How Much Money Do Apps Make? App Ad Revenue & Profits (2023)

The app market is vast, with millions of apps available on Apple and Android marketplaces.

In 2023, it is expected that the annual number of app downloads worldwide will reach299 billion, up from approximately 247 billion global app downloads in 2020. What is more attractive to businesses is the potential for an app to deliver a return on investment several times over.

But how much money do they really make? What else can apps deliver for a business besides a welcome revenue stream?

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How Much Money Do Apps Make? App Ad Revenue & Profits (1)


  1. Many have them – but does every app make money?

    When an app works, and works well for users, the potential to make money every day is presented to a business.

  2. What is an app?

    Initially, apps were seen as productivity tools.

  3. Not just about the money

    Apps are used to reach and connect with their audience.

  4. How much does it cost to design and launch an app?

    The cost depends on how complex the app is.

  5. Should every business have an app?

    For an app to be useful for your business, it needs to meet the demands and needs of your customers.

  6. So how do you know if an app is worth investing in or not?

    Will your app solve a problem for your customers?

  7. Successful apps are those that deliver tangible benefits

    Users need to feel that they are getting something from an app, whether that is exclusive content or offers that they find useful.

Many have them – but does every app make money?

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Everywhere you turn these days, every brand, business or organisation seems to have an app. These small but sophisticated programs are downloaded by users across the globe, delivering everything from daily updates to their phones to providing a smooth buying channel.

When an app works, and works well for users with few bugs, and is also useful and practical, the potential to make money every day is presented to a business.

But are apps really heavily monetised?
It certainly seems so. The mobile app store revenue generated in 2015 was a relatively impressive $29 billion, but in recent years this figure has exploded, reaching more than $421 billion worldwide in 2022.

Take a look at the apps of 2022 with the highest returns and you’ll be encouraged by the numbers.

Ebate, an American-based app that offers discounts to users by connecting them with their favourite retailers,returned over a billion dollars in savings to usersand for the owners, this brings in big bucks too.

The apps in thetop 200 on app stores grossed $82,500 a dayand those in the top 800 brought in $3,5000 a day, not a bad return by any measure.

Consumers and followers have fallen in love with apps with some suggestion that the majority of time people spend on their mobiles is spent on apps. In-app purchases, as well as paid-for apps, present an enticing prospect for brands and companies.

But what’s really involved and would an app be worth the time and investment?

What is an app?

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The number of people who own and regularly use a mobile or other handheld smart device such as a tablet is growing. Increasingly, users are using these devices to access websites, including buying online as well as communicating and other activities.

Apps are the software tools that companies are increasingly investing in so that their fans and consumers can remain in touch with what they have to offer.

What about other types of device?
Wearable tech e.g. watches have also increased in popularity, another reason behind the rapid expansion of the app market.

Initially, these apps were seen as productivity tools. Email programs were often compacted into these small nuggets of downloadable programs that allow users to quickly access their accounts. They could not only see new emails as they came in, but they could also reply to messages.

Essentially, the app provided a platform that looked the same, acted the same and felt the same. Information was seamlessly synced across the devices the user chose to connect.

Their popularity seemed to know no bounds and as such, users demanded more and more options when it came to the types of apps that they wanted. Everything from gaming to shopping, including their favourite brands led to a steep rise in the apps on offer to users.

Depending on the sophistication of the app, users can also opt for a personalised response from it. Large brands took the plunge, opting to invest in an app that allowed them to connect and promote their products and services to consumers in a way that they wanted.

Signing up to a brand by a leading high street pharmacy and beauty brand, for example, allows a user to check their loyalty programme, to buy online seamlessly but to receive regular ‘reminders’ of offers that they may find useful.

Get it right and an app for your brand could bring in big rewards, including financial ones.

What about in-app purchases?
In-app advertising is big business, and70% of millennials say that they have made more than one in-app purchase,with statistics indicating that $380 billion is being spent worldwide in this manner, with popular game PUBG Mobile raking in a rather tasty $2.01 billion in 2022.

