How can you make Money from Free Apps?

It has been a while since mobile apps have started to dominate our daily lives and transformed the way we interact with both humans & the surrounding elements. It has not gone unnoticed that the majority of apps that we use today, don’t cost us anything. Even for apps like Facebook or Instagram, which are ruling the world today don’t charge anything.

Other than this too, more than half of the apps out there that are gaining popularity are absolutely free. Because let’s face it, users become a tad hesitant when it comes to paying for apps!

The next question that arises is that if these apps are absolutely free, how do the companies earn any money out of it? Of course, they are not so generous to only build apps for the sole purpose of providing convenience to the users, the end motive is always to generate money!

In this blog, we have covered the dynamics of how businesses that develop free apps actually earn money out of them!

What is the Current Scenario of Free Apps in the Market?

While it is a preconceived notion that free apps might not constitute a very big market, it is actually the other way around. As in the first quarter of 2018, the market share of free apps in Google Play Store took 94.2% of the total share. The rest was occupied by paid apps.

It does not come as a big surprise that users don’t prefer to pay for using apps, even if it is a penny! This is primarily why the market of free apps happens to be wider than the paid apps.

Moreover, the market of free apps is constantly rising. Up till 2017, there were 250 billion downloads of free apps, in comparison to 15 billion paid apps.

How can you monetize your free app?

Even though free apps don’t come with the most basic way to earn money; that is by charging the users before giving them access to use the apps, there still are a lot of ways through which free apps can generate a handsome amount of money. Check out some of the following ways-

Advertising: This is probably the most convenient way to ensure that your app makes money. This includes the involvement of third parties, who commercialize their apps or business on the platform of your app.

The criteria for getting paid might be different; you can either get paid every time the advertisement gets displayed, or every time a user downloads the app that was being advertised.

There are four kinds of ads that might be placed in the app:

  • Interstitial ads: These are the ads that are displayed as pop-ups on the entire screen from time to time. The intervals in which the ad pops up might differ.

For instance, an ad might appear on a gaming app right before you start playing it. The users have the option of closing the ad by clicking on the button that would be either on the top right or left.
  • Banner ads: The sizes of banner ads might be different, but they don’t take up the entire screen of the device of the user. This allows the users to continue using the app without any distractions, and the ad is still seen by the users!
  • In-app video ads: The use of video ads is for displaying during the time the app is in use, or at regular intervals. Video ads are different than the other forms of advertising techniques. This is because first, it is optional, and second, it provides benefits to the users.

The use of video ads is mostly in the form of video rewards. For instance, once the user views the video, they can unlock some sort of extra coins or currency!
    Native ads: Unlike the other kinds of ads, apps don’t force the native ads upon the users. Instead they fill like a natural element on the app. Because they are less interruptive, they don’t make the users annoyed.

Although, there is a downside to this as well. While native ads may look like less interruptive, users actually perceive them as more irritating! Also, they generate less revenue in comparison to the other techniques.

Adding premium features: This is one of the best techniques for monetizing an app. At the time of downloading, the user does not have to pay for anything. This attracts a wide range of users instantly. Even though the app is available for free, there are some features that users can only access after paying.

This becomes beneficial from both ends; firstly, the users can get to know about the working of the app without having to pay for it. And secondly, there are higher chances of the users buying the additional features once they like the app!

Providing subscriptions: Subscriptions work as a very thoughtful strategy for apps. App owners might provide access to the content on the app for only a limited period of time, after which the users would have to subscribe to continue using the app.

For instance, a lot of video streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon provide the users with a free trial period. Once the trial period ends, the users have to subscribe to continue with the streaming.

Affiliate Marketing: In the briefest terms, Affiliate Marketing is when you make earning by promoting someone else’s products/services on your app. In the world of mobile apps, this technique becomes pretty decent in successfully earning money.

The revenue generated is based on either the number of clicks on the promoted product or the number of installs.

Amazon Underground:

Amazon Underground is a new way to every app development company to make money is proving to be a big hit! The Amazon Underground is completely separate from the Amazon App Store. It provides all the apps, games and in-app items to the customers for free.

And every time the Amazon Underground app is used, the developer gets paid for it. Which means that your app will generate money right from the minute a customer starts using it. That turns all your users into revenue generating customers.


The app world is the one platform that has only seen a significant rise since it came into existence. With such a huge rise comes a great level of competition as well. But given the scenario of how well app development companies are managing to build free apps and are keeping the convenience of users on the top priority, it is all going well!

There are more than enough techniques to monetize a free app. Yes, not all of them attain the same level of response. They might also have some drawbacks. But if deployed correctly, they will help your app succeed in the most efficient way possible.

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