The Complete Guide to Mobile App Monetization

14 min


Coming up with a groundbreaking idea in your cell app and turning that imaginative and prescient right into a actuality is only the start.

Figuring out how to earn cash from it’s a important a part of planning, improvement, and future repairs of the app. Even in case your app has been reside for a while, it’s by no means too late to monetize your cell app!

It must be famous that app monetization isn’t that straightforward of an idea, as there are a variety of strategies you need to use to generate earnings from an app.

We’ve created this whole information to app monetization to show you how to efficiently begin monetizing your app and improve the ROI of your cell presence!

What Is Mobile App Monetization?

Mobile app monetization is precisely what it seems like: a method to generate income from an app.

And there’s good purpose why you’d need to.

The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report from comScore centered on person media consumption habits. What wasn’t stunning was the breakdown of gadgets and platforms shoppers most often use to devour media:

As you may see, smartphone apps far exceed media consumption when put next towards all different kinds used. But the story doesn’t finish there.

The quantity of time individuals spend in smartphone apps is exceptional.

On common, shoppers spend 2.Three hours each day engaged with media in cell apps. This reality alone is likely one of the most important the explanation why prime information publishers select to create cell apps and monetize them.

The alternative to attain huge quantities of shoppers and earn cash from them is one that may’t be missed.

If you don’t at present have a cell app, or you have got one however it’s but to be monetized, take into consideration what these numbers may imply for those who capitalized on all these eyes cell apps each day.

Now, for those who’re considering, “I can’t cost customers for my cell app. It’ll by no means get downloaded!”…

Guess what? You can efficiently monetize your app even when it’s free to obtain from the app retailer. Here’s how to do it:

How Do I Monetize a Mobile App?

At the tip of the day, you have got to take into consideration your customers and their journey. Based on the way you consider (and ultimately learn the way) they may make the most of the app, the place does it take advantage of sense to monetize it?

As of scripting this, the variety of free apps far outweigh the amount of paid apps. Here is a chart depicting the breakdown for the Google Play store in 2017 and 2018:

The distinction between these sorts of app monetization strategies is {that a} free app is one any person can obtain from the app retailer with out having to pay for entry to the app.

A paid app, nonetheless, comes with a value proper from the beginning. But that’s simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making a living from a cell app. Free app monetization will be damaged down into plenty of classes as properly.

Let’s check out what sorts of monetization strategies are at present accessible for cell apps. We’ve included the professionals and cons of every in addition to some examples for reference.

Method 1) Paid Downloads

Each time a person downloads your app, they pay an upfront payment. Hence, the extra you cost, the extra you earn from paid downloads. But you have got to watch out about the way you value this in contrast to what you ship.




Currently, Facetune is likely one of the hottest paid apps within the iOS retailer.

The idea is easy sufficient. Essentially, it places the ability of one thing like Photoshop into any cell person’s fingers so as to create picture-perfect selfies. It comes at a less expensive value than most digital enhancing software program, it’s simpler to use, and it’s made for good gadgets. There’s a purpose why this paid app performs so properly, even when pitted towards free apps.

A Quick Note About “Free” Apps

In normal, free apps get extra downloads than paid apps.

Just check out the highest 10 cell apps from the comScore report:

Free apps with in-app monetization methods have nice long-term income era prospects, too. As customers return to the app typically (like information apps), these subscriptions, advertisements, or gated content material can generate extra income than an preliminary, one-off app payment would.

If you need to go the free route, the content material you provide should be worthwhile and the paid additions are one thing customers need and can ultimately pay for. Just as a result of they don’t pay for it, doesn’t imply they’re going to be extra lax about high quality!

There are a number of in-app monetization strategies you might have considered trying to think about as an alternative of the much less fashionable paid app strategy.

Method 2) In-App Purchases

In-app purchases can take many kinds: an additional exercise in a health app, a one-time cheat for a cell recreation, a brand new person degree or reward, or a premium characteristic in a productiveness app. The essential factor to bear in mind is that your app must be practical with out the extra buy; with the add-on serving to improve the person expertise.




Wordscapes is a well-liked crossword puzzle app. As you may see, there’s a observe included in its app retailer header that calls out the sport’s in-app purchases:

This app can also be an amazing instance of 1 that makes use of a mixture of monetization methods to earn cash. (It additionally exhibits off static and video advertisements in between sure video games and ranges.)

Method 3) In-App Subscriptions

In-App Subscriptions (additionally referred to as “freemium content”) is comparable to in-app purchases in that the spending of cash opens customers up to new elements of the app expertise.

However, the primary distinction is that in-app purchases are sometimes gadgets, occasions, or content material which are considered as a bonus or reward. They’re not contingent on shifting on or having the ability to expertise the entire app.

In-app subscriptions, alternatively, provides customers the very fundamental, slimmed-down model of the app. Options for paid premium upgrades are then made accessible to allow them to “unlock” the remainder of the expertise.

With cell apps, this often comes within the type of gated content material you may entry after subscribing. You may promote subscriptions that permit customers to take away all traces of advertisements of their cell app interface (this can be a characteristic MobiLoud News helps!).




Subscriptions are a really perfect monetization mannequin for information apps, as evidenced by this Reuters Digital News Report from 2018:

Depending on the place your app is predicated, you might moderately have about 20% of the inhabitants prepared to pay for entry to your content material behind the in-app subscription.

The Wall Street Journal’s cell app is a pleasant instance of this. Currently, it’s ranked because the #Three journal and newspaper within the Apple retailer. And, but, when you can obtain the app without cost and navigate round all of the tabs freely, a lot of the information content material is hidden behind this paywall:

In the FAQs for the app, you’ll find an evidence of how the free a part of the app works:

However, for those who look intently on the most crucial of evaluations, the premium value to entry content material and the excessive value WSJ is charging are main issues for some customers.

So, for those who select to monetize one thing like a information or leisure app with gated in-app content material, be sure it’s one thing actually of worth. As customers famous above, if it’s one thing they will simply get without cost from one other app, you might wrestle to maintain onto clients.

Method 4) In-App Advertising

According to Sweet Pricing, extra cell apps use advertisements than every other sort of app monetization technique:

The most important purpose for that is in all probability as a result of it retains the app true to its promise: it’s fully free to use. The solely factor about advertisements is that they will litter up the person interface or distract from the person expertise if displayed on the incorrect place or incorrect time.

Granted, displaying advertisements is a part of the trade-off.

Users perceive that you’re offering them with high-quality content material–without cost. All you ask in return is to have the ability to present advertisements that will probably curiosity them and, consequently, make you cash. Just bear in mind to watch out in how you utilize them in your app so it doesn’t backfire on you.




News apps would significantly profit from utilizing in-app advertisements. This method, the day’s tales can nonetheless be served to readers in full, however publishers nonetheless have the prospect to earn cash by displaying related advertisements all through the expertise.

CNN is an instance of 1 that makes use of in-app advertisements as a supplemental monetization technique. In reality, there are three sorts of advertisements you’ll encounter proper from the very begin.

As you scroll via tales on the CNN cell app, you’ll encounter native, in-story advertisements like these:

There are additionally paid content material sections that sit on the backside of the display always.

And for those who watch any of their video posts, you’ll seemingly encounter in-app video advertisements too.

Mobile app advertisements aren’t that straightforward of a matter as you may clearly see there are a variety of sorts you might use. Familiarize your self with the choices beneath after which we’ll discuss how you need to use cell app suppliers like AdMob to take advantage of out of this monetization technique.

What Kinds of Mobile Ads Can I Run?

In 2018, digital promoting spend on cell is anticipated to surpass $70 billion.

According to eMarketer, that’s roughly 75% of cash spent on all types of digital promoting. And there’s excellent purpose why publishers are and ought to be spending extra money on this type of cell app monetization.

An AdColony survey demonstrates how efficient publishers understand cell app advertisements to be when put next to different monetization techniques:

Here are a few of the hottest forms of advertisements you need to use to monetize a cell app:

Type 1) Banner Ads

While Golubev acknowledges that banner advertisements have gotten a foul rap lately, they proceed to be extremely efficient by way of serving to publishers earn cash:

“Despite being on the lower end of eCPMs, banner ads have endured as the second highest revenue generating format across all regions and even held the top spot in markets like Latin America and Western Europe on iOS. Its ubiquitousness and extremely high impression rates make this still a reliably strong monetizing format.”

All4Women makes use of banner advertisements on the backside of most pages:

As you may see, they’re unobtrusive, however they nonetheless stand out sufficient to seize customers’ consideration.

DeeperBlue is one other instance of banner advertisements in movement. As you may see right here, although, a few of their advert placements comprise a a lot bigger house:

The good factor about these advertisements is that they’re associated to the general topic of water sports activities. The likelihood that customers studying about water sports activities can be all in favour of these sorts of advertisements could be very excessive, which can improve the chance of individuals clicking via to them, and improve the ROI of your cell app!

Type 2) Interstitial Ads

Interstitials advertisements are a preferred possibility.

These are ones that seem in between pages, tales, articles, ranges, and so forth. They will be within the type of show or video, and easily ask customers to watch the display for just a few seconds (often). If, after that point, they need to transfer on, they merely have to “X” out of the advert. If they’re all in favour of studying extra, they will watch the remainder or click on via.

The advertisements at all times take up your entire web page, however are well-designed and include an easy-to-find “X” button that permits individuals to exit out shortly after it seems.

Type 3) Native Ads

Native advertising is built-in into the general feel and appear of your app. In different phrases, the advertisements aren’t there to distract customers, however to improve the expertise. They are positioned inside commonplace content material positions inside your app, in order that they mix in additional naturally. This means they’re way more user-friendly than different cell promoting choices.

According to Pavel Golubev, CEO of Appodeal:

“Native ads are popular because of their customization scope. Native advertising can be adapted for every screen and app design to look like a natural part of the app. That means higher CTR (click-through rate) and less annoying user experience.”

There are, in fact, some issues over the usage of native advertisements in cell apps for monetization. The first being that they’ll make your app look unhealthy or spammy. However, the inherent design of native advertisements is what makes them so interesting–they’re natively designed for apps, in order that they’ll by no means stick out like a sore thumb or distract from the encompassing content material.

There are additionally some cell app suppliers (like Facebook and AdMob) which have carried out strict guidelines concerning native promoting. To hold publishers from probably deceiving and deceptive customers into clicking on a bit of promoting or sponsored content material, these pointers assist distinguish these advertisements (irrespective of how natural-looking they’re) from different content material. (For the file, MobiLoud helps clients abide by these guidelines.)

Buzzfeed has the correct concept. As you scroll via the grid of posts to learn and quizzes to take, you’ll occur upon advertisements that seem like this:

At a fast look, this appears to be like no totally different than a Buzzfeed submit with the bolded headline and the massive picture. However, as you look nearer, you’ll see the “Promoted by” and “Shop Now” snippets which point out this can be a sponsored native advert.

Type 4) Video Ads

Video is a good house, typically, to place advertisements in your cell app. With so many avid viewers of video online–particularly from cell gadgets–it could be a disgrace to miss out on this monetization alternative.

When it comes to inserting advertisements in video, there are a variety of the way to do it. An commercial will be the very first thing proven to viewers and tends to be shorter in size (anyplace from 10 to 30 seconds).

The CNN app is chock filled with video clips and tales. This video included in an article about Tesla begins with an advert for an airline:

Ads will be displayed as full minute-long interjections midway via a video. In inserting longer advertisements at this level, you have already got customers who’re dedicated to the story, in order that they’re a lot likelier to sit via the total advert so as to see the remainder of the video.

Ads themselves will be within the type of video, while not having any type of connection to a video clip so as to play. These are often positioned into the app expertise as interstitials.