However, despite there being money to be made in this way, giving too many options to purchase can annoy and irritate the user, one reason why some users may choose to uninstall an app.

There is also growing evidence that millennials especially are willing to pay for apps. Many apps offer a free or ‘lite’ app version that provides the user with a taste of what the app offers, whereas the paid-for version provides a lot more in terms of features, accessibility and offers.

The figures are encouraging, and projections for this year’s revenue statistics are staggering.

In fact, it has been predicted that $188.9 billion will be generated by in-app advertising and app stores in 2020.

Not just about the money

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Apps are used by brands and companies, as well as other organisations and groups, to reach and connect with their audience. Whilst they can be a good source of income, there are other reasons why investing in an app is a great idea for your business.

1. Join a growing trend

In 2017,178 billion apps were downloaded globally, a trend that is continuing to rise. By 2024, the prediction is that this will rise to well over 400 billion downloads. The potential, therefore, to join in with this movement is clear to most businesses.

And it could be that your customers will also expect this of you. In 2016, Americans were spending 3 or more hours on their mobile, another trend that is expected to rise with the number of users using PCs declining slightly. And that meansapps on people phones will be their go-to tool to connect with their favourite brands.

2. Promote even more customer recognition

Every brand knows the importance of being recognised by customers, making huge efforts to boost familiarity. Apps contribute to customers, fans and followers recognising your brand but also associating it with the attributes you want them to.

Understanding why people use apps is important when investing in the design and build of your app. For example, game-based apps are incredibly popular, with nearly25% of users downloading game apps. Close behind are business-based apps. The fact that many of the apps in the top 200 are business-based is an indication that they are a popular choice for many consumers, a fact that informs the next benefit of investing in an app for your business.

3. Apps are popular for shopping

Shopping online is a popular means of buying everything and anything from clothes to food. And whilst many of us still use the web, there is increasing evidence that many consumers turn to the app of a specific brand to buy.

Just as encouraging is that consumers also use apps as a communication tool. In fact,42% of consumers say that they use apps for this very purpose. Research also shows that one of the apps people claim they can’t live without is Amazon!

4. Extends customer engagement

Every brand will be at pains to connect and engage with their customers. In fact, customers themselves expect brands to take strides to connect with their loyal customers base. Apps don’t have to be anonymous platforms.

However, some brands assume that apps are for those businesses who have a younger following – it’s easy to see why, as a brand, you would think this. By ignoring who is using your app, you could be potentially ignoring your customer base and that means missing out on listening to what customers are saying about you, products and the industry.

App users in theUS suggest that apps are popular with people aged 18 to 44– and there is no reason to assume that it is very different in the UK. If your customer base falls within this age bracket, you could be taking significant steps to increase customer engagement.

5. Stand out from the crowd

There’s no doubt about it, apps are popular. On the Apple store, for example, there are approximately2 million appsto choose from. The range and scope of these apps are equally as impressive.

On Google Play, there are just short of3 million apps, again with a scope and range that will see users have all kinds of apps at their fingertips for everything from motivation to exercise to recipes for gluten-free meals to gaming, music and communication apps. According to 2020 Q1 statistics, these stores generated between them $23.3 billion in sales.

They provide an immediate short link to one of their favourite places online and so it would be easy for a business to assume that because there are so many apps and options, that joining the crowd would mean being swamped by competitors.

But it could be that your competitors are not investing heavily in an app. Or if they have, if it is full of bugs, users are navigating away quickly and removing them from their phones or tablets.

As a business, you have the potential to use an app to stand out from the crowd whilst also building a platform that has the potential to boost your margins at the same time. A well-designed, easy-to-use app that people enjoy using will yield fantastic results. In fact,users spend more time on an app than on your website, another reason why opting to stand out from the crowd with your own app is an ideal move for your brand.

How much does it cost to design and launch an app?

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The figures behind the design and launch of an app can, on appearance, be eye-watering. Essentially, the cost depends on how complex the app is. That said, many app design agencies will quote anything from a few thousand pounds to £40,000. For larger brands, creating an app with the level of sophistication that their consumers would expect can be £100,000 or more.

