The mobile monetization global landscape in 2014 looks different now than it will in the future. Yes, that’s true of all technology fields, but mobile monetization is still an emerging field. In the same way that search emerged in the 90s and eventually settled, we’ll see mobile monetization tools emerge, evolve, and soon settle as well.
Here’s what the mobile monetization global landscape looks like in 2014.
An Ocean of Apps
Smartphones are everywhere, and app store shelves are lined with more and more apps every single day.
The vast majority of all apps belong to iOS and Android phones. This market domination is unlikely to change any time soon.
The Windows Phone has gained ground in terms of apps, but lost ground in terms of market share.
More users are spending more time every month on apps. Over the past few years, the number of apps per phone has risen to almost 27, and the average hours per month spent on apps has risen to over 30.
What does this mean if you are trying to monetize an app?
It means money.
A Sea of Developers
There are more apps, users, and developers for Android than any other mobile device, but the iTunes App Store boasts 1.2 billion apps, 75 billion downloads, and 9 million developers. This is almost 50% more than the previous year.
Of course, this jump in developers also means an increase in competition. It’s becoming more and more difficult for new developers and apps to get noticed. And those developers who do take home the biggest chunks of the profit pie are a small minority.
So how are developers monetizing their apps?
Monetization Strategies in 2014
The most popular mobile monetization method is the “freemium” model. This model is used by developers who offer an app for free, but charge for paid upgrades or in-app purchases. Second in terms of popularity, and a neck-and-neck second in terms of revenue, is advertising.
In-app ads are one of the most common monetization methods, and convert well compared to in-app purchases, which convert only a tiny fraction of downloaders. Getting users to part with their money still seems to be the big hurdle for monetization.
From display ads to text ads, interstitial ads, video ads, and interactive ads, everyone is eager to take advantage of the global mobile monetization landscape.
Ad Networks Everywhere!
Google isn’t the only ad network in the mobile marketplace. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of mobile ad networks that offer a complex array of ad formats and marketing services.
Integrating ads into app code is usually a snap, and developers can track analytics, experiment, and test to improve conversions and revenue.
The biggest problem with the large number of ad networks is calculating ROI and customers’ lifetime values. When a developer needs to run multiple campaigns on multiple networks, measuring the actual return on marketing becomes a costly chore.
Now, developers need to use several tools to track their marketing and monetization efforts, just to get a better picture of their bottom line.
But that’s quickly changing.
Monetization and Promotion Platforms Emerge
Monetization platforms and promotion platforms are like complete marketing solutions. CodeFuel, for instance, offers a line of monetization products that also double up as promotional tools.
Developers can use these platforms to earn money from advertising revenue, in addition to using the tools to promote their own apps.
Other promotional platforms, such as Grow Mobile, soon to be part of Perion Lightspeed, will provide a one-stop marketing shop for developers and software publishers. These tools give access to dozens of ad networks in a single dashboard.
This one-stop shop model solves the problems of calculating ROI, optimizing multiple advertising campaigns across multiple sources, and so on.
These types of platforms evolved in order to meet the needs of developers around the world. Though they are still in their early stages, these consolidated toolboxes will soon become industry standards.
Studies have shown that developers who use mobile monetization tools consistently earn more money, for this very reason. In other words, app developers who wish to maintain an competitive edge won’t be able to continue overlooking the problems of calculating ROI, LTV, and campaign optimization.
Though the mobile monetization and marketing landscape looks fragmented now, these tools are paving the way for change. In the next few years we’ll see these consolidation tools adapt to include more ad networks, ad exchanges, and marketing sources. With them, developers will have a better grasp of advertising, marketing, and monetization.