Having your own app is the pen-ultimate status of forging your digital identity right?
Well ask us, we were one of the few companies which started with building apps for celebrities & it simply didn't work out. There were multiple reasons which we will talk about in the article.
The whole purpose of internet is discovery & choice. The whole purpose of YOU being on instagram is being discovered on a platform with multiple creators & consumers. The moment you go on an app you are isolating yourself & on your own. You think your 1-2-3-4MN Fans will rescue you & download your app 1MN times but its not true. Their entire purpose is the choice to browse multiple celebrities & influencers like you on a platform & not download your individual app.
The moment you have an app you straight away pay 30% to apple & google for distributing your app on their stores which means you only get 70% of revenue out of which 50% would be kept by the app company investing in developing your app. End of the day you get 35% of revenue back to yourself
App companies are small & nimble & often work on cloud credits by Aws/Azure etc, the reason why they invest in shooting content for you. Once their credits are over they often go bankrupt or have to sustain paying heavy server bills.
Just imagine, for the consumer to view your video, he has to download an app, sign up, login & then find your video on your app, just so many steps.
A lot of our celebrities/influencers who did apps with other companies have complained about not having access to number of subscribers/locations/userbase/revenue etc. This is purely because an app company cant release these figures as all celebs are bundled on their backend.
The typical artist app runs on a freemium model: giving fans free access to a community feed or forum, with the opportunity to pay for perks like exclusive live streams with artists, boosted comments on posts and discounted merchandise. Why go live with your app company when you can go live on 100’s of paid live streaming platforms where you will make 100% of revenue for as little as 10$ a month to be paid to the platform like vimeo.
But a large or avid fan base alone is insufficient to keep an artist app or subscription service alive. Running a successful celebrity app means competing meaningfully not just with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, but also with Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Venmo and every other app that exists on a given fan’s mobile device.
App companies lure you with huge revenue promises & bind you in murkier contracts. We advise you to stay non-exclusive with everyone.
The reason why platforms like cheekky, onlyfans, stage & escapenow work is because they give control back to the creator. Your content, your price, your rules. Come when you want, go when you want, no contract- nothing. A free transparent relationship which works for both the platform & the creator. The more content you put, the better the quality, the algorithm starts putting you in front of paid subscribers & the subscribers which you get from the promotions you make on insta & other mediums.
Often a lot of influencers want to make money in the short-run. Irrespective of the number of fans, if you dont have a long-term content strategy & relationship with your fanbase, it simply wont work, you can shutter between platforms but in vain.
For a successful relationship with your fanbase, you first need to have a relationship with the platform. Its a symbiotic relationship which works for both the parties as its mutually beneficial.
Understand how a platform works:
A platform gives you discovery & so it does to other creators, this means you have access to other subscribers & others have access to yours thereby building a community. Most importantly, all you creators have access to paid consumers & consumers have choice.
A platform works on commission anywhere between 15-20% on top of your selling price(or inclusive), a platform plays on volumes & not on individuals.
A platform is in a much powerful position to promote you across social media platforms, in front of paid subscribers & so on. By just keeping you on the homepage, your earnings can triple.
A platform works on taking your content to subscribers around the globe as against an influencer app which only works in a particular geography.
Recurring revenue which gives a creator a real chance to earn consistent income & fanbase throughout the world
A platform is multi-lingual has many features like photos / videos / podcasts / subscription management / livestreaming / yourowndotcom & so much more apart from continuous updates & rollouts which really gives you the edge compared to a tiny mobile app which is hard & difficult to manage
A platform’s presence on web along with having progressive web apps/mobile apps, tv apps gives you a much wider reach & access to a global audience
This is very important, identifying a platform which gives you the right creative support, relationship manager & promotes you across the globe. Moreover its a relationship which should last really long
Nothing happens in the first 30 days, you need to have a long term approach to monetizing your content. You think you have 1MN fans but on a platform there are 10MN users hovering over your content, sampling you & checking how active you are before subscribing to you for a month/year.
You might feel your content beats Martin Scorcese, but please understand that Netflix charges 9.99$ for 16,000 tvshows/movies. So either your content has to beat it or be really outstanding for you to charge a higher subscription amount. You can run various pricing experiments to determine what best works for you.
Dont just dump content & expect magic. Be continuous in uploading content at regular intervals.
Invest in a tripod & a good smartphone to shoot your content. Many platforms give you edit support so make full use of it. Understand why your audience would want to pay 9.99$ a month to see a badly shot video.
Build your social media audience & ask them to follow & subscribe. Go LIVE, take help of your content manager in identifying ways & strategy to build your promotions. Dont do ad-hoc promotions with no head & a tail. Have a promotional strategy in place! Also dont promote 4–5 platforms, your consumers will get confused, Promote one platform where you want to build your paying audience.
All platforms give you access to analytics. Make time to go through & understand where your PAID audience is from, what content is working, what isnt. This will help you define your content strategy.
All the best for your journey, remember CONTENT is KING always!
Disclosure: The views expressed in this article are solely personal.