How To Make Money With a Free Android App on the Google Play Store

So, you’ve worked hard at building an amazing Android app that you intend to offer for free on the Google Play Store. Providing access to an audience of millions of viewers on a global scale, Google confirms that roughly 90% of all apps downloaded on the Google Play Store are offered for free.

But one important question remains—how can developers generate recurring revenue from these free apps? Here are a few simple tips and tricks that you can apply towards monetizing your app today.

In-App Advertising

One of the top monetization strategies available to app developers is in-app advertising. In-app advertising is the technique of placing attention-grabbing ads directly into an application. With in-app advertising you already have a captive audience so the key is targeting ads the right way, to encourage customers to click on them. It does not matter the category for your application—smartphone gaming, social, or other—in-app advertising is a tried-and-true method for achieving your monetization goals from your free Android app.

Many developers can make a few hundred dollars a day just from returning users to the app. Just imagine what they could mean as your app expands!


Freemium is another great way to generate revenue from your application. Freemium is a pricing strategy that offers premium content within your free app, for an additional fee. This includes charging a price or upselling for proprietary features and enhanced capabilities. This means that dedicated customers are given an opportunity to enjoy more of what your app has to offer. Freemium in an entirely optional purchase that allows app users to continue using your service but at maximum level.

Affiliates & Referrals

Furthermore, developers can earn affiliate and referral income from their free Android apps by promoting other company’s products and services. In other words, when app users click on these affiliate and referral links, the developer gains revenue usually based on a cost per action (CPA) model. For instance, developers can promote other companies through pop ups and banner ads through a special link and once the customer takes action on the link, such as making a purchase, the developer profits.


In-App Purchases

Another great way to make your Android app more profitable is through in-app purchases. These virtual items, including game currency, bonuses, premium content and unlocked levels are a great way for developers to generate income from their apps. In-app purchases can be either consumable, non-consumable or subscription-based. Consumables are products that can be purchased and used one time within the app. Non-consumables are products purchased within the app that never expire. Subscriptions are unlocked features that are provided for a certain time period. No matter the in-app purchase type, developers have plenty of options when it comes to monetizing their applications.


Sponsorships are another great way for developers to further monetize their free Android apps, especially for niche applications. The key to sponsorship is finding companies with similar audiences who will fund the app. For instance, with sponsorships developers and sponsors can agree to revenue sharing or an agreed upon revenue split on all income generated by the app. Or they may also agree to a monthly sponsorship fee that pays the developer a fee every month for maintaining the app. This is a great way for developers to generate income because typically larger companies already have an established audience and follower base who are already highly likely to engage in the app.


Lastly, one other tried-and-true way to generate long-term revenue for a free app is through email list building. With list-building developers can nurture relationships with consumers by staying in contact with them through email marketing campaigns that share valuable information and convert app users into life-long customers.

Today, most Android users prefer downloading free apps to their mobile devices. However, this does not mean that developers cannot make profits from these downloads. In fact, developers can build and run free apps that are quite successful and that bring in plenty of profits. Try any of these techniques (or all of them) to make money with a free Android app on the Google Play Store and successfully monetize your mobile content today.

To easily integrate an app SDK, for ads or other integrations, use Enhance.


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