Android 101: How to monetize your Android application

There are several ways you can make money through the apps you develop. Let’s look at a few.

How to make money with Android

See below for more extensive explanation on each of these:

  • Paid apps
  • In-app purchase
  • Ads

Since we used ads in our application, you can find at the end of the article a step-by-step section on how to set up ads using Google’s AdMob.

Paid Apps

Paid apps are downloaded less often than free aps, but for each person that downloads your app you’ll have a guarantee of profit.

You have different options for selling paid apps.

Paid version only

You can have only a paid version of you app. Think well before going through this path. The user needs to trust that the promises you make about the app will come true after he downloads it. The user is giving you money for something he most probably hasn’t tried before. You need to gain his trust. Prepare a good marketing campaign. Listen to what other users are telling you through reviews. Make some demo videos of your app, this way the user has a better knowledge of the feel of the app. Have a good app portfolio, your history speaks for you. 5 stars apps in the past is an assurance of good quality in the present.

Lite version

You can have a free lite version of your app and a paid version with extra functionality. This is a great way of teasing the users about the value of the app. The user can play around, test the main functionality, the feel of the app, and then decide if they want the full package. Be sure to give the user enough, even in the lite version, so that he can use it properly and test it thoroughly, but leave out the special stuff that the user surely won’t be able to live without.

Ad free

You can have a free ad-supported version of your app and in it you promote your ad-free paid app.

Make the decision

Study the option of selling your app. People will only give money for something that they can’t find for free and will give them added value. Study the market, what kind of other apps exist that do something similar to yours? How are these other apps being monetized?

In-app purchase

With in-app purchases you monetize your app selling content or extra functionality through the app itself. In a game you can have extra levels available through extra payment, for example.


A freemium app is an app the user is free to download but then requires in-app purchases to expand the app usage. Image you have a bookstore app. You give the app free of charge and sell books to the user through the app.


Ads are an important way to get revenue from your apps. Ads give you the advantages of having a free app (that is more easily downloaded than a paid one) and still be able to monetize it. Ads are an old way of monetizing a product. TV, magazines, websites, already do it.

Inside your app you can control where your ads are shown.

Learn the basics

You need to know how ads work, if you want to optimize your income. Cost per Click, Request vs. Impressions, etc, are all concepts you need to learn to understand how ads generate money.

Track your results

You can also track the app usage as to optimize the ads. You can easily do this with Google Analytics.

Cross Promotion

Cross promote your apps, show in one of your apps ads for other apps you’ve created. You might have a small free app where you promote other paid apps you’ve created.


You can also try to find a sponsor for your app. For example, if you have a fitness related app, you can find a company that sells energy drinks and negotiate a sponsorship. Of course this isn’t the easiest thing to achieve, but it might be something that fits the profile of your app.

Installing ads in your app with AdMob

It’s very easy to install ads in your application using Google’s AdMob. Google provides a very clear and succinct set of instructions on how to configure AdMob.

1. Create an AdMob Account or use your existing Google account.

2. Add a new app in your AdMob account.

It will show up under Sites & Apps.

3. Go to Manage Settings.

Here you’ll find the Publisher ID you’ll use later on. But now click on “Get Publisher Code”. Here we can download the libraries necessary to add to your app project.

4. Configure your code.

Use Google’s instructions to add the code you’ve downloaded to your code project.

You’ll also need the Publisher ID I’ve mentioned in the previous step.

5. Done.

More resources

Dércia Silva
Posted by Dércia Silva on December 9, 2011

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