Should every business have an app?

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The figures are tempting. The potential to bring an additional revenue stream for your business is surely always welcome but there are instances of apps seemingly developed in an attempt to solve a problem that isn’t really there.

For an app to be useful for your business, it needs to meet the demands and needs of your customers, rather than being developed with the aim of bringing in thousands in revenue. Unless people find it useful and practical, they won’t download or use it thus impacting negatively on the return of investment you had planned.

So how do you know if an app is worth investing in or not?

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  • How well optimised for mobile is your website?Opting for an app doesn’t mean you should not optimise your site for mobile. If people are able to access the full range of products and service vis their phone or tablet, encouraging them to use this channel could yield the same returns as investing in an app.
  • Do your competitors have apps?And if they do, how successful are they? Check out their apps on the relevant app markets, taking note of how many downloads there are and what the feedback from users is.
  • Will your app solve a problem for your customers?Apps can be a brilliant means of solving an issue that customers may have but if your app doesn’t offer more flexibility and convenience than your mobile-optimised website, you may find your app struggles to gain traction amongst users.
  • Could it offer a customer loyalty program?Many retailers have utilised apps to offer yet more personalised offers to their customers. Customising these offers means collecting and understanding customer data, as well as how they use the app and the purchases they make. When you get these personalised offers right, your customers are more likely to make a purchase, either via the app, online or in-store.

Successful apps are those that deliver tangible benefits

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Users need to feel that they are getting something from an app, whether that is exclusive content or offers that they find useful.

In other words, successful apps, especially retail ones, are those that offer tangible benefits. If the app offers what a user can get via your website and nothing more or different, they won’t use it. And like other forms of online retailing, if your customers don’t use your app, it is a waste of time, money and effort.


How much money do apps make?

The apps in the top 200 apps on the App Store, to earn around $82,500 each day. But this drops off quite sharply and in the top 800 apps, the average income falls to around $3,500.

How much money do apps make per ad?

With in=app advertising, the average revenue per ad impression from banners is just $0.10, interstitial ads make a little more at, $1-$3, and the longer video ads make the most at $5-$10.

How much money do free apps make?

Around 70% of apps contain advertising that generate payments per display, per click or per install. As an example, the famous ‘Flappy Bird’ app made use of this model and earned on average $50k per day while it topped the App Store charts.

How much money do apps make per download?

The average revenue per app download varies significantly but the average is $0.60 to $1.20.

How much money do dating apps make?

As you might expect, Tinder makes the most, with an eye-watering $1,469 per minute, or $88,143 per hour. The female-friendly Bumble comes in 2nd place, raking in $172 per minute.

How much money do Android apps make?

Despite Android having the largest market share in the mobile industry with 75.82%, compared to just 22.9% iOS, it’ actually iOS apps which make around two thirds of app revenue. Even so, Android apps are expected to make $45 billion in 2021.


How Much Money Do Apps Make? App Ad Revenue & Profits? ›

Apps can make anywhere from $10 up to $200 a day in average revenue from ads, and that's a conservative estimate for an app with only 1000 active users. However, the road to ad revenue is paved with bad ads, annoyed customers, and weak monetization strategies.

What is the average revenue of apps? ›

Interestingly, Android is the big winner on downloads for a given app but this is largely offset by substantially lower revenue, with the average app download bringing in around 2 cents to its developer; Apple fairs 5 times better, bringing in a dime for every one of the 40,000 potential app downloads a developer could ...

What percentage of apps make money? ›

According to Gartner, less than 0.01 percent of all consumer mobile apps will become financially successful throughout 2018—yet apps continue to be a common development goal and product focus for new and aspiring entrepreneurs. Why are the odds of success, at 1 in 10,000, so low?

How much do the most successful apps make? ›

Top Grossing Apps and Games in United States 2022
AppRevenue ($mm)
Candy Crush Saga606
Google One510
HBO Max478
6 more rows

How do apps make profit? ›

The majority of top-grossing apps combine ads with in-app purchases for revenue generation. Purchases of in-app resources, subscriptions, and freemium upsell are among the highest-earning monetization methods. Transaction fees, online sales, or sponsorships may complement these.

