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Now that there’s an app for everything, you probably spend a good deal of “quality time” with your phone or tablet immersed in an app. Maybe you’re doing something useful like tracking your 10,000 steps for the day, or maybe you’re whiling away the hours trying to beat your score in Candy Crush. (Seriously, we’re not judging!)

Besides helping you pass the time while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, these apps should help you realize one very important thing: There’s a lot of money to be made off of apps. We’re not talking about selling your app and making millions when it goes as viral as Angry Birds (which, let’s be honest, is about as likely as you striking oil in your backyard). No, we’re talking about monetizing your app, that is to say using different advertising or promotional strategies to generate revenue from your app independent of app sales. 

Not sure what we mean? Here are a few top strategies for monetizing mobile apps to help you understand the potential for your business:

In-App Advertising

Though an app may not have as much virtual real estate as a web page, you can still sell ads to display within your app. The mobile screen will be much smaller than that of a computer, so you’ll be limited as to where you can place ads, but that exclusivity can work to your advantage as it allows you to bump up the prices of your ads.

If you go the display ads route, you’ll have to focus on banner ads at the top or bottom of the screen. Otherwise, you can sell pop-up ads or transitional ads. These are the ads that appear when the next stage of the app is loading – you know, when one level of Candy Crush is done and you’re waiting for the next one to come up, but instead you get served a full-screen ad.

As with a website, you have to limit the number of ads you sell. Sure, you’ll make a lot of money in the short term, but you’ll also annoy your users and cause them to abandon ship. A more effective approach is to focus on a smaller number of ads for a higher price point.

Smart Installers

When users download your app, the process needs to be fast and efficient, or else you risk losing them. One way to ensure that the process is a quick one and leads to more completed downloads is to use an installer. Using an installer is also a great way to monetize your app.

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When users download your app with a smart installer, you can display third-party products and services and charge those companies for the publicity. Make sure that the offers are for products and services related to your own to improve the success of the ads and give you more leverage with future advertisers.

Bundle Deals

The moment of download is a great time for monetizing your app. Bundle deals allow you to include your app with several others and make them available to users at a discount. Not only can this increase downloads of your app, but it also gives you an opportunity to monetize your app.

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If your app is very popular or your company has an established reputation, other companies will pay you for the opportunity to be bundled with your app. As with other monetization strategies, you must ensure that the software or apps you choose to bundle with your own are all relevant to your target audience and make the deal more attractive.

Search Feeds

Apps that provide users with information or that serve as practical tools are known to be very successful. When using these apps, users are likely to look up additional information. For example, if you sell a financial tracking app, your users might need to stop and look up terms or find an article that explains concepts used in the app. Instead of forcing them to leave the app, open up a browser window, and perform an external search (and risk losing their interest in your awesome app), you can include a search feed right inside your app.

search moneySearch feeds aren’t just useful tools for app users, they also give you an opportunity to monetize your app. When you install a service like SearchFuel, you get paid each time users perform a search through the feed. The feed is customizable so that it blends in with your app and doesn’t seem like an advertisement.

Developing and distributing an app is a lot of work, but it’s not the end of it. If you really want to tap the full potential of your app, you need to explore the options for monetizing it. Monetizing mobile apps can help you create a whole new revenue stream for your business, which can support you in lean times or even help you raise the funds to take your business to the next level.