How to Make Money with Mobile Apps in 2023

Written by Patricia Enriquez

With reports that the mobile app industry rakes in billions worth of revenue worldwide, it isn’t surprising that more people are getting into mobile app development. Even if money isn’t the main reason for developing apps, it is one of the contributing factors why many do so.

But how much money can you actually make from developing mobile apps? Depending on the different factors we will discuss, it can be as little or as much. 

One-time Payment

About 94.5% of apps in the App Store are free and less than 7% are paid. But don’t be discouraged. There are people who are willing to pay for the right app – one that is worth it and doesn’t have a free version somewhere else. 

For one-time payment apps, it’s either asking users to pay before downloading your app, allowing a quick tour before paying, or offering your app for free for a limited time only. 
 
However, asking to pay for an app before users can try it may deter some players. Also, most people are only willing to pay for apps from companies they trust. Unless you are a big one, you can consider offering the lite version of your app to show users what they can get if they pay for it. 

In-app Advertising

The easiest and most common revenue stream for app developers is in-app advertising which is more often used in free apps. You can choose from displaying commercials to advertising affiliate products and getting paid for every click, view, and install from the ads. 

Ad campaigns can also help you get ad revenue within a certain period of time. 

In-app Purchases

In-app purchases are transactions done directly from free mobile apps that allow users to get more features or content. 

While in-app purchases can be integrated with any type of mobile application, it is most common among mobile games. Some of the highest consumable in-app purchases are from popular games such as Clash of Clans ($4.99 Pile of Gems), Candy Crush Saga ($0.99 Extra Moves), Two Dots ($0.99 Power Up + 5 Moves), and Game of War ($99.9 Pack of 24K Gold). 

In-app purchase is a great strategy to convert free users to paying ones without coming off as too pushy. This is also considered to be the strategy that produces the highest revenue for mobile app developers, even more so than one-time payment mobile apps. 

Subscription

Subscriptions are similar to in-app purchases except users are given a ‘subscription period’. While the subscription is active, the users can enjoy the premium features and won’t be able to continue to do so until they renew their subscription. 

Most subscribers are loyal app users. This is why app developers should work on creating new content and services to encourage users to continue their subscriptions. 

If you’re considering doing subscriptions, we have a free tutorial on SwiftUI In-App Subscriptions with RevenueCat 2022 to learn how you can add this feature to your SwitUI app using the latest version of the RevenueCat. 

Sponsorship

Out of all the app monetization methods, sponsorship is the least common, but when done right, can be a very powerful way to earn money. 

From the get-go, it will be beneficial for the app developer to consider a very specific niche and list companies or organizations that can benefit from his app idea. The app idea will be presented to companies and find one that can be a good partnership. 

A successful sponsorship can go from months to even years, depending on what was agreed on. 

Crowdfunding

A little new in the industry is crowdfunding for your mobile app. The idea is to join platforms like Indiegogo, Patreon, Kickstarter, and Crowd Supply, present your app idea and find people who will donate so you can work on your app. 

Doing so also tests the interest in your app and if your app idea is good enough to be a project. You might want to think twice if no one offers to fund your app. This can mean two things: no company thinks it will be useful or you just haven’t found the right people who believe in the power of your app idea. 

Now that you know how you can make money with mobile apps, it’s time to start developing one! Don’t know how? Our Learn iOS in 90 Days is a good starting point for beginners who want to learn iOS Foundations and other courses. 


If you’re not a beginner, which of these monetization methods do you think will work best for you? 

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