As video chat apps continue to rise in prominence, entrepreneurs are rushing to build their own products to connect people worldwide. Developing a top-notch video chat application takes a lot of time and effort — from shortlisting features to choosing the tech stack to getting the design right. With this level of investments, monetization is not something that can be considered as an afterthought.
It’s a no-brainer to make a paid app as the easiest way to ensure a steady revenue flow. But with the abundance of applications today, it’s harder than ever to get people to download even a free app, nothing to say about paid ones.
Here are five more strategies to consider as part of your video chat app development roadmap.
One of the options that allows companies to keep their apps free is advertising. Video chat apps are no exception — you can occasionally see ads on Skype, Viber, and other popular messengers.
And while ads can be annoying (there are literally dozens of articles on how to disable ads in Skype), many users still prefer this to other more aggressive revenue generation models like selling user data. To minimize disruption of a user experience, try choosing a non-intrusive format like built-in ads running in a status bar. Also, collaborate with brands that can be useful for your target audience.
If you are set to provide ad-free experiences to your users, subscriptions may be your best option. Some of the top video chat apps like Zoom leverage this monetization model to attract audiences with customized conferencing plans and pricing.
To buy a subscription to a service, users need to clearly see the value they get. Make sure your video chat application has a unique value proposition whether it is strong security, unlimited number of chat participants, or HD quality video calls. It’s also a good idea to provide a free trial period for users to get a first-hand experience before committing to a purchase.
A combination of “free” and “premium”, a freemium model allows businesses to provide basic features at no cost and charge a fee for additional services and advanced functionality. Free features are a potent marketing tool that can help you grow your user base without costing you a leg and an arm.
To attract users, your offering needs to be compelling enough, so choose your free features wisely. A video chat app needs to at least support audio and video calls, as well as text chats. But you can put multi-party calls, meetings recording, unlimited call time, and other features behind a paywall. For example, Skype that you can download for free offers paid calls to landline or mobile phones.
In-app purchases are particularly popular in gaming apps but chat applications too can leverage this monetization model. Branded stickers, emojis, custom themes and other personalization perks are all perfect candidates for in-app purchases.
To increase revenue and improve customer stickiness, chat app developers are starting to test the fintech waters and enhance applications with payment services. WeChat, for example, enables users to make mobile payments and carry out online transactions right from the app. Viber too has recently rolled out a new in-chat payment service. By partnering with Google Pay and Apple Pay, Viber now allows users to purchase products and accept payments within a chatbot, making the entire experience as simple as sending a message.
As many businesses are now using chat apps as the primary channel for reaching their customers, handling transactions even for a small processing fee can be highly lucrative.
Have you decided on the monetization model yet?
Video chat apps continue to be a hot topic, and tech companies are launching chat solutions to get their fair share of the market. But as most top chat apps are free, you need to find a creative way to ensure recurrent revenue streams while staying competitive. There are different ways to monetize your video chat app in a user-friendly way. Ad sales, subscriptions, in-app purchases, or putting premium features behind a paywall — whatever model you choose, make sure that it’s a good fit for your target audience.