Key Points

  • As an app developer, you can monetize your mobile app in a variety of ways.
  • Subscriptions, paid downloads, and in-app sales are a few of the most common app monetization methods.
  • The most common - and most profitable - way to monetize an app, especially a free app, is through in-app ads.

Mobile app revenue approached $600 billion in 2020. Most apps are free to download, so it's safe to assume that a large portion of that revenue came from in-app ads. It's also safe to assume that mobile app ad revenue will continue to climb as smartphones become more common and people spend more time using them each day.

It's not hard to see the revenue potential in in-app advertising. What may be more difficult for some publishers is getting from Point A (wanting to sell in-app ad inventory) to Point B (actually getting ads on your app in a profitable way).



To help app publishers get started on their in-app ad monetization journey, our team of in-app ad revenue experts put together a brief guide, which includes 6 of the best ways to monetize your app with ads including:

  • Mobile banner ads
  • Native ads
  • Interstitial ads
  • Rewarded video ads
  • Gamified ads
  • Removing ads from your app (for a small premium)

Read on to learn more, or contact the team to discuss your app revenue or app monetization strategy.

Want to learn everything you need to know about monetizing apps? Download Playwire’s Complete Guide to App Monetization for Publishers.

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App Monetization Guide

Read The Complete Guide to App Monetization for Publishers.

Mobile Banner Ads

If you've used the internet in the past quarter century, you've seen these before. Banner ads commonly appear in headers, footers, and sidebars on desktop websites. In apps, publishers designate areas where ad servers can place a banner ad, taking care to place them in visible spots that won't detract from the user experience (UX).

Native Ads Inside Your App

Native ads are meant to match the look and feel of your app. In a news app, for example, a native ad may look like another news story, but it's actually ad content from an advertiser. These ads are often marked with a "sponsored" tag or similar descriptor.

Interstitial Ads Between App Use Phases

Publishers who would prefer to not have ads visible alongside their app's content might find interstitial ads appealing. These ads cover the entire screen, so they're highly visible, but they only appear in between phases of the app's use. For example, in a mobile gaming app, an interstitial ad could appear to the app user before a game starts, between levels, or after a game ends.


Rewarding App Users Who View an Ad

When they're done right, rewarded video ads can be an effective mobile app monetization strategy that can seriously boost ad metrics like video ad completion rate. That's because an app user will get something in exchange for viewing the video ad. Often, the reward is in-app currency, points, extra lives, or exclusive items to use inside a mobile game.


Gamified In-App Ads

Playable mobile ads are a premium in-app ad offering you can only get with high-end ad partners. Put simply, a gamified mobile ad is a mini-game advertising something else - most often a mobile gaming app. This ad format works especially well in the app world because the vast majority of in-app ads are advertising other apps.


Removing Ads from Your App

This in-app ad monetization strategy works alongside any of the above advertising methods. Here's the basic idea: you have ads on your app, but you offer a premium feature where app users that are willing to pay a one-time or recurring fee, through an in-app purchase, can have an ad-free experience. Many users may be willing to pay to not see ads while using your app, but those who aren't will still bring revenue through your other app advertising efforts.

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The Complete Guide to Ad Monetization

Read the Complete Guide to Ad Monetization.

How to Run Ads Inside Your App

The above app advertising strategies are exciting, but how do you actually get ads on your app and make money from them? Even in the technology-first world of mobile apps, it is still possible - and sometimes beneficial - to do direct ad sales with a traditional sales team. These are the insertion order (IO) buys many publishers are used to.

However, if you plan to scale up and don't want to rely solely on direct sales, you need to consider programmatic advertising as part of your mobile app monetization strategy. The vast majority of digital ad dollars in the United States go through programmatic deals.

Programmatic advertising is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of digitized and automated ad sales, including standard programmatic, programmatic guaranteed, programmatic preferred, private marketplaces, and open exchanges.

Implementing a programmatic ad sales strategy for your mobile app is a complicated and in-depth process (if you want to do it right). You'll need to incorporate multiple software development kits (SDKs) for each mediation partner you want to include.

This can become a rather large effort, depending on the number of partners you want competing for your inventory. Choosing a monetization partner like Playwire allows you access to all partners in a single SDK integration, increases the competition between partners, and ultimately improves your yield.

Additional App Monetization Strategies

Keep in mind that ads are not the only mobile app monetization method. 

Some additional mobile app monetization methods include:

  1. Paid App: Monetizing Your App with a Download Fee
  2. App Subscription Model to Bring in Consistent Revenue
  3. Flexible App Monetization with 'Freemium'
  4. Affiliate Marketing for Your App
  5. Monetizing Through In-App Purchases
  6. App Data Monetization
  7. App Transaction Fees

Rev Up Your Mobile App’s Advertising Revenue with Playwire

At Playwire, we spend a lot of time - some might say too much time - thinking about how to bring in more revenue for app publishers. It's a huge part of what we do, and we're ready to make more in-app ad revenue a reality for you in 2021.

To get started with app monetization via ads, reach out to Playwire. Give us a call at 1-561-206-4621 or contact us online.

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