How do Free Apps Make Money? [Best Strategies for 2022]

3 min readSep 1, 2020
How do Free Apps Make Money?

That’s the question that both app developers and users often ask.

What happens after a user downloads a free app from an app store? How much money do app developers make? If you are asking the same questions and want to know the answers, this article will explain each point in detail.

How to Make Money from an App: Monetization Strategies

There are eight top monetization strategies that companies are using to generate money with free apps. If you are looking for an answer to the question ‘how do free apps make money?’, this part will explain the topic in all the details necessary for making the right choice.

Statista states that in 2019, there were three leading monetization strategies among developers:

· subscription model

· freemium model

· advertising model


How do free apps make money, like millions of dollars?

This is the answer to your question. In-app ads are very popular among developers of free apps. Depending on the app type, in app ads revenue can be accounted in thousands of dollars.

Currently, there are 5 main types of free app advertising strategies that you can use to make money with your application:

· Banners

· Videos

· Native Ad

· Interstitial advertising

· Incentivized Ad

Referral Marketing

When you look at the previous monetization strategy, you can see that it is just a part of referral marketing.

As a part of referral marketing effects, you can place some content inside your free app to promote someone’s application, products, services, etc. You get a commission for a number of clicks, app installations, etc.

Referral marketing works as a cost-per-action (CPA model) and includes the following types of rewards that you can get:

  • CPM (cost-per-mille, cost-per-impression) — you get a payment based on a number of impressions. Usually, you are charged every 1,000th time an ad is displayed. Such a model comes from a Latin word mille, which means a thousand.
  • CPC (cost-per-click) — you are rewarded based on the number of clicks made on ads inside your application.
  • CPV (cost-per-view) — you get a reward for each view of a video and ads interaction.
  • CPI (cost-per-install) you get a payment each time a is installed via the ads inside your applications.

How Much do Free Apps Make Money?

The market of mobile apps is a lucrative niche for a business. As per Statista, worldwide mobile app revenues will account for 581.9 billion in 2020 and the number will grow to 935, 2 billion by 2023.

Over 25% of iOS developers and 16% of Android developers earn over $5,000 per month with their apps. This number should be considered as a benchmark in the app industry. Almost 24% of apps generate up to $500,000 in revenue per month, and only 1.5% of apps can bring their owners over $500,000 every month.

Regardless of the model you choose, first of all, make sure that your application provides value to users and helps to solve their problems.

You can combine a few monetization strategies to make even more money with your free application.

For more information about how to do free apps make money read here.




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