Mobile App downloads continue to soar, but how are they monetised?

An IDC report released last week predicted that over 182 billion mobile apps will be downloaded in 2015, which seems to be quite a significant increase from the 10.7 billion apps downloaded in 2010.

As Scott Ellison of IDC correctly points out, this research is noteworthy not just because of the hefty numbers. More than anything, this prediction highlights the necessity for organizations to develop multi-channel mobile app strategies while still being able to monetize their apps – otherwise they will fall considerably behind their competitors.

Undeniably, the issue of app monetization has long been a cause for concern within the mobile industry. However, these statistics clearly show that organizations are quickly running out of time to serve consumers the mobile apps that they demand, while still being able to profit from their mobile strategy – especially as many consumers shy away from paid-for apps and only take on free downloads.

This report also coincides with the latest Google Android figures, as last week Android chief Andy Rubin also revealed that more than 500,000 Android devices are activated each day worldwide.

Interestingly, Android and Apple’s app offerings, as the two biggest smartphone app markets, seem to have a different approach to apps. Apps catering to Apple devices tend to be more on the paid-for side, whilst Android’s apps are generally renowned for being free. With this accelerating growth of Android device uptake, it seems clear that the future of apps is leaning towards the free download model.

If apps can’t necessarily be monetized through charging users to download them, one of the keys to app monetization, therefore, lies in consumer engagement within the app itself to fund business models, in various forms such as in-app purchasing and mobile advertising (each of which deserve their own detailed blog posts!).

The other crucial factor which will differentiate between organizations effectively utilizing mobile apps and those which don’t truly understand how to monetize their mobile strategies is how they approach delivering their apps to all the devices their consumers are demanding – and all the future devices that will undoubtedly continue to be released at breakneck speeds.

Businesses need to adopt a strategy where a set procedure is in place, should a new device or new technology come on to the market, to ensure the future is catered for. In addition to this, apps need to cater to all customers and maximize the individual features on each and every device to ensure a consistently better app that is worth the cost incurred by monetizing.

David Eads leads Product Marketing for Kony, the mobile commerce platform vendor. David is a mobile commerce veteran and was the founder of consulting firm Mobile Strategy Partners in 2009. As a blogger and frequent industry speaker, David has been interviewed about mobile for national media outlets like Mobile Commerce Daily, Marketplace on NPR, Inc Magazine, The Toronto Star, and The Christian Science Monitor. Additionally, David also has a decade of technical experience developing enterprise software systems in Java and other languages for UNIX, Windows, and other systems.