Mobile app

Top 5 app monetization strategies to consider for your mobile app


WDF agency

27 Apr, 2023
Launching a mobile app is like throwing a party - it takes a lot of planning, effort, and resources. But unlike a party, you don't want your mobile app to end after a night of fun. You want it to keep bringing in the cash for the foreseeable future. That's where a mobile app monetization strategy comes in - the ultimate wingman for your app's long-term success.

As mobile apps continue to dominate the digital landscape, a solid monetization strategy is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. In this article, we'll be your virtual party planner, guiding you through the most popular and profitable mobile app monetization strategies.

What is a mobile app monetization strategy?

At its core, a mobile app monetization strategy is simply a plan to generate revenue from your app after launch. An effective app monetization strategy is a way to make money while still providing a great experience for users. This means striking a balance between free and paid content, and strategically placing ads to maximize profits without turning off users.

Creating a successful monetization strategy requires a deep understanding of your audience, a willingness to experiment with different approaches, and a commitment to tracking and analyzing results.

Why is mobile app monetization strategy important?

Without an effective app monetization strategy, the success of any app would be limited and its potential profits could not be realized. An app without a solid monetization strategy is like a car without an engine - it may look good, but it's going nowhere fast. If you want your app to reach its full potential you need to choose a mobile app monetization model that works for your business. Here are the reasons why you should consider mobile app monetization models and select the one for your business:

Reliable source of income

First and foremost, a well-planned monetization strategy is the key to a reliable source of income. Let's face it, you're not in the app business for charity - you need to generate revenue to keep the lights on. By offering users different pricing models or incentives like discounts or exclusive content, you're more likely to keep them coming back for more.

Driver of user loyalty

But it's not just about the money - a smart monetization strategy can also be a powerful driver of user loyalty. By giving users value for their money, you're building a relationship based on trust and mutual benefit. And when users feel invested in your app, they're more likely to recommend it to others and become your biggest cheerleaders.

Innovation booster

Speaking of investment, a monetization strategy can also be an innovation booster. By incentivizing your developer and designer teams to come up with new and creative ways to optimize app performance and increase engagement levels, you're keeping your app fresh and relevant.

Scalability options

Last but not least, a solid monetization strategy gives you scalability options. As your user base grows, so do your costs. But with the right monetization plan, you can scale your operations without worrying about running out of cash flow. So go ahead, dream big and aim high - with a smart monetization strategy, the sky's the limit for your app's success

5 mobile app monetization strategies to consider

Now when we know all the benefits of monetization, let’s take a look at five most frequently used ways to monetize your app, including their pros and cons. So you can decide which one is the best for you.

1. In-app advertising

Let's talk about in-app advertising, the money-making machine that fuels many successful app businesses. With a global market value of $139.5 billion in 2022 and expected growth, it's no wonder this strategy is a popular choice for many app developers. By placing ads in your app, you can earn steady cash flow without directly charging your users. But beware, in-app advertising has its own set of pros and cons.


On the bright side, you can create additional value for your users by targeting specific ads based on their interests and demographics, increasing engagement and satisfaction. Plus, implementation is relatively easy, and there are many formats to choose from, such as banners, videos, and native ads.


On the flip side, poorly placed ads can interrupt the user experience, leading to negative reviews and even abandonment of your app. And let's not forget about security concerns - you never know what kind of ads might get displayed in your app, potentially exposing your users to malware or financial scams.

Suitable for:

All in all, in-app advertising is a suitable strategy for app categories like gaming, e-commerce, and social media.

2. Subscriptions

Subscriptions are among the most lucrative mobile app monetization strategies. It's no secret that big players like Netflix and Disney+ are successfully using this mobile app monetization strategy. By offering access to premium features in exchange for regular payments, you can keep your cash flow steady and your users coming back for more. Plus, with the right perks and incentives, subscriptions can help boost user retention over the long haul.


Steady, dependable, and a true catch for long-term relationships - subscriptions are the dream revenue stream for app businesses seeking stable growth. Unlike pay-per-download or in-app purchases, recurring payments provide a predictable income that you can count on. Plus, with different payment periods, you can cater to all kinds of customers - from the impulsive weekly subscribers to the committed annual subscribers. And let's not forget about customer loyalty - with recurring payments, users feel more invested and are more likely to stick around, leading to a devoted customer base that's the envy of all your competitors.

Challenges :

Constantly evolving. Subscription-based apps require constant maintenance and updating to keep members satisfied and engaged. With new features and content regularly added, subscribers have more reasons to stay committed and continue paying for access.

