluent, more engaged, and more valuable than Android users.
Apple does have a smaller market share in general, but the fact that its users are more affluent and engaged means Apple developers make more money. Also, in some markets Android has been losing ground to Apple.
Google has apparently learned its lesson, and will be changing its policies to improve the user experience. Language in Google’s new policies echo similar verbiage that already exists in Apple’s app guidelines, including the removal of apps that have “irrelevant, misleading, or excessive keywords in apps descriptions, titles, or metadata.”
In this, Google appears to be following the example that iOS has set. While those changes may improve the user experience and user engagement in the long term, for now Apple still takes the cake when it comes to both.
On the one hand, Android’s fragmentation may not be all it’s cracked up to be. With the right targeting and the right engagement strategy, an app can be made profitable. But, on the other hand, iOS still controls the more affluent and engaged user base. In time, Android may make strides to catch up, but in terms of app user engagement in 2015, Apple still rules.
All types of code monetization solutions have their pros and cons. And not all monetization methods are appropriate for all apps. How do you know which one to choose?
In this article, we’ll examine some of the major monetization solutions, their uses, their benefits, and other factors to take into consideration.
Your Monetization Solutions
To find out which code will help you make the most money, start at the other end and ask yourself:
Which is more important – money or passion?
In other words, are you specifically interested in monetizing a certain type of app, such as games? If, however, money is more important, then make choices based on where you think you can make the most money.
There are many monetization solutions out there, and many of them rely on creating a quality app that people actually want to use.
Research the monetization solutions at your disposal:
Pay-per-install – Pay-per-install advertising presents ads during the installation of an app. These programs allow you to earn money from downloads even if people never use your app.
In-app advertising – In-app ads, such as pay-per-click ads, earn more money the more people use your app. If you’ve got an app that solves an essential problem and gets used every day, then you’re in luck! The key to successful in-app advertising is using ads that add value and don’t compromise the user experience.
Search monetization – When you sign up for a search monetization program, you insert some code into your app that creates a search box. Every time people search from inside your app, you make money.
Freemium or in-app purchases – This choice has been popular in the past and continues to be popular today. Apps that use this strategy don’t charge for the app itself, but may charge for in-app purchases such as upgrades or extra features. This monetization solution can be effective, but requires some skill to pull off.
Paid apps – Charging for an app is a challenge, and people actually prefer ad-based apps to paid or freemium apps. In order to successfully charge for an app, you’ll need an app that creates substantial, unique value for your customers. Also, you’ll probably want a reputation or a solid marketing budget – otherwise no one will know about your app. And consider that some markets are more suited to paid apps, such as iOS.
Monetizing data – User data and user behavior is another way to monetize code. Facebook and Google, for instance, both earn advertising dollars by commoditizing and selling people’s marketing data.
Offering a subscription service – Subscriptions are a great way to earn recurring income. If your app acts as a gateway or a mobile version of your company’s service, then a subscription payment model can be one of the most effective strategies.
Selling services or products – In some cases, an app is simply like content marketing: it is used as a gateway to sell a vendor’s services or products. If you have your own products or services, then developing a useful app that also promotes your business can be an excellent way to earn money. If you don’t, then there is another way…
Affiliate marketing – Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative if you incorporate an affiliate relationship into the core design of the app. By establishing an affiliate relationship with a merchant, which can simply mean signing up for an online account, you can earn money each time a sale is made through your app. Look at travel apps and booking apps to see some examples.
How to Choose the Right Solution
The above monetization methods vary in their effectiveness, their potential revenue, and which types of apps they can best serve.
To simplify the market slightly, there are two types of apps: B2C apps and B2B apps. The nature of each type of app reflects the most effective type of monetization.
B2C apps often make more money from in-app ads, in-app purchases, affiliate marketing, search monetization, and pay-per-install ads. The reason these models work well is because consumers are picky and have short attention spans. People will quickly download apps that are free, and, as mentioned, they prefer ad-based apps.
