In this five part series of posts we will be investigating the reasons to use the freemium app model, how to earn money from your free apps and the obstacles you might face if you go free.
Part 1 – Monetize Your App: Free
Part 2 – Monetize Your App: Ad Supported
Part 3 – Monetize Your App: Sponsorships
Part 4 – Monetize Your App: Affiliate Sales
Part 5 – Monetize Your App – In-App Purchases
You don’t see many sponsorship supported apps in the App store but I have worked with a couple clients that use this approach. The idea is very similar to ad-supported, but instead of going with an ad network, you sell your own sponsorships and have more control over ad topic, kind, size, placement and frequency.
This would work well in apps based around a hobby or special interest. For example, one might develop a cooking app and get a sponsor for each section, such as a baking sponsor for the baking section or a pasta sponsor for the pasta section. A related approach would be to have one company sponsor the entire app so their branding is displayed when the app launches, targeted ads for each section and a video ad before playing any video content.
The following strategies are ways to incorporate a sponsorship into an app:
Launch Sponsorship – Sponsoring the launch of an app can give brands exclusive access to the app’s audience for a specific period of time. Brands can also benefit from any launch marketing efforts for the app. Every time the new app is mentioned, the sponsor would be mentioned as well – typically as ‘Disney and Imangi Studios present Temple Run: Oz’
Branded Content – Marketers often get a chance to work more closely with developers to integrate their brand into the app in a more meaningful way. This gives brands an opportunity to engage app users every time they interact with an app. For example, in Temple Run, we’ve seen a brand (the movie OZ) leverage their characters and environment to deliver its messaging versus merely serving an ad in a rectangular space that could be viewed as disruptive to game play.
The Right Audience – The sponsorship opportunities extend beyond to a wide array of app categories. The key is finding an app that provides content a brand’s targeted audience might be interested in. It is important for marketers to insure that any integration with an app is organic and authentic or run the risk of users having a negative association with the brand.
Marketers are hot for mobile because it is measurable and at the end of your event they are going to want to see those numbers. Set expectations from the start and create a partnership that shares the risk evenly, so neither party feels they were taken advantage of or got the short end of the sponsorship stick.