Today, I want to talk about how to monetize on Google Play and iOS. We’re gonna break it down by looking at the revenue numbers from some of the biggest apps and games out there. Stay tuned!

How to Monetize on iOS and Google Play

Sensor Tower is my favorite tool when coming up with estimates in terms of revenues and downloads for any app. In terms of accuracy, I would say it’s pretty accurate. You’re not gonna get down to the dollars and cents but it’s pretty accurate in terms of what it’s reporting and what people have told me that their apps are generating.

For this tutorial, let’s check out Clash of Clans — one of the biggest games out there. They made $17 million on iOS in February 2019 with 1 million downloads.

Using iOS you can monetize through in-app purchases and subscriptions. Meanwhile, on Google Play it’s heavily reliant on ads. Android is the biggest platform out there but unfortunately, people in lower-income countries use Android a lot, so you can’t get them to pay upfront fees all the time. However, you can monetize through ads as they’re willing to watch or look at banner ads.

Clash of Clans on Google Play is making $12 million. I assume that a lot of this is through ads. Also, Android tripled the number of downloads from iOS. Android is a way bigger market but the revenue numbers are not there. The revenue per user remains higher on iOS.

Let’s take a look at one of my favorite meditation apps, Calm. On Google Play it has 500,000 downloads and $800,000 of revenue. Meanwhile, it has 1 million downloads on iOS and $6 million in revenue. The revenue on iOS is more than 6 times compared to Google Play.

Calm monetizes by getting monthly and yearly subscription. For subscription-based apps, you may only need to be on iOS because you won’t have that market penetration on Android and at the same time, the revenue numbers don’t justify.

In summary, you can monetize on Google Play by relying on ad revenue. You can use banners, video ads or pop-ups. Whatever it is, you have to drive revenue through ads. On the other hand, on iOS, you can monetize through subscriptions and in-app purchases. You can also run those ads.

Remember this, people on iOS are more willing to pay for stuff rather than see ads. On Androids, they are okay with ads.

If you have a subscription-based app and you’re not monetizing it in other ways then I recommend that you focus on iOS for the time being. If you have games, you would want to be on both platforms to get greater market penetration. I have some clients who make more money on Android because they were getting more downloads there through the ads.

In short, if you want the biggest market penetration then Android is the place to be, but if you want the highest revenue per user then go for iOS.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 28 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.