And with that in mind there comes another problem and that is a lack of flexibility. While subscriptions provide long-term revenue, they can also be inflexible. Users commit to paying for a set period and are unable to cancel mid-term, which may lead to frustration if they become dissatisfied with the app. As a business, it's important to strike a balance between locked-in revenue and user flexibility.

Suitable for:

Subscription is a suitable strategy for streaming services or, for example, fitness and meditation apps.

3. Freemium

Freemium - the hybrid of free and premium. This genius monetization model can help you attract potential customers by offering them free access to basic features, while still charging for premium add-ons. By letting users test out your app, you're giving them the opportunity to fall in love with it before committing to it. This strategy has already proved its worth for successful apps such as Spotify and Tinder, so why not give it a go for your own business?


Freemium lets users take your app for a test drive without any money down, making it easier to attract potential customers and grow your user base. As users get more invested in your app, they may find themselves wanting more. By offering premium features for a fee, you can convert these free users into paying customers. And according to TechCrunch, freemium apps have conversion rates ranging from 1% to 10%, which is quite encouraging.


Despite its success in attracting users, the freemium model doesn't guarantee a steady cash flow. Some users may never opt for the premium package, so you'll have to rely on other strategies to keep the revenue coming in.

Also, with two versions of the app to maintain, ensuring consistent quality across the board can be a challenge. Proper planning and a dedicated team are crucial to keep both free and premium users satisfied with your product.

Suitable for:

Freemium can be a good option for streaming services, education and lifestyle apps.

4. In-app purchase

In-app purchases are like having a mini-mall inside your app. Customers can buy virtual goodies and services that can make their experience inside your app even better. According to recent statistics, this mobile app monetization strategy is implemented by 50% of non-game and 79% of game apps. However, before diving in, make sure it aligns with your goals and user experience.


With in-app purchases, customers have the freedom to decide which features they need without having to pay for unnecessary ones. This can boost user satisfaction, as they will feel like they are in control.

In-app purchases also provide instant gratification, as customers can get the desired features without leaving the app. No ads, no distractions, just pure shopping bliss.

And for developers, in-app purchases can provide valuable user data, such as purchase habits and average spending per item. This information can be used for targeted marketing campaigns, leading to higher profits and customer engagement.


To keep users interested and engaged, developers need to regularly add new features and content. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and can be a resource-heavy task.

In-game purchases could make another challenge which is an unbalanced gameplay, as players with deep pockets can easily buy their way to the top. This can be frustrating for players who prefer a level playing field.

Suitable for:

In-app purchases are suitable for app categories such as gaming, photo/video editors.

5. Data monetization

Data is the new gold rush in mobile app development. It helps us discover hidden opportunities and make data-driven decisions. That’s why data monetization is a popular way to turn your app into a cash cow.

Companies are mining user data to create personalized experiences and target ads more accurately. By anonymously sharing non-personal app data with third parties, you can boost your profits. But keep in mind that user information, like name, gender, and income, must be protected.


Data monetization works in the background of your app, ensuring no UX/UI interference, and preserving your app's smooth performance. Also it is applicable across all app categories, so no matter your niche, you can make it work for you.


Users may be hesitant to share their information if they don't understand how it will be used and who will access it. Plus there is a maintenance cost. Managing large datasets demands investments in technology infrastructure, time to set up systems, and resources to ensure compliance. If not handled correctly, data monetization can end up costing more than it generates.

Suitable for:

As mentioned above, this monetization strategy is suitable for every app.

How to choose a mobile app monetization strategy?

Monetizing your mobile app is like choosing the perfect outfit for a special occasion - it requires careful consideration and a bit of trial and error to find the right fit.

Start by evaluating your app's purpose and features to determine which monetization option aligns best with your goals. Will you be offering a premium package with advanced features or utilizing in-app purchases? Consider what will enhance the user experience while generating revenue.

Next, it's important to do your homework and research what your competitors are doing to monetize their apps. This will give you an idea of what works and what doesn't in your app's category.

Related stories


let’s do great things together!

You can use the contact form or drop us a line at

By clicking Send message you are agreeing to the Terms and conditions.

Come in for a cup of coffee

Headquarters - Prague

Lazarska 13/8
Building C
120 00 Praha 2, Czech Republic

+420 222 313 277


Charlotte, NC 28210

+1 704 718 3406


Nydalsveien 28
0484 Oslo, Norway

+47 98 26 35 00

WDF s.r.o

Lazarská 13/8, 120 00 Praha

IČ: 24836974

DIČ: CZ24836974

Městský soud v Praze,
oddíl C, vložka 178933