How to make $10,000 a month by creating Alexa Apps
and how easy is it to do?
With the ever increasing demand for voice technology and voice assistants. Alexa has one of the highest adoption rates in history with an estimated 100 million devices sold worldwide. This large and growing number of devices creates a massive demand for a new type of app: the voice app or Skill.
More specifically I wanted to explore the financial side of developing Alexa apps or ‘skills’. Is it worthwhile for developers to pursue app development with Alexa?
What is an Alexa App/Skill?
You can enable and disable skills, using the Alexa app or a web browser, in the same way that you install and uninstall apps on your smart phone or tablet. Skills utilize Alexa’s voice commands. You can add Alexa skills to your Echo to bring products and services to life through the Alexa app store.
Examples include Headspace which provides guided audio meditation or find my phone.
How easy is it to develop an app?
The advantage for developers is that quickly building, developing, testing and distributing an Alexa app is made fairly easy with the Alexa developer console. Further to this there is a great community, tutorials and online resources to help support developers in getting to grips with the building an app. I would argue you could quickly develop an app in less than an hour.
This tutorial can show how quick and easy it is to do
However what I really wanted to understand is for any freelance developers, budding entrepreneurs or simply developers looking to make a bit of cash on the side. How profitable or worthwhile it is to bother creating an Alexa app?
How can developers monetize or gain financially from this?
Alexa Developer Rewards Program
Every month, Amazon select skills to be rewarded from among the top performing custom skills in eligible categories based on customer engagement. No application is needed. If a skill qualifies for rewards, the developer will be notified via email.
Alexa skills will be rewarded from among the top performing custom skills based on customer engagement. Customer engagement measures customer engagement such as minutes of usage, new customers, recurring customers, sessions, and more. Further to this developers can monitor customer engagement data.
Click the Metrics link for each skill to see data about: unique customers, sessions, utterances, and intents. You may view data for a select time interval (e.g., within the last 30 days, within a custom range) or aggregation period (e.g., hourly, weekly).
A good article on creating high engaging Alexa apps can be found here
How to Create Best Alexa Skills for Your Customers and Your Business
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Developers can earn Alexa Developer Rewards for skills in the following categories:
- Education & Reference
- Food & Drink
- Trivia & Accessories
- Health & Fitness
- Music & Audio
The best example of utilizing the Alexa rewards program is a story I found online about a student who managed to create some of the most popular apps on the app store. His apps allowed him to collect $10,000 dollars a month from the apps he developed. As well as this the student managed to get a job with gaming company Volley Inc.
This 22-year-old college student makes $10,000 a month off Amazon’s Alexa
David Markey, a 22-year-old senior studying applied mathematics and economics at Brown University, got his first Amazon…
Further to the rewards program, in-skill purchasing also allows developers to gain further revenue. However it should be noted that in-skill purchasing is currently only available in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, and Spain.
Skill creators can up-sell premium content to the user. Users can make Payment through their Amazon account, which is linked to Alexa through user authorisation.
Ways in-skill purchasing can be leveraged can be put in to 3 categories:
Entitlement- a digital product which doesn’t expire i.e a extension pack for a game
Subscription- provides on-going content or a service. An example of a subscription model is the Sleep Sounds skill. Users that sign up to the paid monthly subscription receive a number of premium benefits, including the ability to mix two sounds together.
Consumable- This is a purchase that provides content or features that can be purchased, depleted and purchased again. Examples of this would be in-game currency
However for every ISP a customer makes, Amazon takes a cut of the revenue. The general rule is that Amazon takes 30% of each sale. If a brand sold premium content for £1, Amazon would receive £0.30 of the sale.
The main tricks about ISP implementation appear to be:
1. how to add value to quality skills and convince users to sign up for premium content;
2. when, where, and with what frequency to prompt for an upsell.
Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills
The final option for developers to monetize their created Alexa Skills is Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills uses a voice purchasing flow to sell real-world goods and services (like event tickets, transportation, and flower delivery).
Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills enables Alexa users to pay seamlessly using payment information already stored in their Amazon accounts. They can pay for goods or services and make donations
To conclude the market for Alexa apps is hard to tell. Alexa has emerged as the most-used voice assistant on the market. However if you go on the app-store some of the top apps only have 5,800 reviews and limited online information about how many downloads these apps actually have.Therefore it is hard to tell how often these Alexa skills are used and the monetary potential for these apps.
I would say it has the potential to make a decent side-income for freelance developers, students or developers looking for a side-gig. Again this could also be limited to the developers belief in the potential of voice-technology, ability to market an Alexa skill and further, create an Alexa app which creates value to potential users.
Some resources I have used for the creation of this video can be found here: