How Free Apps Generate Income in 2021


If you own a business, having your own app can be beneficial for your company, no matter its size. Having an app for your business can help you spread your offers and promotions to a bigger audience, it can add value to your customers through loyalty and rewards programs, can help you connect better with your audience, improve your company’s engagement levels and rates, and can help provide you with an edge over your direct competitors. Hiring a reputable app development company can help you reach your goals faster and can help turn your vision and ideas into reality.

But if you’re worried about how the app can generate income if you’re offering it for free, the following are ways you can make money through the app while you promote it to your audience.

In-app advertising

The simplest and easiest way for you to make extra income through your company’s app is by allowing advertisements to show through it. The way you make money through in-app advertising is through the number of clicks or impressions the ads make through your app and will depend on the kind of ads you offer. For example, you can charge more for a video advertisement compared to a banner ad, but you also have to consider if your audience is willing to spend time watching a video while they’re navigating your app.

On the flip side, you can also earn money through the app by not showing ads. You can offer a premium version of the app for a small fee, which can then provide your customers with an ad-free experience.

In-app purchases

Another way free apps can make money is through in-app purchases, or special offerings within the app that customers can pay for. You see this in mobile games when you have to pay for certain coins or tokens or to open a new level or chapter. Using this revenue model, you can generate income by providing your users with exclusive content, premium features, and other special giveaways.

Special subscriptions

The subscription model is one of the best ways to present a fair deal for both the app developer and user. This model involves offering your app for free and allowing users the freedom to navigate its basic features, content, and offerings. But when the time comes when the users find the value in the app, and they want to experience more, that’s when they can upgrade to a special subscription for a fee. You can choose different tiers for your subscriptions, and the value the users will get will depend on the amount they’re willing to pay for.

Another way to do this revenue model is by making the app and all of its features free for the first month, and the users have the choice to pay for it for the next month if they want to keep using it.

Sponsorship or partnership with other brands

You can also generate income for your free app by partnering with a sponsor—someone from a company or entity with a similar target demographic. This can be a popular restaurant, an influencer, or even other small businesses like your local barber. You would then have to work out a deal that works for both parties: You can decide to split the revenue, or a monthly sponsorship fee.

Affiliate programs

Your app can also join an affiliate program, which is a mobile platform that gathers affiliates and mobile advertisers in the same place. Affiliates can help businesses promote and drive sales, and they can get a small commission for their work. Some examples of these affiliate networks include ShareASale and Amazon Associates.


online transaction

Perhaps the most obvious way to earn money through your business’s apps is by selling your goods through it. If your company or business has a special kind of merchandise and other exclusive goods, you can sell those products through the app, and you can even go for different kinds of promotions to boost sales. You can sell app-exclusive goods and content through the app—valuable goods and content that they won’t get anywhere else. You can also combine this revenue model with your e-mail marketing to inform your audience about your in-app store.


Thanks to apps like Patreon and Kickstarter, crowdfunding through apps is fast rising in popularity. If you’re thinking of ways to fund your corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, you can make your audience feel like they are part of the work by having them donate to a good cause. Just be sure to be transparent about where the money goes.

Developing an app for your business is can be a smart move when done right. Check if it’s a marketing strategy that your specific industry can benefit from.

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