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9 Ways for Monetizing Apps to Accelerate ROI


There are around 2.56 million apps in Google Play store and almost 1.85 million available apps for iOS installed on people’s smartphones. This monumental growth of the app industry is due to the continuous shift from a featured phone to smartphone. 

The global mobile app market value will reach $407.31 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 18.4%, as per the report. Such a vast market provides a huge opportunity for business owners or developers to jump into the bandwagon and make a living out of it.

So, how can developers leverage this opportunity and make something value creating while continuing to develop mobile apps? This is what this article is all about. 

There are many routes to take when it comes to mobile app monetization to accelerate ROI. In this article, we’re going to highlight nine effective app monetization methods and their potential impact on app growth and engagement. 

Here’re 9 Ways for Monetizing Apps for Accelerating ROI

1. In-App Advertising

One of the most popular and profitable options to monetize mobile apps is in-app advertising. By showing in apps, it’s possible to generate revenue streams coming straight from demand platforms, ad networks, or brands. According to the 2019 study from PubMatic found that 56% of media buyers believed that in-app advertising delivered better audience targeting than any other form of advertising, with 54% saying they experienced better customer engagement

If you want to save time and reduce operational costs, it’d be better to use a smart app monetization platform. Epom Apps is a great example, which takes care of the meditation and ad optimization while focusing on making the product better. 

To target specific audiences and drive more traffic into apps, developers use advertising networks to place ads inside other apps. Here’re a few different types of in-app advertising that can be exercised in an app monetization model. Check out some of the best formats:

  • Interstitial Ads: This ad format is all about occupying an entire screen of a smartphone to get the attention of users to a specific ad message. This type of ad format has both pros and cons. One hand it ensures that users see an advertisement, on the other hand, people do get annoyed by such ads. 
  • Banner Ads: This type of ad format is an equivalent of a desktop banner ad. However, it has its own limitations because it occupies a small area on a smartphone screen, and users usually pay less attention to it. The Cost-Per-Mile rates for banner ads are $0.20 to $2.00 on iOS and $0.15 to $1.5 on Android.
  • Native Ads: This ad format is one of the effective among all types of mobile ad formats. This is because mobile users don’t perceive native ads as regularly as digital ads. Thus, native ads do not annoy that much to users. Native ads can be designed in multiple sizes and implemented differently on diverse media platforms. Therefore their average pricing varies significantly. 
  • Video Ads: Currently, this is one of the effective mobile ad formats. The Goliaths in this space are Google and Facebook. A mobile video ad is a short and up to 15 seconds in length that introduces an app and provides a direct link to follow to download it. An average video ad CPM rates for mobile video ads range from $0.50 to $5.00.

2. Paid App Version Model or Pay-to-download

As its name suggested, the paid app version model is all about pricing for download. Since the user needs to pay for this before downloading, therefore, this model has a low success rate. On the flip side, if you can manage to succeed with this model, you can get truly rewarding results. 

The free and paid app version model comes with some benefits such as it provides a free option for users to experience the basic functionality of the app at no cost. Plus, it provides you with a growing user base for potential monetization via in-app advertising. 

3. In-App Purchases

Another popular app monetization strategy is an in-app purchase or IAP. To make in-app purchases is an excellent method to monetize your app. If your product is free of cost; for instance, 95% of all Google Play Store offerings, app monetization methods can enhance the user experience. According to the report, in-app purchases account for 48.2% of mobile app earnings as compared to 14% from ads-based revenue and 37.8% from paid app downloads.

For example, the PokémonGo app’s in-game shop allows users to purchase Premium items using PokéCoins. 

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Trainers or app users, who frequently use apps, can earn up to 50 PokéCoins per day. Or, they can purchase PokéCoins using real money via the user’s preferred app store. “Approximately 6 million players have spent up to $20 and another 3 million players have spent between $20 and $60 on in-app purchases,” according to the report from Business of Apps.  

Before knowing ways of optimizing in-app purchases set up, let’s explore the difference between consumable and non-consumable in-app purchase options. 

In-app purchases: Consumables vs. Non-consumables: When determining in-app purchase options, it’s pivotal to know the difference between consumables and non-consumables. The main difference between the two is – consumables are temporary and limited, while non-consumables need to be purchased once. An example of consumables is fish food in a fishing app can be implemented as a consumable product. On the other hand, new racetracks for a game could be implemented as non-consumable products.

How to optimize in-app purchases set up

  • Pre-planning for in-app purchases can help you to save resources further down the line. 
  • Both the name and description of in-app purchases are critical. It gives a branding opportunity that will make the monetization model more engaging. Make sure to consider methods in which you can include creative copy that is unique to your brand.
  • Considering the bundle to offer, enables users to purchase multiple in-app items at an affordable price. Since some people also spend more for a better deal. So, don’t lose out on these opportunities to boost ROI. 

