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Sam Cherry

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October 29, 2019 19:58 , by Sam Cherry - | No one following this article yet.

Most Mobile App Developers don’t realize the importance of having both a Lite and Paid version of a mobile app. First of all what is a mobile app anyway? How do you define it? A mobile app is basically a paid upgrade for smart phones to enhance the user’s experience.  Mobile apps are not tangible, they only exist because of their smart phone platform that they enhance in some way. I had a boss once who called me into their office and said “I have a project for you…I need you to figure out how to sell nothing.” My immediate reaction was a blank stare followed by a huh? They refined their question a bit and it went something like…”I discovered this Social Network game called Second Life and people are selling real estate that does not exist…I need you to figure out how we can sell ‘nothing’ in this Social Network.” So I spent the next month exploring Second Life and researching all kinds of information about it. Apparently one of the users had made a million dollars and was dubbed the first millionaire on Second Life. Guess what they sold? Yup, it was real estate…that did not exist…a.k.a. they sold nothing. The “nothing” was actually a paid upgrade to enhance the user experience in the Social Network game.

I haven’t followed Second Life in quite a while since then but throughout my month of research many times the question of how to make a steady income from Second Life came up. The main problem was that the Second Life developers (third party just like mobile app developers)  were basically selling upgrades to enhance the user’s experience and there was no way to really tell how many upgrades one user would purchase while playing the game or how frequently they would make upgrade purchases. This was because to play the game you did not have to buy the upgrades, you could also go to certain places where you could pick up upgrades for free. Now of course the free ones were not as good as the paid ones, but you could still play in Second Life with the free upgrades. So how does this relate to mobile apps? It’s simple, you have free apps and you have paid apps. The free apps are great but if there is a paid version you get better upgrades or features. Smart phone users can still enjoy their phones with free apps, you need to give them a reason to want to upgrade to a paid app.
In Second Life some developers made free upgrades and if users liked the upgrades enough they were willing to pay for the better upgrades. The developers were using viral marketing in a Social Network game. A lot of times if your free app is really good it will spread virally. When you have a good amount of users that have downloaded your free app all you need to do is add a link or button somewhere in the app for users to upgrade.

Now there is a little more to it…think of the Lite version of your app as a sample at an ice cream shop. If you eat too many samples you sometimes will lose interest and/or satisfy your craving from the little bit that you sampled. You want the user to have a “taste” of what your paid version offers but you don’t want to give away so much for free that they don’t see the value in paying for it. For example, if your app is a game only give away a few levels and features. Show in the Lite version that there is more but don’t allow the user to unlock these upgrades unless they pay for the full version.

In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned the major importance of having both a lite and paid version of a mobile app is that more users are more likely to downlaod your Lite version which gives you a chance to build up your brand awareness in the mobile app industry and reach users you may have never reached before. Brand awareness is basically priceless and overall it will help increase conversions later on. So if anything it is very important to have Lite versions of your apps to get yourself or your company infront of users and make a name for yourself in the mobile app industry.