Earning money from mobile applications: understanding the intricacies

Earning money from mobile applications: understanding the intricacies

Absolutely every person, regardless of what industry they work in or what production tasks they face on a daily basis, would not mind developing an additional source of income. And it doesn’t matter whether it is passive or active, the monthly receipt of a certain amount into the account — the cherished dream of many. And now we will dwell in more detail on such an issue as making money on mobile applications. In fact, not everything here is as complicated as it might seem at first glance.

As part of this review, we will consider all the key issues that are relevant to this topic. Let's talk about what monetization of applications is, how free software differs from paid ones. If interested, we suggest studying such an issue as monetization content traffic. Let's look at the main ways to make money from apps. Here are a number of unsuccessful implemented cases. The information presented will allow you to delve deeper into such an issue as making money from mobile applications and choose the most suitable solution for yourself.

Is it possible to make money on mobile applications

We decided to dwell on how much to earn from mobile applications at the very beginning of our review in order to interest you. So, many people today think that such a source of income is not suitable for them for only one reason: the whole process is lengthy, and in the end it may not justify itself. We will not argue that this is an outright fallacy and that this will not happen in reality. But let us immediately note that everything depends primarily on the application with which you plan to enter the market, as well as the correct approach to it.

So, today there are a huge number of completely free applications that remain in demand after many years of work on the market. Moreover, if we analyze the applications that are currently presented in the App Store, then all the software from the top 200 categories here generate income of about $90 million per day. A similar situation is also observed in Google Play.

This means that we can say with confidence that you can earn a considerable amount of money from applications designed for mobile devices.

Features of application monetization

The modern market offers quite a lot of strategies and methods for earning good money using mobile applications. It is a mistaken belief that you can only earn income from such products if the software itself is paid or if access to it can be obtained after depositing certain funds. But in reality, you can earn quite good amounts of money even on free applications. And the whole secret is in their monetization. Here is the answer to the question why free software is in the TOP search results.

The monetization process itself is not difficult. If you manage to create a product that will be useful for the target audience and will be in high demand among people, and will remain relevant for a long period of time, then you will receive a stable income from it. How effectively your app will make money depends on a number of key parameters:

  • Purpose of creation. Let us repeat that you can earn money only if your product is in demand among the audience, if they consistently use it. This means that you need to create software that will satisfy people’s needs and be simple and easy to use. The maximum material effect will be observed when the application is used constantly and at every opportunity. That is, it is important here to gather not just a target audience, but to get regular customers. And a similar trend will be observed in any of the niches. That is, the secret of success — This is a good idea plus professional implementation. Once you understand what direction you want to work in, you can easily choose the most effective monetization method.
  • Competitor analysis. Competition today exists in every market niche. And no matter what kind of application you created, how saturated your niche is, there will definitely be one that has a similar product. And if there is already similar software that users use in practice, you will have to put a lot of effort into proving that your solution has more advantages. That is, you must study the competitive market in detail, identify the strengths and weaknesses of third-party applications. It will also be important to eliminate identified problems in your own product. As a result, you can be sure that your application will be highly appreciated by the user audience and will be competitive. There is even a chance that users of third-party software will switch to yours if it is more convenient for them. That is, it is necessary to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of competitors and show that your product — better.
  • Portrait of the target audience. This aspect must be taken into account at the development stage. The mistake of many mobile application owners is that they simply create software without focusing on the people for whom it is being done. And it’s clearly not possible to make a big profit at the monetization stage of such a mobile application. Therefore, you first need to form a portrait of the target audience, identify what problems your product can solve, and then work on its creation. Relevant for both paid and free programs. By understanding your target audience, you can choose the most optimal monetization scheme that will give quick results and be easy to use.
  • Technologies used. The process of creating mobile applications and their subsequent support is quite complex and time-consuming. To ensure stability for users, it will be necessary to constantly launch updates and test performance. This means that the technology you choose to use in the application will have a direct impact on monetization.

So which mobile application should you launch in order to get the highest monetization: free or paid? Let's look at this issue in more detail.

Differences between free and paid applications

In absolutely any store for mobile applications, as well as in solutions developed specifically for personal computers, there are two main categories of software: free and paid. Already from the name one can judge that users can download and install it on their device without any material investment. That is, there will be no loading thresholds and associated obstacles.