How much can an app make in ad revenue? ›

In-app advertising

How much do ads make on apps? The average revenue per ad impression can be as low as $0.10 and as high as $10, depending on the type of ad.

Do apps make a lot of money? ›

Apps can potentially rake in billions of dollars each year in revenue. However, most of the apps that manage to do this, are quite low in number. A majority of the apps are duds and literally, don't make any sort of money at all.

How much does a successful app sell for? ›

To cut right to the chase: apps typically sell for 12X – 36X the app's monthly profit. To calculate your app's profit, take the gross revenue and subtract all expenses that directly contribute to generating that revenue.

Why do most apps fail? ›

The performance of an app depends on many factors that can range from competition to marketing budgets to sheer luck. But beyond these factors, poor research and poor process execution are common reasons why apps fail when launched.

How much is an app with 1 million users worth? ›

I've recently learned that apps with 1 million active users can get $10k+ a day. There are thousands of apps on the app store with 10 million + downloads/ millions of active users.

What type of app makes the most money? ›

The most profitable mobile apps cater to the broader mobile app market. Some of the top apps include gaming apps, dating apps, fitness apps, entertainment apps, lifestyle apps and more. These app categories generate revenue on the app stores through a wide range of methods.

Which type of apps are in demand? ›

5 Types of Apps in demand
  • Social Media.
  • Food Delivery.
  • Transportation.
  • Healthcare.
  • Gaming.
Aug 30, 2021

Can creating an app make you a millionaire? ›

How much money can you make creating an app? Over 18% of Android app developers earn more than $5,000 per month, while 25% of iOS app developers earn the same amount. Millions of dollars are made through video gaming applications.

How do owners of free apps make money? ›

Free apps are monetized through various means, including advertising, in-app purchases, sponsorship, and affiliate marketing.

How much does a 1,000 app download make? ›

For 1000 daily usages, this is $2 per day. Generally 1 app download is at least 2 usages. So 1000 downloads is $4. The average revenue per app download is $0,004.

Does making a free app make money? ›

You can make money from a free app using the freemium model, which is similar to the subscription model. The main difference is that the app user can use the free app version with basic features without any time restrictions. But, to receive an advanced feature-rich app version, users must pay monthly or annual fees.

How much money does ad revenue make? ›

In general websites earn ad revenue based heavily on their number of monthly page views. Some starter benchmark ranges are: 500K monthly page views: $1,000 - 5,000 per month. 1M monthly page views: $2,500 - 25,000 per month.

How do I increase my app ad revenue? ›

7 Best App Monetization Models to Make Your App A Revenue-Generating Machine
  1. In-App Purchase. ...
  2. Email-Marketing. ...
  3. List Your App Top On Ideal Platform. ...
  4. Incorporate Ads In Your App. ...
  5. Subscription. ...
  6. Keep Your Users Informed With Push Notification. ...
  7. Pay-To-Download Apps.

How do you make a successful app? ›

A step-by-step instruction on how to Create a Successful App
  1. Do Market Research & Identify your Audience. ...
  2. Finalize Unique Selling Points. ...
  3. Create a Thought-out Business Plan. ...
  4. Gather your design and development team. ...
  5. Design a Simple and Intuitive UX/UI. ...
  6. Define Tasks for a Development Team. ...
  7. Plan a marketing strategy.
Oct 24, 2022

How much does it cost to maintain an app? ›

A ballpark average that an app owner will need to spend could be around $250 and $500 a month initially to keep the app functioning perfectly. You can budget 20% of the cost of initial development when calculating the cost of maintaining software.

How long does it take to create an app? ›

The average time to develop an app with Discovery, Design & Development, and Pre-launch stages is around 7 - 12 months. We found out what stages it takes to develop an app and team size doesn't often mean a shorter app development timeline. However, there's always a way to speed up the process.

