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How to Make Money from Mobile Apps

Do you have a great idea for a mobile app? That’s great but how do you turn an idea into a profitable business?

Mobile apps are a different beast compared to other commodities. They’re intangible and entirely digital services, whether you look at mobile games or business apps.

But don’t fret, we’ll guide you through the process.

We’re going to show you how to make money from mobile apps. First, let’s dive into the big numbers and see how much other people make in this kind of business:


The Big Numbers

Take a look at the top 200 earning apps on the market. They earn about $82,500 per day. Even those far from the top still earn about $3,000 or more daily and gaming apps reign supreme.

Mobile apps are big money-makers and it’s no surprise people want to jump on the bandwagon. After all, most people are on their phones anyway. That’s where the market is so why not pour your attention there?

That said, there’s a lot of junk on Google Play and the Apple App Store too. How can you separate your app from theirs? Can you master how to make money from mobile apps and stand out from the competition?

How to Make Money From Mobile Apps?

The answer to that question is a definitive yes. There is a multitude of ways to earn and almost all of them involve free apps. Yes, the biggest earners are the ones people don’t have to outright buy.

Don’t worry, we’ll still tackle the traditional method of selling apps online. However, the five other ways to make money assume you’re giving these apps for free.

After all, most of the top-grossing apps in both stores are free to download. Let’s dive into how these free apps make so much:

1. In-App Purchases

The first method is through in-app purchases. Sure, you can play a game for free but wouldn’t it be nice to unlock a cool costume or a nostalgic character people love? Sell those for small amounts, like $1.99, and people will latch onto them and purchase them without a second thought.

Why does this work? Downloading for free already eliminates tons of stress from the user. Offering something for a small amount will look like a good deal since they didn’t have to pay $9.99 or more for the actual app.

For you, the developer and publisher, all those little purchases add up. Offer more of these and people can get addicted to these small transactions.

2. Advertising Premium

Another option is a little scummy but it does work. You can monetize your app with ads. These ads will pay you simply for giving them space to appear and play on your app.

This is primarily how content creators on YouTube earn. They create content, upload it for free on YouTube, and then earn through the ads that play during their video.

Use this same strategy with mobile apps.

You can also offer a premium to remove ads entirely. People can subscribe for a month, six months, or a year and never have to see these ads again.

3. Lootboxes

Who hasn’t heard of Fortnite? It’s one of the biggest games in the world and it’s also available on mobile devices. The biggest shock is the fact that it’s 100% free.

How does it earn billions of dollars per year then?

It does so through loot boxes and digital currency. The latter falls under the previously discussed category of in-app purchases. You can use real-world cash to buy V-bucks, the in-game currency, and then use V-bucks to purchase costumes or other aesthetics.

Lootboxes, however, work a bit like slot machines. People purchase them but the contents are always random. Players can get the costume they want or an item they like or it might be something else.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding loot boxes nowadays.

Many companies, including the developers of Fortnite, are working around these legal issues by adjusting the rewards of their loot boxes. Some apps show the content of a loot box before people purchase while others increase the percentage of nabbing a rare or very special item.

4. Freemium Model

Ever played Super Mario Run? It’s one of Nintendo’s first mobile apps. The game allows people to play the first set of stages for free but the rest of the app remains locked until people make a one-time transaction to purchase the rest.

This freemium model can work for you too.

Allow people to download the app for free and try out the most basic features. If you offer a document app, for example, let people use to create documents but only when online. To fully enjoy all the document features offline, they’ll need to pay.

5. Subscriptions

Do you have a Netflix account? How about an account on Hulu or Disney Plus? There are so many different streaming apps nowadays and they all have one thing in common: they’re free to download but the content isn’t free to access.

You can download the apps and check out the shows without paying a cent. However, to watch any of the shows on these apps, you need to pay a monthly subscription.

This model might work for your mobile apps too. This isn’t restricted to streaming networks either! Big online games, particularly MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, follow this model as well.

6. Paid Apps

Last, but certainly not least, is the route of selling apps for a one-time fee. Offer the app on Google Play or the App Store for a fixed amount. People won’t be able to download and use it until they pay.

This is the most traditional route but it still works for some companies. Keep in mind, however, that a one-and-done paid app could become victim to piracy. People who hack their phones and tablets could get a free installer of your app and use it without ever paying you.

Launch a Profitable Mobile App Today!

What are you waiting for? Now you know how to make money from mobile apps, it’s time to test the waters. Determine which revenue-making model works best for your app and your target audience and take the plunge!

Of course, making big bucks with mobile apps doesn’t end here. If you want to learn more crucial tips, like how to market your app or design one that makes money, feel free to go over our other guides here today!

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