Business Strategy

How do I monetise my app?

The strategy of monetising an app is one of the most important things to consider before deep diving into building the app itself. Just like art, there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but what works the best for your business. Just like art, it is about striking the right balance between what you have to offer and how much someone would pay for it. Here are a few ways you can monetise your app.

In-app Purchases

In-app purchases are a great way to keep your app free to download while still providing the ability to monetise on user engagement. This gives your users an opportunity to get a feel of using the app and over time, you could charge your users for more advanced usage such as:

  1. Unlocking different features of the app
  2. Accessing premium content
  3. Buying items to be used in a game
  4. Using the app beyond a trial period

Note that both Apple and Google takes a 30% cut on any in-app purchase revenues.

In-app Subscriptions

In-app subscriptions (monthly/yearly) are a great way to provide a steady revenue stream. This strategy works great for apps that provides content to their users where new content is added on an ongoing basis.

Note that both Apple and Google takes a 30% cut on any in-app purchase revenues.

Handling Payments

Marketplace apps like Uber and Airbnb are prime examples of apps that connects ‘buyers’ to ‘sellers’ where the app would take a percentage of the payment, usually between 15%-30% from the seller. This number might seem high at first but for a service that provides a source of income to sellers, they are able to command such high percentages which is what makes this such a great monetisation model.


In-app advertising is another way you can monetise your app. There are a couple of different ways to show an ad on your app:

  1. Banner – Usually appears at the top or bottom of the screen and can either stay for the entire session or disappear after awhile
  2. Interstitial – Full screen ad that requires the user’s full attention
  3. Native – Ads that are built into the native interaction of the app (think Facebook sponsored posts)

An advertising strategy could work well if you have a large enough target market that would use your app, but even so, you should be aware of the following drawbacks:

  1. Hurts the user experience if not executed gracefully
  2. Requires an extremely large user base to achieve modest revenues

Because of the drawbacks above, we would usually recommend against this as the only monetisation strategy for most businesses.

Selling the App

Not all apps have to be free to download and if you provide enough value to your users, you could charge for the download of the app itself. This is a slightly harder sell as users will not be able to trial the app before downloading.

Note that both Apple and Google takes a 30% cut on any sale revenues.


There isn’t a one size fits all solution and in most cases, utilising multiple strategies might work best for most business. Here are a few examples:

  1. Having in-app advertising but also providing and in-app purchase solution which would remove all ads from the app.
  2. Selling the app for basic features but also allowing the purchase of advanced features through in-app purchases.
  3. Handling payments but providing a subscription model that reduces the percentage clip of payments.


The exact type of monetisation model really depends on who your target market is, the size of your target market and what you aim to achieve with the app. Give us a shout below and we can help you strategise the most suitable model for you.

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