The Big Do & Don't For App Monetization

Creating an app, doesn't mean that you have created a business. While it might seem natural to assume that if you have a great app, then thanks to the sheer number of Android devices out there, you will see a healthy number of downloads. Although, natural to think, it does not always work that way. It can do, but it requires people knowing about your app before experiencing how good it is. Not to mention, even when you have all those people downloading your app, that does not automatically equate to revenues. That is, unless you are using a pay upfront app monetization (Paid App) method which in truth, you shouldn't be using anymore. Paid Apps are immediately off-putting for the end user and this in turn affects your first goal which was getting people to download your app to begin with. Therefore, a 'free to play' type model (freemium) is largely considered to be the way to go. Although, that still leaves you with the big issue of how to make a business out of your great app.

Well, the reality of the situation is there is no magic method. While you will find many articles that claim to offer a surefire single way to monetize your app, there isn't any. But what there is, are many ways and many app monetization tips which can increase the chances of your app being successful. So in this article you won't find the magic answer to the question, but what you will find is the big do and the big don't when trying to successfully monetize an app or game.


Well, this one is easy. The short way to explain the big do, is to make monetization a factor in design. If you build an app and try to figure out how to monetize it, you will run into far more problems then you need for an already problematic market. Instead, when designing your app, first design the purpose and then design how you plan to market or monetize the app. When you have these two factors decided, building the app to incorporate the purpose of content and purpose of monetization becomes much easier. More importantly, when your app is finished and ready for market, it is built with the end user in mind as well as monetization. Take ads for instance, if this is your chosen method of monetization, then by baking the ads into the user experience from the initial design, the use of ads will be far more natural and less impacting on the experience. In other words, more accommodating to the user and probably more likely to be accepted by the user as a part of the package. Not to mention, making the ads relative to the content (instead of just spam) is further likely to make the overall experience of your app (and the monetization method) more accepted.

Point to note here though - Although it is the big do to make sure your app implements monetization at the design level, it is important to remember that as already noted, a single monetization method (i.e. ads) is not the ideal. Your app needs to be designed to be able to mix and match app monetization models and be able to adapt when new ones come through and current ones become dated. The big do here is not to bake ads into your app, but to design your app with monetization in mind.


In truth, the big don't is not too dissimilar from the big do. It is the focus that changes. In short, don't let the monetization method derail from the user experience. It is a given, that including a monetization method at the point of design, is going to impact on the user experience. However, how much that impact manifests itself is what the developer need to take into consideration. Do not let the monetization method impact the user experience anymore than it needs to. While designing the app with monetization in mind, also design the app to offer as much of natural user experience as possible. By mitigating the effects of the monetization model, not only do you ensure a better experience for the user, but you also increase the chances of the monetization methods used feeling more normal. Which should be the overall goal. Again, if ads is the example, then by not sacrificing the user experience (more than you need to), users will be more likely to accept that there are ads. Which in turn, increases the number of times the ads are actually seen.

So you see, although there is one big do and one bid don't. In reality, they are sort of two sides of the same coin. It is important to make sure that you do factor in monetization when developing and designing your app. However, when doing so, it is equally as important that you don't compromise the end user experience.

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About the Author

John Anon

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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