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How To Monetize An App – App Monetization Guide

Published datePublished: Jul 10, 2024 ViewsViews: 205
Shanal Aggarwal

Shanal Aggarwal

Chief Commercial & Customer Success Officer
Shanal is a passionate advocate for crafting innovative solutions that address real-world challenges and consistently deliver outstanding results for TechAhead's clients. As a strategic and creative leader, he specializes in driving revenue expansion, developing client-focused solutions, pioneering product innovations, and ensuring seamless program management.
How To Monetize An App – App Monetization Guide

In 2023, US-based mobile applications on both Google and Apple platforms generated $44 billion in revenues. And one single app: Candy Crush, attracted record $485 million in consumer spending. (Source: Buisness of Apps)

Globally, mobile app developers and mobile app businesses generated a whopping $135 billion in revenues from 5 million apps, across the world, which is about to surge to $280 billion by 2025 ends. This is almost double of what mobile apps generated in revenues, 5 years back.

At the same time, advertisers spent $362 billion for placing ads on mobile apps, globally.

If you are planning to launch a mobile app, or already have an existing mobile app, then app monetization should be your top priority: Sample this, with an average of 5000 views, a typical mobile app in the US can generate more than $4 in revenues, daily. 

And that’s just one monetization method, of placing advertisements. 

Monetization, the magic ingredient that transforms an app from a brilliant idea into a thriving business, is the million-dollar question for countless app developers, especially new entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Around $1.5 billion is spent on mobile apps, every 24 hours, even as 5.1 trillion in-app hours were recorded last year, growing at 6-8% per year. 

Of course, a slice of that pie could be yours, but choosing the right monetization strategy is crucial and affects the mobile app development cost

This comprehensive guide, packed with actionable insights and real-world examples, will equip you to navigate the world of app monetization and turn your app into a financial success story.

Demystifying App Monetization: Turning Users into Revenue

App monetization is the process of generating revenue from your app. It’s the bridge between user engagement and sustainable business growth.  This can involve various methods like in-app advertising, subscriptions, or in-app purchases.  Choosing the right strategy depends on several factors, including your app’s target audience, functionalities, and long-term goals.

And the core idea and vision behind the app.

Experts of app monetization suggest and recommend finalizing the app monetization strategy, early on in the design phase itself, so that the app development can be planned and executed accordingly. For example, if advertisement-based revenues are the objective, then the UX/UI should be such that ads are non-intrusive, offering seamless access to content without any disruption.

This interesting guide on app monetization will give you an overview of these strategies and more, providing a roadmap to navigate the ever-evolving app monetization landscape. Top Android app development companies employ these strategies effectively to maximize app revenue and user engagement on the Android platform.

How to Monetize an App Without Ads

How to Monetize an App Without Ads

Many app developers fear bombarding users with intrusive ads.  Fortunately, there’s a world of possibilities beyond the banner ad. Let’s explore some of the most effective ad-free monetization strategies:

Subscription Models

This approach grants users access to premium features, exclusive content, or ad-free experiences for a recurring fee. Subscription apps like Netflix (boasting over 270 million paid subscribers in Q1 2024) and Calm (reaching over 100 million downloads) have proven the power of this model.

Tips for Success

Offer a compelling value proposition for premium features.  Consider tiered subscriptions catering to different user needs.

Freemium Model

This popular strategy provides a basic, free version of your app with the option to upgrade for additional features. The key lies in creating a valuable free experience that entices users to upgrade. Spotify, with its free tier offering ad-supported music, is a prime example.

How To Monetize An App - App Monetization Guide

Leading health and meditation apps worldwide in January 2024, by revenue: Source

Tips for Success:  Ensure the free version is engaging but lacks functionalities that users crave.  Offer enticing upgrade benefits like ad-free listening or exclusive playlists.

In-App Purchases

This method allows users to buy digital items within your app, such as virtual currency, power-ups in games, or additional content. King’s Candy Crush Saga, with its strategic in-app purchases for extra lives and boosters, exemplifies this tactic.

Tips for Success:  Offer a variety of in-app purchases catering to different user needs.  Ensure clear pricing and transparency to avoid user frustration.

Sponsorships and Partnerships

Collaborate with relevant brands to integrate sponsored content or features into your app. This can be a lucrative option for apps with large, engaged user bases. Headspace’s partnership with Nike Training Club in 2023 is a successful example.

Tips for Success:  Carefully select sponsors that align with your brand and target audience.  Ensure sponsored content is well-integrated and doesn’t disrupt the user experience.

Platform-Specific Considerations: Monetizing for iOS vs Android

Platform-Specific Considerations: Monetizing for iOS vs Android

The app store landscape can differ between iOS and Android. Here’s a breakdown:

iOS App Monetization:  Apple’s App Store boasts a reputation for premium users willing to spend on apps and in-app purchases.  Approximatly 67% of overall mobile app revenues are generate from iPhone and iPad users, globally. Subscription models and in-app purchases are popular strategies for this platform. 

