Making peanuts off of advertising? Try this! :)

Hello everybody! My name is Joshua Manuel, and yesterday I discovered a great way of selling apps! I want to share my experience with all of you, but be warned: If you don't want to read the whole post, skip down to "How to do it for yourself"

My Experiences with Free versions, Paid versions and how to get the most out of them.

At first, the apps I had on the market were all free. After a month of being live on the market, my most profitable app (by far) earned me a whopping $1.74. Add together the revenue from the other 7 apps and I made $2.85. Now if I can find a dime, I'm off to Starbucks for my favorite Frappachino!

Ok so I was being sarcastic about the Starbucks thing, but in all honesty, $2.85 a month is peanuts. I think we can agree that it's not worth it for me to continue putting effort into making apps (even though Andromo makes it unbelievably easy!). 

So, anyway I made Pro versions of my soundboards (available here) in the hopes that I would make more than the measly 9 cents a day. The good news is that on the first day of a couple Pro versions being released, I sold 5 copies(at $.99). Now of course Google Checkout takes 2.9% + $.30 per transaction, so I only receive about $.67 per download.

The bad news is that over the next 6 days I got fewer and fewer downloads per day. on the 6th day, I didn't get any downloads at all (and this is after I released Pro version of my third app).

The success was very short lived, and possibly non-existent in the coming weeks. So it was back the thinking room for me. I was poking around my Admob account looking for a ray of hope. And I found it in a way I wouldn't have even thought of.

You see Admob has this feature where instead of earning money(or what little you do make) from other companies putting ads in your app, you put your own ads in there! This feature is called "House Ads" You don't get any money from advertising, but what you DO get is exposure for your Pro version of your app!

The best part is, it's a 100% accurate target audience! Whoever downloaded your app, is obviously interested in the app's content. So your Pro version will be relevant to each users interests!

For example, as of this writing there are 500ish active installs (the app wasn't just deleted after download) of my app, Psych SoundBoard. Those 500 users (the number of users has been consistently growing by the way) were generating between 400 and 600 impressions each day. At least that's the amount of impressions that were mine, another 400-600 impressions were Andromo's. The average CTR (Click Through Rate) was 0.34%.

But with my House Ad being shown the CTR is 3.99%! That means that with my House Ad, users are almost 12 times more likely to click on the ad! And when they click on the ad, it opens up the android market app, and takes them straight to the Psych SoundBoard PRO!

On the first day of the House Ads being shown (Today) I've sold 6 apps, and the day isn't over yet! That's better than my First Day sales!

How to do it for yourself

So what steps should you follow if you want to replicate my success? Well I've made a list:

1. Release the Free version onto the Market.

2. Create a Pro version with enough upgrades people will be willing to buy, and won't be too ticked off that there's still ads in the Pro version.

3. In your Admob account create a new "House Ad"

4. Make sure that the only app your ad is being shown in, is the Free version.

5. Put the Url of your app in the Url box (should look like this: details?id=com.andromo.dev14071.app16566) following the "market://"

6. Include the icon of the Pro version in the ad. You want users to immediately know what the ad is for!

7. Create the ad.

So there you go. Those were the steps I followed for each House Ad in my free version apps I immediately saw an increase in sales, and I know you will to!

Let me know how your success goes in the comments below! 
Any questions? Don't hesitate to ask!


  • Great idea Joshua! Thanks for sharing that with Andromo developers. Once you start getting serious downloads, Admob does pay off. But as we all know, there's no free lunch. You do need to do everything you can to help promote your app. Getting the word out there is key - and why not show ads for a 'pro' version.

    Of course, once that 'pro' is going strong, removing the ads for $99 helps support the development of Andromo and makes your customers happy. Great stuff!
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