What if Popular Apps weren’t Free

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How many people would pay to use some of the world’s most popular apps

Consumers often complain about the presence of advertisements on their favorite smartphone apps. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if these app creators decided to eliminate advertisements altogether and opt for monthly subscription fees?

Would consumers delete and drop their social media, music and media streaming, and even directional services?

Researchers at McGuffin Creative Group asked that exact question: what would you pay if your top apps started charging a monthly fee? The results revealed that the majority of consumers are willing to shell out a little cash to keep their beloved digital services, and identified just how valued 16 of the most widely used smartphone applications really are.

Topping the list as the most valued app is YouTube. Nearly 3 in 4 respondents (72 percent) said they would pay to continue using the app rather than discontinue service and would pay an average of $4.20 per month do to just that. YouTube has the highest average monthly fee out of the 16 apps respondents were surveyed.

The next two applications making the top of the list both provide direct assistance to consumers; Google Maps and Google Drive. More than 78 percent of consumers say they would pay to keep using the services and would pay an excess of $3.48 and $3.31 to use each one, respectively.

WhatsApp has the most loyal user base. Of the 16 apps respondents were asked about, the highest percentage of users, 89 percent, say they would pay to keep using the application. However, users would pay an average of only $2.38 per month.

It may not look like much, the hypothetical fees would amount to more than $50 per year for each service, however, if companies were to start charging these average service fees they stand to rake in significant profits. After collecting the data, McGuffin compared each company’s advertising revenue against what they could earn, in theory, if they charged the percentage of users willing to pay the average amount established per app. Reddit would stand to see a projected 10,771% increase in revenue if its user base paid more than $2.00 a month to continue on the service. Facebook, on the other hand, would see the smallest increase in revenue.

What if Popular Apps weren’t Free

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