Always stay updated on Apple’s App Store policies and guidelines to ensure compliance.  For inspiration, we can have a look at apps like Fantastical (a calendar app) that thrives on a subscription model.

Procreate, a popular drawing and illustration app, successfully monetizes through a one-time purchase model, generating over $10 million in revenue in 2023.


Calm, a meditation and sleep app, achieved unicorn status in 2024, largely driven by its subscription-based model on iOS.

Android App Monetization:  The Google Play Store caters to a wider audience, with a higher focus on freemium models and in-app advertising.  Compared to around 35 billion downloads on the Apple store, Android has 110 billion downloads! 

Understanding Google Play Store policies and guidelines is crucial for success here. Explore successful Android apps like Monument Valley 2 (a puzzle game) that utilizes a premium model with no in-app purchases. 

Roblox, a popular gaming platform, generated over $500 million in revenue on Android in 2024, primarily through in-app purchases and virtual currency.

Seven, a sleep tracking and relaxation app, achieved significant success on Android through a combination of subscription and freemium models.

Mastering the Art of App Monetization: Essential Tips

Mastering the Art of App Monetization

Market Research & Audience Understanding

Before diving into monetization strategies, thoroughly understand your target audience.  What are their pain points?  What are they willing to pay for?  Conduct market research to identify trends and competitor strategies.

Right Monetization Model Selection

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.  The optimal model depends on your app’s unique features, target audience, and long-term goals.  Experiment and analyze data to find the sweet spot that maximizes revenue without compromising user experience.

Prioritizing User Experience & App Performance

A seamless user experience is paramount. Intrusive ads or clunky in-app purchases can drive users away.  Balance monetization with a user-friendly experience for long-term success.  App performance also plays a crucial role.  A slow or buggy app will deter users from spending money.  Invest in performance optimization to ensure a smooth user experience.

Testing & Iteration

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different monetization strategies and pricing models.  A/B testing allows you to compare different approaches and see what resonates best with your audience. Continuously analyze user data and adapt your strategy based on what works.

Mastering the Art of App Monetization: Essential Tips

App Categories, and Market Share: Source

App Monetization Best Practices: Building Trust and Success

App Monetization Best Practices: Building Trust and Success

Ethical Considerations & User Trust

Building trust with your users is critical.  Be transparent about how you monetize your app.  Avoid deceptive practices or misleading pricing structures.  Focus on providing value and a positive user experience.

Compliance with App Store Regulations

Each app store has its own set of policies and guidelines regarding monetization.  Ensure your app adheres to these regulations to avoid app store rejection or suspension.  Staying updated on these guidelines is essential.

Monitoring & Analytics

Track key metrics like user acquisition costs, conversion rates, and average revenue per user (ARPU) to measure the effectiveness of your monetization strategy.  Use analytics tools to gain insights into user behavior and identify areas for improvement.

The app market is dynamic.  New trends and user preferences emerge constantly.  Be prepared to adapt your monetization strategy to stay ahead of the curve.  Actively solicit user feedback and iterate based on their suggestions.

Ways to Monetize an App: Exploring the Options

Now that we’ve addressed the core principles, let’s delve into the various monetization methods at your disposal:

In-App Advertising

This remains a dominant monetization strategy.  It involves displaying targeted ads within your app.  Different ad formats like banner ads, interstitial ads, and rewarded video ads cater to different needs.  While some users might find ads disruptive, they can be a good revenue stream if implemented thoughtfully.

Affiliate Marketing

This strategy involves promoting other companies’ products or services within your app.  You earn a commission for every sale generated through your app.  Affiliate marketing can be beneficial for niche apps with a highly targeted audience.

Data Monetization

This approach involves collecting and analyzing user data (with proper user consent) to provide insights to businesses.  This anonymized data can be valuable for market research and targeted advertising.  Ensure you have a robust data privacy policy in place to maintain user trust.

Selling App Features

This straightforward approach involves selling the entire app for a one-time fee.  This model works well for utility apps or niche productivity tools that offer a specific value proposition.

How to Monetize Mobile Apps: Specific Strategies for the Mobile Age

How to Monetize Mobile Apps: Specific Strategies for the Mobile Age

The mobile landscape presents unique monetization opportunities:

Location-Based Services

Apps that leverage user location data can offer targeted advertising or unlock features based on user geography.  For example, a restaurant recommendation app might display nearby restaurants with paid promotions.

In-App Events & Virtual Goods

Mobile games often utilize in-app events or virtual goods to generate revenue.  Limited-time events or exclusive virtual items can entice users to spend money.

Subscription Bundles

Consider offering bundled subscriptions that combine your app with other relevant services to provide additional value and incentivize users to subscribe.

How Do Apps Make Money Without Ads? Exploring Ad-Free Success

The dominance of ad-based monetization doesn’t mean you’re limited to that path.  Several successful apps thrive without ads:

Headspace (Meditation App)

This app utilizes a subscription model to provide access to guided meditations and mindfulness exercises.  Focusing on mental well-being and offering a premium experience has propelled Headspace to success.

