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For publishers, apps serve two key purposes: to get your content in front of more people and to bring in revenue. Most publishers have that first part down - it’s the app monetization that’s the tricky part.

Your app can bring in revenue in dozens of ways, but which of these app monetization strategies best fits your content, your audience and your needs? Discovering the right combination is one part trial and error and one part research. 

In this post, the app monetization team at Playwire helps with the research part.

These eight mobile app monetization methods can help maximize your app revenue:

  1. Monetizing Your App with a Download Fee
  2. App Subscription Model to Bring in Consistent Revenue
  3. Flexible App Monetization with ‘Freemium’
  4. In-App Ads to Leverage Your User Base
  5. Affiliate Marketing for Your App
  6. Monetizing Through In-App Purchases
  7. App Data Monetization
  8. App Transaction Fees
  9. Partner with Expert App Monetization Strategists

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Want to learn even more? Read the guide to learn everything there is to know about monetizing your app

Monetizing Your App with a Download Fee

For many publishers who are new to the mobile app space, charging a fee to download the app in Apple or Android app stores is the first mobile app monetization strategy they consider. This strategy can bring in substantial revenue - but only if you provide content that brings a lot of value to the end-user. Unless your content is difficult to find anywhere else, savvy users are more likely to find the content elsewhere than to pay for it inside an app store.

For some publishers, however, this is the route to go. In particular, apps that offer a unique gaming experience or some kind of utility on the smartphone or tablet benefit from this monetization method. Still, the number of publishers charging money to download their apps is relatively low. As of March 2021, 92.9% of apps in the iOS store and 96.7% in the Google Play store were completely free to download.

App Subscription Model to Bring in Consistent Revenue

Perhaps you don’t want to charge users to download your app but would prefer to charge them a monthly or annual fee to use it. This is the subscription model. And it’s a popular mobile app monetization strategy.

That popularity is evidenced by the sheer amount of revenue the subscription model generates for an app publisher. In 2020, app revenue from subscriptions grew to $13 billion. And among the top 250 apps that were not games, subscription fees accounted for 97% of consumer spend inside apps in 2019.

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Chess.com | Ad Monetization Case Study

Flexible App Monetization with ‘Freemium’

The so-called “freemium” monetization strategy blends aspects of a paid app and subscription with other strategies, such as in-app advertisements. With the freemium model, you offer some of the features or content of your app for free but charge either a one-time fee or a recurring subscription to users who want the full experience. 

One common example of the freemium app monetization strategy is offering your app for free download but charging a fee inside the app to users who would like to use the app without having to see ads.

In-App Ads to Leverage Your User Base

Placing ads inside your app is often the fastest and most effective way to monetize it. The mobile app format can accommodate all kinds of ad formats, from banner, native and video ads to rewarded, interstitial and gamified ads. 

Playwire specializes in ad revenue amplification. Learn more about our App Revenue Amplification Managed by Professionals platform.

Affiliate Marketing for Your App

What if you could use your app to convince your app user to download other apps or buy products? That’s the basic point of affiliate marketing, and it’s a popular app monetization strategy. In the mobile app world, you can do affiliate marketing in two main ways:

  • Partner with companies to sell their products. Many companies have affiliate programs that allow you to insert specialized links in your content or ads. When your users click those links, land on the company’s website and buy something, you get a cut.
  • Use affiliate ads to convince users to download other apps. The Apple, Google and Windows app stores all offer affiliate programs that track when someone leaves your app after seeing an ad for another app and downloads that app. You get paid each time that happens.

Affiliate marketing can be extremely profitable, but it works best when you have a large audience that trusts your brand and content enough to take your recommendations of products and apps.

Monetizing Through In-App Purchases

Even if users don’t have to purchase your app, you can still sell things inside the app to generate revenue. This is one of the most common app monetization strategies for brands that actually have products to sell, but it isn’t limited to that sphere. 

You can break into in-app purchases by offering a new product - perhaps something related to or branded with your app - or selling something intangible, such as in-app currency, extra lives or specialized game items.

App Data Monetization

First-party data is more valuable than ever. This is the information about your users - their demographics and behaviors inside of your app. Advertisers are hungry for this kind of information because it allows them to target the right audience. And that hunger is likely to grow as third-party cookies stop delivering third-party data the way they used to.

Data monetization usually works best for publishers who already have an established and thriving user base. If you don’t have enough users to generate a lot of data, the data you do have isn’t likely to be valuable.

App Transaction Fees

This app monetization strategy only works well for a highly specific type of app: an online marketplace. The definition of “marketplace” in this context can vary, but essentially, your users have to be buying or selling something within your app, and you have to take a cut of each transaction. 

Good examples of apps monetized with transaction fees are easy to spot in the financial space. Cryptocurrency and investment apps commonly take a small fee each time a user buys or sells an asset.

Partner with Expert App Monetization Strategists

Not all app monetization strategies work for all apps or all publishers. The expert app revenue amplification team at Playwire can guide you to the optimum app monetization strategy and spot opportunities and potential problems from miles away.

Ready to get in on this? We’re ready to work with you. Discuss your app monetization needs with an expert by calling 1-561-206-4621 or contacting Playwire online.

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