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Marketer’s Perspective – Free Apps vs. Paid Apps

As long as there are developers creating smartphone apps, the debate about free apps vs. paid apps will probably continue. This is because some people will have success with a paid app and others will generate ad revenue through their free app. In some cases, both works well and often the success depends on the type of app written and the audience you are marketing to.

Some buyers don’t mind having ads appear in their free apps and will download lots of free apps and use them for a short period of time, or they will upgrade to paid apps to get additional features that were not available in the free apps. One thing that every developer has to keep in mind is that a free app can help them level the playing field and build their inexpensively. When a known app developer enters the smartphone market with a new app, they have the marketing clout and brand recognition that an independent developer does not.

The well-known developers can release a paid app and immediately see large number of downloads because their brand is recognized and trusted. They have already spent perhaps millions of dollars building their brand over many years and also have a huge fan following.

You being a user, do not make the mistake of thinking that people are not price sensitive, even at 0.99$! With so many apps to choose from on the smartphone market, one can possibly buy a fraction of the available apps. Buyers are selective in what they download for free and especially selective in what they purchase.

The challenge to creating free apps and paid apps is that you have to maintain two apps for the market. This depends on whether you developed the free and paid apps separately over a period of time. If you are going back to develop a free app, you will have to decide how you want build your app. Most likely you will take the original paid app and modify the original code to limit its features so that you have a limited function free app. This is probably the easiest and fastest way to come up with a free app when you already have been selling a paid app.

This will anytime be the best strategy for most developers because you can build a following and attract customers. In this extremely competitive market, you being the developer must do everything you can do to stand out in the crowd. Remember to only give away enough functionality in your free app to interest your users in getting the paid app.

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