How to monetise apps in Africa

September 18th, 2015
Article by
Bradley Elliott

How to effectively monetise apps, increase ROI and strengthen business models will be tackled at Apps World Africa 2015, being held under the auspices of AfricaCom in Cape Town in November. Two days will be dedicated to unpacking the value of Africa-centric applications and finding innovative ways to increase return on investment, according to Katie Bilton, senior producer at Apps World. Bradley Elliott, the managing director of Platinum Seed, which founded one of South Africa’s first mobile payment solutions named CheqOut in 2012, says there is a great need for events such as this.

“We often hear of the failures and successes, but with very little detail. As an industry, we need to make a concerted effort to share these lessons, be it in the forms of the above or other mediums. What I will say is that that it’s great to see conferences and workshops that mentor and reward app developers who are starting out.” Elliott’s company also developed a social media analysis tool and will soon launch a household services app.

He gave ITWeb Africa a clearer idea of some of the challenges his team have been confronted with.”App development is expensive, so in order to make a return you really either need a lot of downloads and/or a lot of usage. The apps we have developed have almost always required two parties to be involved (like mobile payments). The problem with that is that you need merchants to be using the app in order to get customer to download it, or visa versa—it’s never easy gaining traction on both sides of the coin. That said, don’t underestimate the value of data and how this can be used to gain insights to monetise your app.

His advice to African developers is that they continue to develop apps that add value to consumers lives because money will flow after that. “As a rule of thumb, I generally prefer the Freemium model, that is allowing users who have a large amount of time to use the app for free and “earn” whatever additional features the app may hold, while those users with limited time but high disposable income can purchase these features.”

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