Paid applications — This is a slightly different product, including from a monetization point of view. In this case, the owner of the software takes full control of the license. That is, those who would like to use his product will need to go through the payment processing platform and, accordingly, buy a license or deposit money and only then download the software. For the owner, every purchase — This is a guarantee of income. The owner decides independently what the amount will be in a particular case.

But here it is imperative to maintain a balance: too high a cost will lead to the fact that the product will become inaccessible to the majority of the user audience and, as a result, the profit from it will be minimal. In any case, monetization here will consist of a one-time, monthly or annual user fee. The appropriate option is selected individually depending on the characteristics of a particular product.

If we talk directly about monetization, then free software has much more opportunities. In addition, for the most part, such products are easier to develop. They require less time and effort to start. But if we talk directly about the number of such solutions presented in stores today, then there are much more of them. Users download them much more often than paid ones. As a result, we get that free software brings much more profit to its owners than paid counterparts, no matter how contradictory this may sound. And this is confirmed by statistics obtained from Google Play: 98% of global revenue from mobile applications comes directly from free solutions.

Monetization options for free mobile applications

If we talk about paid sofas, then there are only two possible ways of monetization: directly paying for the download or paying a monthly or, as an option, an annual subscription fee. But there are many more options for making money on free mobile sofas than there might be:

  1. Start advertising.
  2. In-app purchases
  3. Subscription.
  4. Sponsorship.
  5. Affiliate programs.
  6. Sale of goods.
  7. Collective financing.

Now let's look at each of these options in more detail. The information presented will help you navigate possible monetization schemes and choose the one that will be most effective in your case.

How advertising works in applications

One of the most common methods of monetization, which is actively used in practice today in combination with free applications — This is advertising within applications. Most users clearly understand that they use the software for free, which means they should somehow thank the developers. And watching advertisements — this is the simplest thing they can do.

In this case, payment will be calculated depending on how many impressions were implemented and how many potential clients the advertiser managed to attract. In the latter case, the number of transitions made through a particular advertisement is counted. And in this case, you need not to overdo it, otherwise your audience will simply leave: few people will be willing to spend most of their time watching ads rather than working with your application. In addition, it is advisable to select advertising more carefully. So that it at least partially coincides with the theme of your application and, as a result, could interest people.

Advertising in applications can be displayed in different shapes, sizes and is mainly implemented through the software interface. Today, when monetizing free slots, three types of advertising are actively used:

  1. Banner. In this case, a banner is placed on the screen, which users who want to make the transition will click on. You can place it anywhere on the screen. The main thing is to make it clearly visible to users, but not to close the main functionality of your software. Banner advertising — This is a great option for those who are just starting to work with mobile applications and are thinking about monetizing them. Everything here is quite simple, transparent and logical. In addition, no special knowledge is required here in order to put everything into practice.
  2. Native advertising. In this case, we are talking about unobtrusive and almost imperceptible advertising of a particular product. Unlike a banner, it will be practically invisible, more aesthetically pleasing, which means that it will not cause irritation or dissatisfaction among the user audience. Moreover, it can be easily integrated into the application interface due to the use of the same type of design, similar properties and characteristics. This solution has proven to work well in practice when working with applications related to books, news, culinary education, etc.
  3. Interstitial advertising. These are a kind of interstitial ads that will appear in full screen for a certain period of time. In this case, the application itself will be in standby mode. If desired, the user can close such advertising by clicking on the appropriate button. In order for a person to view as much information as possible, very often such buttons are made almost invisible. Often a light cross is used, which is placed on an equally light background. It turns out that until the user understands where he needs to click to close the ad, he will literally watch it to the end. In practice, this solution is implemented in the case where the application requires a wait time at one or another time interval. But still, it is also important not to overdo it, because otherwise users will be annoyed and will stop using even good applications if it turns out to be not very convenient for them.

In-app purchases

In this case, we are talking about integrating purchases of a particular product or service inside the application. That is, in this case, the application itself is free, but in the future it will encourage the user to place an order. One of the most common solutions here — This is the provision of paid unlocks of any items. In practice, it is most often implemented in gaming sofas. So, in order to take advantage of this or that artifact, bonus, or additional lives, you will need to deposit a certain amount.

