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A thumb rule for the Developer Dilemna: Free or Paid apps?

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces by Manas Ganguly on April 28, 2011

Should Mobile App Developers Focus on Free or Paid Mobile Applications – With so much Demand for Mobile Applications, Does it make a Difference? (A Linked in Discussion thread with my answer)

As a rule i believe, that the more progressively an app is oriented to a niche and focussed usage, the greater the capability of the app to monetize. An example here would be of a health care app which could bring certain benefits in terms of monitoring health or medication for the user. Monetizing such an app, which is deeper in scope of its objective would be relatively easier. Compare it against a weather app, and the ability of the app to monetize would diminish, though the target group would be a much larger section.

Secondly within its objective/ambit/usage, the more holistic (end to end) an app is in terms of resolving its objective, the monetization opportunity would be that much greater.The challenge here is not so much making the app as its discover-ability. But then, marketing the app rightly to the influencers in that niche can be an interesting way to make the app popular. In reference to the health care app example provided earlier, doctors or physicians are the ones who the app needs to market itself.

Secondly, as a pointer, the current app eco-system with its free, paid and freemium models will not possibly be the best in terms of monetization. Developers would make money when their apps are channels or media for advertisers to engage their customers better (and i am not talking advertising here). Refer here for details on apps as media channels.

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