What selling app sells the fastest? ›

Compare the Best Apps for Selling Stuff
CompanyTime to Receive PaymentSelling Area
eBay Best Overall1–3 business daysWorldwide
Meta Marketplace Best for Free ListingsVariesLocal
Nextdoor Best for Local SalesVariesLocal
OfferUp Best for BuyersTypically within 5–7 days of item deliveryNationwide
2 more rows
Mar 8, 2023

How much your app is worth? ›

Both an app's time-on-the-market and its overall userbase share a leading role in determining its total value. Although there exists more than just one method for evaluating an app, the majority tends to estimate an app's value based on its average monthly revenue multiplied by a specified number of months.

How much is an app idea worth? ›

1) How Much Is an App Idea Worth? The worth of an app idea solely depends on the execution done on your app idea. If you don't act upon the app idea, the value is $0, but if you gather a team and work towards making it a reality, it can even reach a million-dollar value, e.g. Angry Birds, Tinder, Uber, etc.

How many users makes an app successful? ›

Only 0.5% of apps are successful.

Here are the most common ones cited by experts: Below 1,000 downloads: 67.8% Below 1,000 active users: 17.9%

Is it very difficult to make an app? ›

Mobile app development is the process of developing software suitable to run on mobile devices, as smartphones or tablets. Although it allows to design a perfect match between your app idea and device capabilities, app development requires lots of skills and expertise, and is highly time consuming.

How hard is it to make an app? ›

Launching a successful app is highly difficult, and it certainly isn't for the easily shaken. Although many app ideas will fail on their journey to success, a few will survive. Yes, you can be a part of that few. The key is to know what it takes to build an app startup and prepare yourself for the journey.

How much do app owners get paid? ›

How much money do apps make per download? The average revenue per app download varies significantly but the average is $0.60 to $1.20.

How much money will my app make if it has 100000 downloads? ›

Let's say you have a total download user: 100,000

It means 1% of users will click on the ads so We consider 4000 clicks per day. Monthly Revenue: – If each CPC ad pays $ 0.01, then 4000 * 0.01 becomes $ 40per day. So it is 1200 per month. Contact us for creating your own app on the play store or app store.

What type of apps are most popular? ›

Most Popular Google Play Apps 2022
AppDownloads (mm)
6 more rows

What's the most downloaded app of all time? ›

FAQs on Most Downloaded Apps of All Time

Answer: TikTok has been the most downloaded app, and it is indeed the most used app so far, closely followed by Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Q #3) How many users are on TikTok? Answer: TikTok has over 1 billion active users worldwide.

What is the fastest in money making apps? ›

Best Money-Making Apps- Survey Edition!
  • Swagbucks.
  • Survey Junkie.
  • Pawns.App.
  • InboxDollars.
  • Opinion Outpost.
  • Toluna.
  • Google Opinion Rewards.
  • MyPoints Surveys. Cash Back Apps and Shopping Apps.

How much does it cost to develop and launch an app? ›

According to app development hourly rates, which currently hovers around $50 / hour, the US app development price cost for a app with a basic user interface and a set of basic features ranges from $16,000 to $32,000, Medium complexity app development project costs between $32,000 and $48,000 and, finally, a ...

What are the top 3 most used apps? ›

Top 10 most downloaded mobile apps of 2022
  1. 1 TikTok. Number of downloads: 672 million.
  2. 2 Instagram. Number of downloads: 548 million. ...
  3. 3 Whatsapp. Number of downloads: 424 million. ...
  4. 4 CapCut. Number of downloads: 357 million. ...
  5. 5 Snapchat. Number of downloads: 330 million. ...
  6. 6 Telegram. ...
  7. 7 Subway Surfers. ...
  8. 8 Facebook. ...
Jan 25, 2023

Which type of apps are trending now? ›

Top Trending Apps of 2023: 31 Applications That You Should Know
  • Amazon.
  • Audible.
  • Bigo LIVE.
  • Bumble.
  • CapCut.
  • DAZN.
  • Disney+
  • ESPN.
Mar 15, 2023

What are the 3 most common types of apps? ›

Understanding the 3 Types of Mobile Apps: Native, Mobile, and...
  • Native Mobile Apps: Native mobile apps are designed to be “native” to one platform, whether it's Apple iOS, Google's Android, or Windows Phone. ...
  • Hybrid Mobile Apps: ...
  • Web Apps:

How many apps make a million dollars? ›

Nearly 1,000 App Publishers Earned $1 Million for the First Time in 2021.

