How to Make Money with a Free App in Apple’s App Store

When it comes to mobile app development, it makes sense that creative developers will want to be compensated for their work, especially for apps sold in the high-volume Apple App Store. Yet, there is always the option to offer your app entirely for free—a very popular option that still allows you to monetize your app in other ways. Here are some of the pros and cons of giving your Apple app away for free as well as how much money you can actually expect to make with your free version.

The Pros

Some of the gains that you can make by offering a free app include:

  1. Credibility. The Apple brand has become synonymous with high-quality, reliable, leading-edge technology. It is a lifestyle brand that goes hand-in-hand with innovation and the future of technology. By offering your app in the Apple App store, customers will automatically associate your service offering with these same characteristics.
  2.  Quick buy in. With a free app, there is little resistance from end users who are more than willing to try your app. Once users are hooked on your app, you have the option to offer in-app purchases where users who really enjoy your free version can pay for upgraded features or a full subscription.
  3. Higher Visibility. The Apple App Store is an incredible marketplace for end users and will provide an increased number of views for your app. As of the most recent data, there have been over 140 billion apps downloaded from the Apple Store. What’s more is that this amounts to over $20 billion in revenue for app developers!

The Cons

Still, there are some downsides to offering an app for free in the Apple Store:

  1. Difficult Conversion. It may not be as straightforward of a process to convert a free user to a paid user. Keep in mind that these are two different target audiences with very different values, needs and objectives. Some developers may find it challenging to turn a customer who is committed to free apps to one who is willing to pay for that app.
  2. You’ll Need a Marketing Plan. When it comes to free apps you’ll definitely need to have a clearly defined marketing plan in place to successfully organize yourself around monetizing your app.

Exactly How Much Can You Make?

When it comes to how much you can make from your free app it all depends. This is because there are so many ways to develop revenue from free apps without users having to pay for the actual download. Consider some of the top games offered for free in the Apple Store, with many of them grossing in the millions category. While these apps are very robust and have accurately targeted their core audiences and addressing their audience’s precise pain points, newer app developers can still have great success with their free apps as well, making thousands of dollars. The key is to have a solid monetization strategy in place. Whether you will offer in-app purchases relying on several ad networks, subscription upgrades or mobile partnerships, there are so many ways for savvy developers to turn a profit with their free apps for Apple products.

All in all, regardless of whether or not you offer a free app or a paid one, the freemium model is still one that works and with great success. Monetizing your free apps may take some time, but with the right approach and equal amount of effort you can make inroads with an app that may be free, but that clearly meets a market need.

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