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I am creating a GPS Navigation mobile app and have been struggling to brainstorm an idea to monetize the app. One route would be to have a paid and free version but I feel as though features should not be limited in a GPS Navigation app. The other route would be to have ads which I feel would hurt the user experience. If I chose to use ads I could have popups on every screen besides the navigation screen or I could have audio ads played during breaks in navigation. These ads would only be played if the next advice was not for a long distance such as 5 miles. Would these ads severely hurt the user experience?

  • Kind of off topic, but is this model actually competitive with Google Maps and other free alternatives like MAPS.ME which will provide this service (turn by turn navigation) for free? For reference MAPS.ME (as an equivalent to what you've described) shows ads on its main menu, but not during navigation IIRC. – TernaryTopiary Mar 15 '17 at 6:56
  • @TernaryTopiary Yes it is directed towards a specific clientele – SmedleyDSlap Mar 15 '17 at 18:03
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Yes. The Ads will hurt the UX of GPS navigation system.

These systems use audio to guide the users as they drive, and their subconscious mind is always waiting for the system to guide them (particularly when they are driving on unknown roads).

However, you can use some special tune for navigation advice that will alert the users to pay attention. I will suggest you test the approach with real users and record their responses. If you gather enough positive results, go ahead and implement it.

Do consider users safety. Imagine some Ads speaking about meditation that gives the users a sudden impulse to try it at that moment. I do remember a scene from a British Series Coupling where Jane (who works at Radio Station) says; Hello people, let's begin our day with a deep mediation. So c'mon everyone close your eyes. And all drivers listening to her....... you know what happened :).

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Adding ads to a SW which core functionality is focused on voice and visual navigation will result in poor UX. There is couple of reasons for that.

  1. Navigations in general struggle a little bit with screen estate. If you are designing a mobile app, you need the app to be comfortably controllable with huge buttons, so it can be operated while driving. So taking away space with adds is not a good idea. Just imagine clicking on an add, by accident, when you want to reroute for example. Very bad UX.

  2. As mentioned by Dipak: navigation systems use audio to guide users, highjacking this with ads may result in users ignoring or missing directions. Which is something you want to avoid. Maybe it would be doable if you could select the ads which would run on your app, but still I wouldn't recommend it.

There is couple of ways you could monetise your app.

  1. Have a $X IAP to let users save unlimited locations.
  2. Have a $X IAP to provide day/night themes.
  3. Have a $X IAP for offline mappacks?
  4. Have a $X IAP bundle for all the above?
  5. Have some actor or comedians do the voiceover? As did Yoda for example.

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