How Mobile apps Make Money

how mobile apps make money

According to Statista, the worldwide mobile app revenue was US$581 Billion in 2020 and is estimated to grow to US$935 Billion by 2023, almost a trillion US Dollars. This is a huge industry.

Candy Crush Saga alone generated $4.2 million per day in 2018 according to Sensor Tower,

With the increase in the use of Smart Phones, more and more mobile apps are made daily to make smartphones smarter. There is an app for nearly every task, these apps help us to communicate, socialize, be productive, be entertained, and do business.

While most of these apps are provided for free, there are many ways implemented by developers to make money through these apps.

We are going to explore some of the ways in which you can make money developing your own mobile applications.

Please note that developing mobile apps can be expensive in many cases, yet still, there are many shoe-lace budget mobile applications that have made it big, so big that they were acquired by big companies.

It must be noted as well that developing mobile apps is not a get rich quick scheme. Making money with mobile apps requires strategy, patience, investment, and diligence.

Here are the 7 seven proven ways to monetize your mobile applications.



One of the most common ways to make money with mobile apps is by displaying ads in your app. You can sign up to Ad network companies like Google’s Admob, AppLovin, Adcolony, MoPub, Unity ads, etc.

These companies will display ads (Banner ads, interstitial ads, video ads, rewarded ads, native ads) in your app and pay you according to the number of ads clicked or ads displayed (Impressions).

This approach is very easy to implement but it requires a lot of traffic to your app for you to get any substantial income. Apps like Blood Pressure by Szymon Kimaszewski was making about US$700 to US$850 per month using Google’s Admob.



This approach works best for mobile games. With this monetization method, virtual products are provided in the app which the user buys with real money. It may be buying an extra life, upgrading a weapon, buying virtual currency, etc. King’s Candy Crush Saga has made most of its billions through this monetization model.

If your app has virtual products which the user may need, to make using the app more interesting, you can use this method to allow users to buy those products with real money. There are many mobile apps and games that use this method and it has proved to be very effective.


There are products that we love and trust, we have no reservation in recommending them to our friends. In Affiliate marketing, you are paid each time the customer you recommend to a company buys the product.

You can have links in your mobile app that sends your users to a certain product. Each time your user buys that product, you get paid a certain percentage.

There are many affiliate programs and networks that you can join. The most popular ones include Amazon Associate, ShareAsale, CJ, Impact Radius, and many others. Some companies have in-house affiliate programs where you can sign up directly with them.

It may not be easy to make a sale, but this method can be very lucrative. For example, Bluehost will pay you $65 for giving them a customer who buys their hosting.



Using this model, you can provide some app features for free and more advanced features for a monthly, yearly, or one-time subscription. A user will have access to some freemium features and if they want access to premium features, they pay a fixed amount.

In some cases, you may provide all the features for free for a limited time, once this time is over, a user will have to pay to continue using the app. This method can help provide stable recurring income to app owners and developers.

This monetization method is on the rise and offers a better user experience as the user’s flow will not be interrupted during app usage.


You can also develop a mobile application that you use to sell your own products and services. Using this monetization method, you do not earn money directly from your mobile app, but you use your app as a medium or platform for selling other products and services which you can profit from.

Most celebrities employ this method to grow their brands and sell their products and services.



This is by far the hardest thing to do but it is also lucrative. There are many people who are interested in running a product that is already off the ground.

If you craft your app so well that it is able to attract investors, you can be able to grow it rapidly and sell it for a huge sum.

Summly founded by Nick D’Aloisio was bought by Yahoo for US$30 Million.

WhatsApp founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton was bought by Facebook for $19 Billion.


Another method of monetization is to deploy your app on the app stores at a fee. Not all apps on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store are free. Some of them can be purchased and this approach can be profitable.

However, most app users are not willing to pay for Mobile apps, this may be due to a huge number of free apps available on the mobile app stores. Thus, this monetization method is on the decline.

The above are the seven Mobile app monetization methods that are commonly used. You can also explore other monetization methods such as platform transaction fees, Data monetization, etc.

You should be mindful of the monetization method that you employ. Do not prioritize money at the expense of user experience as this may chase away your users. It’s much easier to make money when the user is happy using your product.

You can also employ a hybrid approach to monetization, where you use more than one monetization model. Be sure NOT to ruin the user experience even as you choose to profit from your app.


How Mobile apps Make Money

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