Mobile App Monetization Strategies: Can I Actually Make Money From an App?

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You’ve heard of whiz kid developers who turned a dubious-sounding idea into an app that grossed millions. Take Yo, an app that performed only one function (texting the word “Yo” to a friend) but was able to raise a million dollars in funding. Of course, smash hit apps are difficult to foresee. Predicting a realistic return-on-investment based on a sound monetization strategy is a lot easier. Once you’ve identified your app’s purpose and target audience, it’s time to decide how you’re going to charge for it. Here are some monetization strategies to consider:

  • Free - While your app is free to your customers, you’ll earn money by selling in-app advertising. Facebook is a good example of this.
  • Paid – This kind of app costs money to download, so you earn revenue with every new user. However, you’ll have to prove your product is worth the money upfront.
  • Freemium - In a freemium app, your customers can get started for free. However, certain features are only available to paying users. Your goal: to get customers hooked so they’ll be willing to pay for more.
  • Paywall - Similar to freemium apps, a paywall app lets customers view only a certain amount of content before they must subscribe to see more. Examples include publications, like the Wall Street Journal, which allows access to a few free articles before users need to pay up.
  • In-app purchases - In this case, your app is free to download, but you’re hoping customers buy something. This is the strategy behind eCommerce/mCommerce brands.

Do you have an idea in mind but need a sounding board to see if your ideas will stick? Send us an email at for a complimentary discussion. We have experience helping entrepreneurs launch awesome mobile apps and can help you navigate strategies to help your app succeed.

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