That is, there is no open call to make a particular purchase. The user downloads the free application and works with it for as long as he needs it. But if he still decides to expand his functionality and improve interaction with the software, he can purchase certain options. As practice shows, today over 50% of all applications existing on the market are equipped with in-app purchases, which have a direct impact on application monetization. The software may offer to purchase not only certain items, game artifacts, but also content. Alternatively, it could be music, photographs, some kind of training programs, recipes and much more.


Subscription model — it's sort of a win-win deal for each of the parties involved. That is, you, as a software developer, receive a certain amount for using your development, while the user pays money for the goods, information, and support he needs. In this case, payment can be made either for one-time access or involve monthly or annual deposits.

In practice, such a solution can be called one of the most effective, since in this case there is no deception or concealment of data. The user understands what he is paying money for. He does this quite consciously and without any pressure. Paid subscription in free applications is most widely used in the field of cloud services, provision of audio and video content, etc. Today it is implemented on such large-scale platforms as YouTube, Netflix, Apple Music, Spotify. Need to save money – use the free version, and if you are looking for advanced functionality, then pay.

It turns out that initially you are offering a free version, perhaps even with advertising, with limited functionality. And then you offer to use a more advanced and easy-to-use solution for a fee. Users will find such a solution convenient, if only because they can initially evaluate the product itself, understand whether they need it in their work, and then, even if they pay money, it will be for their benefit.


Sponsorship — a fairly effective strategy that, among other things, can also be used to monetize applications. You, as a software developer, can find someone who will support your product financially. Often, this will be an individual or legal entity that works in the same niche as you. That is, he will be interested in launching this software and somehow making a profit from it in the future.

To use this method, you will need to look for a sponsor who already has an audience. To do this, make a list of all companies operating in your niche, identify those that can potentially earn income from your products, and only then send out offers of cooperation. You must understand that if the other party does not see the benefits of cooperation with you, he will under no circumstances agree to act as your sponsor. One of the monetization options would be to place advertisements for sponsoring companies, adding brand name directly to the application interface or providing exclusive features, but without violating user rights.

Today, this method of monetizing free applications is not in particularly high demand, but, nevertheless, if organized correctly, it can turn out to be quite profitable.

Launch an affiliate program

This is another fairly new area in the field of monetization of free mobile applications, which involves the implementation of an affiliate marketing program in practice. In this case, it is assumed to attract a user audience using affiliate schemes. That is, your partners can provide you with all possible assistance in promoting the software and increasing sales. As a result, you increase income from your development with minimal material costs.

For the most part, the return will involve the placement of advertising in your software, the payment of commissions for achieving a particular goal within a pre-agreed period of time.

In implementation, this solution is quite simple. You, as the owner of the resource, will provide appropriate links, incentives, and various support tools to your partners. This is exactly what will allow them to sell your product as effectively as possible. In practice, this solution shows quite an impressive effect, including material. And what is important, all this without stress, any kind of deception, or concealment of this or that information: your partners voluntarily agree to cooperate. They undertake to promote and promote your application in any way convenient for them. For you, as a software developer, such a solution does not carry any risks. You will not have to pay your partners until they fully fulfill their obligations.

Selling goods

In this case, we are talking about creating a free application in order to sell other goods or services in it. In practice, this solution is very often used by brands that supply clothing, accessories, and beauty and health products to the market. That is, in this case, the products are used directly to promote the business and the main income is built on it. Unlike in-app purchases, which we talked about above, here you already provide customers with real, rather than virtual, products.

Such monetization will be optimal for those who create e-commerce applications. That is, you can immediately sell your goods or services using it. In turn, the same branded clothing, household items, souvenirs, on the contrary, will promote your software. This method will work most effectively when you create your own branded products.

But, you need to understand that the sale of goods will directly depend on what category of business your application will belong to, and how correct the strategy you will develop in a particular case. The main difficulty is that you will need to integrate your own software into your business and vice versa. These are absolutely interconnected things. Here you will need to think through to the smallest detail the placement of payment links, adding various online reviews, the possibility of push notifications, event calendars and many other solutions.

