Most of these “apps” currently have a huge ton of money behind them, and a lot of resources, and this money-making idea will be a second-wave scheme for them. (If you look at the job titles at a place like Branch, you’ll notice that none of them have “business” or “revenue” in them.) I mean that’s kind of wonderful, that people get to grow and build like that! But when they get to it, if they don’t cook up some wacky subscription model or something surprising (I won’t rule that out!), they’ll likely be running advertising that has a high opportunity to be deceptive—or at least, intrusive in a way that no display ad could ever be.
Choire Sicha from The Awl about apps and their ‘native advertising’ ambitions. Is is better to have flashy ads than ads that aren’t intrusive but nobody recognizes as ads anymore?
My takeaway: try to come up with a business model as soon as you start building. Sure, anticipating uncertainty is almost impossible, but it’s better than not thinking about revenue streams at all.