Google’s Android platform has been growing at an accelerated pace in recent years. It’s success was possible mainly due to the openness of this platform that provided a wider range of hardware options to customers. Unlike iOS, which features just a few devices, we can see all sorts of shapes and form factors of Android devices nowadays.
At first the Android Market and now Google Play has been biting Apple’s dust when it came to revenues, iOS users seem more prone to paying a fee for an app and that made all the difference despite the closed platform. But this situation is gradually changing. Android user base keeps growing and eclipsing iOS.
The main problem that mobile developers face in selling their Android apps is the high fragmentation of this platform. There are plenty devices running old versions of the OS and many hardware manufacturers don’t issue updates on time. I am sure you know who I am talking about 🙂 This highly complicates the process of selling the products on Google Play. This store just doesn’t provide the tools necessary to distribute versions for various editions. Another problem faced by developers, is that they are pretty much on their own in setting up their businesses, it is very difficult to achieve an adequate level of visibility among millions of apps available in the store, it’s a death battle for a spot in the sun practically. Google Checkout is still not a very flexible payment gateway, featuring very limited payment options and restricts developers from a series of countries to sell paid versions through Google Play.
Last, but not least, 30% commission seems like a huge price to pay if we put the advantages and limitations in the same pot. Developers just need to break free and there are ways for you to reduce costs, tap new markets and achieve truly global sales for their apps. Read on and we’ll walk you through the best practices in selling Android apps outside the Play Store.
Leveraging channels for acquisition
The Google Play Store is still the most common platform for users to find and download apps. Unlike the AppStore on iOS, Play Store users are less likely to pay for downloaded apps. Mostly it’s due to several limitations imposed but the store policies, such as geographical limitations. For example Chinese developers still cannot monetize their apps through this platform. This is when Play Store serves just as an additional channel to grow the user base. Because of these limitations, developers have to rely solely to in-app ad revenues, that can be quite modest.
There are several mobile app publishing platforms such as InMobi or adMob from Google itself that can help you leverage the power of mobile ads through their vast network of affiliates. They will let you advertise your product through the applications of other developers. This practice ensures your brand awareness and can ultimately help you drive traffic to your website, blog, Youtube channel or Facebook page. because these ads usually do not offer a big real estate, it is important to be creating in terms of value proposition and visual graphics.
As nowadays it is vital to break the borders between desktop and mobile screen, offering a consistent multi-screen experience is vital. Users can find out about your app from a YouTube video or a blog post about your app from a desktop computer screen and might not want to reach for their phone to buy it. Eliminating roadblock from the way of conversion is important.
Accepting global payments
Back to payment methods, when relying only on Play Store, mobile users are not offered very many payment options when they finally decide to upgrade to a paid or Pro version of your app. This can prove to be a big impediment for conversion. Offering localized payment methods from all corners of the world sometimes seems as Mission Impossible to implement. But the way out is easier than you think.
PayPro offers a wide array of payment options available in all corners of the world. These vary from Alipay in China, PaysafeCard in Europe and even Boleto bancario in Brazil. The commissions are much lower than Google’s 30% as well. Although China, India and Brazil are still emerging markets, their Android user base is growing year after year. China’s Android user base is recently totaled 270 million users. Considering the massive population of this country, and there are no signs of slowing down in sight. Yet users from these countries still do not have access to Google Wallet services. This means that developers are missing huge opportunities in sales because of this simple fact.
Besides payment methods, geolocation technologies can offer personalized checkout experience to the user. As mobile screens do not offer much space for information, it is more important than ever, that your alternative checkout provides a personalized experience to the user. Displaying only relevant information; such as only local payment methods, currency and in the user’s native language will provide a fluid mobile checkout experience to all users, no matter where they come from.
When a user wants to upgrade to a pro version it is vital that you alternative e-commerce provider can provide advanced integration of the checkout even inside of the app. This means that they have to offer advanced API and can integrate their checkout within the app’s code, providing the user with a seamless experience that doesn’t toss the user back and forth outside the app.
In-app purchases, cross-selling capabilities, flexible recurring payments are also not to be neglected in this process. Mobile apps mostly have adopted the freemium business model and rely mostly on up-selling and cross-selling to grow ARPU. All these can be easily offered by a digital e-commerce provider, offering great additional opportunities to maximize revenues and to streamline sales.
It’s time for developers to stop leaving money on the table. You can diversify your revenue channels, improve your online presence and maximize revenue as a result.
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