A lot of developers contributing to the AppStore are using the Android market for testing their promotion strategies, and while their iOS apps are paid, many of their Android versions can be downloaded for free. Needless to say that free apps are way more popular, since not every user is willing to pay in advance for something they haven’t tried yet.
According to the Google Play stats, the Top 5 free app categories are the following:
1. Entertainment (currently most popular ones being those for file sharing, music downloads, wallpapers, etc.)
2. Tools (battery indicators and savers, anti-viruses, flashlights, alarm clocks, Google Translate)
3. Lifestyle (horoscopes, mirror apps, pizza delivery, real estate and Ebay apps)
4. Personalization (screen customization, ringtones and wallpapers)
5. Education (mostly dictionaries, learning platforms and quiz apps)
The most popular game categories are the following:
1. Arcades & action (Dragon Flight, Temple Run, all variations of Angry Birds, GTA, Fruit Ninja)
2. Brain puzzles (Jewels, Plaque, Flow Free, Sudoku, IQ tests, etc.)
3. Casual (music instruments, drawing games, pet games, etc.)
4. Cards and casino (Solitaire, Texas Hold’em, Slots, Russian Roulette, etc.)
5. Sports games (basketball, pool, bowling, golf, etc.)
How to monetize free apps
While it may seem like paid Android apps have larger potential to generate income, the truth is four out of every five paid Android apps have less than 100 downloads. Free apps are monetized through in-app advertising and when it comes to users, most of them resist paying, making app developers particularly interested in trying out this method of monetization.
On the other hand, advertisers are much more willing to pay developers than users are just because they need to market their products.
Advertising budgets are growing and according to various sources amount to over $2 billion a year. A recent market study has shown that only 0.2% of paid apps get more than 10,000 downloads, while about 20% of free apps get are downloaded more than 10,000 times.
Multiple Strategies of Monetization
Stats show that the majority of app users tend to be pricesensitive and unwilling to pay for apps, however a certain percentage of users would rather pay for the app to avoid advertising in their favorite apps, so they start looking for their ad-free paid versions.
Developers are able to deploy a two-way approach to satisfy both types of users by creating both free and paid versions of their applications. A lot of companies are using this approach in the form of charging money for their apps on the AppStore, but providing a free Android version. This is especially true for the big players like publishing companies, etc.
That said, we highly recommend exploring both monetization opportunities (paid app and in-app ads for free apps) before launching a new app. Think about how each marketing strategy will influence user experience, because this is the key factor in determining the success of your app. If you decide to settle for free app, you’re gonna have to choose among numerous ad networks, the most popular of which have to be AdMob (a powerful monetization tool that’s easily installed and managed) and AirPush (designed solely for Android apps). You should also try out Millennial, JumpTap, MobFox, but keep in mind it might be quite challenging to integrate different SDKs and it doesn’t really provide much control.
If you are looking for more strategies, follow this article which I wrote earlier. And if you have more strategies or ways, be sure to comment below and share your ways of monetizing!