It takes money to make money, but not when you want to monetize applications. Software and mobile app monetization is a matter of knowing which tools and monetization options are the right fit for your app, getting the traffic you need, and getting started.

1. Pay-Per-Install Software

Pay-per-install software is really an installation program that presents third-party software offers to the person who is installing your program. Whenever an offer is accepted, you earn money.

This method has been growing in popularity over the past several years. It can also be combined with other forms of advertising and monetization.

2. In-App Advertising

In-app ads are ads that appear inside the software itself. These appear in desktop applications as well as mobile apps, but they are far more common in mobile apps. You can use display ads, text ads, interstitial ads, app walls, video ads, interactive ads, sponsored content, and so on and so forth.

This monetization strategy is neck-and-neck with the freemium model – or in-app purchases. But this method is easier to test, modify, and optimize.

3. In-App Purchases

There are a variety of in-app purchases that your customers can make, from video game currency to locked app features. This is one of the most common monetization methods, but it takes some finesse to get it right. You’ll need to find a feature that is worth unlocking in order to generate a decent conversion rate.

4. Charge for Your App

Paid purchases are less common nowadays, because no one wants to pay for an app. With so many free apps, it can be hard to convince a customer that yours is worth buying.

But if you offer a unique and valuable service, you are free to charge whatever you deem necessary. Also, consider targeting an industry that is more likely to need an app, such as business, education, the medical industry, and so on.

5. Subscriptions

Subscriptions, like paid purchases, can be difficult to pull off unless you offer something very valuable. Often, subscription-based services warrant this compensation model: anti-virus programs, for instance, require ongoing research and work in order to stay current.

If you offer an application or mobile app that is part of a larger online service, then subscriptions may be feasible.

6. Donations

Otherwise known as the buy-us-a-cup-of-coffee method, donations don’t generate a lot of revenue. If you can develop some sort of incentive, or if your app is in an altruistic space, you may be able to pull it off.

7. Affiliate Marketing

If you can design an app that revolves around an affiliate deal, such as an e-commerce app, then you can earn some real money with this model. Unlike ads, though, you’ll want to start with this one on the drawing board and design the app to fit the function.

8.  Sell Customer Data

With enough useful usage data, you can sell the information to marketing or analytics companies. The right permissions, such as geo-location data, demographics data, social data, and interests could be very useful to the right company.

9. Sell Your App

Of course, if you come up with a valuable app and just want to earn some cold, hard cash, you can always just sell the rights.

10. List it on Other App Stores

USA-based software directories, Google Play, and Apple’s App Stores aren’t the only games in town. There are other directories and app stores in other countries that may offer more receptive audiences.

11. Bundle Your App

Pulling together a handful of utilities or extensions can be one way to increase your application’s exposure. Revenue-sharing doesn’t always mean splitting the cash: bigger audiences and greater perceived value often means more people will buy the bundle.

12. Search Monetization

CodeFuel’s unique search monetization solution earns revenue for the developer with every search that a user performs. Easy-to-embed code works in a variety of applications and contexts.

13. Kickstart It

Got a great idea? Hop on Kickstarter and find the right crowd to fund your idea. Once your idea is up and running, however, you may need to come up with another solution…

14. Sell the Source Code

Your app’s source code can be re-branded, white labelled, and sold at a premium price. There are online marketplaces devoted to recycled code, so if you don’t feel any sentimental attachment to your code, you may consider this option.

15. Merchandise

Got a great game or a snazzy logo and a cult following? On-demand printing services allow you to turn around and sell your own merchandise, such as coffee mugs, T-shirts, baseball caps, and more.


Though not all of these solutions have the same monetization potential, they all have some possibilities. Some are easier to test than others, but if you see an idea that strikes you, go ahead and give it a shot. If not, dig a little deeper into monetization research to find something that suits.