One main challenge facing some of Africa’s mobile developers is how to make money from their solutions. Mobile Apps and solutions are quite new here (because smart phones until recently were not easy to come by) and there is no clear way of making monies from it yet.
You could try the following options to make some money from your mobile apps;
- Integrate Ads into your application
- Partner or Sell the the app to a big company who needs it
- Charge Premium SMS
- Sell the App to users
I will briefly take each one after the other.
Integrate Adverts into your mobile application. There are many mobile advertising platforms which works well with publishers to distribute their adverts. Some of these mobile advertising networks include but not limited to:
1. AdMob - By Google for most mobile platforms. iOS,Android, Mobile Web
2. Airpush - For Android Publishers
3. smaato - For iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Blackberry and Bada
The above mobile ad networks provide easy to follow instructions on how to create an account and publish their adverts on your apps.
You can make some decent monies by integrating adverts into both native and mobile web application. To make money, your application has to be engaging to ensure users keep going back to using it. A less appealing and less useful app will be uninstalled or used less frequently meaning your will see less clicks on the ads you will be publishing. You can check out this article on how to create engaging mobile apps and solutions.
Partner or Sell the app to a big company who needs it. So you have a very good app but stuck with how to monetize it, depending on the purpose of your application, you can sell it to a Mobile Content provider or directly to the telcos. This is not always a sure bet but if it is an app or solution which will make them stand out and provide very unique services to their customers they are likely to consider it.
Some of the unique services which institutions have partnered or bought outright in the past include some of the following:
1. Chat messaging services similar to WhatsApp and GroupMe
2. Media Streaming and Content Stores
3. Text to Email services
4. A mobile application to read news from a news agency’s website
Charge Premium SMS. You can integrate premium SMS charges into your native mobile application. You can let users download the application for free and have the application send SMS to a short code which is at a tariff to unlock certain information or features in the app.
You must however have a relationship or be in partnership with a telco to use this feature, meaning you will definitely have to split revenue made on the short code with the them. You can either be in partnership with the telco or a Mobile Content company like Mobile Content.Com if in Ghana :)
This model works very well if your application is region specific and has high traffic. The diagram below attempts to explain this model.
Sell the app in the market: The last option besides integrating Ads, partnering with another company and charging premium SMS I will talk about is to sell the app in the market. Yes many of us here in Africa don’t have the means to purchase in the various mobile app markets but the other side of the world have got the means.
Choosing this model will mean your application must have a global relevance. There are many apps already implementing this model:
1. Nkyea by Nkyea Learning Systems - There are many people out there who will like to learn Asante Twi hence will purchase this application especially outside Ghana. This an educational app available in Apple’s App Store at $2.99.