B2B apps can earn more money from subscriptions, paid purchases, and in-app purchases. Though B2B markets tend to be smaller, they can be more successful at charging customers than B2C apps. There are a number of reasons for this, but it boils down to the fact that the target industries are smaller and more specialized, and businesses are more willing to pay for something that helps them to be more productive.
Keep in mind that this breakdown is rather general, but it should point you in the right direction. Much more industry-specific research and experimentation is required to find an effective monetization strategy.
Developers who monetize software installations typically choose iOS, due to its high revenue potential, or Android, due to its high distribution potential. Windows 8 and the Windows Phone, which were spectacular flops, just didn’t seem worth it.
But Windows 10, being touted as a fusion between Windows 7 and Windows 8, may offer a gleam of hope for developers who still enjoy the Microsoft platform. If Windows 10 proves to be more successful than its predecessor, this could represent a big opportunity for monetization.
The New Windows Will Be “New”
Microsoft has come forth to say that the new Windows won’t just be a cross-platform unification of all its devices, it will be an “open collaborative development effort” that it undertakes with customers. Steering clear of the mistakes it made with Windows 8, Microsoft has decided to listen to its customers and work with them to develop the next version of Windows – which is skipping 9 and going straight to 10.
The rationale? This is a completely new product.
Windows 10 will implement a shared codebase that works across all its devices, from laptops to desktops and phones. This, of course, will make cross-platform development much easier.
Scheduled to come out in 2015, Windows 10 aims to upgrade businesses and enterprise users to the new platform. And, coupled with the fact that this next iteration of Windows is not an “incremental product,” this suggests that developers will actually be able to make use of this Windows version for monetizing both consumers and businesses.
Monetizing Software Installations on a Multi-Device Windows
Windows 10 won’t be the only operating system to unify a code base in order to improve the user experience and make developers’ lives easier. But its market standing may make it one of the most successful.
With luck and a bit of planning, Microsoft may manage to bridge the gap between Windows 7 and 8, improve the interface, and create a cross-platform operating system that earns back some lost ground.
If it does, it may use its not-insignificant market presence to penetrate the enterprise business setting, home consumers, smartphone users, and even the wearable technology market.
Here are some takeaways for developers:
A shared code base means a shallow learning curve. One Windows for all devices? Sounds pretty good if you want to monetize one app across a spectrum of devices.
A smaller learning curve means fewer resources spent learning code for various devices. Instead of developing for this phone, that desktop, and that smartwatch, you can develop for all Windows devices simultaneously.
More devices that share this code base offer more opportunities. One codebase for all Microsoft devices will theoretically give you access to every customer using a Windows device. We still have more to learn about Microsoft’s specific plans and implementations, but this trend is clearly the direction things are going.
A smaller market doesn’t necessarily mean smaller paychecks. You probably know that the Windows Phone wasn’t exactly a big hit. But every developer also knows what the numbers look like for app monetization: the vast majority of revenue goes into the hands of a tiny percent of big winners.
The practical developer knows that in order to make more money, you can get a good paycheck if you focus on the right market, with the right combination of revenue, competition, and customers.
Planning for the Future by Making Changes Now
With this new version of Windows, we’re seeing the shape of the internet to come. Currently, statistics show that online shoppers cross multiple devices in order to make a purchase. Today’s internet user is engaged in multiple screens simultaneously, so just imagine what tomorrow will bring.
To maintain a competitive edge, it is vital that developers plan for tomorrow’s changes by implementing strategies that exploit today’s trends.
Here are a few ways to do so:
Develop apps and services that span multiple devices. To develop a desktop-only or smartphone-only app is limiting. Make the most of your app by developing across devices. Doing so will increase your exposure to customers and increase your app’s value.
Find innovative monetization solutions that work on several channels. Turnkey monetization solutions, such as full-service monetization platforms, are perfectly suited to the multi-channel developer. They provide monetization tools for several devices, unified analytics, and take the headache out of online marketing and monetization. In the future, it is likely that these tools will provide tight integration with cross-platform operating systems such as Windows 10.
