How do Free Apps Really Make Money? - FAD Magazine

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How do Free Apps Really Make Money?

With the rise of mobile gaming, the app market has seen a surge in growth over the past decade. But how do developers make money from giving away their apps for free?

Indeed, if you have ever wondered how free apps make money, there are ways in which companies and developers are able to cash in and make substantial profits in some instances.  It is a common misconception that free apps d not generate any revenue. In reality, most free apps are designed to monetize through advertisements or in-app purchases.

Let’s take a closer look at how free apps generate revenue and what strategies are utilized to turn “free” into profitable.

In-App Purchases

One popular method of monetizing an app is by utilizing in-app purchases. This type of model allows users to purchase virtual or physical items within an application for a fee. For instance, casino apps that give you free money often offer players bonuses of coins or chips that allow them to play games without having to deposit real money once they have met certain requirements. Once these bonuses have been spent, players must then purchase additional coins or chips in order to continue playing the game. One of the reasons operators do this is because they hope players will then return to their platform and continue to play the games that they offer, thus spending more money on them.

Additionally, developers offer basic versions of their apps for free and then allow users to unlock additional content or features by making an in-app purchase. This freemium model can be anything from new levels or characters in a game, to virtual currency or extra lives. By doing this, it provides players with the ability to try out the game that has been made available for free, and those that have been captured by what has been made playable will typically look to continue to enhance their experiences by paying for certain features.


A growing number of app and game developers are now offering subscription services that allow users to access premium content or features for a set fee per month or year. This model gives developers a steady stream of recurring income while providing users with exclusive content that they would not be able to access otherwise. Additionally, this type of model offers more flexibility than other models as it allows developers to test different pricing structures and adjust them accordingly based on customer feedback and preferences.


Perhaps the most common way for app developers to monetize their work is by using the advertisement model. This means that when you open an app, you will be presented with advertisements before you can access the content. Developers can choose to display ads within their apps, either on a regular basis or just when certain events occur (e.g., when a user reaches a certain level in a game). 

Mobile Advertising – GermaniaVid

Ads can also be displayed on dedicated screens when users open the app or close it down. Though this model has proven successful, it is important to be aware of the limitations associated with it. For example, if users find the ads too intrusive, they may abandon the application altogether. Additionally, companies need to carefully consider which ad platform they choose; some offer more targeted ads than others and therefore will generate more revenue for developers.


Although it might seem counterintuitive, giving away your app for free is actually an effective way for developers to make money – if done correctly. By leveraging in-app purchases, subscriptions, and advertising, developers can generate revenue without charging customers upfront for their apps. So next time you download your favorite game for free and spot an ad or two while playing it – you know why! It is all part of how these developers make money off their free apps!



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