Before answering the question how to monetize a mobile app, let's take a brief view of stats. The mobile development market is growing on a daily basis and attracting more and more participants. The approximate number of mobile app developers is currently about 2.3 million, which means that every eighth developer works on mobile applications. According to Statista, it is expected that the downloading of mobile applications will increase up to 197 billion apps in 2017 and up to 352.9 billion in 2021. Analytical forecasting shows that the market value of mobile apps will grow from $235 billion (2013) to $721.3 billion (2017). The reason for this explosive growth can be easily explained by the tremendous number of various mobile devices currently on the market.

But the way into this money-making business is pretty thorny. You have to stop and ask yourself a simple question (being the PM at Appus Studio, I often come across this issue): “How can I monetize my app?” Well, there are several ways to monetize a mobile app, but no matter which one you choose, you have to follow a well-thought-out strategy. So how do you choose the optimal one? Let’s take a look at each of the app monetization models in detail.


Paid apps


Paid apps - app monetisation model

This mobile app monetization strategy seems pretty easy and straightforward, but there are thousands of applications that are uploaded on the market every single day. So what should be done to produce a really sought-after application that makes both users and investors happy? The thing many people miss is that it is not only about the content but about the marketing. Your app may be as good as the best app out there, but it will just get lost in the multitude without the right marketing. When entering the market, you have to consider the key players of the mobile industry market and its size, and you also need to understand why your business needs mobile apps and, of course, how much you can make from it.

When choosing this strategy, you have to keep in mind that if your business is focused on very selective clients and you offer a very high-quality service/content, then why not make them pay? It’s a niche. The crucial thing here is that you need to show all the benefits in comparison to its free opponents. Without this, all your efforts will be wasted, and the app won’t generate any revenue.

If you have ever wondered how free apps make money, just wait, because you’ll soon learn all about it. So keep reading!




Subscription - mobile app monetization model


Subscription is the type of mobile app monetization where a customer has to pay a subscription price to get some type of access to the product. This model first gained popularity among magazines and newspapers, and now it is widely used by websites and many businesses as well.

This model owes its success to the perfect balance of value to both the customer and the company. It’s a win-win situation. The customer’s value lies in the convenience and simplicity, while the business’s value is found in the ability to predict revenue through recurring sales. The subscriber never has to remember to reorder something.


In-App Ads and Sponsorship


In-app Ads - app monetisation model


In-app ads, such as banners, are one of the most popular methods of monetization. These work by reflecting an ad on a particular area of the interface and giving you revenue based on the number of views and/or clicks. This method is effective for news apps, messengers, and various entertainment apps. However, the disadvantage is that you have to create an app that is used frequently for those clicks to add up.

Sponsorship is one more way to monetize your app. This can work out very effectively for some companies or developers. The idea is quite simple. You produce an app under the name of some key market player or just publish its logo, and your product gains popularity, which is of great importance and might be the only chance for a companys first app. This strategy can be applied to apps related to a particular event or a special location. The disadvantage is that, as a rule, this option doesnt provide a long-term income. One more thing you have to remember while doing the revenue calculations is that the App Store and Google Play will charge you.




Freemium - app monetization model


Freemium is a combination of the words “free” and “premium” and refers to services, mobile apps, or software programs that are offered free of charge but usually have limited functionality or additional features that are only available for a premium charge. This option has been proven to be the most profitable. The commonly used freemium options upgrade to full functionality, free to play, and in-app purchases (IAP). All of these strategies work perfectly for games, lifestyle, and news apps. However, you have to keep in mind that this method requires eager followers who are deeply interested in your product and who are ready to spend some money to get extra functionality.


In conclusion


So you want to know how to monetize a mobile app and which way is the best? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Finding the right option may be fairly challenging, and nobody wants to leave money on the table. The best thing you can do is try to think like a user of your app and follow some simple strategies:

  • Look at your competitors: This is vital. Analyze their ways of monetizing and their efficiency.

  • Analyze your target app users: What are they ready to pay for? Who are they? The user needs to be shown the value in order to make a purchase. For paid apps, this value needs to be shown prior to acquisition. For free downloads, the value needs to be proven through the experience or application utility.

  • Consider your app’s purpose: As I’ve said before, some models will prove themselves better for particular types of apps. Subscription works best for music and video, news, and entertainment, while IAPs are lucrative for free-to-play games and apps centered around goods and products, like retail apps.

Regardless of the monetization model you choose for your app, remember that it is not an afterthought. We are convinced that it should be a part of your business-plan well before the launch of your app project. Nobody wants to invest in a product that generates no revenue.

Follow your goals and your audience’s needs because they will be the key factors of your success.

Thinking about mobile app development? We have been featured as Top 25 Software Development Company on and we will be more than happy to assist you and provide you with a free consultation.

Good luck with your project!