6 Most Popular App Monetization Models

monetizationWith hundreds of millions of people across the globe owning a smart phone, and on average, each smart phone user owning around 25 apps, you can only begin to image just how many apps are used worldwide each day. Apps make our lives more convenient, more entertaining, and help us be more informed about the world around us.For each app, there’s an app developer behind it that put in a lot of time, effort, and creativity to create something that would appeal to the smartphone user. But as those apps are created, there’s a constant challenge to make sure that app developers are compensated for their time and creativity. That’s why app monetization strategies are crucial for encouraging developers to keep creating apps that make our everyday lives better.Every app appeals to a different niche and target audience, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to app monetization. Here are a few of the most effective app monetization strategies used by app marketers and developers:

Paid Apps

Perhaps the most self-explanatory method of app monetization is simply charging to download an app. While statistics show that paid apps get significantly less downloads than free apps overall, the paid app monetization model can still be effective if your app has the right target audience. Before going this route, however, it’s important that you do your due diligence to find the proper price point that will make your app appealing, but still profitable.


Providing free apps with the option of paid upgrades for “premium” versions or levels is another method many app developers and marketers use to monetize their products. The offer of a free app gives users the chance to engage with the app first and if they like it, users often choose to upgrade, which brings in more revenue.

In-App Purchases

Whether set up for paid or free apps, in-app purchases is another great way to monetize mobile apps. In-app purchases can be used for gaming apps to purchase levels, rewards, etc. or even with content publishing apps to allow users access to more of what they already like.

In-App Advertisements

In-app advertisements are the reason why free apps are some of the most profitable in the marketplace. In-app advertisements can come in the form of banners, video ads, full-screen interstitial ads, and more. This model is highly appealing to developers of free apps who want to expose their free apps to a huge audience with a good chance of creating great revenue with ads. Some of the bigger ad networks available to mobile app advertisers include AdMob, Millenial Media, Adfonic, and Chartboost.

Affiliate and Referral Marketing

Affiliate and referral marketing for mobile apps is another popular monetization strategy for both paid and free apps. This strategy is fairly new to the market but is creating great results for developers, but also provides a better experience for app users. This strategy can come in the form of affiliate links or banners placed within the mobile application and the developer gets paid once a user clicks through and the defined action is met, such as signing up for a free offer.

Native Related Content Recommendation

Related content recommendation is nothing new, but integration into mobile applications is! Companies like ours as well as others like Outbrain are helping app developers monetize their applications by placing native ads in the form of related content recommendations. This type of monetization is fantastic because it helps engage users as well as create a powerful revenue stream for developers. It’s a huge win for everyone!So whether you’ve already created an app or you have an idea to create one in the future, make sure to carefully analyze your business model to find the best monetization strategy that will boost the profitability of your app.Image Source: ThemeFuse.com