Monetize Your App!

If you have an idea for an app – that’s just great. But even if your idea is thought of well, making money with apps is not an easy business. If you want your app to be successful, you need to be aware of the most common app monetization strategies. Actually, it is important to have a monetization plan even before you start making your app. Otherwise, you may risk having a great idea that will never really pay off. Below you can read about advantages and disadvantages of four most popular monetization strategies for apps. Be sure to evaluate each of them, and consider them in terms of your app-specific content.  

In-app advertising

  • Advantage: App would be free which means that it would have a much higher reach. People download free apps just because they are free, so people would download it more than if the app was paid. They could pay extra money to remove adds from the app – and thus you would be getting money both from advertisements and users.
  • Disadvantage: Adds may drive users away in annoyance.  Also, it would be possible to make money only if a large number of users download and use the app on a very frequent basis. 

One-time paid app

  • Advantage: Apps are usually sold for $0.99, $1.99, $2.99, etc. Theoretically, with one-time paid app you could have a high income potential. However, the app would need to be compelling enough for users to pay to download even without first trying it out. This could be achieved by making a very good description in the iTunes/Google store, and having a good advertising strategy (possibly a website too). Also, to earn money, the app would need to have good exposure in these stores. This means getting into top 200/100/10 lists, getting featured in “New & Noteworthy” and “What’s Hot”, and getting exposure as a new app in the “All (Category) IPhone Apps” space, which highlights the latest applications approved in that category. All of this is much easier with paid applications.
  • Disadvantage: Apple takes a 30% cut of each sale, so a $0.99 app actually yields $0.69. Google takes 10%. This means that you would need to have lots of downloads in order to earn money.


  • Advantage: For specific types of apps that attract a niche group of people it is possible that a partner would want to sponsor all of it for a specific in time in order to get their message across the audience. Sponsorship often translates to stronger results and is the best way of getting assured high returns from the app.
  • Disadvantage: The app has to be a perfect fit for the brand. Also, you might need specific sponsor content for the app. 

In-app purchases

  • Advantage: Here, you would give the app away for free and charge for additional purchases within the app. The free app with an in-app purchase removes the price point as a barrier for people to download it and gives the developer the opportunity to prove the value of their product. This could work really well if your app is a game, as users love to spend money on extra characters, coins, or abilities.
  • Disadvantage: It is questionable how many users would buy these in-app purchases. This works perfectly for games, but I am not sure if it would work for this. The app would have to be very popular, and users would need to be really motivated to lose weight. 

Combination of strategies

If you want your app to be successful, probably the best idea would be to combine few of the strategies mentioned above. For example, you could have somebody sponsor your app, give the app for free, and charge for in-app purchases. In this case, you have two sources to gain from and still a big possibility that your app will go viral since you give it for free. In yet another scenario, you could have the in-app advertisement, charge for removing the adds, and charge for in-app purchases. Here, there are even three sources of income! 

Many app developers are not natural marketers and sales persons.  Surprisingly, few app publishers make money, and their profits come from only a few of their apps. That’s why you have to think smart from the very beginning. Each of the app monetization strategies has its advantages and disadvantages. Your task is to evaluate them and think of a way to combine them so as to maximize gain and avoid possible loss. 


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