How to best monetise your mobile app

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Making a compelling app that can find appreciation with a large audience is very important. But what is equally important is to know how to make money off your app, especially when the market is flooded with free options. Monetisation is important to generate revenue from your app, and can be quite challenging. But how does one really go about strategizing and deploying tactics to get in the cash-flow?


So many techniques are being deployed by the seemingly saturated mobile app industry, yet there are many success stories that prove how simple methods have helped their owners make fortunes!

Of course, advertising is one of the most popular ways to make money off your app, and can be achieved via the free in-app ads. Free apps get the maximum downloads, and hence, targeted ads that are contextual can really help. Diversified ad portfolio, bundled with intelligent advertising, such as localised ads that show up based on the geographical location of the user will help engage him/her.

A discount coupon of a store when the user is in a shopping mall that houses the store is more likely to have takers than when offered if the person is at home! Nobody likes useless ads, and it can wreck your user interface and even the pleasant experiences of your app, driving away people! So it is very important that you choose the ads carefully and place them well on your page.

You can even figure out ways to make your users pay for downloading your app. If the app is really unique and addresses a major pain point of customers, they will not be reluctant to pay for it. This is a good way to start making quick bucks from your app, keeping you and your developers motivated to innovate further. Even the user is more likely to stay engaged as the app has been paid for and they would want to derive maximum value from it. But again, since most people do not like to pay, and there may be competitors out there who provide similar services for free…So how can you monetize your app? And then, the margins taken by app and play stores are straight cuts from your share.

A smart middle path is to take the ‘freemium’ route, where users get to download a version of your app for free, and pay for extra features if they find it engaging. This boosts the number of downloads, but the fine balance of free versus paid features must be well considered. Hence, there could be an alternative such as IAP (In App Purchasing), wherein, you can allow free download of your app, but ask users to buy physical or virtual items (such as coins in the Temple Run game), which have to be used within the app. This model is well used by e-commerce, m-commerce and n-commerce vendors, since the app and play store cannot charge anything for the physical items sold. However, virtual purchases need to offer cuts to them. You will have to come out clean declaring openly what you sell!

Talk to sponsors who could give exciting reward points to a user for completing certain in-app actions and pay you a cut from the redemption of these rewards. Not only will your app become more lucrative and engaging to users, it will also generate good revenue, if you manage to get the correct partners and brands on board!

Don’t let your efforts go waste! You can ‘white label’ your code and license it to new app builders, so they can reuse it to build their own apps. You can also share your large customer database for generating revenue. This is good for customers as they get more services and discount offers, but on the flip side, they can be annoying if used to pump in too many advertisements or irrelevant promos. The impressive WhatsApp valuation is a classic example of the importance of rich customer data.

Mobile monetisation is evolving, fed by technology and innovations. You could actually blend in one or more of these methods to come up with a winning approach to make your app get in the welcome bucks!