Updated on 10 September, 2021.
It is a long and difficult way from a medical app idea to deriving profit from it. Before the app can make you money, it is necessary to validate the market and to consider the nuances of custom healthcare software development .
Then you need to select the medical app monetization strategy suitable for your project. In case you have already launched the app, you can always consider adding new monetization models to the existing ones. Here is how app publishers from the medical and healthcare category use monetization and improve their revenue models.
Table of contents
- App monetization strategy
- Monetization model #1: Premium content
- Monetization model #2: In-app advertising
- Monetization model #3: Sponsorship
- Monetization model #4: Transactions
- Monetization model #5: Data
- Monetization model #6: Service sales (remote consulting)
- Monetization model #7: Pay to download
- In sum
App monetization strategy
App monetization strategy is the way how the business leverages its user base to earn money from its mobile app. Customers download 200 billion mobile apps per year and spend $140 billion within those apps. 90 percent of all mobile internet time is spent on apps. Therefore, it is crucial to define a monetization strategy before an app launch, as it will be determined what kind of features need to be added to an app. Otherwise, you will have a hard time integrating them later on.
App monetization strategies vary from advertising-based and sponsorship to data monetization and premium content. The simplest monetization strategy is charging for app download in the app store, however, it loses its popularity these days since it is challenging to convince users to pay for an app they didn’t use before.
Freemium is another strategy when users can have free access to some features of an app, while some of them are open only to those who pay for a premium subscription. The subscription is an alternative strategy, where users get access to premium content if they pay for a subscription. Based on different features different subscriptions can be purchased by the user. You will find out more about the most popular app monetization strategies further on.
Monetization model #1: Premium content
Up-to-date knowledge and information on the latest progress in medical science are core pillars for a medical professional. It is estimated that in 2020 the doubling times of medical knowledge will be just 73 days. In comparison, in 1950 it was 50 years. The expansion of knowledge forces physicians and medical students to continuously learn and improve their expertise.
With the evolution of mobile learning devices, you can learn anytime, anywhere. Though the content is ubiquitous, the Internet stores a huge number of quasi-scientific, unconfirmed and false information, which is especially dangerous in medicine. Besides, there are a lot of journals for doctors publishing dozens of articles every day. It turns out that a medical professional has not only to assess the quality and reliability of that information but also to carve out time for doing that.
All mentioned above justify providing premium content in medical apps for an additional fee. Epocrates, for example, provides accurate information about drugs, their interactions, updates from journals. You also can identify pill, calculate dosing and test your diagnostic skills in picture quiz. It costs $174.99/year or $16.99/month to unlock additional features and tools - information on hundreds of labs, treatment recommendations by infection site, interactions of popular herbals and supplements, peer-reviewed diseases.
Related read: How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App for Healthcare?
Monetization model #2: In-app advertising
Mobile ads spending amounts of nearly 160 billion dollars. The mobile ad market is expected to attain its 156%, which equals 250 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. Advertising agencies and mobile ad networks stand ready to work with every app publisher. The in-app advertising model is perfect for free apps of any category. According to a study conducted by Research2Guidance, 10% of medical app publishers use in-app advertising revenue source.
Each ad network will pay you for different metrics describing the quality and quantity of ads. With clicks (cost per click) you will be paid for each click by a user on advertising, with installs (cost per install) - every time a user installs an advertised app. Some advertisers pay for 1000 displays (cost per mille) of their ads in your app. So the more monthly active users and sessions - the more clicks and installs, therefore the more you earn. The great thing about this model is that you can get paid for ads and for the opportunity of removing ads.
There are a lot of mobile app ad networks willing to help you increase your revenue, besides the list is being added by newcomers in the market. However, not all of them let publishers from medical category use their services simply because the type of advertisers they work with is inappropriate. It is worth reading guidelines for publishers provided by ad networks and carefully filter the categories of ads for display. It is impossible to say which of mobile ad networks is best for your project. We can just give a little direction:
Monetization model #3: Sponsorship
Sponsorship is one of the innovative mobile business models in healthcare. 24 out of 100 medical app publishers use this type of monetization. This monetization model might be known to you already if you have ever visited health care conferences and exhibitions that use mobile event apps covering all digital information - note-taking, speakers' profiles, the conference program, interactive maps. The organizing committees of such conferences offer delegates to expose their brands, via apps including, to event attendees.
The idea of sponsorship revenue model in the mobile health industry is as follows: the app publisher lets other brands, it may be a Pharma or insurance company, offer their products or services to the app's user base. Thus instead of ads, users of a medical app, are presented with sponsoring the company's offers. To find sponsors for your medical app you may start with visiting such healthcare conferences or with just reading reports from them.
Monetization model #4: Transactions
Selling meds online is in demand. The National Center for Health Statistics shows that 69% of adults in the United States aged between 40 and 79 took 1 prescription drug in the past month.
Medication selling is the business model with the highest percentage of revenue millionaires among mHealth developers. Though the model is the most profitable, at the same time, it is the most complex in implementation as state agencies protect consumers by controlling sales of medical products and you must be a licensed distributor.
CVS Pharmacy, a successful app with a transaction revenue model, is a case in point. The app is great for managing prescriptions: refilling, viewing recent orders, setting automatic refills. Pharmacy tools include pills identification, filling new prescriptions, checking drug interactions.
Monetization model #5: Data
Today data is a new currency. Non-personal and anonymous data about digitally-empowered users is a precious asset for product companies and research institutions. Data monetization intermediaries collect non-personal data like device type, mobile operator, country. A third party never collects more data than you are willing to provide. You configure data types for each user, which will be transferred to companies in the future.
If your app has less than 10 000 daily users, the chances to see tangible results from data monetization are small. Profit starts from 50 000 daily users, so if there are fewer users, work on the quantity of the app's audience. To understand how much you can earn with data monetization visit data collectors and intermediaries sites. Some of them have calculators of monthly revenue.
Monetization model #6: Service sales (remote consulting)
Apps providing a connection to doctors are most popular among all mobile health apps for patients in 2019. One of the reasons why apps with remote consulting are in demand is appointment wait times. According to Statista, in Boston, for example, the average wait time for family physician appointment takes 66 days, in New York - 26.
If you already have a medical app, think of adding an opportunity to contact a doctor. For example, the need of people to see a physician within a short time convinced GoodRx, a pharmacy app that helps people compare prescription drug prices, to introduce telemedicine services enabling anyone to get access to quick medical care.
Monetization model #7: Pay to download
The share of paid apps in the Apple App Store is 9.7% and in Google Play 4% in October 2019. These figures don't mean to disturb you. The quality of app content, security, number of features play an important role in the healthcare category and is something users are ready to pay for.
Paid healthcare and medical apps work well for small target groups as it is easier to explain the value of the app. For example, people with dementia are ready to buy an app with everyday critical tasks checker or with the assistance in recalling important information. Pay to download monetization in healthcare may include apps for people with chronic diseases, for highly specialized doctors, for veterinary professionals.
Every day there are more ways to monetize mobile apps. Using one monetization model for your medical app does not imply abandonment of others. A skillful combination of different methods will help you to achieve better results.