App monetization: 3 best ways

While the world of mobile marketing is developing, some basics still help mobile developers monetize their apps and achieve their income. In general, app monetization is a key to success, leading to all the efforts and investments to be paid for. Understanding the fundamentals and implementing the right strategies can significantly impact an app’s financial performance and sustainability.

Before we come closer to the main monetization models, let’s have a closer look at how to ensure that your efforts will work and that your chosen strategy will give the desired results exactly for your app. 

  • Analyze your Audience 

One of the most important factors influencing your choice of monetization model is of course the target audience understanding. Knowing your users, how they behave in the store, and making the decisions about app downloads or app purchases will show you the way to the right strategy. For example, if to talk in general, for games it is better to choose rewarded ads or in-app purchases, while for some tool apps, it is more appropriate to work with one-time purchase or subscription models. Conducting user research, analyzing in-app behavior, and gathering feedback can provide valuable insights that help tailor your monetization approach to meet user expectations and preferences.

  • User Experience is a MUST

Remember, no matter which monetization model you choose, you must work with the app the way to meet user expectations, as anyway aggressive ads, for example, may lead to the increase of deletion rate lowering the user satisfaction rate considerably. While trying to create the monetization strategy, make sure you maintain the balance between monetization and user experience. For example, if you choose the rewarded video ads, make sure that they won’t be shown each time before the user completes the level, etc. 

  • Data-Driven Decision

It is essential to utilize data analytics to enhance your monetization strategy. By examining user data, you can determine the most efficient monetization techniques and areas that may require modification. User retention rates and lifetime value are important metrics that offer insights into the financial performance of your app and assist in making well-informed decisions. Keeping a close watch on these metrics and analyzing them regularly enables you to adjust your strategy according to evolving user behaviors and market trends.

And finally, let’s get back to the most popular and effective ways of app monetization that can help you to optimize your strategy and increase your income.

Paid Apps

This strategy is the most obvious and straightforward way of monetization, although that’s needed to be sure that the app has a chance to bring income using a paid model. If you choose this way, the app must offer some unique features that users are ready to pay for and that cannot be received with other apps on a free basis. Here are some factors to consider before creating of paid monetization model: 

  • Unique Features: Ensure your app offers unique functionalities that are not easily available in free alternatives. 
  • High-Quality Content: Provide premium content or high-quality resources that justify the cost.
  • Superior User Experience: Deliver an exceptional user experience with no ads and seamless performance.

Free Trial

A free trial period is one of two options helping to show all the app value to the potential users before they make a purchase. Usually free trial is provided for a particular period, from a couple of days to 1 month depending on the developer’s decision. Such an option helps to emphasize all the app’s advantages and functionality increasing the likelihood of users proceeding with a purchase. In such a way, you do not ask to buy at once, but firstly you show how useful the application may be for potential users. Examples of apps offering a free trial period are Spotify, Calm, Youtube

Freemium Version

A freemium version of your app can attract users who hesitate to pay at once after downloading. This version should include basic functionalities and provide a taste of what the full version offers. The main difference between free trial and freemium is that freemium apps offer a basic version for free with limited features, and users can pay to access premium features or remove restrictions. This model aims to attract a large user base with the free offering and convert a percentage of these users to paying customers. Examples of apps are LinkedIn, GetContact, Tinder, etc.

In-App Purchases

In-app purchases are one of the most popular strategies of monetization that allow users to buy some additional features, content, or items within the app itself. This model is considered to be the most efficient and profitable as the user has full access to the app and its features that increase the conversion rate and at the same time, the user can decide if to pay in the app for the features they need. 

In-app purchases have a lot of advantages in-app monetization as they can provide a stable increase in income, especially when they are combined with a free app model. At the same time, using this model gives the user the possibility to choose on their own to use or not particular features and such a strategy won’t lead to a high deletion rate as with free trial and freemium models which at the first stage can be destructive due to the need of deposit. Also offering subscriptions can increase the retention rate as well by providing ongoing value and incentives to remain subscribed.

There are 3 main models to implement in-app purchases for application monetization:

1. Consumable

Consumables are user purchases that can be done once and should be renewed if a user would like to get the feature or item inside the app again. In general, this model is usually used in games allowing users to buy particular items to complete the level, have more lives to extend the game time, etc.

 2. Non-consumable

Once a non-consumable purchase is made by a user, it remains permanently available to them and does not expire over time or with use. Non-consumable purchases typically include premium features. As an example, there are additional editing filters in a photo app that remain accessible forever after purchase.

3. Subscriptions

This model is based on recurring payments for ongoing access to content or premium features. Subscriptions can be weekly, monthly, or yearly and are particularly effective for apps offering continuous value, like media streaming or productivity tools. There are 2 types of subscriptions: auto-renewable and non-renewing. With auto-renewable subscriptions, the user is charged automatically every pay period, while with non-renewing users have access to additional content only for a fixed or limited period and need to renew the subscription on their own.

In-App Advertising

Being one of the most popular ways of monetization, in-app advertising is mostly used in free apps.

There are several types of in-app ads you can consider:

  • Banner Ads, which can be a bit obtrusive, are typically seen at the top or bottom of the screen but are easy to implement and can create a consistent source of income. A prime example of this is the game Angry Birds, which displays banner ads at the screen’s bottom during gameplay.
  • Interstitial Ads, which have higher click-through rates than banner ads, show full-screen ads at natural transition points within the app, such as between game levels. Candy Crush Saga is an example of a game that displays these interstitial ads between levels.
  • Rewarded Video Ads involve users willingly watching video ads in return for in-app benefits like virtual currency or additional lives in a game, thereby boosting user engagement while also generating revenue. Temple Run 2 is a perfect illustration of this, as players can view ads to acquire in-game currency.
  • Native Ads, which blend in seamlessly with the app’s content for a less disruptive user experience, match the app’s look and feel. An application like Flipboard integrates native ads that harmonize with its content for example.


Monetizing an app is a crucial and complicated part of developing mobile apps. To build a successful and profitable business model, it is important to know your target audience, focus on enhancing user experience, base decisions on data, explore different ways to generate revenue, and constantly enhance your app. These key principles continue to be important as the mobile marketing industry changes, ensuring that your hard work and investments result in good profits.

My way in keywords promotion and ASO started more than 3 years ago. At this stage I work closely with different app categories and have an experience in keywords promotion both of Android and iOS apps.
Share article or save the link to read it later.