How to Make Money from Your App


App developers have no shortage of choices when it comes to monetization strategies. Depending on your outlook, it can be a positive or negative that so many diverse options are available:


  • In App Ads – Selling ad space inside the app and selling data about users to advertisers.
  • In-App Purchases – Selling either digital or physical property from inside the app.
  • Paid Downloads – Selling the right to download and use a particular app.
  • Freemium – Selling the right to upgrade or augment an otherwise free app.
  • Sponsorship – Selling access to the user base to advertisers.
  • Subscription – Selling ongoing access to the app.

A lot is riding on selecting the right the right monetization model. But it’s important to note that apart from paid downloads, every one of these models depends on user engagement. Money is made by keeping the user interested and excited about using the app days, weeks, and months after the initial download.

Making money from an app is ultimately about driving post-install engagement. That way, no matter what monetization model is in place, energy and effort are being focused effectively. Here are some tips for developing apps that really resonate with users:

Engage the User Early

An app has to be both accessible and engaging the very first time a user opens it. The user should immediately understand why the app is helpful/fun, how to use the core features/functions, and how to proceed to forward. Building a tutorial into the app gets users over the initial hump. It also ensures that confusion and frustration don’t sour someone who would otherwise love the app.

Get to the Point

Apps are explicitly designed to solve specific problems with speed, ease, and efficiency. That is why it’s so frustrating when an app takes forever to set up and makes the most appealing features obscure and inaccessible. Apps that do not onboard users effectively make a poor first impression and discourage future use. The very first time a user opens and app they should understand why it was worth the download.

Track and Study Users

The best way to get users engaged early is to study what has and has not worked with past users. Applying analytics to every aspect of user behavior also leads to more usable apps overall. Developers who make changes based on actual user needs, wants, and pain points lose fewer users because of preventable problems. This data is also invaluable when determining when and how to deploy app install ads. With every app, the user is both the customer and the product. Mobile analytics tools make it relatively easy to leverage the value of user data without becoming overwhelmed by the volume and complexity.

Get Out of the Way

It’s possible for an app to be too helpful. If a user is bombarded by a long tutorial and endless notifications the basic benefit of the app is lost. Engaging the user early is important, but just as quickly the app should allow the user to explore it freely and use it at will. Providing easy access to supplemental support ensures that users have the answers they need without forcing the information on them.

Post-install engagement is not only a way to increase revenues. It’s also a way to keep developers invested and active. Apps that continue to make money continue to receive updates, enhancements, additions, and innovations. Said differently, they continue to get better. The apps that remain relevant for months or even years are the ones that ultimately reap the greatest ROI.