With the increasing accessibility of smartphones and apps being an essential part of mobile phones, app monetization trends seem to be getting diverse and intense.  The mobile app market is projected to be worth $407 billion by 2026, and with that come the new and improvised ways of app monetization. In a market where 1000 plus apps are developed every day, the competition is top-notch which is why to monetize apps optimally, app publishers need to have diversified monetization strategies.

The sudden pandemic attack and resulting lockdowns were the highlights of the year 2020. When the lockdown forced people to stay indoors, more people were using their mobile devices for necessities as well as entertainment which led the ad placements to grow by 70%. App Annie expects Mobile ad spend to reach $290 billion in 2021. There was a rise in the number of users of mobile gaming apps as well. The Asia Pacific region saw a 7.7% YoY growth.

With so much happening in the mobile apps sphere, mobile apps can prove to be cash cows for app publishers if they have the appropriate monetization strategy. Let’s have a look at the trends which faded away and the ones that will shine in the times ahead:


In-app advertising is the placement of suitable ads inside your app and it is one of the most prevalent and sought after ways of advertising, it’s simple and it’s grossing as you get paid for just displaying ads in your app. According to Statista, mobile ad spending amounted to $190 billion in 2019 – and that figure is expected to increase to more than $280 billion by 2022.

While in-app advertising has been in the monetization ecosystem for quite a long time, in the new era, ad format is what makes or breaks the monetization strategy. Following at some ad formats that are going to make it to the top spot in the future:

Native Advertising: An ad format where the ad gets blend into the content of the app it is placed in is called a Native ad in simple terms. They are more visually engaging and drive higher brand lift. It is observed that consumers look at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads. They also registered a 9% higher brand lift for brand affinity and 18% higher lift for purchase intent than traditional banner ads. 25% more look at in-feed placements and since native ads are shareable, 32% more users shared native ads with friends and family.

Playable ads: When advertising a mobile game, there’s no better way to grab eyeballs than allowing them to experience the gameplay. This is possible with playable ads, enabling users to play a portion of your mobile game which tends to develop an interest in the user eventually installing the game. With the Mobile gaming industry growing at large, this format of ads is going to be a hit. The revenue has increased by 10.8% which shows the increase well.


While offering a freemium service, the app publisher can show value to the user and convince them that the app is worth their money. The freemium model is likely to remain popular because it’s much easier to get users on board when the app is free.

A Sensor Tower report shows that U.S. revenue for the top 100 subscription apps grew by 21% in 2019, increasing from $3.8 billion to over $4.6 billion. 

Spotify is a well-known example of the subscription model. Anybody can download Spotify and start listening to music with intermittent ads but their premium ad-free service must be paid for monthly.


 In-app purchases are essential for almost all the mobile apps, 95% of all the Google Play Store apps are free and rely on monetization methods like in-app purchases to generate revenue as users worldwide are spending $380billion on in-app purchases. 

Social media app Reddit successfully created an in-app currency called Reddit Coins. The company’s official website describes this as “a virtual good you can use to award exemplary posts or comments.” Reddit also relies on brand loyalty in order for users to invest in in-app purchasing, stating that Reddit Coins will “encourage your favorite contributors to keep making Reddit better.


Augmented Reality is the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio, and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. AR ads are immersive which means they help marketers create a certain emotional connection with customers. Unlike images or banners, for example, AR ads are interactive and lifelike. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “You rarely have a new technology where business and consumer both see it as key to them. That’s the reason I think augmented reality is going to pervade your life.” In a situation like COVID, AR is going to be sought for all the more. An example of successfully generating revenue with AR is IKEA Place. This is a free app from IKEA that allows users to superimpose IKEA products into their household. This gives users a strong indication as to how each item will look, giving users more confidence in their purchases before arrival. Mobile gaming is seen to be suited the most for AR at 61% followed by Health and Education at 41% each. 

which industry is best for augmented reality

In the shopping zone, 61% preferred to shop at a retailer that offered Augmented reality than the ones who didn’t. One third are already using AR.


Paid subscription strategy involves the periodic purchase of some content which may vary from eBooks to audiobooks, films, and videos. The fee may be charged in packs ranging from one month to a year. The most successful and well-known example of this monetization strategy is Netflix which needs no description. We all know – “ Netflix and chill”.

Netflix has 156m subscriptions which proves the subscription strategy to be a good one for app monetization.


In this case, the app serves as a mediator between two parties: vendor and buyer. It becomes a place where vendors and customers meet. While one side needs some goods and services, the other party provides them. The app transacts payments and charges commission for provided services which can be paid by the vendor, by the buyer, or by both. For instance, Airbnb is a mediator between people who want to rent out their apartments and people who are looking for accommodation in a particular region.


With the advent of Social Media and the “influencer culture” that it has harnessed, integrating the app with social media platforms has become another crucial monetization strategy. This makes it easier for users to share context related to your game, such as a high score, on their social media account. This is free exposure for your app and is another way to build a community for your game. Integrating social media platforms into your app also means you can analyze trends and stay ahead of your competition.

Influencer marketing should be given a well-deserved place in overall strategy too: 65 percent of influencer marketing budgets are expected to have increased in 2020 and 17 percent of companies are spending over half their marketing budget on influencers.

influencer marketing global spend

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