How do apps make money?

Did you know that in 2018 alone the WhatsApp messaging platform was downloaded 747 million times, according to Priori Data? That is, on average, it was downloaded more than 2 million times a day in the world.

Although Facebook, Instagram and Messenger are also among the most downloaded Apps, the games represent an attraction for smartphone users. According to the Statista statistics page, 6 of the 10 most downloaded Apps in April 2019 were games. For example, the Stack Ball game was downloaded 25.1 million times during that month alone.

Can you imagine the amount of money a game can produce for having thousands of users? Do you know where the money earned by an App creator comes from? The Apps business goes in only one direction. This is how these products are profitable.


In 2018, mobile phone users spent $ 71.3 billion on Apps

These figures revealed by Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, an American company specializing in data on mobile applications, demonstrate the multi-million dollar business it has become.

Figures from the same company stated that the growth in this item compared to 2017 was 22.7%. In 2017, users allocated US $ 58.1 billion in Apps downloaded from iOS and Android devices.

If you are wondering what the users of mobile applications spent the money on, we tell you that these revenues presented above correspond only to three items; Purchases in applications, subscriptions and acquisition of Premium Apps.


Where does the money from the earnings of an App come from?

  1. In-App Purchases: This model is widely used in free applications, where users can download extra products within it. For example, pay to get more lives or more candy in Candy Crush.
  2. Freemium: The free App is offered, but for use without advertising or with additional improvements you can purchase the Premium version. For example, Spotify, which allows access to additional and improved functions by acquiring the Premium version.
  3. Advertising: Incorporation of advertising within the App. It can be selling direct advertising with the interested company, or through mobile ad networks such as Google AdMob.
  4. Offering a product or service: UBER, for example, earns revenue from the transport service. Amazon does it as a sales platform.
  5. Subscription: The best example is magazines and newspapers, which allow access to special and unlimited content. In order to enter the App, you need to subscribe.
  6. Sale: There are Apps that to be able to use them, it is necessary to buy them.
  7. Data collection: There are Apps that legally have authorized access to information from thousands of users. These data are very valuable, as information such as sex, age, location and behaviors, among others, can be very useful for brands and advertising companies.


There are free applications that correspond to an additional service of another product or service that is provided outside of digital platforms. There are also other free apps that serve as a means of loyalty and attracting new customers, so they do not seek a direct return. Profiting an App is not a simple job, since the first job is to position yourself in a market with thousands of mobile applications.

According to predictions from App Annie, a company specialized in Apps analytics, in 2019 their revenues will reach US $ 122 billion. This ambitious figure is about to be verified.
Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file, critical financial documents and back office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooks™️ ProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay services. With flat rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.