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A mobile app reality check

Matt Hamblen | Jan. 17, 2014
So few paid apps make money that it's better to draw a salary by building apps for a company than going solo.

Gartner issued a separate report in November that said in-app advertising will grow in 2014 by 4%, then decline by 2% in 2015 and surge ahead by nearly 6% in 2016. In 2017, Gartner also said in-app advertising will reach $10.6 billion, but that in-app purchases will reach $36 billion.

Hafner's advice was that solo programmers probably shouldn't try to write an app in the hope that it will pay the mortgage or an early retirement. Instead, they should write apps for big businesses and retailers "where they can get paid and generate revenues from other means."

Successful apps, generally speaking, are intended to generate more hits on a website, more stops at an online store, build brand awareness or sell ads, Hafner said. "The apps economy may bolster the overall national GDP, but there are only a few really key ones that drive the revenue."


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