Creating the next viral app is the goal for most developers, but 90% of apps in the iTunes Store are free. Of course everyone sees the advantage of the extra income a paid app in the app stores can bring, but often times having a paid app can hurt the app’s success instead of help.

A paid app could be a mistake for a small business that is just trying to make their presence known. Small business apps are mainly used as a marketing tool to build a loyal fan base and are best kept free. For example, it’s unlikely a user would pay to use a mobile loyalty card to earn a free slice of pizza. Making an app free in the app stores encourages more downloads and increases both the app user base and the business’ customer base.

Successful paid apps offer exclusive content that is valuable to the user. Like a personal trainer who wants to offer app exclusive workout guides or tutorials; or a life coach that wants to offer motivational speeches only through their app. Paid apps work best when the business or individual has a large following. Making a paid app for an unknown business or individual is ineffective for marketing and usually leads to low download numbers. Plus the client is not going to want to keep their app.

We always recommend being cautious about making apps paid but the decision isn’t anything to go crazy over. The price of the app can always be changed.