I know ads can be profitable for some incredibly popular applications, but how do average applications fare?

I am about to release an application and I think it will be pretty popular, but it's not the next Angry Birds. I guess there will be a few thousand users. Would a few thousand users that use the application about 15~20 minutes once or twice a day net any actual profits?

  • Don't know much about android but wouldn't the answer depend on your definition of "net"? Profit = revenue - cost. What are your costs? Do you consider your time to make entire app? or your time to put ads into your app? does it cost you anything to actually have ads in your app? Are you talking about economic profit or normal profit? – DXM Jul 29 '11 at 4:14
  • There are no costs per-say, but I think ads could turn people off your app and drive away users. So the cost of ads is the potential loss of clients. – Anon Jul 29 '11 at 4:19

I'm actually the owner of the blog @Mona mentions, and thought I'd chip in with some feedback about the current state of things.

To answer the question - Yes, ads can be profitable for your average Android app. It all depends on how much capital you're investing in the app.

If all you're putting into it is your time, and you're getting a few thousand people with 15-20 minutes per day total usage, you should be able to make a decent profit. Here's a few quick calculations for you:

  • 15 minutes per day = 900 seconds
  • 90 second refresh rate for ads = 10 ads per person, per day
  • 2,000 daily users = 20,000 daily impressions (assuming 100% fill rate)
  • eCPM of $0.70 = $14 per day
  • $14 per day = $420 per month, or about $5000 per year

Some caveats with these calculations though:

  • 15-20 minutes is a long time for somebody to spend with your app. Most casual apps only get about 1-2 minutes average visit length.
  • You'll never get 100% fill rate on your ads, so figures will be slightly less than this. However, with AdMob I've achieved >94% fill rate, which is close to 100%.
  • Your eCPM will always vary, depending on ad network, time of year, and CTR. In my experience, $0.70 is a safe bet if you're doing things right. Some developers are actually getting over $1.00 eCPM, which would bring these figures up to $7000/year.

If you're chasing more info from actual developers regarding eCPM and level of profitability, you could checkout the Income Reports forum on my website. A number of people are sharing details here about their own earnings with moderately successful Android apps.

Velti also have an interesting "State of Mobile Advertising" report which covers many of these details on a global scale.

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  • Since this answer is from a couple years ago, I am curious how much this has changed? – Anon Oct 8 '14 at 22:11

I suggest to you that first you make sure that your app is realy useful and attract users, i f that is the case then just try to put your ads in conveniant places so that is doesnt bother users a lot and maybe make a paid version that doesnt include ads . also If you blog you can write about the process of developpement and publishing in android market that may generate more income through google ads than your app's adds themselves.

here in this blog somenone has written his experience with this

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