Best Ways to Monetize Your Free Mobile Game


Mobile game developers are supposed to have the superior technical knowledge, skill, and creativity. However, the quality of the game doesn’t really matter if you don’t know how to sell it. experts shared their marketing experience and told about the latest monetization trends for the coming year.

In-Game Purchases

Offering in-app purchases to players is the most popular monetization method. Though, the line between an imposed and distinct purchase is very thin. In-game purchases can be effective only when you provide a decent amount of free content, and unobtrusively offer some attractive paid items.

For instance, one of the biggest free-to-play MOBA shooters, Brawl Stars app by Supercell, lets players unlock skins by winning a particular number of multiplayer matches. To skip grinding (which is surprisingly addictive in this game), players are offered to buy packs of crystals for unlocking items and extra boosters in advance. Another option is to buy sets with items, boosters, and outfits. A prudent approach to offering in-game purchases allowed Brawl Stars to hit $275 million in revenue in just 6 months after the launch.

The gaming experience you provide must be exciting and user-friendly enough to awaken gamers’ appetite for more features. Even a shallow franchise that follows these rules can generate considerable revenue without any original features.

Benefit Players

Following the groundbreaking success of Zinga’s Farmville with over 75 million players, you can sell in-game currency. It must work as a natural progress booster that reveals extra opportunities but doesn’t reach gameplay goals for the player. As a result, a share of players who enjoy the game will probably pay to obtain hard-to-reach items and feel dominance.

In-Game Advertising

This type of advertising is one of the most popular today due to high average ROI rates. If you are planning to create a free-to-play game, this type of advertising may become a powerful source of extra income for your studio. You can integrate popping-up or permanent banners and offer players to watch short video pre-rolls.

Don’t forget that every banner and pre-roll ad in the game must be skippable or take as little gameplay time as possible. Another trick, which you can see in Hill Clim Racing or Subway Surf, is called “rewarded video”. Players can’t skip it or avoid viewing, but they can also get a valuable bonus for watching. For a deeper understanding of in-game video ads efficiency, study this research by Nielsen and Facebook.

Sell Merchandise

If your franchise is at the early stages, try something of the methods above. But if your product reached a certain level of popularity, consider producing some quality merch for fans. The best example is Angry Birds by Rovio. This studio is so good at marketing that it manages to sell branded toys, sweets, drinks, clothes, and even to make cinema-scale cartoons.

Try Playables

Playable ads is a new format that encourages users to interact with the product before downloading it. Playable ads appeared in 2018 and proved to be the most effective ad format. As 46% of mobile app and game developers report, playable ads have their full attention for the current period. The statistic shows a 20% yearly growth of playable ads’ popularity amongst marketers. This fact portends further growth of the demand for the format, so it’s a good time to come up with an offer.

Be Free and Benefit

We consider the free-to-play monetization model the most advantageous at It provides developers with an opportunity to get regular revenues from their games instead of selling them once. Free games are also usually more frequently downloaded, boosting the probability of future purchases.