FREE vs. PAID apps – The Pros and Cons

Written By SEO Team

So, you’ve decided to create your own business app to work together with your other marketing channels. That’s a big step for most small businesses and it’s definitely something to be proud of. It’s a sign that your business has reached maturity and is ready to dominate its niche. There’s one question which every business owner should have an answer to, though – should your app be free or paid?

Promoting your app can get confusing if you don’t get this right. You’ll have to make your choice between having a free, freemium, trial or paid app (or any combination of these). People will react differently to free vs. paid apps, and your marketing approach will go separate ways. Here’s a quick guide that will help you decide what to go for:
FREE Apps – the pros

  • more clients, more downloads, more visibility – free apps obviously attract more users and you’ll get more visibility, quicker.
  • lower user expectations – your app doesn’t have to be excessively complex.
  • Positive reviews more likely – people tend to appreciate free stuff and you’ll get better reviews.
  • free apps can be less expensive because they are not as complex as paid ones.
  • multiple monetization possibilities in the future.

FREE Apps – the cons

  • the competition in this market is FIERCE – there are more free apps according to recent data*. Up to 94 percent of Android apps and 90 percent of iOS apps are free, so there will be a lot of players you’ll have to compete with.
  • ads may distract users – this is only if you decide to include ads as an additional income stream.
  • lower user loyalty – because people don’t pay for it, they may not actually use it.
  • no guaranteed revenue.

PAID Apps – the pros

  • less competition on the market – many apps are free, so if your app is paid you’ll have less competitors in your niche.
  • better leads and engagement – paying customers are more active, loyal and will convert better in the long run.
  • every download will generate money – paid apps generate money consistently, either through fixed fees or monthly subscriptions.
  • no ads – people will appreciate the no ads policy of paid apps.
  • paid apps are perceived as better quality.

PAID Apps – the cons

  • fewer downloads – many people will stay clear of paid apps, even if the price is low; you will automatically lose potential clients who just don’t want to pay.
  • higher user expectations – you’ll have to make sure your app works flawlessly and offers the full set of features – after all, clients are paying for it.
  • may be expensive – the development and design costs for paid apps can get quite high.
  • limited monetization options – with paid apps, you usually only get one monetization option; creating additional monetizing options may annoy your customers.


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