Before Android became the world’s most used mobile platform, developers believed that iPhone apps were the way to go for successful monetization. Since it started in 2008, Apple App Store has always seen more success with paid apps. On the other hand, Google Play was slower in taking off and relies heavily on free apps. With this, it’s easy to assume that being on Apple App Store is the obvious choice for earning revenue from mobile apps.

However, this is not necessarily true. Granted that Apple’s daily revenue from apps is around five times more than that of Google Play, but according to a recent Distimo survey across 20 countries, daily revenue from Android apps have increased by approximately 43% as against just 21% on the Apple App Store.

The gap between the stores of Google and Apple is reducing. So, if you are developing mobile apps, it’s not advisable to write off Play store. Here are some ideas on how to earn money from Android mobile apps, irrespective of whether you are developing a cross platform app or one exclusively for Android.

Android In-App Ads

Google Play Store users are not reputed to be big spenders, unlike their Apple App Store counterparts. The majority of apps on Google Play offer free download, but combining in-app ads can be an effective means of earning revenue from them. In-app ads work best with gaming apps where users are willing to pay to advance to the next level, once they are hooked. The best known example of this is Rovio’s Angry Birds. While the app is offered on Apple Store at a price of $0.99, it is free on Google Play, but comes with in-app ads.

Android Freemium Model

Another option is to go the freemium way. Freemium apps account for around 75% of Play Store. Apps are offered free up to a point after which users have to pay additionally for services or items. Freemium apps are most commonly used in games, where they usually  include in-app purchases or limited time trials. Zynga Poker Freemium is a good example of a successful freemium app on Google Play, where players have to purchase additional items in order to move to the next level.

Android Paid Apps

For apps that offer a unique experience or service, which makes users willing to pay for downloading it, paid is the best way to go. However, keep in mind that with the large number of apps available on Play Store the competition is intense, and unless your app is indispensable in terms of what it offers, monetization may not be that easy. The top paid apps on Google Play are usually business or utility apps such as SwiftKey 3 Keyboard and Smart Tools.

Android In-App Subscriptions

The fourth alternative is to offer apps that earn revenue from subscriptions (usually monthly). While this ensures a continuous inflow of revenue compared to a paid app, it’s likely to work better for gaming, publications, entertainment or even some utility apps for which users are willing to pay a monthly subscription fee. Popular subscription-based  apps on Google Play include Frontline Commando, Netflix and Sky Sports, among others.

Before you do mobile app design for Android, it is important to have an app monetization strategy in place. Firstly, you will need to decide whether your revenue will come directly from users or from advertisers. If your app offers a fabulous service or an unmatched user interface that will ensure a long-term relationship with customers, then paid apps, freemium or subscriptions are all options. On the other hand, if you feel more secure with getting revenue from mobile advertising, in-apps might be more suitable. However, ensure that the ads don’t interfere with user experience. So, plan ahead and include one or more of these mobile monetization strategies to ensure that your app is a success on Google Play.

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Last Updated on December 20, 2014

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