Procreate (Art & Design App)

This app caters to a specific audience of artists and designers by offering a one-time purchase option for its powerful illustration and design tools.  By focusing on quality and a targeted user base, Procreate has carved a niche for itself.

Duolingo (Language Learning App)

This app employs a freemium model with a limited free tier and a premium tier offering ad-free lessons and personalized learning features.

These examples showcase the power of alternative monetization strategies. The key lies in understanding your target audience and their needs. Focus on providing exceptional value and a user experience worth paying for.

How to Monetize an App Idea: From Concept to Revenue

How to Monetize an App Idea: From Concept to Revenue

Monetization shouldn’t be an afterthought. Here’s how to integrate it into your app development process:

  • Market Potential Evaluation: Before investing significant resources, conduct thorough market research to assess your app idea’s potential. Is there a clear market need? Is there competition? Understanding the competitive landscape and monetization strategies of similar apps is crucial.
  • Develop a Monetization Plan: Don’t wait until launch to figure out how you’ll make money. Develop a monetization plan from the outset. This plan should outline your chosen strategy, pricing structure, and projected revenue streams.
  • Protecting Your Idea Legally: Once you’ve solidified your monetization plan, consider seeking legal protection for your app idea. This can involve patents, copyrights, or trademarks to safeguard your intellectual property.

Conclusion: Transforming Your App Idea into a Lucrative Reality

Monetization is the fuel that propels your app towards long-term success. By understanding the various strategies, best practices, and platform-specific nuances, you can craft a monetization plan that aligns with your app’s unique value proposition and target audience. 

Remember, a successful monetization strategy is not just about generating revenue, it’s about building a sustainable business model that fosters user trust and growth. So, go forth, equip yourself with the knowledge in this guide, and transform your app idea into a thriving, revenue-generating reality!


Q. What is app monetization?  

In simpler terms, it’s how your app generates revenue. This can involve in-app advertising, subscriptions, or selling in-app features.  Choosing the right app monetization strategy is crucial for turning your app idea into a successful business.

Q. How do apps make money without ads? 

There are many successful ways to monetize an app without ads.  Subscription models, where users pay a recurring fee for premium features, are a popular option.  The freemium model offers a basic free version with the option to upgrade for additional functionalities. In-app purchases allow users to buy digital items within the app, and sponsorships can bring revenue through strategic partnerships.

Q. What are the best ways to monetize an app? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach depends on your app’s features, target audience, and goals. This app monetization guide explores various strategies, helping you choose the right fit for your app.

Q. How can I monetize my app without annoying users with ads?  

How to monetize apps without ads is a very interesting question, and relevant too, since ads can disrupt the overall user experience, and sometimes, the CPC is too low for the niche. We can consider in-app purchases, subscriptions, or even a premium app purchase model, as a replacement for ads. The key is to provide a valuable core experience in the free version (if applicable) and offer compelling reasons for users to upgrade. 

Q. What is the freemium model, and how does it work? 

The freemium model provides a basic, free version of your app with limited features.  Users can then upgrade to a premium version for additional functionalities or an ad-free experience.  The free version acts as a hook, enticing users to experience the app’s value and ultimately upgrade.

Q. What are in-app purchases, and how can I implement them effectively? 

As part of our app monetization tips, we strongly suggest focussing on In-app purchases, as it allow users to buy digital items within your app, like virtual currency, power-ups in games, or extra content.  Effectively implementing in-app purchases involves offering a variety of options catering to different user needs and ensuring clear pricing and transparency to avoid user frustration.

Q. How can I find sponsors or partners to monetize my app?  

Identify brands relevant to your target audience.  Reach out with proposals outlining the benefits of a partnership, such as brand exposure or access to your user base.  Monetizing mobile apps through sponsorships can be lucrative for apps with a large, engaged audience.

Q. What are the differences between monetizing iOS and Android apps?

The question isn’t how to monetize iOS app, but rather, what solutions and services we can add, to convince the iOS user to spend money.

The Apple App Store caters to users willing to spend on apps and in-app purchases, making subscriptions and in-app purchases popular choices.  The Google Play Store has a wider audience, with a focus on freemium models and in-app advertising.  

Q. How can I choose the right monetization strategy for my app?

We at TechAhead receive inquiries such as how to monetize apps Android, and our answer is: Understand your audience first. 

Our app monetization guide recommends conducting thorough market research to understand your target audience and their preferences. Experiment with different strategies and analyze user data to see what resonates best. The right strategy maximizes revenue while maintaining a positive user experience.

Q. What are some best practices for app monetization?  

Transparency is key. Be upfront about how you monetize your app.  Prioritize user experience – intrusive ads or clunky in-app purchases can drive users away.  App monetization best practices also involve using analytics to track performance and adapt your strategy based on user data.

Q. How can I ensure that my monetization strategy is user-friendly?   

Focus on providing value.  Monetization should enhance, not hinder, the user experience.  Offer a free version with core functionalities before asking users to pay.  Balance generating revenue with creating a user-friendly app that keeps users engaged.

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