But we would like to immediately draw your attention to the fact that there is nothing complicated about this method of monetizing applications. The only thing is that the implementation of the idea should be approached as comprehensively and professionally as possible.

Collective financing

Collective financing, or as it is often called crowdfunding, is often associated with any donations to people in need, medical institutions, animal rights activists, environmental activists and similar categories of people. But today this solution has become broader, in particular, it can be safely used as an advanced method of monetizing mobile applications.

In this case, crowdfunding — this is one of the types of collecting money for the development of this or that software. You can already use existing specialized platforms, such as Patreon, GoFundMe, Chuffed, in order to collect voluntary donations. But recently, software developers have improved crowdfunding somewhat. In particular, they are no longer raising funds through platforms, but using their application. That is, separate software is created for an organization that is looking for funding and donations. It can be used by anyone who would like to donate a certain amount of money to a good cause. A similar solution can often be found in practice today in small businesses. These are mainly companies that are starting to develop in the market and need additional financial influence.

To implement this idea, links for quick actions are used, contact information, various multimedia files, and photo galleries are added to the application. It will also be possible to include PDF files and RSS feeds, which will greatly simplify the use of the product for those who decide to make a charitable contribution.

To summarize

That is, there are a lot of options for monetizing applications today. But in any case, the success of your idea and your level of income will depend on how successful the idea of the application itself turns out to be and how professionally you implement it all. Alas, the idea does not always pay off in practice. And as an example, here are a few not very successful applications:

  1. DotaScope. This was a kind of software that predicted the results of Dota-2 matches based on the zodiac signs of a particular user. But as it turned out, such predictions were completely random and had nothing to do with reality. This was most likely an entertainment project. But the author’s idea did not work, and during the time the application was in the public domain, only a couple of people downloaded it and the income here did not even reach $1. Players preferred to rely on their own experience and knowledge rather than on incomprehensible horoscopes.
  2. Coronavirus statistics. At one time, this solution should have become extremely popular. And indeed, at first, just within just a couple of days of being available on the Play Market, the application received an impressive surge in user audience. Initially, dozens of people downloaded it in an hour, but after the developer began to incorporate official data from Johns Hopkins University into the application, the user audience increased significantly: over 50,000 people downloaded the software in two weeks. There was also high activity in the reviews: more than 500 of them managed to gather in such a short period of time. And all the success here was hidden precisely in the topical topic. Here the author earned over $800. But his level of income could have been much more significant if Google had not decided to ignore this topic and blocked all those applications that were devoted to statistics on coronavirus and related issues. And literally immediately after this, the demand for software “went into the negative” and this development did not have a future.
  3. Image-based translator application. We would like to immediately draw your attention to the fact that all applications related to the translation of text content and audio files are in extremely high demand today in the same Google Play Market or Apple Store. That is, it is already clear from the very beginning that the level of competition here will be very, very high. But according to the authors of the idea, the fact that the translated words and phrases would be supplemented with graphic accompaniment should have been of interest to the audience. But again, this idea did not work: in the few months that the application was presented on the market, several hundred users used it, several reviews were left, and the income level did not even reach $10.
  4. Kinotus. This application was intended to become an analogue of the famous Shazam, but not in music, but when working with films. That is, it was able to recognize films by frames. Perhaps the idea would have given a good result if the author had not initially decided to make the use paid. Yes, the amount was minimal, only 5 cents for one answer, but, nevertheless, the very need to deposit money pushed people away. The developers' income in this case also amounted to only a few dollars.
  5. iTester. This application — These are tests on popular programming languages. At the time of launch, such solutions were not yet popular on the Play Market, which gave the developer a chance for success. But again, the author found himself at a loss due to the fact that he simply did not calculate his own strength. It was not enough to create a product; it was necessary to pay due attention to its support. In particular, those questions that he initially uploaded there very quickly lost their relevance; they needed to be replenished with more modern solutions. As a result, although the idea was good, the implementation suffered.

Why are we all this? Moreover, there will always be enough enthusiasts who will continue to work on creating certain mobile applications. But one idea won't get you far. If you want to receive a truly stable income from your developments, if you want your idea to be useful to the audience and highly appreciated, you need to create something valuable and high quality. And significant assistance in this will be provided by mobile proxies, in particular from the MobileProxy.Space service.

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