Top 6 App Monetization Tips For Game Devs

By August 15, 2018Game Dev Tips, Top Lists
App Monetization

In today’s post, we’ll share some of the best app monetization tips and strategies to help you make your mobile game more profitable. It’s much easier than you think to start making money from your app, especially when you know the right steps to take. Just by following a few simple techniques, you can increase your earning potential and find App Store success.

These essential tips will show you the way …  



Keep reading, and you’ll find out!

Tip #1 – Make Sure Your Game Is Awesome!

The first step is to make sure your game is awesome. All of your app monetization efforts will be pointless if you don’t have a high-quality game. The simple truth is you won’t generate much revenue or increase app downloads with a bad game, even if you do monetize and add ads. It will always fall short.

So, before you start monetizing your game, play it. Analyze your app and ask yourself, “Would I pay money for this?” It doesn’t matter whether or not it will be a free or a paid app; the answer should always be YES. If it’s not, then you’ll need to work on improving it until you get there.

Here are a few quick pointers on how to make better games (but, feel free to skip to #2 if your app is already awesome):

  • Research the Market
  • Design With Your Players in Mind
  • Use the Model & Improve Technique
  • Make it Fun
  • Add Polish

Before you make a game, take time to study other games and do your research on the market and competition. Analyze the App Store or platform that you’ll be launching your game on and see what’s out there. Which games are trending? Seek out titles similar to the one that you want to make. Then create a list and start downloading them.

As you play, jot down whatever stands out to you. Write down what works and what doesn’t in the game. Use these notes to help you improve your game’s design. Doing your research early on like this will make marketing your mobile app much easier too.

For App Monetization 

The best games are unique but with familiar mechanics. Avoid making your gameplay complicated, or your game’s UI cluttered. It’s important for players to be able to pick up your game and start playing instantly. So, try to design with this in mind.

It’s easy to do if you use the ‘Model and Improve’ technique. With this method, you take your market research and then brainstorm new ways to add to and improve a game to turn it into something completely new.

Remember the goal is to make a game that’s also fun. One of the secrets to game design is to add little surprises that will entertain players. A few great examples of this is unlockable characters, animated sequences, hidden portals, and even bonus levels.

And the final tip to ensure your app is awesome is adding polish. Polish is the process of adding minor improvements to make your game as perfect as possible. Think of it as the finishing touches. A well-designed game is cohesive in all areas from the graphics’ color palette and themes down to the gameplay mechanics. To help make your game more polished, you can use graphic design software or find free game art and sound effects online.

Tip #2 – Monetize with Ads

Using different app monetization methods is how apps make money. One of the most popular ways is utilizing ad networks. Mobile ad networks enable you to place banner ads within your app from various advertisers. You’ll earn revenue based on how they perform. You can make a little or a lot of money from ads, depending on the company and activity on your app. This is why having a solid game, to begin with, is so important.


The best mobile ad networks to use are the ones that are geared towards game developers. Companies like Admob, Fyber, Chartboost, Leadbolt, and AppLovin are all good choices. They feature a full range of options designed to work with games and different application types. There’s less of a learning curve when it comes to creating ad campaigns and experimentation which are also a plus.

Most app experts, recommend experimenting with different ad campaigns until you find the combination that works best. Following game marketing tips from app experts like this one can help improve your app monetization.

The five basic ad formats that most ad networks offer are Interstitial Ads, Banner Ads, Native Ads, Reward Ads, and Video Ads.

In this video you’ll learn more about these various ad types and some additional tips on how to make money with your mobile games:

Another great app monetization tip is to try ad mediation networks. They can boost your revenue potential too. With ad mediation, you can use multiple ad networks in your game. They also display the highest value ad for that impression from your roster of ad networks. For Buildbox users who want to add multiple ad networks, using ad mediation networks like Admob is a good option.

Tip #3 – Get Creative With Your In-App Purchases

Getting creative with your in-app purchases can also help with app monetization. High-quality and unique characters or bonus items can be huge money-makers. Instead of creating only a few playable characters, think BIG. Brainstorm a variety of interesting unlockable characters that you can incorporate into your game. Base your unlockables on your game’s theme.

Unlockable characters can be unlocked via in-game coins or as an in-app purchase. You can also create a coin bundle as an in-app purchase or have only a couple of your very best unlockable characters as an IAP (in-app purchase). You can do the same with individual items, power-ups, and even bonus levels or worlds in your game.

Tip #4 – Don’t Be Afraid to Go Premium

It’s also important to not be afraid to make your app a paid game. As indie developers, it’s common to stick with the F2P (free-to-play) model instead of going premium with your game. However, if you’ve built a killer game that could go toe-to-toe with the other premium games on the charts, then you should launch it as a paid game. Do some research on similar indie titles and see how much they’re charging. Pricing your game at 0.99 to $1.99 depending on your game’s type and features is a sure-fire way to monetize.

A great example of this is the minimal puzzle game called Logi. by Cizgiofisi. Built with our software this 70 level arcade puzzler is a paid game priced at 0.99 USD and has done exceptionally well on the charts. It was ranked #2 in the Top 100 Paid Arcade games category and was featured by Apple worldwide.

Tip #5 – Beta Test Your Monetization Strategy

For total app monetization success, it’s critical that you beta test. Beta testing your monetization strategy will let you know what’s working and what’s not before you officially launch. Testing also helps you identify why parts of your app monetization strategy are falling flat. Maybe your unlockable characters aren’t cool enough. Or your ad placements or frequency is too much and are turning players off. You’ll be able to gain valuable feedback on all of this and make the necessary changes you need before your launch.

Use beta testers from beta testing sites like Ubertesters, UserTesting, and Betabound. You can also find beta testers on your own via gaming forums, communities, and even social media. Post in forums like Touch Arcade and our Buildbox forum. Facebook groups like Indie Game Promo and GameDev Show and Tell are also great places to find testers. You can announce you’re looking for beta testers on your own Twitter or Facebook pages as well.

Tip #6 – Always Be Promoting



To further your app monetization efforts, you should always be promoting your game. The more you push your app, the more downloads, and money you’ll make. Far too many developers, start to relax and take it easy after their game has been released. Don’t get lazy. Continue to promote your game. If you want app launch success, you have to be consistent.

There are many ways you can do this. You can post about your game in forums and on social media. Upload gameplay videos, walkthrough, and teasers on YouTube. Reach out to game reviewers and journalists to get press. Submit your game to various review sites and places like Product Hunt to increase visibility. You can even add a link to your game in your email signature or forum bio for exposure. Try to do something to promote your game on a regular basis. You’ll be surprised by the results.

Tiana Crump

About Tiana Crump

Tiana Crump is a journalist and social media manager at Buildbox with a passion for inspiring others and driving brand awareness. As a gamer and creator, she enjoys sharing game development insights, tips, and success stories from the Buildbox community.

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