The number of online monetization programs is increasing day by day. Each week, there is a new method of making money from digital content, and each year we see new networks and programs designed to help you do that.

The biggest problem for software developers and digital content developers is making money. Monetization programs solve that problem by providing advertising-based or commission-based revenue sources.

Advertisers, publishers, and marketers also face problems such as finding the best place to advertise, the best ways to advertise effectively, and the best ways to learn more about their audiences. Monetization programs offer solutions to these issues by offering analytics and optimization solutions.

Here are some of the most popular and effective types of monetization programs available online.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate networks and affiliate programs are commission-based revenue systems. These are directed at two main parties: merchants who offer products and services and the affiliates who sell those products and services.

An affiliate program can be run by an independent agency, called an affiliate network. They help mediate the relationship between the merchants and affiliates, develop the program’s rules, and develop the software that all parties use to communicate.

As a monetization program, affiliate programs can be highly lucrative, since the commissions are usually based on the sale price of the items in question. Items, for instance, that cost over a thousand dollars, can generate hundreds of dollars in revenue. The exact numbers, of course, depend on the commission set by the merchant and the affiliate program.

You can make money from affiliate programs as a merchant or as an affiliate. If you have a product to offer, then other affiliates can help you market your product, and you pay a commission for each sale. If you want to sell other people’s products, you can earn commission-based revenue.

Many people do both.

Advertising Programs

Advertising is one of the most common ways to monetize software, apps, digital content, and websites. There are many advertising networks and programs, from Facebook to Twitter to Myspace, as well as giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Some niche advertising networks can help you target a very specific audience.

Most major advertising networks offer cross-platform solutions, and can advertise in a variety of places. Google, for instance, offers ad space next to search results, on websites in the form of text ads, and on mobile devices. Ads can be integrated into apps, into installers, and pretty much anywhere there is available screen real estate.

Like affiliate programs, advertising programs can benefit both merchants and publishers. Anyone wishing to make money from advertising can certainly find a way to integrate ads into their product or service. And anyone who wishes to promote their product or service can always find an appropriate advertising outlet.

Pay-Per-Download Programs

Pay-per-download (PPD) programs are monetization programs that generate revenue each time a file, app, or piece of content is downloaded. These monetization programs offer a couple of primary payment methods: content-locking and paid downloads.

Paid downloads require payment from the end user, and you get paid for each download. Content-locking “locks” the content behind a hyperlink, and the end user must perform an action to unlock that content. Once the user completes the action, a third party advertiser – whoever designed the action – will send you payment. 

Paid downloads can generate decent revenue when you offer something with enough value to warrant a purchase. Lower-value content, such as pictures, wallpaper, or funny videos, is often better suited to a content-locking program, since payouts tend to be lower.

These programs can also be integrated with other types of programs, such as affiliate programs. If you upload a product, affiliates can promote your product and you can pay a commission for each sale that they make.

Pay-Per-Install Programs

Smart installers and ad-powered installation modules are a combination of software distribution and advertising programs. These installers allow you to integrate advertising into a desktop installer. Each time a user acts on that advertisement, you get paid.

This type of monetization program – as with most others – benefits publishers, developers, and advertisers. If you have a product you want to advertise, you can promote it through the installer, and if you want to earn revenue, you can do that too. A pay-per-install program also offers metrics and customizability, and can be tweaked to improve conversion rates.

All monetization programs offer two major benefits to online merchants: exposure and revenue. If you have your own product to promote, you can increase your market exposure by advertising your product through affiliate programs, advertising programs, and so on. And if you have any online product, service, or platform that has some sort of real estate, you can use that real estate to earn income with these same monetization programs.