Top 5 Mobile Game Monetization Strategies to Keep Your Pockets Full

Discover top five mobile game monetization strategies that will help you to succeed in game development business.

The market for mobile applications is constantly growing. According to Statista, the capitalization of the mobile market in 2019 will exceed $461 billion. This promising and young market is rapidly expanding to other categories of devices, such as applications for TVs, smart watches and similar devices. Such rapid development attracts new developers. The main aspect of mobile game development for its further existence is payback. Many promising series of games ceased to exist due to lack of funding. This article will describe the main mobile app monetization strategies.

Paid application

Standard monetization method. At the moment, this method accounts for about half of the mobile game monetization models of the entire market. It is used for the majority of projects aimed at a certain category of consumers who are ready to pay for a quality product. Usually a business segment, where the profit of activity directly depends on the used program.

Consumers remain loyal to the software developer for a long time. As a rule, there are no other types of monetization in such applications. It is preferable for the developer because it allows to get instant profit from the product. The income is directly proportional to the number of downloads.

The disadvantage is that the market is full of bad quality applications with this type of monetization and high competition.

In-app advertising

The most massive monetization strategy at the moment. The percentage of applications using this strategy is at 81 percent, according to Statista. The main task of the developer is to recruit a large number of active users and collect information. Subsequently, the collected information about the activity of the players will be sold to advertising companies and based on them, targeted advertising will be created and displayed in the application. Most free apps use banner ads to monetize. Also, mobile game ads method includes targeted advertising, promotional videos, interactive advertising.

The disadvantage of this method is a long payback, working with a lot of user data. Due to widespread use, this method can annoy users, which contributes to the outflow of people from the application.

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A widely used way to monetize applications. According to statistics, 79 percent of games use this strategy. Applications that use this type of mobile monetization sell virtual things, like currency. A fairly flexible business model that can be used by different commercial organizations. It can increase user loyalty, provided that quality paid content is provided. This strategy for the effective distribution of the application is used by a large ad company. Mobile game advertising must be carried out throughout the life cycle.


Applications built on this monetization system have some content, functions that are available free of charge initially. While the premium version of the product provides access to a greater number of functions related to the original ones. Promotion of this functionality is based on the popularity of the main free functions. The majority of such programs limit the user to a set of functions, the amount of memory, the scope of application, the number of licenses.

Subscription or SaaS access

The business model is very similar to Freemium. Usually, a program that uses this monetization strategy provides some free content when the limit is exceeded or when you need more access to the content, offers you to subscribe to a certain amount of content or access to all the content for a certain period of time. This system allows to try out the service before buying it. For the developer it gives a constant flow of money for a long period of time, as well as motivates to fill the program with actual content and constant long-term support.


The newest app monetization strategy. The essence of this model is the user performing some actions in the application aimed at advertising the product necessary for the sponsor. The sponsor, in turn, rewards the developer in direct proportion to the amount of incoming traffic.

Recommendations for the application of the above strategies

First of all, you need to understand which direction the application you are developing has. It is a very important aspect, as different mobile game monetization strategies are suitable for different types of applications.

There are divisions when choosing the platform, the type of application itself, the degree of immersion, the skills required from the player. These differences have been identified by developers during mobile game apps development since the beginning of the mobile app market development, and also based on personal experience.

It is proved that the most profitable mobile games have a predefined monetization system. The transition between types or integration of a new method into an already existing product was mostly not welcomed by the players and provoked a large loss of user base. Starting with the most casual games – games that do not require the player to have special skills or a lot of time to dive, – you can see that such applications are the most free of charge sites. According to statistics, these are games that bring the most profit to the sites.

An undeniable advantage is that they are usually free, which allows to quickly reach a large audience and are aimed at a large audience. This type of application has a low level of immersion in the process, so it is well suited for in-game advertising, it implies the display of advertising during the gaming process. Do not forget to award the player when using this method of monetization of mobile games. Thus, you can increase the loyalty of users. For this strategy of monetization is very important to maintain a balance of loyalty of users with their irritation when viewing advertising banners.

For games with a greater degree of immersion, you can use several types of mobile game monetization at the same time. Immersion still does not affect the user strongly enough that allows to use advertising banners, video inserts and also apply in-game purchases of currency items or content.

Multiplayer games often use several types of monetization. The most popular methods are in-game purchases as well as Freemium.

Games with a high degree of immersion are usually platformers, RPGs and various story games should have an advanced business model. It is not advisable to interrupt users’ immersion in the game process with sudden advertising or distract from the plot with banners and interactive advertising.

The most suitable way to monetize such games is to sell the product directly on the digital distribution platform as well as in-game purchases. Selling game currency, customization items, necessary resources for easier promotion of the plot are the most popular purchases. When using this method, the main task of the developer is to maintain balance and prevent the transformation of this model into the so-called pay to win. After turning into this model, users rapidly lose interest in the game and leave it. It is also possible to use a subscription. How it is implemented, for example, in the PS Store.

Mobile game application development is only half of the work. The promotion of the game in the popular media resources and introduction promises more effective monetization methods occupies an important place in the life cycle of the application. It is worth to show imagination and ingenuity, invent new types of monetization and learn to successfully apply the existing ones. It is not enough to start ad campaign to succeed with the new game app.

It is also good practice to apply several methods simultaneously. Statistics show that the best mobile games before the implementation had a certain business model, with the help of which it was planned to recoup the project. Adding monetization methods in the process of development can be detrimental to the promotion of the project. Apply any of the strategies with caution because each of them, if used incorrectly, can increase consumer loyalty and eventually lead to the failure of the application in the market.

Remember: do not abuse the advertising-oriented methods of monetization, in most cases, they are the ones that irritate people, which leads to the loss of their interest in the application.

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