Hopefully, every one of your apps will have to think about monetization. This is the great moment you've been waiting for. Your time and effort will finally be rewarded with tangible rewards.
But where do you start? Where are the tools that all those big and successful apps in the Play Store are using? Thankfully, if you are a big player or a start-up it doesn't make much difference in the tools you have to monetize. Play Console offers big and small guys the same powerful tools to make money.
Most of the tools related to money are gathered in the "Monetize" section of the navigation bar (obviously). To use most of these, you would need to set up a merchant profile with Google Play to be able to accept payments. This is quite a straightforward process, and the console will guide you through the required data you need to provide. Assuming you have completed your merchant profile, let's go for a quick tour of the features the console is offering in the monetization area.
Whether your app is paid or free with in-app purchases, is the first major decision you will need to make about monetization. From this page, you can manage everything that has to do with the app pricing if your app is paid. If it's free, this page is of no use to you.
From here, you can set the price of your app for various markets around the world. The one interesting concept here is pricing templates which are useful if you have multiple apps you want to sync their prices. Using a pricing template allows you not to manually update the prices for multiple apps if you later want to increase/decrease their price (e.g. imagine having 100 apps priced at $1.99 and you decide later that $0.99 is a more suitable price).
More interestingly, this is where you can create a temporary sale where you will be offering your app for a lower price (or offer it for free) for a limited time. This can gather significant traction from users resulting in a boost in downloads and users trying your app. I consider this to be especially useful to new apps trying to gather some initial user base and recommend doing it periodically (you can have at most 1 sale per month) and strategically (e.g. when there are new features).
From this page, you control everything that has to do with in-app products (IAP). These are for one-time purchases inside your app. Creating and setting up an IAP is a straightforward process involving setting a name, description, and price (or pricing template).
A few more advanced features are present (e.g. allowing to purchase more than one "copy" of the IAP in the same transaction) and some legal declarations, but that's it. Using the Play Billing Library you can now accept payment for the IAP you defined here in your app (and of course provide additional value for the users)!
The hot trend in the monetization of our era, subscriptions, can be handled here. Play Console's offering in this domain is really interesting and extensive.
In summary, you can set some base plans for the subscriptions and then create offers that are using those base plans. The base plans contain the basic attributes of the subscription such as the billing period (e.g. monthly, manually) and the renewal type (e.g. auto-renewing, pre-paid).
The real power and marketing principles can be exercised using the offer plans. You can provide different prices for new users that have not yet tried the app, and different pricing for users that have already a subscription (e.g. they are subscribed to your "basic" package but you want to make it more compelling to upgrade to the "premium" package), or even define custom logic inside your app (e.g. win-back offers).
The most difficult part when developing an app ... is promoting it. This is a page you can use to gather quickly some traction by giving users free promo codes to give your app a try.
You can give promo codes for either IAP or subscriptions. There are some limits on how many promo codes you can issue (i.e. 500 promo codes for IAP and 10,000 promo codes per quarter). Another option is whether to issue the same custom code that can be used again and again or one-off codes that can be redeemed only once.
I found that these promo codes are extremely successful in diving users trying your app. But the most difficult part is how and where you will find those users willing to try the app and how to distribute them. One way is to use your network. Another way is to use a website that offers you help to distribute those promo codes and finds you users looking for promo codes (such as Promies).
Hopefully, by now you know a bit more about how to monetize your apps in the Play Store. Now go out and sell!
In this series: