Everything You Need to Know About Making Money with Apps



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Apps are the way of the future, especially since more people than ever before use mobile devices more than they use desktop computers. In truth, you can make an app for almost anything, which means you can also make some money if the app is valuable or provides real services for its users.

Not sure how to make money with apps that you design and build? Let’s break down some of the best ways you can generate revenue through your mobile platform now.


Free vs. Paid App Monetization Methods

Making an app can be an intense and expensive prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t know how to create an app you can always get the help of app development platforms. They can make your vision come to fruition fairly simply and your app will be live in no time.

But, while working with these platforms, you’ll face a lot of questions about the app’s development goals and end-users. Sooner or later, you’ll face a big question: will the app be free or paid?

This isn’t a question with a cut and dry answer. It might be tempting to go with a paid app to recoup the initial costs of app development, however it’s not necessarily more profitable to make a paid app. In fact, statistics show that free mobile apps are downloaded more commonly than paid apps, indicating that free apps may provide access to a wider array of paying customers.

With that said, there are moneymaking strategies you can pursue both for paid and free apps.


Paid App Monetization Methods


Paid apps are great platforms for ads but you have to be careful not to irritate your user base. Many people purchase apps expecting them to be ad-free by default, so be sure that ads are understood to be a part of the purchase your customers are making, or make your ads relatively unobtrusive or skillfully woven into the actual product so they aren’t annoying.

Single-Payment Purchase

Of course, paid apps can also help you make money by requiring a single purchase at download. Whether or not a single payment purchase will fit with your app’s development goals and overall user base is dependent on what the app is supposed to provide for those users.


A much more common moneymaking tactic is the subscription model. Most paid apps these days start off free with a trial arrangement, then eventually require users to pay regular monthly subscriptions if they want to keep using the app’s feature set.

This extends to games, fitness apps, communication apps, and more. However, you’ll need to be careful that your subscription price isn’t seen as exorbitant or unfair. People have to feel like they’re getting a deal by paying for a regular subscription for them to download your app in the first place.


Free App Monetization


As with paid apps, you can add advertisements to any free apps that you develop. Unlike with paid apps, though, people expect ads to be a part of any free app package as the exchange for not having to spend a penny, at least initially.

Therefore, you can be a little more aggressive with your ad campaigns when trying to make money with a free app. Advertisers are always looking for new free apps on which they can place their ad campaigns because they know that mobile marketing can be extremely profitable when done right. All in all, your advertising should be targeted and any ads carefully placed to draw in as many users as possible for your ad partners.

In-App Purchases/Unlocks

Many free apps also draw in revenue by offering various in-app purchases or unlocks. Some of the best examples of this are game unlocks for mobile entertainment apps.

For example, many mobile games have artificial barriers in place that prevent free players from progressing to their end or at least making them progress slowly compared to players who pay in-app. This is a great source of profits if you can design a fun app with logical price gates that don’t seem unfair or unbalanced.

In-app unlocks might also work for general app features depending on what exactly your app is designed to do. Many people may even prefer this payment method since it allows them to purchase only what they’ll need instead of having to buy features of your app that they would never touch otherwise. 

Transaction Fees

If your app is based on some sort of financial services, such as stock trading or banking, you might be able to add a transaction fee arrangement to your platform. Transaction fees are small charges that people accept in order to use your platform or service for overall low costs.


Lastly, you might consider looking into merchandising arrangements. Merchandise can extend to everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs to other memorabilia or trinkets. It’s a great moneymaking strategy if your app is primarily for entertainment and you have already built a solid brand around your business.


Extra Money-Making Strategies


If you own your app, you might be able to find a sponsor who is looking to capture the same target market. Sponsorship involves either your app or the competitor app joining brands and one brand going under the other’s greater business, helping both app owners to corner the same market without lowering profits through close competition.

Note that this moneymaking strategy will require you or your competitor brand to change certain aspects of your app’s identity and aesthetics, such as its logo and/or features.

Affiliate Marketing

One other good moneymaking strategy is affiliate marketing. In a nutshell, your app provides value and you offer some amount of revenue from any purchases should your customers come from affiliate marketing sources, like bloggers, and content creators.

With this revenue model, mobile advertisers own the apps or platforms in question and affiliates carry out advertising on their behalf, such as weaving affiliate links through WordPress blog posts or other marketing or content creation methods.



As you can see, the sky is the limit when it comes to finding ways to make money with apps. The only thing that might limit you is your imagination.

Your best bet is to think hard about what your app provides to your target users and determine how you can make money off of your target audience in the most efficient and sustainable way. You don’t want to turn off your target audience through obnoxious advertisements or high initial costs, for instance.

Try any of the strategies above to find the perfect moneymaking methods for your app and hopefully you’ll see great success.



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