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How to think about monetization

Monetization can be a lot to handle. There are tons of articles online on thousands of ways you can monetize your data and so you keep pushing your team to gather as much customer data as they can. As you struggle to identify ways of integrating this data and running them through various tools to ascertain their quality, you may find yourself wondering if it’s even worth it at all. Here’s one way to think about it, consider monetization as learning.

In order to succeed, your team will have to learn fast as that ensures that every one of your data sets is better than the previous one. Sadly, most of the time we don’t prioritize learning.

Here’s the process a lot of mobile and web products follow:

  • Build a product
  • Try monetization
  • Find monetization overwhelming and return to building the product.

There was no point where learning happened so there was no point attempting monetization. The process of making web products becomes a disappointing recipe for failure because there’s no room for learning. 

The good news is there is a better way, according to the Lean start-up, the following process would be more successful 

Create an experimental product 
Measure how much data you get from this product
Learn from whether or not your experiment worked.

You can even start from the third step by first deciding what you want to lean and figuring out how to measure it.  Then you can go on to create your experiment. The important thing about monetization is this, before you begin any process, identify what you want to learn from it before going ahead to create it. This method has worked for lots of companies and we have a case study of Airbnb to share with you. Studying it can help you learn how to execute it in your own company. 


Renting your home to travellers is made easy using Airbnb’s services. One of its co-founders came up with a theory that using professionally captured photographs would make it easier for hosts to attract more visitors. Before putting it into place, they experimented with it by hiring 20 professional photographers on trial. These photographers were introduced to a subset of Airbnb hosts who ‘s homes they captured. They then put these photos up on their site and measured their performance. Just as they thought, homes with professional pictures got up to 2-3 times more bookings than others. 

Having validated their theory, they went ahead to expand the program and now do 5000 photo shoots every month because they know what they stand to gain from it. 

Using this study, you can create an experiment that tests how much data you can collect from your customers. You can experiment by creating two different landing pages with different designs and features of your products to see which one performs better. You can also experiment to see which features boost engagement by creating different versions of your product to see which one draws more people in or create an experiment that will help you get more people to sign up. Airbnb’s experiment was great because it helped them discover a feature that made visitors visit the site and book homes which led to more revenue.

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Intro to Monetization

Next lesson:

lesson 3

Make the most use of your consumer data

There’s a lot more you can do with consumer data than building funnels and charts such as sending personalized emails, retargeting some segments with ads and so much more using certain tools. The problem with most of these tools is that they make maintaining consistent and clean data difficult. It’s important to have clean data as you can waste resources and time if there are inconsistencies with your data. We’re going to outline what customer data is, what you can do with it and some of challenges you can run into and how to crush them.

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