How do you monetize your app?

App monetization models differ across the industry. While some apps charge per download, others are free but monetize through in-app purchases.

The largest proportion of apps monetize by showing advertising, up to 65% according to some studies. However, since most advertisers in the mobile advertising space pay on a performance basis (per click, install or post-install action for example), publishers will only maximize payouts if they are able to deliver relevant and high-quality users to advertisers. To do this, they need to show their users ads that they would want to click on. So, the challenge lies in finding the right advertisers, or demand sources, to display relevant, and engaging ads alongside the app’s content.


Advances in technology have made it easier for publishers to gain access to the right advertisers, allowing them to serve ads, which are engaging for users, in turn earning them higher payouts. In the past, it was up to the publisher to make the call on the best source to use to maximize the fill rate of his inventory. Publishers would choose one ad network with which to connect and manage ad inventory based on that. This limits the variety of advertisers available, restricting payouts and potentially lowering fill rates. Individual networks have different strengths based on markets (such as China or the U.S.) and verticals (travel apps vs news apps, for example), meaning they cannot always be in a position to supply the most engaging ads at the right time.


As more technological options have become available, publishers have been able to plug into multiple sources to find ads to fill their inventory. This diversity helps to ensure that each time an ad is displayed, the highest-paying source is selected. With sources such as ad networks, programmatic exchanges, direct deals and private marketplaces (PMP) to choose from, the challenge lies in which of these sources to access and when.