— It is a new world that we are living in: The “App Generation” has come. The term “app” is a shortening of the term “mobile application.” It refers to software applications designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Most mobile apps are free, yet the increasing growth of apps has yielded a number of different revenue models to reap huge profits, such as the instant messaging app WhatsApp Messenger and the gaming app Puzzle & Dragons. Studies of these app business models (ABMs) have not been extensive in the literature. Abundant research has examined apps as a promotional tool in mobile advertising or mobile marketing, but not as a business model to generate revenue. The app business is an evolving market and research on ABMs is essential to reveal the contemporary situation and critical success factors in implementing and monetizing an ABM. This study aims to investigate whether there exist different ABMs and what factors app users consider important when they use and pay for an app. In-depth interviews and focus groups with apps users and app enterprises were carried out. We found app users have different attitudes about and evaluations of various types of apps. Users look more for utilitarian benefits such as aesthetic appeal and perceived ease of use in apps such as maps, news and fitness; while they focus more on hedonic benefits such as personal emotional attachment and achievement component in gaming and social media apps. The findings of this study will provide insight to practitioners in developing features and benefits to meet app users’ increasing expectations and requirements.
— Mobile App, digital marketing, App business model, App monetization.
Ailie K. Y. Tang is with the Centennial College (A member of The University of Hong Kong Group), Hong Kong SAR, China (e-mail: email@example.com).
Cite: Ailie K. Y. Tang, " Mobile App Monetization: App Business Models in the Digital Era," International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 224-227, 2016.