How do I monetize my mobile app?

 In Mobile App, Mobile app development, Mobile app monetization

Every time a free app gets installed, it isn’t uncommon for us to ask- how does this mobile app earn money? How do the owners manage their mobile app monetization? How much revenue does the app generates on a daily or monthly basis, is it enough to cover the expenses? When it comes to the paid apps, we usually end up thinking that the app installs or the subscription charges would be enough to cover the entire costs. But is that so? Is the revenue times the number of unique installs per month sufficient for the firm to keep the app up and running?

Mobile app monetization is actually a huge and very critical strategy to make because that is how the app is going to fend for itself and become sustainable. While one could think that most startups get good funding and sustain themselves over time buying them a window to strategise, we feel that that isn’t the right approach to take.

It is true that startups get funded but it is also important to note that startups get funded only when they have a solid plan in place for mobile app revenue generation. So, in the world of free apps, how does one monetize well enough to ensure a continuous stream of mobile app revenue generation?

Well, this blog talks about that!

Signups and Emails

We know, this topic will sound surprising to you and this is precisely the reason we kept this at the top of the list. So, here is how it works. Every time an app is installed, you are asked to sign up. One may choose to do it through either your Google or Facebook accounts or simply the phone but the catch is that you do share your contact information. Now, the service agreement which most of the users do not read, clearly states that the contact information could be used for communication by the brand (that it will not be shared is what the entire security and privacy thing is all about). So, the brand can then send across emails or messages asking people to sign up for paid services. Even newsletters, free as well as paid could be pushed through these contact channels which can eventually realize into mobile app revenue generation. While, this model may not work so well in the silos but for the overall mobile app monetization strategy, it will be at least a good push for a complete brand recall.

Levels of App Usage

So essentially some of the apps have two versions- the free version and the paid version. This section would be more applicable to the paid apps. Let us take the example of one very simple and yet very common app called Choices. It is a game where one has to, as the name suggests make choices for the given scenario in order to advance. This mobile app can be said to be one of the best cases for mobile app monetization. This is because, after a certain level, the ideal or next to ideal choices which the user could make are paid. So, if you do not pay for the paid choice and choose to go with the free option, you kill the fun of the game. Thus, the user end up paying for the stars or the points in order to make choices. The price per choice option is usually less but as you advance, you will realise that through the multiple paid options, the user has spent about ten to twenty times more than what they could have had the app been simply a paid one time version.

Thus, instead of making the app paid, the multiple levels of payment made the monetization more effective.

In-App Advertisements

This one is pretty self-explanatory because even as we talk of a user, all of us have seen so many ads. Surprisingly, online-rummy ads are the most common ones and literally every heavy traffic app earns a lot for them. But it is not about that.


Actually, in-app advertisements are one f the biggest sources for mobile app revenue generation. Also, mobile marketing is in the stage where everybody wants to join the bandwagon, irrespective of whether they understand it or not. Hence, it is obvious that you should make the most of the situation too. The payouts can be based on impressions, clicks or actions. Choose the one which suits your interests the best!

Word of Caution – Do not use introduce advertisements in apps such as Travel booking apps or Consulting apps. It is not advisable to use ads in such apps, as user is planning and having a serious business. Users may feel bored and may leave it anytime, so be careful. Social networking apps or Gaming apps may showcase ads at some places (Not all places).

Kindly note that there are no guidelines from Apple or Google for same.

In-app Purchases

monetize mobile app

Ideally it should have preceded the immediately preceding topic but anyway, here we go because this option carries its own importance for which the context setting for In-app advertisements was essential. So, an app doesn’t really have to depend on advertisements the entire time. It can instead create its own revenue generation model. This can be done by offering in-app purchases.

This is slightly different from the level of purchase option as in-app purchases provide for a bundle of goods or services to be sold. For instance, while purchasing to level up in a game is an example of level of purchases, bundling a hotel service with a personal chauffeur on a travel app would be an in app purchase.

