How To Decide Whether To Build A Free Or A Paid App For Your Business

  • By Anubhuti Shrivastava
  • 26-10-2018
  • Mobile Apps
free or paid mobile apps
One of the most common questions that every entrepreneur has to answer when developing an app is “Should my app be free or paid?”. As the mobile app market is evolving fast this has become a grave concern for app owners.
Free apps are completely different from the paid ones and for each category, the cost of making an app is also not the same. But before going into details, if you’re at a stage where you’re wondering how to create an app, let's consider the fact that there is a huge difference between the users of two major mobile app platforms - Android and iOS. On one hand, iPhone users are habituated to paying for accessing different applications as 80% of the apps here are listed as paid ones.
On the other hand, Android users are amateur and don't like to pay for downloading or using apps. Therefore, it is mandatory for you to consider the platform-specific requirements before launching your app in the app store.
In order to understand it in a better manner, let's explore the main differences between free apps and paid ones. It will make it easier for you to decide whether to build a free or a paid app for your business.
Free Applications

1. Cut-throat Competition
There is a lot of competition in the market of free apps as these apps are available in abundance and there are more free apps than the paid ones. Considering this competition, if you decide to develop a free app, then you have to make sure that your concept is unique and has the potential to transform into an innovative application.
2. Value Of Leads Is Significant But Lower In Quality
When an app is launched in the market, its capacity to gather valuable users who are more likely to purchase is measured in the terms of the value of leads. In the case of free apps, the users who download and access them are of lower lead quality.
3. Expectations From The App
Users generally expect free applications to be a bit lower in the terms of its functionality in compared to the paid ones. But this does not mean that the users will tolerate every bug in your free app. You have to make sure that your app is bug-free whether it is free or not.
4. Probability Of Getting Downloaded
Since users can download these apps for free, the probability of these apps getting downloaded is higher than the paid ones. Most of the users don't mind in downloading free apps, but after using it they decide whether to keep it or uninstall.
5. User Engagement
Similarly to the quality of the leads, here the 'downloaders' are not necessarily engaged with the apps. This is the reason why the number of unused free apps is getting increased. Store ranking is a factor that effects engagement, so the free app owners should design their apps in such a way so that it is capable to engage and retain users.
6. Download Cycle
It is a proven fact that a download generates more downloads. Download base has a positive impact on the app store Fand also provides free apps with a chance to leverage higher visibility for new users to notice those apps.
Paid Applications

1. Competition
The number of paid applications is much lower than the free ones. Therefore, app owners in this category don't need to worry about competition or rivals. But this does not mean that you can take the paid app design casually. You have to pay attention in order to create a paid app out of a unique concept and market it properly so that to get loyal users.
2. Value Of Leads
In the case of paid apps, the clients are considered to be more qualified leads as they are paying for using the app and are more likely to purchase products. As a result, the value of leads in higher here in comparison to the free ones.
3. Expectations From The App
When it comes to paying for apps, the users want that it should be worthy to them. Paid apps are expected to add value to the clients' digital experience. This is becoming more significant when most of the software solutions are open source and available as free to the users.
This makes you ensure that if users are paying something to access your app, you have to deliver quality to them. Otherwise, you will be stuck with low ratings and reviews. Also, it will be bad for the overall image of your brand.
4. Likeliness To Download
In the case of paid apps, the users are a bit hesitant to download as they have to pay an amount for that. They will access other free apps from your competitors before getting convinced to download your paid app. However, app stores provide the users with the facility to get the refund for the amount they paid within a limited time frame.
5. User Engagement
Value of leads and engagement are directly proportional to each other in most of the cases. Therefore, paid users tend to be the frequent users and they are engaged with the apps in a better manner.
6. Download Cycle
Since only fewer apps are available in this category, by default you enjoy a higher ranking. This makes it essential for you to boost the number of downloads by investing the money generated by the paid users and advertising your app smartly.
How To Choose Between Free Apps & Paid Ones?
The decision to choose between free apps and paid ones depend upon the nature of your business. In case you have a high-quality product or service catering to a very selective range of clients, you can make them pay for using your app.
But if you have an app complementary to your business such as hotel applications, then it is not a good idea to generating revenues from the app itself. The best alternative here is to go for building a free application for your users.
So, whether you decide to keep your app free or make people pay for it, firstly you have to understand the pros and cons of both the categories. Review the strategies applied by your competitors and take help from them in choosing the best category for building your app.

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Anubhuti Shrivastava

Anubhuti Shrivastava is a content crafter at Arkenea, a custom software development company helping entrepreneurs and businesses build successful web and mobile apps and also published the popular app development guide on how to create an app. She is passionate about writing articles on topics related to design and the software development industry.