Ads can be used as a method to instantly encourage customers to pay for the expertise. We’re going to discuss that on this subsequent part about rewarded video advertisements.

Type 5) Rewarded Video Ads

By far, the best sort of cell advert is the rewarded video advert. This is a video commercial that publishers encourage customers to watch by offering an incentive.

By making video commercials elective and providing clear incentives for customers who watch them (for instance, receiving additional recreation credit score), you’ll bypass nearly all of person objections. Get the worth of your reward proper and nearly all of customers will acknowledge the advantage of watching video adverts.

According to Appodeal’s Pavel Golubev, “rewarded video and video interstitials provide better eCPM [revenue per thousand impressions] and prevail in impressions share.”

Just watch out: This strategy is considerably intrusive and might diminish the person expertise of your app. Watch for the correct time to show these video adverts, and don’t overwhelm customers or depart them caught inside advertisements extra typically than they spend inside the precise app itself.

Spotify does this properly. After a playlist has been chosen, this brief video message seems:

Users have 5 seconds to determine if they need to watch a quick sponsored video in alternate for 30 minutes of ad-free listening. Otherwise, they will bypass the provide and proceed to hear messages all through the Spotify runtime.

The Benefits of Monetizing with Ads

In normal, you may see why publishers and customers alike love cell app advertisements:

In normal, advertisements are an effective way to develop what you are promoting and see ROI out of your cell app. It’s merely a matter of utilizing them the correct method — make them worthwhile and time and place them properly.

What Are the Best Mobile Ad Providers?

Clearly, there’s loads to achieve through the use of advertisements to monetize a cell app. However, the choices for doing so aren’t the identical as monetizing for a desktop web site or most locations on the internet.

This part will cowl who one of the best cell advert suppliers are and what you may count on from every.

Want an summary of the core options of every advert community? Add your particulars beneath and get our Mobile Ad Network Comparison doc despatched to you!

Google AdMob

Google’s in-house answer, AdMob, is a good possibility. Currently, over one million apps use AdMob. And, since 2012, it’s paid out over $3.5 billion to publishers.


Getting Started:

As with different Google merchandise, AdMob is linked to the Google ecosystem, which suggests signing up and getting began is a breeze. If you have got a Google account, that’s one much less step to take. If you have already got AdSense and AdPhrases accounts, you’re going to be in even higher form. Google immediately acknowledges your identification and syncs all its platforms collectively for streamlined advert administration.

Facebook Audience Network

Facebook Audience Network is a Facebook Business software meant for 2 events: advertisers who need to make the most of Facebook’s broad attain throughout a number of platforms and publishers who need a highly effective method to inject advertisements into their cell apps.


There are a number of advantages to utilizing the FAN as a cell app supplier:

Getting Started:

If you or your developer has used Facebook to arrange APIs or SDKs earlier than, then arrange shouldn’t be too complicated. That mentioned, you do have to create Business Manager and Monetization Manager accounts. Then, you should submit your app to Facebook for evaluate. It’s a reasonably strong course of, however it is sensible. Since advertisers belief Facebook with their content material, they want to be sure that advert placements within the Audience Network don’t compromise their advertisers’ investments.

MoPub is Twitter’s contribution to the cell advert recreation. The actual differentiator between MoPub and different cell advert suppliers is the DSP connection.

A requirement-side platform (or DSP) helps advertisers place their advertisements throughout a large community, which suggests optimum placement for the proper viewers subset. MoPub works with practically 200 DSPs, as well as to its personal MoPub Marketplace. This means there’s a variety of competitors from advertisers to get an area in your cell app. This leads to larger bids for that house, which finally find yourself in your pocket.


Getting Started:

MoPub is extra of a developer- and marketer-friendly platform. Unlike Google AdMob which gives a bit extra hand-holding, MoPub customers ought to have some data about cell promoting, implementing SDKs, and an understanding promoting networks. It will take a while to work out your method round MoPub’s community choices, so make sure to learn up on it earlier than diving in.

