How To Build a Mobile App That Makes Money


Apps make a lot of money.

The mobile application development industry comes with a huge potential to earn millions of dollars. However, not every app earns an equal revenue share of the Android and iOS marke. Furthermore, if you’re new to the market, looking to enter it, or have a fresh idea for an app, one of your first questions is likely along the lines of “Can you make money from an app?

Similarly, many people think that just making an app means they are going to make money. This concept is highly inaccurate. Just making an app will not make you money.

There are many success stories of mobile app developers who have made a fortune with one mobile app. Many news articles talk about the earnings of mobile app developers who have made millions and still they are in their 20s. To be honest as only a few developers make a good amount of money out of their mobile app.


The first step towards making money from an app is to build one. This means you’ll need a good idea that people will find useful and want to download your app. If you don’t have a specific idea for an app, you can always think about a problem you have and a way to solve it.

Regardless of whether you want to hire a developer or learn how to make the app yourself, having basic knowledge of the tasks and effort involved in creating an app will save you a lot of time and money.


app ideas

The first step of creating an app is to define what the ultimate purpose of the app is, and what you want to accomplish with it.

In this step, there are some questions to think about:

  • What do you want your app to do?
  • What problem is it going to solve?
  • How is it going to meet a specific need?
  • Who is the target audience for your app?
  • How are you going to make it appealing to users?
  • How are you going to make money with your app?
  • What platform are you going to build on?

You may want to sketch out your ideas in order to better visualize your thoughts.


While the app economy may be attractive, beware that most of the money is earned by certain types of apps, and many apps don’t make any money at all. As with any business, you will need to research and gain an understanding of the marketplace in order to increase your odds of success. Take your research and revisit the step above to modify your idea. Keep doing this until you have a feasible idea that you can stick with.


wireframe tools

Give your idea more clarity and functionality by creating a wireframe or a storyboard for your app. You can do it by simply drawing it on a piece of paper, or digitally using one of the many available wireframing tools:

The idea is to outline what the app will look like, where everything will be placed and what happens when certain buttons are selected. 

Be sure to test out and revise these wireframes extensively.


At this point, you can begin designing the visual elements of your app, including your logo, color scheme, and any graphics or animations you choose to use. You’ll need to do this whether you choose to build it yourself or use a DIY app builder. If you don’t have the expertise required, you can always hire a professional to take care of the process for you.

If you’ve hired a graphic designer for your app, you should expect to get high resolution images of the screens based on your wireframe.


This is the largest phase of the application development. The next step is where things get complicated. First, you’ll need to build the back end of your app. Getting this right will ensure your app works as it should. If you have limited software development experience, this is where using an app builder can save you a lot of time and stress.

backend and frontend

Following this, you can design the front end, which is the interface the user will see. This is also a good time for you to register for a develop account with Google Play and/or Apple App Store so that you can sell your app through their platforms. Don’t wait on this, as it could take a few days to get setup.


While you need to test your app out as you are making it, the final step is to test the finished product. You should test the app on numerous devices and give it to different people who fit your target audience. This will allow you to collect a variety of opinions about what works and what doesn’t.

If you notice there are any problems, be sure to fix them before releasing your app.



Now you know how to create an app, we will look at how to monetize it. In this article, we’ve split monetization methods into six categories.  These are:

1. Paid apps:

In one-time paid applications users to pay just once to download the app and other add-on updates; features are expected to be free. So how do you determine whether your app should be a paid one? Most paid apps offer the core value in the first download, followed by minor additions or design and usability enhancements. Most utility apps fall into this category.

2. Subscription based apps:

Even though the paid subscription business model is the most common app monetization strategy, subscription-based mobile apps, like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Dropbox, have gained massive popularity in recent times. Do we need to mention that subscribers are usually loyal app users? The key to achieving success with the subscription model is to provide a constant stream of fresh and valuable content and services. Users will keep subscribing as long as they will get value from the app.

3. In-app purchases (IAPs):

IAPs are directly made from within the free mobile apps. They’re typically used to allow exclusive content or additional features to users. In simple words, they provide the ability to sell a variety of virtual items directly from the app.
According to Forbes, this strategy generates the highest revenue for publishers. The best free gaming apps like Clash of Clans and PUBG have enhanced their user experience by providing their users with IAPs.

In-app purchases are one of the most effective ways to monetize an app. According to Apple, there are four types of in-purchase:

  • Consumables are items such as in-game points or currencies that can be used within the app. These are common in games, and they can be used by players to buy new items or access new levels. As the name suggests, these items can only be used once.
  • Non-consumable items are those that do not expire once a consumer has bought them. Examples of this include extra options in a photo editing app. Once a user has bought these items, they can use them for as long as they own the app.
  • The final two types of in-app purchase are auto-renewable and non-renewing subscriptions. As we covered subscriptions above, we won’t go into detail of these here.

4. Advertising:

Statista shows that 288 billion US dollars was spent worldwide in 2021 on mobile advertising. While the application is free to download and use, app publishers earn money based on the interactions on the advertisements displayed within the application. This app revenue model is highly considered and found to be profitable. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently said that in 2018, 65 percent of all digital advertising revenue came via mobile platforms. This includes browsers and text messages, as well as apps. The in-app advertising had several formats such as Interstitial ads, Banner ads, Video ads, Native ads, Text ads, Native ads, and so on.

