Key Points

  • There is more than one way to monetize an app with advertising.
  • Each ad revenue model brings its own pros and cons for publishers.
  • Finding the right ad revenue model for your app is key to maximizing your revenue.

App publishers have engineered at least a dozen ways to monetize their apps. One of the most fruitful methods is in-app advertising. It's a tried and true app monetization model that naturally extends to mobile apps.

However, you can do in-app advertising a lot of different ways, with some of the methods being so distinct that they qualify as entirely unique app revenue models. The approach you take will make an enormous impact on the amount of app revenue you bring in. In other words, it's important that you get it right.

We're here to help with that. Below, we explore five in-app advertising revenue models to consider for your mobile app monetization.

Need help identifying and deploying the best ad revenue model for your app? You're not alone, and help is just a click away. Contact Playwire right now.

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The Complete Guide to App Advertising

The Complete Guide to App Advertising

Pure In-App Advertising

This is the simplest and most straightforward in-app advertising revenue model. It's the one that stakes it all on ads alone. Your app should be free and contain no subscription charge in order to truly operate under a pure in-app advertising model.

Don't be afraid to experiment within this framework in terms of the types of ads you run and how often you run them. There's nothing wrong with display banners and basic pre-roll videos, but there is so much more out there. If you don't try it all, this revenue model can be somewhat limiting.

Rewarded Ads

Perhaps your app's user base is not so keen on the idea of you running traditional ads inside your app. Maybe you're even worried that you will lose a significant portion of your user base to a competitor because of the impact that advertising within your mobile app may have on your user experience.

The problem may not be ads in general. It may be the types of ads. In other words, maybe your users need to feel like they're getting something in return for viewing ads in your app.

There's a perfect ad unit for that: rewarded video. This ad format works perfectly for all kinds of apps, but it's particularly powerful for mobile app games. 

In-App-Rewarded-Ad (1)

Here's how it works: Users are offered a reward in return for watching an ad. They initiate said rewarded video ad by tapping a button to agree. They view the ad in its entirety and then get the reward in return. Usually, this reward is something like an additional life or premium item inside a game or a free premium article or video inside a content-based app.

Subscribe-to-Remove Advertising

If you're worried that part of your app user base simply won't want to continue using your app if you add ads, there's still hope. You can set up a hybrid subscription and advertising revenue model.

It's simple but effective: Your app is free to download and use, but it comes with ads. For users who would prefer not to have to deal with ads while using your app, they can become paid subscribers to enjoy an ad-free experience.

It's a win-win for publishers because you make money on each app user one way or another - as a sellable impression or as a subscriber.

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App Advertising Resource Center

The Complete App Advertising Resource Center

Freemium App Hybrid Model

This is a slight variation on the in-app advertising revenue model above: You offer an opportunity to remove ads by subscribing, but you sweeten the pot with a freemium model in which paid users enjoy no ads and additional features like access to premium content.


This one is perfect for apps whose users may need a little extra motivation to pay up to avoid ads.

Paid Download for No Ads

If you're not convinced you can get monthly or annual subscription fees out of your users but are still worried about forcing ads, consider this: You could offer a paid app with no ads and a free app with ads. 

That way, users can opt for the paid version and pay a single download fee in the app store to avoid ads rather than an ongoing subscription fee. Or they can get the free version and generate ad impressions for you. Another win-win.

Perfect Your In-App Advertising Revenue Model

The in-app advertising revenue model you start out with is not likely to be the one you settle on for good. That's because you have to continually test, tweak and rethink your approach to in-app advertising if you want to stay competitive and maximize your revenue.

For many publishers, it's exhausting. We get it, but it's not exhausting for us. It's what we do - what we've built an entire proprietary platform to do. And it works really, really well. The team of ad tech leaders at Playwire is ready to help you find and deploy the perfect in-app advertising revenue model for your app.

When you're ready to get this right, reach out to us. Contact Playwire online today.

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