An Ultimate Guide to Mobile App Monetization Model and Strategies

8 Mobile App Monetization Strategies to Create Revenue Out of Free App | by Daffodil Software | App Affairs | Medium

The craze to make money through mobile apps is inextricable. While some developers try different permutations & combinations, others have hit the jackpot overnight.

The craze to make money through mobile apps is inextricable. Whereas some developers try different permutations without any results to show for, others have hit the jackpot overnight. Having analyzed a bevy of such case studies over roundtables, and after-office coffee-talks, we have our list of the mobile app monetization trends of 2021. Building an app isn’t an easy task, but this technological era provides you with the opportunity to create a million dollar app if proper process and guidelines are followed.

As a luminary mobile app development company, Anteelo has partners in every sector from healthcare to Edtech and other industries to obtain an engaging customer base and great ROI. We’ve seen first hand the most effective monetization tools for mobile apps, and with such validated expertise, look forward to empowering the entrepreneurs of new and old.

Why bother monetizing your app?

How to monetize your app - Developing your strategy | Adjust

Before we dive into the reasoning behind monetizing an application, let us clarify one of the biggest confusions – can free apps make money? Yes, they can. Here’s how.

Apps have increased their user-reach multifold over the years. The below given chart appears to climb north in the foreseeable timeline as the internet and smartphones digitize our daily lives. By 2023, it is purported that apps would generate in excess of $935 billion in revenues, the primary drivers of which would be downloads and in-app advertisements.

When it comes to millennials, 21% of the cohort opens an app as much as 50 times a day. With an estimated 72.1 million millennials in the US alone, you do the math!

Having cultivated a regular footfall of app traffic and not knowing how to monetize it, would be like having a treasure chest without a key.

Identifying the Best Mobile App Monetization Strategy 

As the modern saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees but is certainly minted in apps. Let us explore 8 impactful strategies and the reasons promulgating their adoption rate. However, as you digest these points, do note the factors that make up for a profitability-friendly application.

Data Monetization 

How you can make your organization ready for data monetization

Data makes digital businesses tick. The public readily gives apps all the permissions to collect “relevant” data in return for premium experiences. Algorithmists decipher the variety and volume of the data they need on each user so as to peel the peripheral layers of behavioral psychology and augment tactics that urge the buying patterns. This can be observed from the fact that Facebook has 52,000 data points on each user.

Such intriguing insights were accessed by Cambridge Analytica by paying Facebook for unbridled data-access. Although the process of data-collection was questionable then, a legitimate market for data access has blossomed since making access to data, one of the hottest app monetization models.

When to use it  – to make a killing, your data must be BIG, literally. Big data is something that has volume, velocity and variety. The higher the number of data identifiers you collect, the more vendors you can sell it to.


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You pay for the app before trying it out. This model is receding fast as people are reluctant to spend unless they trust the brand. Most often, mobile gamers partake in such apps that exercise a pay first, play later protocol. It is proven as a matter of fact that free apps are much easier to distribute than paid ones. So unless you are a billion-dollar organization with fever-pitch fanfare to try out your products, refrain from using it.

When to use it – if you have to use it, make sure the marketing budgets are tuned to perfection as the notion of paid apps takes hard-selling. Premium works best for brands that account for majority market share and can fend-off competition with a loyal base.


How To Create A Great Freemium Pricing Strategy

There was a time when in order to monetize mobile apps, 98% of the applications in the market stuck to this model. While that time was in 2014,thus in 2021 freemium apps still account for 94% of the market share emerging as one of the dominant go-to android app monetization strategies. The idea is to open up a basic in-app functionality to users so that they get a hang of it and automatically opt-in for premium features by paying a fee. Those wondering how to make revenue on apps, would be flattered to know that user acquisition costs are lower for freemium apps.

Freemium also provides the scope for incorporating secondary revenue mechanisms such as in-app advertising. In fact, mobile app developers use freemium as a hurdle for users to overcome and discarding-app ads.