Diagram your niche’s future and meet changes as they happen. Though Windows 10 hasn’t hit yet, there’s no point waiting until it does to make plans. Get on board as soon as possible with your multi-device app monetization strategy. When the rest of the developers follow behind, you’ll already be sitting on your niche market share.
Ready to cash in on Windows 10? Preparation is the key to success, so keep your eye on industry developments. If Microsoft plays its cards right, it may provide some much-needed competition for Apple and Google. And this can be good news for developers who monetize software installations.
Getting paid per install is one of the easiest ways for developers to monetize software and still offer great software and tools. Using a pay-per-install program, you can get started monetizing your software within hours.
Here’s how to get paid per install in 5 easy steps:
1. Pick Your Network
There aren’t too many pay-per-install networks to choose from. The pay-per-install network of choice, of course, is CodeFuel, the world’s leading developer of monetization tools.
When you evaluate your network, ask yourself the following questions:
Who else uses the network? The partners, advertisers, and publishers will help you get an idea of the overall quality of the network.
What are the major features and benefits? Look for ease of installation, up-front costs, analytics tools, and other monetization tools that you may have access to.
What are the network’s payouts? Contact the company to find out not only the payout information but also the traffic volume and the quality of the leads, which will help determine your revenue potential.
What is the company’s reputation? Look at outside sources to find out more about the company’s past, present, and future direction. The bigger the reputation, the better.
2. Sign Up
Signing up shouldn’t be a chore. If the company requests up-front payments or fees, ask yourself if those fees are really necessary. Also, go back through the questions in the first step to ensure that this is a legitimate company. The most legitimate companies shouldn’t require anything up-front: if their product is good quality, they should be able to generate enough revenue simply through revenue-sharing.
Once you’ve signed up, explore your account and integrate your code. Integration should be easy, quick, and hassle-free.
3. Pick Your Offers
You get paid per install by offering third-party software during your product’s installation. Each time a customer accepts one of the offers, you earn a commission. The more traffic and downloads your software gets, the more you get paid.
Here are a few considerations when choosing your offers:
Are they relevant to your audience? Your audience doesn’t need to see a children’s video game if you are presenting them with a PC cleaning utility. And if you are offering a video game, they probably don’t need accounting software.
Are the offers good quality? Strike the right balance between relevance and quality. If you present software that is poor quality, this will reflect badly on you and could increase the number of uninstalls your product receives.
Don’t choose competitors. It may sound obvious, but don’t forget that not everyone on the pay-per-install network is entirely “compatible” with your software.
4. Push Start
Build your installation funnel with appropriate copywriting, offers, and design elements. Upload to software directories, promote on your content network, then watch the money roll in.
A/B split-testing should be integrated with your pay-per-install software. If it’s not, find a tool that offers split-testing.
Here are things to watch for and refine:
Split-test copywriting. Here are three copywriting elements to test: benefits, features, and calls-to-action. Your written content should contain these three primary elements for each offer.
Split-test visual designs. Visual design elements can include everything from photographs to colors, text size, typography, and white space. Test only one element at a time so you know which has the most impact.
Split-test offers. Each offer brings something different to the table. Spend enough time – or include enough traffic in your test – to generate a statistically significant result. Changing offers every day or every week will only throw your results and induce more micromanagement.
Monitor drop-out points. If certain points in the installation funnel show more abandonment rates, split-test that point in the cycle to find out why users leave and how you can fix it.
5. Rinse and Repeat
If you have another software program, integrate it with the same uploader and give it a shot. You can even try promoting your own software during the installation.
Here are a couple techniques to help you increase downloads:
Keep upgrading your software. When it’s time to upgrade your existing software, request that users download the upgraded version during program startup. Each time people download your new version, they will re-install the software and the pay-per-install program.
