Trends in US app Monetization to Watch

Discover the latest trends in app monetization in the US, including in-app ads, freemium models, subscriptions, and data monetization for app development success.

Megan Harper
June 12, 2023
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App monetization continues to evolve as developers search for the most effective ways to generate revenue from their apps. Several trends are shaping the US app economy and how consumers pay for their apps and in-app experiences.

Subscription Models

Subscription models have become popular for streaming media, dating services, and health and fitness apps. Recurring subscription fees provide predictable revenue and higher customer lifetime value. The subscription mobile app monetization strategy, together with other schemes, is expected to bring the App Store $75.7 billion by 2022. Google Play revenue, in turn, climbed 7.7 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 24% from previously 6.2 billion U.S. dollars. As users adopt more subscription services, app development teams must ensure superior UX and consistent value to justify ongoing fees.

Non-intrusive Ads Expand

While advertising remains critical for many free apps, intrusive ads that disrupt the user experience (UX) are falling out of favor. Developers are exploring "non-intrusive" ad formats like native ads, rewarded videos, and sponsorships that provide a better experience. Non-intrusive ads are forecast to make up 79% of ad spend in 2021. Teams need to balance ad formats and placements to optimize revenue without annoying users or encouraging ad-blocking software during development. 

Cross-promotion Increases

Many apps now promote other products and services from their company and partners within the app. For example, streaming apps promoting original shows and movies, or food delivery apps recommending new restaurant partners. Cross-promotion is an easy way for developers to generate incremental revenue by designing more touchpoints to expose customers to additional offers. However, cross-promotion must feel relevant and valuable to avoid seeming pushy.

Personalization improves experiences and monetization. 

Advanced app personalization has become expected, with customized content, product, and feature recommendations fueled by user data and AI. Personalization boosts engagement, retention, and revenue generation. According to research, 63% of users are more likely to make an in-app purchase when offered personalized options. Developers are investing in personalization capabilities as a key trend in app development to improve the overall UX and better monetize users based on their behaviors and preferences over time.

Free Trials

You can also monetize your mobile project using the free trial mobile app monetization strategy. Here, we offer our customers the opportunity to use the premium version of our product for free for a period of time. People understand that neither advertising nor positive reviews can compete with personal experiences. In most cases, the trial period for free trial apps is 30 days.

Free trials are primarily used for mobile app monetization in music/video streaming, education, and fitness apps. Apple Music is one of the apps that comes with a free trial. We currently offer a 3-month trial period to try and enjoy all the benefits of the product. Another promising example is Showtime, an app monetization platform that offers a 30-day free trial. Consumers will be billed $10.99 per month. Skillshare, on the other hand, offers educators 14 days of unlimited classes for free. 

Bundled subscriptions are on the rise. 

Some companies now offer bundled subscriptions, packaging multiple apps or services together for a discounted price. For example, Microsoft 365 bundles Office apps with OneDrive storage and Skype minutes. Bundled options provide more value to customers while locking them into an ecosystem and multiple revenue streams. However, the subscription must include apps and features that work well together and appeal to a similar target audience. Bundled pricing also needs to feel like an attractive deal for users.

In summary, app monetization trends show that subscriptions, non-intrusive ads, cross-promotion, personalization, and bundled options are reshaping strategies to generate revenue from apps. By leveraging these trends during development, US apps can optimize their monetization through an improved customer experience, more relevant offers, and new subscription models. Finding the right balance of formats, placement, and bundling for your app and audience is key to sustainable success. 

As seen on FOX, Digital journal, NCN, Market Watch, Bezinga and more

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