When to use it – we recommend using freemium when you have potentially better app features that people will pay for. The model works best when app sessions can be stretched for longer durations. Spotify would be one example.


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This is a one-word answer best suited to the question how to generate revenue from mobile apps? Usually, mobile app development services design a 3-tier subscription policy targeting users with the spending potential of basic, intermediate or advanced levels. Subscription plans can be classified over separate durations depending on their pricing. A subscription model gives first-time users the leeway to experiment and see for themselves the value proposition by paying a nominal fee.

Whether you discuss android app monetization strategies or the ones applicable to iOS platforms as well, this model has been used to monetize mobile apps far and wide. Documented evidence suggests businesses opting for the subscription services have grown consistently over the last few years. The only thing you need to know is how to choose the right app pricing strategy.

When to use it – This model is best-suited to content-heavy apps that tie users into a fallback loop and long-term app use. Examples include Medium, and Netflix.


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Partnerships can take many forms. Our experience as a mobile application development company spells a common theme wherein one app invites a second one to leverage the user base, reward them for using the app, and mutually benefit from higher user engagement. For instance, Domino’s could offer extra discounts for ordering food from Uber Eats the kind it doesn’t on other apps. Conventional wisdom advises that there has to be a shared user base for the sponsorship model to prosper.

When to Use it – It is mostly used by brands operating in the same domain.


Advertising Makes Us Unhappy

Come to think of it, this is just a byproduct of the data an app collects. The same is used by ad networks, to drive relevant ad-traffic to the app as you open the gates to advertisements. In case you were wondering how to monetize android apps under a mobile app monetization strategy, you can find multiple options to charge advertisers on CTC (click through rate), CPC (cost per click), and lead conversions. There are a plethora of app monetization platforms that the advertisers leverage to funnel decent amounts of revenue. Such mobile app monetization platforms include the following:

  • AdMob
  • InMobi
  • Millennial Media
  • StartApp
  • Linkury
  • AdColony
  • AudiencePlay
  • Audience Network
  • Smaato
  • Fyber
  • Unity Ads
  • MoPub
  • Chartboost
  • Epom Apps
  • SmartyAds
  • Leadbolt
  • IronSource

In addition to them, you can run the following kind of ads on mobile apps:

Rewarded Ads  

They reward ad viewers for going through the complete duration of the ad with say an extra discount coupon.

Banner Ads 

They appear horizontally either at the top or at the bottom of the screen. The thing with banners is that they can irk people by intervening with the content by sometimes overlapping it.

Interstitial Ads 

These are full-screen layovers and produce the best click through rates. Unless the designer screws up, there is little you can do to not get things right with interstitial ads.

Native Ads 

They appear as part of the overall content on the screen. It is hard for viewers to distinguish whether it is even an ad or not (hence the name) a fact that increases the likelihood of a click through.

When to use it – Advertisements should be used when you have an abundance of user data such as demographics, search/purchase history etc.

In-App Purchases

Finally, in-app purchases are a tested and highly quantifiable revenue metric that app development services can play around with, while still keeping the app free to download. Users do not pay upfront but rather for add-ons that enhance and enlarge their in-app engagement. Few studies posits global revenues from in-app purchases at $71 billion for the year gone by. Popular types of in-app purchases implemented by gaming apps include the following:

  • Game currency
  • Extra health
  • Milestone points
  • Health Boost

When to use it – this monetization model was successfully experimented with by the gaming industry following which content driven apps have also taken to it.

Which is the Perfect-Fit Monetization Model for Your App?

App Monetization Strategies: 6 Bankable Ways to Turn a Profit | CleverTap

The answer is embroiled in further queries that pertain to intricacies of your business goals. For starters, consider finding a black and white answer to the following questions:

  • What is your apps’ USP?
  • What is your app’s product market fit?
  • Would you sacrifice short-term revenues for long-haul users?

The next-big monetization model could be held in your outlook and your approach towards consumerism.

Mobile application development services like ours at Anteelo have a record and reputation for conjuring innovation out of thin air. Well, that’s just an expression, but you get the point. Checkout our most hip-and-happening successes that earned us the laurels of being the best App Development Company of the Year.