Google Ad Manager

Google Ad Manager (beforehand referred to as Google DoubleClick for Publishers) is one other Google promoting product you need to use to monetize an app. Ad Manager offers you entry to hundreds of thousands of advertisers from Google Ads, buying and selling desks, and DSPs. And as a result of it’s such a widely known and aggressive platform, this implies they’re prepared to spend way more for advert placements.


Getting Started:

Signing in to Google Ad Manager is very similar to signing into any Google property (together with AdMob). You merely have to have an present Google account. Once you’re registered and contained in the ad-serving software, it’s straightforward to get shifting. Create your advert models and placements. Connect your cell app. Set targets, exclusions, and so forth. and let Ad Manager set the wheels in movement.

What Does the Future of Mobile App Monetization Look Like?

With cell advert spend anticipated to hit $70 billion this 12 months, there’s little question that cell apps are primed to be the go-to place for advertisers sooner or later.

Even so, cell app publishers could also be apprehensive about opening up their properties to sure sorts of monetization. In explicit, monetizing with advertisements may be worrisome what with the rise of advert blockers. However, when it comes to native cell apps, you don’t have to fear about advert blockers as they don’t work inside them.

So, for those who’re hoping to seize as a lot income as attainable from a cell app (with out Google or Apple taking a share of the reduce), and also you don’t need to fear about shoppers utilizing ad-blocking know-how to conceal your monetization efforts, cell promoting is a good answer. This is particularly the case for those who can capitalize on the steadily rising video pattern.

Of course, advertisements aren’t the one sort of monetization try to be . As customers spend extra time within apps, there’s the potential for advert blindness that many publishers have seen on desktop. There’s additionally the extreme quantities of competitors accessible in app shops, which could current unobtrusive and ad-free cell app experiences that counter your personal.

So, what precisely does the longer term maintain for cell app monetization?

Pavel Golubev believes that the promoting taking part in floor goes to change into extra equalized:

“We believe that parallel bidding technology is the next big thing in mobile in-app advertising. Unlike the models that were widely used before, where the waterfall requests are sent consecutively to ad demand sources, one by one, Parallel Bidding sends the ad requests to the ad demand sources simultaneously. An OpenRTB auction then takes place on the ad mediator’s server side.”

There are some who predict that information app subscriptions will change into much more fashionable and generally accepted by readers sooner or later.

There are these like Richard Fletcher of the Reuters Institute who take a look at the present pattern of extra individuals paying for digital information protection as an indication that freemium content material is the way in which to go.

Then there are others like Nikolay Malyarov who consider that, within the present politically charged surroundings, information apps are allowed to get away with paid subscriptions as a result of customers are extremely motivated to get information any method they will.

At the tip of the day, it comes down to creating good content material. If you have got a information app and consider {that a} monetization technique like subscriptions is sensible for what you are promoting mannequin, then it’s best to go for it. However, the main target at all times wants to be on the content material first. Never let that be drowned out by your need to earn cash and to discover quick and straightforward methods to do it.

People aren’t coming to your cell apps as a result of they like watching advertisements or being given particular entry to paid content material. They’re there as a result of your content material is one thing they need to learn or view! If they’re pleased with that have, solely then will they determine that paying you (with their cash or time) is price it.

Wrapping Up

You wished to understand how to monetize an app, and it’s clear you have got a number of choices. Paid apps vs. free apps are simply the tip of the iceberg.

With nearly all of cell apps permitting without cost entry, it’s in-app monetization strategies like in-app purchases, freemium content material, and advertisements which have confirmed extremely efficient for publishers (particularly when an app is model new).

With the help of cell advert suppliers like Google’s AdMob and Google Ad Manager, in addition to contributions from Facebook and Twitter, promoting is straightforward for cell app publishers. And, when the correct sorts of advertisements, from the correct advertisers, are positioned in your app, you may see an amazing ROI from them.

If you’re wanting to get began with monetizing your app with advertisements, make sure to try one of many cell advert suppliers we mentioned above:

And for those who’re searching for methods to market your app, try Mobile App Marketing in 10 Steps subsequent.

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