Can you be rich on app? ›

You can earn extra money directly from apps on your smartphone. Whether it's a side hustle, part-time job, or just something to do in your spare time, there are dozens of money making apps out there made for supplemental income. Even the best money making apps probably won?t get you rich.

Can an app make money without ads? ›

For app developers and founders, subscriptions bring in monthly recurring revenue. As long as you keep delivering value, customers will stick around, thus lowering your overall customer acquisition costs. This also enables you to deliver your content without ads. A win-win situation for everyone if there ever was one!

Do free apps make more money than paid apps? ›

Freemium and Free-to-Play

Freemium apps typically make more money than paid apps, but it may take more time to build profits. If users choose to keep using the free app version, you can still earn some revenue by offering upgrades and premium content.

How many apps are made in a day? ›

As per latest Google Play stats, you will be shocked to know that there are 3.48 million apps currently at the Google Play Store. This number of apps on Google Play is on a rise as 3,739 apps are added to the Play Store every single day.

Do you get paid if someone downloaded your app? ›

Neither Google Play nor Apple App Store pays for app downloads, even though there are millions of users who completed this action. Instead, stores take some share from an app's earnings (30% from in-app purchases). Thus, to receive money from a free app it is necessary to set up revenue streams.

How many downloads does the average paid app get? ›

As of May 2020, apps from U.S. publishers generated an average of 1.24 million downloads per app. In contrast, the average number of downloads for all apps was 149.26 thousand per app.

How to get 1 million downloads for your app? ›

How to get 1 million downloads for your Android app?
  1. Excellent ASO. ASO means App Store Optimization. ...
  2. Use A Different App Store. The Android app market is dynamic. ...
  3. Use Influencers. ...
  4. Email Marketing. ...
  5. App Network. ...
  6. Use A Website. ...
  7. Showcase Your App In A video. ...
  8. Connect.
Nov 24, 2022

How do small apps make money? ›

The majority of top-grossing apps combine ads with in-app purchases for revenue generation. Purchases of in-app resources, subscriptions, and freemium upsell are among the highest-earning monetization methods. Transaction fees, online sales, or sponsorships may complement these.

How many mobile apps are profitable? ›

Only 0.5% of apps are successful.

9,999 out of 10,000 apps will fail for various reasons. Here are the most common ones cited by experts: Below 1,000 downloads: 67.8% Below 1,000 active users: 17.9%

Will mobile apps generate $935 billion by 2023? ›

In 2023, mobile apps are expected to generate revenue exceeding $935 billion. The combined number of mobile apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store exceeds 5.7 million. The Apple App Store alone has a library of more than 2.2 million mobile applications.

Do free apps make more money than paid? ›

Turns out not at all! According to a report by Distimo, the total App Store profit revenue from paid apps accounts for only 24%. The revenue from in-app purchases, made inside of paid apps, account for another 5%, and the revenue from in-app purchases from free apps account for 71% of profit revenue.

What is the fastest growing app of all time? ›

Is ChatGPT the Fastest Growing App of All Time? According to research by UBS analysts, ChatGPT is likely the fastest-growing app in internet history. The UBS research compared web application traffic data for apps launched in the last 20 years to the traffic at ChatGPT's official web address

How to build a billion dollar apps? ›

In How to Build a Billion Dollar App , serial tech entrepreneur George Berkowski gives you exclusive access to the secrets behind the success of the select group of apps that have achieved billion-dollar success.

What app has a billion downloads? ›

More than 1 billion downloads
AppDeveloperDate reached
Phone by GoogleGoogle2020-12-19
Google KeepGoogle2020-12-20
Google TranslateGoogle2021-04-04
SpotifySpotify Ltd.2021-05-01
44 more rows

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