Google’s AdMob is an example of a platform you can implement. Sign up to allow you to start placing ads in your app.

5. Affiliate marketing:

Affiliate marketing suffers from many of the same issues as advertisements – you’ll need a lot of users before you can make money. This is another variation of sponsorship, however in place of granting advertising rights solely to one organization, you negotiate with a few interested parties and place their reference links in your application. This is a decent method to increase your income if you lack a big client who is ready to cover your costs.

6. Mixed monetization methods:

Many of the most successful apps use a variety of monetization methods. This way developers don’t have to rely on one strategy.

The best way to create an app and make money will depend on the type of app you create. The good news is, there are plenty of examples of successful apps no matter what monetization method you choose. Here are some examples of how mixed monetization strategies could work in practice.

  • A common mixed monetization strategy is to ask users to pay to remove ads. This is good as an alternative to a paid app. It means app developers are still able to monetize free users, while also offering a more lucrative option to those who can pay. To make the paid option more appealing, you can even choose to add in some extras for those that pay. This could work for both one-off payments and subscriptions.
  • Some paid apps (especially games) charge a fee for the app and then offer in-app purchases on top of the price of the game. Minecraft, NBA 2K19, and the Moment Pro Camera are all apps that have successfully used this strategy.
  • If you plan to rely on advertising as your monetization strategy, it would be a good idea to experiment with both affiliate marketing and regular advertising. If you do this, you can see which type of advertising is most lucrative and then focus on that.

Questions people ask about monetizing their app:

Do apps make a lot of money?

It depends. But on a very generic note, until you have an established brand name supporting you or you have a strong community of influencers backing you, you will have to wait for some time before your revenue scales. 

The other thing that you can do is make multiple apps and publish them on stores to expand your earning ability.

What are the most profitable types of apps?

If we had to list three app categories that tend to make the most money for their parent business, it would be – Music apps, Gaming apps, and Video streaming apps. All three of these app categories have very high engagement and users.

How much does an app store pay per download?

Apple and Google Play take 30% of the price of your one-time purchase of your app.  For subscription-based apps, that number decreases to 15% after one year. 


This is the end of our article on how to build a mobile that makes money.

As you can see, there are plenty of methods you can use to monetize your app. In-app purchases and subscriptions can be incredibly lucrative due to the potential for recurring income. However, many apps can successfully use other monetization methods such as advertising or charging the user upfront.

Sometimes you have to use a mix of monetization strategies for your mobile app.  In the end this article covers your options on how to generate revenue from your new app.  If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

About 5280 Software LLC:

5280 Software LLC, located in Austin, Texas is a premier software development firm.  We have worked with a variety of clients over the years.  Our expert team of developers have helped small to medium sized businesses, startups, as well as enterprise level clients such as RingCentral.  If you are looking to build a mobile app, we can deliver flawless apple ios mobile apps as well as android mobile apps.  Our mobile app development agency designs apps for smartphones, ipad and android tablets, wearable such as smart watches, and even smart TVs.

The power of a well-designed app to gain new customers is key in today’s market. Our cutting-edge mobile app development solution is what your business or startup needs! Our developers are adroit with any mobile app development platform you need. We help execute your app development to perfection. If you need the best mobile app development companies, you have found them!

We offer a complete solution with the latest technologies to solve your obstacles and scale your customer base.  From the start of any project (and at every stage, step, phase, and release) we focus on the client and always ask for feedback while we develop the project.  Creating a quality solution for a business or startup is our end goal.  Our strategy and processes are based on solid communication with our clients.  5280 Software LLC is one of the top mobile app development companies in the USA.  We are far better than other mobile app development companies that charge more money for lower quality.

All projects are built according to a clearly defined scope of work.  If you need assistance with scope creation, we offer this as a service. This scope of work will be used in the provided development contract.  Make sure whomever you hire for your project provides you a development contract with clearly defined pricing, development timeline, payment schedule, and deliverables.  We would like to learn about your project and help refine your scope of work.  Our custom website, software, and mobile app development agency is here for you every step of the way.

If you have an idea for a mobile app, please emails us your full name or company name and we will send you a signed NDA.  We send NDAs to all potential clients to guarantee your ideas and documents will be kept in confidence.  Once an NDA is in place, feel free to book a free discovery call.  You can also fill out our app development questionnaire to share the details of your project before your call.  We are the leading firm specializing in building solutions for the web, iphones and other smart devices including IOT.  Our company can create a custom solution on a variety of platforms using the most current popular programming languages.  Weather it is a cross platform hybrid app or a natively programmed solution, we have you covered!

We look forward to speaking with you about your project.  Learn why clients around the world trust working with 5280 Software LLC.  We support our clients from mockups, sketch, wireframes, and graphic design, development, product launch and ASO when we publish your app, and even code updates at a competitive price point.  Feel free to visit us on our social sites Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or send us a LinkedIn connection request to learn about our offers to get answers to your questions.  Want to hear firsthand from our previous clients the superior service we offer?  Check out our testimonialsCall us today at 888.510.0833 to learn about our mobile app development services!

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