Incentivize or suggest sharing. During startup, request – or even require, as a form of payment – that users promote your product on social media. You can also lock content, in the same way that freemium models lock content. But instead of requiring cash payments to unlock features, require shares on social media. This tactic works as a promotional tool and a monetization strategy.
As you can see, getting paid per install doesn’t have to end with the initial download. Though installation funnel optimization and marketing is an ongoing effort, it’s one of the better ways to ensure that you generate regular income for your development work.
Monetization platforms monetize your software for you, so you can spend your time focusing on what you love: writing great code. These platforms, such as the industry-leading CodeFuel product suite, serve the dual functions of monetization and promotion.
If you haven’t heard of these toolboxes, it’s not very surprising. Monetization platforms are a relatively recent development in the marketing world. But, given their solid rate of growth and the amount of value they add to the marketing industry, they are clearly on their way to becoming global standards.
Pick a Platform
There aren’t many high-quality platforms to choose from. Most of those that do exist are only following in the footsteps of CodeFuel.
When you evaluate potential contenders, however, examine these factors to find out which one leads the pack:
Features and Benefits – The first thing you’ll want to check is certainly the features and benefits that the product suite offers…if it even is a product suite. In many cases, monetization platforms aren’t actually platforms at all: they’re simple advertising tools.
A full-service platform should include:
Multiple Advertising Options
And So On
Company History – Take a look at the company’s track record, their size, their valuation, and so on. Some companies have just started up, while others have a history of growth and expansion. Visit third-party websites to view the company’s reputation.
Quality Partners and Users – High quality users are the kind that convert, and high quality partners are those whose judgment you would trust. Do they develop apps that you would feel comfortable advertising? If so, great, because these are the types of apps you can use to help monetize your installs.
Choose the Right Tools for the Job
Naturally, you won’t need every tool in the monetization chest, but you may be able to use more than one. Examine what the platform has to offer and see if it fits your needs.
Here are a few examples of the types of tools that will help you monetize your app, browser extension, or website:
Smart Installer – A pay-per-install program advertises third-party offers during the installation process, and each time someone converts on an offer, you earn money. The installation can be customized to fit your brand and optimized to boost conversions.
Search Monetization – Search monetization is an innovative monetization method that includes both a search function and a monetization function. This ingenious strategy adds value to the app and the user, without overtly marketing to them. Each search earns you money.
Targeted Advertising – The most effective ad networks are often the most specialized. CodeFuel’s DisplayFuel, for instance, cultivates a select inventory that is specifically designed for software developers.
Analytics – The analytics hub will be your window into your monetization campaign. You will want analytics data that is both easy to understand and easy to customize, if the need arises.
This set of tools offers something for just about every developer. You may only use one tool or you may use them all. But once you’ve started, it’s time to track your campaign.
Analyze and Improve
After you’ve chosen your network, picked your tools, and started your campaign, you’ll need to analyze and improve your marketing funnel.
Don’t worry, monetization platforms make this a piece of cake.
Pay attention to the most important information first, such as the number of conversions, downloads, and abandonment rates. As time goes on, you’ll be able to make use of more advanced analytics features, real-time reporting, and custom functions.
Monetization Platforms and Conversion Funnels
Don’t be scared by marketing terminology. “Conversion funnel” is the only one you should be concerned about. The conversion funnel is simply another name for the sales funnel.
The sales funnel is the old idea that customers go through four stages on their way to the final purchase: awareness, interest, desire, and conversion.
Monetization platforms allow you to develop the entire funnel simultaneously, from conversion to promotion.
The final step to monetizing your software with monetization platforms is promotion. After all, without growth, you won’t be able to get the traffic you need to earn money.
Fortunately, you’ll find that monetization solutions, such as specialized ad networks and pay-per-install networks, are ideal solutions for software promotion. The very same monetization platform can also serve you as a promotion platform.
As you can probably see, monetization platforms are complete solutions for developers, software publishers, and advertisers. From ad-powered monetization to search monetization and analytics, the right monetization platform will take you from zero to 60 in the amount of time it takes you to insert some code.