Ways to Earn Money from your Application?

How Much Money Can You Earn With an App? | MLSDevThe mobile application development services industry comes along with a huge potential to earn millions of dollars. However, not every app earns an equal share of Android and iOS market revenue. In spite of following the same mobile application development process to make money with an app, not every developer is enjoying the fortune of getting billions of dollars being transferred to their accounts. This is making startups and developers who are yet to enter the mobile industry, encounter questions like, “ Do apps make money?”, “How to make money from mobile apps successfully?” – Questions we will tackle in this article.

But before we dig out answers to these questions, let me share one thing – There are over 4.83 million apps to download on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and many more are expected to enter the domain. Meaning, there’s a tough competition in the marketplace for earning from apps.

In such a scenario, one thing that can prevent your app idea sink like Titanic is focusing on the right considerations before building an application.

So, let’s uncover what things you must consider before making any effort into money earning apps development.

Things to Consider 

1. App purpose

7 Questions You Need Answered Before You Create an App - BlueTreeApps

Prior to choosing any of the monetization models, you need to understand the type of your application. What and how your application tackles any issue?

When focusing on how apps make money, the app purpose plays a pivotal role. A detailed understanding of what problem you are targeting, what software development services your app will offer, what could be the probable impact on the market, and how the app will be useful in serving the customers and their needs.

When you have a reasonable thought regarding the purpose, you will actually want to choose the correct monetization strategy for your application on the app store. For instance, subscription models for service and content applications.

2. Target audience

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Another factor that helps in determining how apps make money is the target audience. If you are making a mobile application for the business people, it is important to go with a monetization strategy that does not waste their time. Likewise, when it comes to building an app for kids, it is good to offer application development services for free.

To effectively earn an online income through application monetization strategies, you need to examine your target audience prior to starting any plan. Who are the audience? What do they require? The amount they will pay? To put it plainly, users should know the genuine worth to make purchases.

3. Competitor analysis

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Performing Competitive analysis also contributes to making the decision related to money making apps development. The insights aid in getting a hint about what strategies do similar applications prefer and what all profits they have earned. This eventually helps with decision making.

The cutthroat competition in the market and the competitor analysis isn’t only for highlights, functionalities, and design of an application. With a proper study and knowledge regarding the competitors, you can without much of a problem discover the monetization business plan for your application. All you need to do is ask yourself certain questions like how competitors are earning? How solid are their models? Is there any loophole that can turn into an opportunity for you?

4. Technologies 

The Top 15 Retail Technologies to Watch in 2021 - ContactPigeon | Blog

The set of technologies you introduce in your applications not solely enhances the user experience and makes it stand out from the competition, but also adds to the earning from mobile apps.

Example: A traditional business mobile app monetization platform model provides developers with only 70% of the amount paid for a mobile application. Whereas, a blockchain-based application model delivers 85% of the total app profit share.

With this covered, let’s jump directly to finding different models to look into how to earn from apps.

6 Mobile App Monetization Models to Consider

The pricing app strategy you choose for your application also makes a difference to the earning from mobile apps. So, it is must to be familiar with all the types of mobile app monetization strategies they can go with. Some of which are –

1. In-app advertising

Top In-App Advertising Companies (2020) - Business of Apps

While the application is free to download and use, app publishers earn money based on the interactions on the advertisements displayed within the application. This app revenue model is highly considered and found to be profitable. The in-app advertising has several formats such as Interstitial ads, Banner ads, Video ads, Native ads, Text ads, Native ads, and so on.

2. In App purchases and freemium model

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The foremost monetization strategy that one considers when looking into how apps make money without ads is Freemium.

Here, the application is free to use. But, the users would have to pay some amount of money to buy a wide variety of virtual elements from the mobile application. This includes extra lives, blocking ads, premium app content, game currency, and more.

Example: Clash of Clans earned nearly USD 1M per day on purchases.

