Making money with your chat application is the final stage of finishing a world-class product. This step is called monetization. There are several ways you can monetize a chat application, and most of the methods rely heavily on who your target user is. If you came here looking to find how to build a chat application, or what it means to define a target user, read How to Build a Chat App: 5 Things You Need to Consider.
To address the elephant in the room, it is a competitive market. With SaaS products rapidly multiplying in numbers and newer features being offered to users daily, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to stand out from the crowd and become one of the most downloaded apps in the world. When it comes to chat apps, monetization strategies need to be long term, scalable, and affordable. Each of these three elements is a non-negotiable because that is what users have come to expect.
When you are competing with applications that offer chat services to regular users for free, it can be hard to devise strategies that resonate with people and help successfully replace a previously used application. When you have established who your target user is, the next key thing to focus on is to provide them with value through your chat app. Maybe it’s a feature that is exclusively designed to make their life easier, or it’s a kind of accessible design that can make using the app easier for the person. All-in-all, the first and the most important step is to focus on the user. Once you have a product that is designed around the user, then you can start putting in place your monetization strategy.
Here are 5 different ways you can make money with your chat app in a user-friendly manner:
Pay Per Download
As the name suggests, the user would have to pay to download the application. Each download would cost money and the entire application would then be free to use. This is used largely for gaming apps and productivity apps in the google play store. It can also be used with chat apps if the user finds enough value in it.
In this method of monetizing a chat app, you would really have to focus on what your user wants. If the target user-base does not find value in an app, they would just repurpose one the competitor apps and you could lose hundreds of potential sign-ups. The other thing to keep in mind when using pay per download is to set up a reliable payment system. If the buyer feels like the payment channel is not secure enough, they would not go through with the purchase.
In fact, in E-commerce, there is a phenomenon known as cart abandonment. That occurs when a potential buyer puts the product in their virtual cart but never goes through with the purchase of the product. To combat that, not only should your check-out page be extremely professional, it should also be a non-confusing page with very limited buttons so as to not confuse the buyer.
Mobile Phone advertising is one of the more common ways that applications choose to monetize themselves. It makes for a less intrusive experience while still providing a scalable earning. Advertising is also used more frequently because of its familiarity. It doubles as a non-intrusive paywall as well.
Several apps will call the app free with ads. With an ad showing after every 30 seconds of its use; they can become very annoying quickly. Then the users are offered the option to purchase the application’s non-ad version. This is a classic case of giving users a bad experience and then offering them a much better one but paid.
This method is often used in tandem with advertisements. Commonly seen in mobile games, this method allows the user to make certain purchases within the app. Maybe the purchase is removing ads or buying paid gems that unlock certain content. In-App purchases allow for an extra income from the apps.
With chat application, in-app purchases have a visual value. For example, a special sticker board for 99 cents that the user likes. You can also create monthly subscription packs that he user you to send more messages every month or create more groups.
Each added or new feature of the chat experience can be sold as an in-app purchase.
I would also highly recommend you got through this Instagram carousel that showcases some of the world’s best apps that use different monetization models:
When you have an application that is robust and people love it, chances are companies want to use it internally. I talked about how Slack is used by companies to do internal communication in this article. Many times, when a business wants to deploy a complicated framework for its internal communication, they want to stay away from using brand logos that do not belong to their firm.
This is where white labeling comes in. This is basically when you sell the entire chat application, but you don’t put your name on it. Instead, the business getting the white label gets to brand it as their own and use it as they see fit. Of course, to have a benefit like that, people charge a lot of money – but that’s a decision you have to make as the creator of the application. From adding and removing users, to changing access levels for each team, white labeling allows the buyer to get ownership rights to a duplicate of the application.
Selling your product on white label can be difficult if you have a small team. Make sure to create a proper agreement between the buyer and you so that any future disagreements about the app can be settled easily.
Creating an E-Wallet
This is by far the newest and the most complicated feature in the market right now. E-wallets or electronic wallets are on the rise and apps are using this feature to make money. E-wallets allow users to send or receive money with other people. It’s like Venmo but with chatting enabled.
Companies then charge a certain amount on every transaction. They may even charge to transfer the money to a bank account. But all in all, combining an e-wallet along with a chat application creates a closed-loop environment where users don’t need to leave the app to complete their actions.
After having worked hard to create an application that people really love to use, turning it into a business model is the truest test of its use-case. After all, developing an application is not cheap and at the end of the day, it is a product.
Chat applications come in many forms with many different use cases, but if you have focused on the target user and provided them with the value they have been looking for in other applications, earning money from the app becomes easier.
In this article, we had a chance to look at 5 most commonly used methods that allow you to make money using a chat application. Each of them is a tried and tested method that has been deployed in successful business structures.
While monetization strategies are important to create a functioning business cycle, the focus always has to be on the user. In the modern-day, chat applications come loaded with features and security protocols. When creating a truly user-centric experience, you need to concentrate your time and resources to develop that one feature in your app that’s going to be the USP – the unique selling point – of your application.
That is why CometChat has developed a chat API for people like you. You get all the non-negotiable features of a chat app like video calling and end-to-end encryption and on top of that, it is very easy to integrate with your chat app. You can get it for as cheap as $49 starting today, just click here and get started on your Chat App development journey.