Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, July 9, 2010

Free Apps! Why?

Many developers are giving away their apps for the iPhone or Android markets, as this article shows in detail. In fact, the Android market is 57% free, while the iPhone market is 28% free. (The average price paid for an app is about $4, though this is skewed by some rather pricey apps at the high end.) Why should developers give away their hard work, and why should you consider it too?

Marketing is the answer. Standing out in a forest of 225,00+ apps (iPhone) or 70,000+ (Android) is difficult; there are almost certainly several apps that do pretty much the same thing as yours, and if there aren't, and yours is a good idea, there soon will be. People are more likely to try your app if it's free. But how do you make money if it's free?

The free version is usually a demo of some kind; there's almost always a paid version with more features available. The hope is that you'll try the free one, like it, and then pay a few bucks to get the better version. A variation of this is free-to-play; you can play the game for free as much as you like, but there are in-game items (such as a better weapon) available for money. Only a small percentage of players pay for those, but it's enough to pay for all the rest of the players.

Some free titles don't have a paid version. What's up with that? Sometimes it's just to be funny (like the vuvuzela apps that showed up). As a marketing tool, such a free app can be a useful way to get your name out there and possibly bring people in to your web site and other ways for you to make money. A popular version of this is the business that has a free app in order to encourage your use of their services; banks, for instance.

Of course, some apps are free because they are supported by advertising. So click on an ad once in a while if you like a game; you'll be helping them out.

Consider how a free app might help out your business model; consider it as another marketing tool.

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