3. Subscription (Software-as-a-Service) model

Subscribe to Amazon Prime Video for $8.99 Per Month | PCMag

Another strategy that comes forward as the answer to how to monetize apps is the Subscription model.

Here, users are asked for a weekly, monthly, or annual fee in return of a particular service provided by the mobile app development company. This type of business and monetization model is often recommended in the case of cloud-based services, audio and video content providers such as Spotify, Google Music, and Netflix.

Note: Only 5% of the successful app developers are using subscriptions to get income from an app.

4. Sponsorship

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Sponsorship is yet another method of making an earning from a mobile app. This model is usually incorporated with those applications that already have regular users, and is suitable when connecting with brands from the same market niche.

When discussing in detail around how apps make money via this monetization strategy, there are two deals to go with –

  • Equally divide revenue from the mobile app
  • Set a monthly sponsorship fee.

Example: Weather Channel app relies on this business and monetization model to prevail in the market.

5. Crowdfunding

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Crowdfunding, an alternate funding model to consider this year, is also one of the profitable ways to monetize apps for free.

Here, you exchange your app idea or publish an MVP version on platforms like KickStarter, CrowdFunder, Indiegogo, and Fundable to raise funds and do the needful in the field of marketing.

Example: In 2017, the Hello Earth game with a famous cat character earned USD 148k via such app monetization strategies.

6. Affiliate links

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This is another variation of sponsorship, however in place of granting advertising rights solely to one organization, you negotiate with a few interested parties and place their reference links in your application. This is a decent method to increase your income if you lack a wealthy player on the market who is ready to cover your costs.

Now as you are familiar with ways money making apps earn money and what all factors to consider while looking into how much an app earns, let’s wrap up this article getting insights of the future trends in the mobile app market.

What’s Next in the Mobile App Development World?

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As you know how apps make money, you should also be aware of how the future for mobile app development looks like. Over the years mobile apps have seen good money and this will for sure continue in the coming years as well. The gaming apps are making millions every year but the simple apps are still on their way to earning millions. Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality are the technology trends that are set to enter the mobile app development industry and change the whole market.

In conclusion, there are endless possibilities related to how much an app earns when you submit it to stores. You only have to rummage through your options and make the best out of them.

With our global platform of mobile app development companies in the USA, Asia, and other countries, we assist our customers and clients to leverage the latest technology to the utmost and provide better ROI for your business. For more information, contact us at Anteelo.

Frequently Asked Questions about Earning from Apps

1. Do free apps make money?

Ans: When talking about how free apps make money, there are three basic ways, namely in-app advertisements, sponsorship, and referral marketing.

2. What are the most profitable apps?

Ans: If we had to list down three app categories that tend to make the most money for their parent business, it would be – Music app, Gaming app, and video streaming app. All three of these app categories are such that the engagement level is very high.

3. How much does the app store pay per download?

Ans: Apple takes 30% of the revenue made on the Apple app store and gives the rest – 70% to the developers.

4. How much does Google pay per download of an Android app?

Ans: Google takes 30% of the revenue made on the Android app and gives the rest – 70% to the developers.

5. Do apps make a lot of money?

Ans: It depends. But on a very generic note, until you have an established brand name supporting you or you have a strong community of influencers backing you, you will have to wait for some time before the breakeven would end.

The other thing that you can do is make multiple apps and publish them in stores to expand your earning ability.

6. How much revenue do apps make?

Ans: The value of mobile app revenue models depends entirely on the core functionality of your app, the platform considered, the expectations of the targeted audience, the app monetization models are chosen, and more.

7. Can you make money from an app?

Ans: Yes, anyone can make money from an app.

8. How much do mobile app developers make?

Ans: When talking about earning from apps, the value completely depends on factors such as platform, features, user expectations, monetization model, and more.

9. Which Platforms Make the Most Money For App Developers?

Ans: While the value varies, it has been found that over 25% of iOS mobile app developers earn over $5,000 for their apps when compared to 16% of Android mobility experts. So, iOS is the platform that often makes more money.

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