Developing mobile apps is very  exciting no doubt, but making any money from the apps is a whole different story.

A study conducted by Vision Mobile found that roughly 54% of Mobile App Developers earned less than $500 per month from their apps.

Mobile app revenue distri


Even with the intense competition in the app stores, marketers have never had such a massive opportunity to monetize their apps as now. Here’s a look at the popular mobile app monetization strategies and how we have used different strategies for our own apps:

  • In-App Advertising
  • In-App Purchases
  • One time charge/subscription model
  • Affiliate links

In-App Advertising

One of the most important factors to consider for monetizing your app is to make a thorough monetization strategy. In App Advertising has been the most popular and often the most rewarding monetization strategy in our experience. All you need to do is advertise someone else’s product or service in your app. These days there are plenty of Mobile advertising platforms that publishers can use. Plus there are a variety of Ad formats to meet the requirements of different types of apps.

Our tip: Do not rely on a single advertising platform test a few to see which performs better, and use mediation to increase fill rates.

In-App Purchases

Not every app can have in app purchase as a monetization strategy. So this is limited to apps that sell something of value to the users. This strategy is mostly popular as a monetization strategy for mobile games. In App purchases can also be used to “Unlock” some hidden features within a traditional app or to purchase credits and so on. For this strategy to work successfully, the purchase has to be of value to the end user. This method is growing fast though

One time charge/subscription model VS Monthly subscriptions

Instead of charging one-time for an app, subscription model charge recurring a fee to access and use the app.  This model was probably started by newspapers and magazines but any content provider or a service provider can use this model.  Subscriptions as a revenue generation model is very popular in Software as a Service apps. It is a win-win for both parties! Users do not have to fork out a heavy investment upfront and Monthly subscriptions provide steady revenue for the developer.

Affiliate links

Affiliate marketing has its use in mobile apps as well, but in mobile apps, selling some one else’s product might not be as straight forward. Successful apps tend to provide a high quality user experience for example curating tailored products for the users. Most of the online retail stores do offer affiliate programs, but the app developer may have to sign up for each one individually. It is not as straight forward as advertising, but it can be more rewarding if used correctly.

We hope you have found this article useful. Feel free to get in touch with us to ask us about our own experience with mobile app monetization. Here are some of our apps and the monetization strategy used:

Swap Once – Subscription

ShoutSho – Paid

HotFM 105 – Advertising

Pin Flight – Advertising