SMS Marketing

Remember how we had in the first point told about users sharing their information to sign up. SMS marketing is an extension of that. Given that not everyone checks their emails daily, sending out timely SMS can help in furthering the reach and improving the intent for purchase. Plus, one can tie up with other businesses too and promote their content at a price. Thus, while the customer’s data privacy remains intact, the mobile app owner is able to monetise the information well. 

Affiliate Marketing

What we left of at in the previous point brings us to our next i.e. partnerships and affiliate engagements. The key thing to note here however is that the partner or affiliate should fit in well in the ecosystem of your services or otherwise it will downplay your brand’s credibility and will result in app uninstalls. A good partnership however can help upgrade your mobile app to a preferred one for your users and while you will make money from the other brands by promoting them, you can over time also start charging commissions from your user base too.

Best example of affiliate marketing apps would be Betting mobile apps or Currency exchange mobile apps where in most of the cases. They earn good referral from various partner sites

Vibeosys Software do not suggest using Betting Apps, Please note.

An Effective Content Strategy

Remember, a mobile app is not just about its use, it is a lot about the content and features too. For that matter, the content strategy can be good for the revenue generation too. For instance, if yours is a consulting app, the blogs and newsletters could be made on a monetary subscription model where the user can read a few blogs for free and for more detailed insights or say after exhausting the limit, will have to purchase the further knowledge base.

For example mobile apps which helps to read books online, provides summary to be read for FREE but whole book reading comes at a price.

Books online is one such example

Subscription Model

An extension of the content strategy bit comes in the form of subscription model too.Only here, it is not important that you sell content only. A lot of things work on subscription model because a subscription ensures a long term flow. Take the example of grocery shopping mobile apps, more specifically your daily milk and poultry shopping. Most Fresh-TO-Home apps work on it. Let us take the example of BigBasket or FoodToHome, both of these apps work on a subscription model so that not only they retain their customers for a long time but also keep a track of their inventory and better optimize their operations and revenue.

Such a model can work for almost every firm which deals in perishable products and complex supply chains.

We encourage users to make most of subscription model, as there is 99% chance of conversion

Multiple Payment Options

We can take the example of The Economist to understand this option better. So, the publication kept varied prices for its different subscriptions. For instance, the web subscription cost 59 dollars, the print one costs $125 while the combo costs $125. Most people opted for the third option for the obvious reason- that it turns out to be cheaper and offers the flexibility to use either. Such a pricing strategy can help you to sell the various features of your app at a pricing most suitable for the business. Just to clarify, this option will not really be suitable for a free app.

White Labelling the Code

While your mobile app is your IP (Intellectual Property), its code is your IP too which means selling out or licensing the code to others can be a good revenue stream for your mobile app. White labeling of the code would mean that you allow the basic code of your mobile app to be used by others with some modification or even directly. This option can work really well for high performing free apps. However, be sure of the clauses in the agreement because the legalities involved will eventually decide how sustainable your revenue stream becomes. 

Mix and Match Model

This option would require you to be smart about the multiple mobile app monetization options. Which means that instead of choosing anyone, you can actually go for a bouquet of mobile app monetization options and use that mix to best effect. This will ensure that no matter the type of person or their preference who are using your app, you capture them all.

A Data Driven Model

Now, while you may not be allowed to sell the data, but you can always sell the insights that come along. This one model has the potential to be a big revenue source for the free apps in specific since they cater to almost all possible types of audiences. The entire digital marketing scenario and the effectiveness of it rests on getting accurate data and insights. So, if you through the usage of your mobile app can provide it, you will probably end up setting yourself for the long run easily. 

As we had mentioned earlier as well, a lot of new mobile app makers or startups founders feel that the initial source of revenue generation for the app would be through getting investments and hence the kind of effort which could have gone into mobile app monetization get redirected towards investment generation. We would like to specifically point out that this approach is really bad and definitely not good for a long-run sustainability.

The focus should always be to ensure that you make the most out of your app because self-reliance is any day the best form of reliance and the foundation for a strong business too.

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