App Monetisation — Make More Money from a Free Mobile App

Recent estimates have projected that global mobile app downloads will reach nearly 240 billion while revenues will hit 100 billion by the year 2021.

According to a new report, App Store and Play Store have both reached record levels of worldwide downloads and consumer traffic. Both put together, the number of mobile app downloads have reached nearly 26 billion worldwide, growing by almost 8% each year. Moreover, app revenue has skyrocketed to nearly $17 billion with a year on year growth of 28%.

In this article, we’ll explain 5 widely used and emerging monetisation strategies to drive in-app revenues and capture a slice of this huge market.

1. In-app purchases

This method is commonly implemented in gaming apps, freemium or utility apps.

While the app is available for free download, users are given the option to purchase virtual or physical products, or pay to use some service within the app itself.

In-app purchases have also been implemented by shopping and e-commerce apps. For example, Madrasi Dabba developed by WTA Studios is a food ordering app, also integrated with a payment gateway for in app payments.

2. Subscriptions

With subscription based apps, users can try out the app with limited access, but are required to subscribe to access exclusive content or obtain unlimited usage.

Video streaming apps like Netflix have implemented this model, providing subscribers with access to unlimited TV shows and movies.

This method has become an increasingly popular monetisation method with many apps like Tinder and Spotify successfully using the subscription model.

3. Ads

Ads are one of the most common mobile app monetisation strategies that have been implemented in free or freemium apps.

Banner Ads, Interstitial Ads and Native Ads

Here’s an overview of different types of mobile ads we come across:

  • Banner Ads: This is one of the oldest ad format available for app monetisation. Although It is easy to implement and widely used in many mobile and web apps, banner ads have garnered a bad name for being intrusive, poorly designed and unengaging.
  • Interstitial Ads: These are interactive ads displayed across the entire screen, often during key moments of navigation, like launching the app, or in between game levels.
  • Video Ads: Video ads are implemented in natural pauses during app navigation and typically last between 15 to 30 seconds. With rewarded videos, users receive in-app rewards in exchange for watching the complete video.
  • Native Ads: Native ads are ads that match the surrounding app content. These ads fit seamlessly with the in-page content, look and feel, and garner better results compared to traditional formats.

4. Freemium

Tinder provides a special feature Tinder Plus for a special subscription

The freemium model offers both free and premium access: users gain access to a select few features, while exclusive content or additional features are available with a one-off fees or on subscription basis.

5. Virtual Currency

This revenue model is widely used in gaming apps. The idea behind this is to offer a currency that can be earned by more game time, unlocking special achievements or through purchases. The players then utilize the earned currency to unlock more features or items of their choice. Clash of Clans is a very popular game which uses this monetisation method.


If you are in the midst of figuring out your monetisation strategy, consider implementing a mix of these models. Choose the ones that best suit your product.
Make sure your strategies are aligned with key emerging trends and maintain a balance between money-making and the app experience altogether.




A Product Design & Software Development Company

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

International SAP Conference for Oil and Gas 2018 Highlights

How can peer-to-peer lending financial intermediaries help small-scale farmers and promote…

Google serach

Coca-Cola ™ Market Analysis

Fintech opportunities for 2021

To Act or Not To Act: A Regulator’s Question

Tempurpedic is among the Market Leader in Making High QualityMattress

5 Key Takeaways From Twitter & Square CEO Jack Dorsey

August 24: The history of Amazon (part 2 of 5)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


A Product Design & Software Development Company

More from Medium

Choosing The Right Domain For Your Business

Case Study — A Review Apple’s Tim Cook Strategy That Has Delivered Results.

Get Your First Client Without Spending a Single Dollar

Get Your First Client Without Spending a Single Dollar

Our secret to building a software business from 0 to profitable (and getting married with my…