App Monitization Questions

I launched an educational app on the iOS store a few months back and it’s been getting between 3,000 to 6,000 monthly installs (mostly in the US), and averages around 300ish daily sessions.

The app is free to install and I tried monitizing it using Unity ads. I basically show a skippable add every few minutes once a student finishes a lesson. I also have an in-app-purchase to remove ads available for $2.99.

The revenue from Unity ads swings pretty wildly, but at this point I would say it’s settling around $10.00-$15.00 a month. On the other had the IAP to remove ads is making about $50.00 a month before Apple’s 30% cut and $100.00 annual dev fee.


  1. I was wondering if anyone had any kind of insight as to if my revenue per user is within a norm of what one would expect for an ad based education app? In my opinion I was thinking that it was on the low end, but I’m a self taught (through FCC and other sites) solo dev and finding meaningful data online about app monitization is like trying to discover industry trade secrets or something.

  2. Should I completely overhaul my monitization strategy? I was thinking of possibly grandfathering current users so they would have all of the content as they currently do, but then for all new installs users would only get about 5% of the lessons for free and then they could pay $1.99 or something to unlock the rest, I’d of course also remove all ads.

  3. Is 100-150 daily downloads through app store search enough of a base to warrant a lot more time developing the app? I’ve made a few other apps that only average 0-5 downloads a day, so I believe their fate is sealed, but this app seems to be on the bubble to me.

Thanks for reading and any help you can offer. I know there is a broad spectrum of experiences that people have on this forum, and I figured even if nobody has any insight seeing some of my numbers and issues with mobile app development may be useful to another noob.

1 Like

Awesome to hear about your project - huge applause for the amount of reach and downloads you’re achieving on a monthly & continual basis!

From working with a number of companies & my experience I would say do not monetize at all right now.


First, you want to be able to grow as quickly as possible, and if you are launching a brand new app (or website) and making people pay right away your changes of 1. Converting and 2. Retaining is going to be very low, thus creating a high churn rate (the % of people that leave or delete your app after they install).

INSTEAD what I would recommend is if you would want to monetize… I would set up a pay wall after about 30 days use, or if it’s a video-based education app, say after 5 videos or something.

The idea here is to get them indoctrinated and liking the app because of the value you provide, then people would happily pay for it. You don’t want to focus on those quick ‘wins’ - making people pay right away - because they aren’t wins, those people have no intention of paying since they are unable to see the value right off the bat.

If you allow people to use the app and they do like it, they would happily continue paying to do so, then you could set something up like a monthly payment option (or discounted annual), allowing yourself to now have a reoccurring revenue stream, aka cash flow.

Personally, what I always do is focus on growing the app as much as possible, trying to focus on volume. This is because…

  1. You get more people on the app
  2. You have a larger likelihood of being placed on a ‘top chart’
  3. People who see others using your app feel more comfortable and will follow suit (this is called social proof)
  4. You create buzz & can reach out to bloggers/ influencers/ sites for pr
  5. You are able to collect data and feedback quickly
  6. You stand out amongst all your competition

Hopefully this gives you some ideas of what you could do. I find the paywall after a certain amount of uses (1 month or 50 uses or so) really pays off because it gets those who actually like your app and would stay to do so and the others who have no intentions of using it to leave ahead of time.

If you have any other questions or would be interested in chatting more just let me know but good luck!

1 Like

Chris, thanks so much for your response! It’s great to hear and get some advice from someone with experience in the industry.

I waited two months before turning the switch for ads on and I didn’t find that it affected either my downloads, app ratings, retention rates, or sessions in a negative way, so I feel pretty lucky about that. It’s also probably why I don’t make much money on them (users have to spend more than a few minutes in the app before they even see the first ad).

I like your ideas and I think the suggestion of a paywall is where I’m leaning too. If I’m understanding you correctly, you would set a paywall up at a point where people just checking out the app have mostly finished using the app and only the very loyal users are left. Anyway, that’s kind of where I’m heading.

Thanks again for your advice!