4. App Subscription Model

The famous app monetization strategy, app subscription model, is all about enabling users to download free with limited access to the content or services offered. To get full benefits of content or services, users need to opt into a subscription plan. 

According to Apple, about the Subscription model, “Auto-renewable subscriptions give users access to content, services, or premium features in the app on an ongoing basis. At the end of each subscription duration, the subscription automatically renews until a user chooses to cancel it.”

By using this model, developers offer multiple plans to upgrade, downgrade, and cross grade whenever users switch from one subscription to another. The feature of this model appeals to the users is that developers can offer a discount for a long subscription period. 

With this strategy, the app can also be easily discovered in the app store as a free app when users search for relevant content. It helps significantly to developers or an app owner to build up an initial user base and cultivate that user base into paid app subscribers. 

5. Freemium Model

A freemium model gives a chance for users to try an app before paying for a subscription. It offers your users access to some basic functionality but charges them for premium or exclusive features. In short, the freemium model gives a natural lead nurturing process to discover your product and its capabilities on its own. 

According to a report, App Store’s top 200 grossing chart, Grindr (rated $0.99), Facetune (rated $3.99), and Minecraft (rated $6.99) were the only paid apps for the first quarter 2017. 

It’s also essential to maintain the right balance between offering too many or too little features free of cost. If the free version is too good, then there is no incentive for users to upgrade. On the flip side, if it is not good enough, users will not be convinced the app is worth paying for. 

The freemium model is best for educational apps, game apps, products offering advanced functionality, and any app that involves progress.

6. Partnership Model

If an app is quite popular among a certain niche market, then companies may approach developers for sponsorship opportunities to get their brand in front of the targeted audience or users. 

If you’re planning to create an app, you should think about the target audience and the type of brands that might be interested in that audience. Since the user base is large enough, it would be better to choose monetization through brand sponsorship, partnership, or acquisition. 

7. Data Monetization

In today’s digitally driven world, the burst of interest to users’ data gives rise to data monetization of mobile apps. For app developers, data monetization gives an opportunity to capitalize on users that don’t require you to put additional effort. 

Data monetization or app monetization data, is the process of collecting, processing, and transferring user’s data from a specific app to data collectors.

Since data monetization strategy encompasses a considerable number of benefits, therefore, let’s have a look at the following benefits of this strategy for app developers:

  • It’s possible to capitalize on 100% of app users with data monetization.
  • Data monetization generates revenue for every kind of category.
  • In-app data monetization is a scalable revenue-driver. Once added to your app, data monetization SDK will drive sustainable earnings for months/years to come. 
  • App monetization with data consumes neither memory nor battery of the user’s device. 
  • Data monetization would not harm your existing SDKs so that you can run it individually or along with in-app advertisements. Two SDKs won’t compete with each other. 

8. Rewarded Ads

One of the effective monetization strategies, rewarded ads, provides an opportunity for users to watch a video or engage with playable ads in exchange for a reward within the application. This strategy works best in gaming apps.

For instance, mobile game users “die” upon reaching a critical point. The users are usually disappointed as they would not complete the level and wish they would continue playing rather than starting over from the beginning. In each rewarded ad “funnel”, there are mainly four events that can occur: Ad prompt, opt-in, ad reward, and item used. 

  • Ad prompt: In this, the user is presented with the option to view and ad in exchange for a reward. 
  • Opt-in: This event is about when a user opts-in to watch the ad. 
  • Ad reward: In this, the user completes viewing the ad, and receives a reward such as an extra life or power-up.
  • Item used: Once the player gets the reward and can continue playing the game from where the user left off. 

9. Sponsorship

It requires partnering with advertisers, who will provide rewards to users when they complete specific in-app actions. This app monetization model assumes that your audience is big enough to attract brands to pay for exposure. By applying this strategy, user engagement can be high since the content is relevant and valuable. This strategy is best for travel apps, dating apps, and event apps.


To sum up, those mentioned above are effective methods for accelerating ROI or earning money with mobile apps. If you don’t have an idea about which method to try first, go to the app store and check out how similar apps monetize their traffic. 

On top of it, you need to understand that app monetization is impossible without users and their interest in your product. Thus, keep treating user users by perfecting your app to stand out from others. 

Kunjal Panchal is a Content Manager at Simform, a leading app development company in Miami. She is passionate about content marketing and strongly believes in the power of storytelling for marketing. She has shared her inputs on high-end publications like Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur and many more. Connect with her on Twitter @KunjalPanchal.


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