App Monetization: Android vs iOS

App Monetization : Android vs iOS

Our smartphones are increasingly becoming the extensions of our own bodies, and the numbers are speaking volumes of this rising obsession. Namely, statistics show that we devote around 50% of our digital media time to none other but smartphone apps. Considering this, the growing broadband speeds, the staggering rate of global app revenue growth and projected mobile advertising market growth in billions of USD, it is no wonder app developers, publishers, and advertisers alike are seeking to implement the best possible app monetization strategies to get the most out of it.

But let’s get the basics out of the way first. Simply put, app monetization is the process of turning your app into a good source of income. Android and iOS are the go-to platforms for publishing apps and monetizing off them as they make up over 97% of the mobile OS market share. There are numerous app monetization strategies, but in-app advertising (IAA), in-app purchases (IAP), and paid downloads remain the most popular.


App Monetization Differences

As an app developer, you might find yourself trying to decide whether to make your app available for Android or iOS users as the choice could affect your app’s monetization potential. In this article, we bring you all the factors you should take into consideration when making that decision. But first, here are some statistical differences between the two platforms, analyzed in Appromoters’ newest report.

Paid apps (premium) vs in-app purchases

App Monetization : Gaming Apps Breakdown of Revenue Source

When talking about gaming app monetization, one of the main differences between Android and iOS is in terms of paid apps and in-app purchases. Specifically, Appromoters has discovered that paid app monetization strategy is implemented by only 7% of Android game apps in comparison with 11% of iOS game apps. As for in-app purchases, Android is in the lead with 22% apps against iOS’s 17%. Unsurprisingly, iOS apps generate more income as iPhone users tend to spend more online than their Android peers. In fact, an average iPhone user will spend more than $30 per transaction online vs just over $10 that an average Android user will spend. This means that the paid app monetization model is more successful on iOS.

Ad-based monetization in non-gaming apps

App Monetization : Non-Gaming Apps Breakdown of Revenue Source

Ads are still the go-to model for monetizing free apps. However, the approach to ads differs between the two platforms and the type of apps. That is to say, non-gaming Android apps are pushier with the advertisements than their iOS counterparts, with 63% of Android non-gaming apps using ads compared to only 25% of iOS non-gaming apps.

The main difference can be attributed to the fact that there is a much higher percentage of non-gaming apps that utilize the subscription model for


Amount of Ad SDK

The amount of Ad SDKs or Advertisement Software Development Kits used for connecting the app with an ad network is another feature that differs from one platform to another. First of all, it is important to note that apps in general use multiple Ad SDKs, with an average of 2.7 per app. This amount differs slightly between platforms, so iOS apps will use 1.9 Ad SDKs, while Android apps will utilize 2.9 Ad SDKs. The reason behind this could be the developers’ intent to avoid increasing the app size which would hurt the overall performance (the average Android app size in 2017 was 11.5 MB vs iOS with 34.3MB).

Gaming apps contain slightly more Ad SDKs (Android 3.8 vs iOS 2.8 Ad SDKs), which means that they tend to rely on advertising as their main source of profit.

Things to consider

There are lots of elements to take into account when deciding on the platform you want your app to available for. These include differences in platforms’ profit share and capabilities, as well as differences among users such as demographics, spending behavior, purchase power, push notifications behavior, post-install activity, loyalty, and so on.

Profit share

Android takes up around two-thirds of mobile OS market share, with the largest global share in developing and lower-income nations like Asia and Africa, due to its broad price range and lower entry-level price point. However, the average iOS user is more active than the average Android user, so Apple dominates the profit share regardless of Google’s global market share dominance.

Spending behavior and general personality

Both platforms also differ in some core features which results in different user experience and choices made by users when interacting with either of the two. For instance, Apple pushes operating system updates to users to make sure their experience remains consistent, while Android app updates, on the other hand, are possible without a human review. The experience also differs across different phone manufacturers (HTC, Motorola, Samsung…) so you will find that users appreciate their respective platforms’ strategies. For example, iOS users will be grateful for the consistent experience on all devices, while Android users value the freedom and customizability their platform gives them.

Spending behavior and general personality

PC Mag has discovered that Android users are more frugal, and according to EurekAlert!, iOS customers are more extroverted and leadership-oriented than their Android counterparts, which are also perceived as having higher levels of honesty and humility, and tend to be the followers (but please don’t take this as a general rule!).

We’ve already mentioned purchase power as one of the distinct differences between the target audiences. Slickdeals’ new survey has repeated Comscore’s conclusions from 2014 about differences in income, discovering that iPhone users make an average annual salary of $53,251 (in comparison to $37,040 that their Android counterparts earn) and are more likely to spend their money on commodity items than Android users. This makes sense given that iOS products usually cost more than Android devices.

Additionally, in the first half of 2018, iOS App Store recorded almost twice the revenue in comparison to that of Google Play’s Store.



Although both platforms have strong loyalty rates, brand loyalty is another thing that can be attributed to iOS users more. To be more precise, Android has slightly higher overall loyalty rates than iOS, but this number is affected by the fact that Android has a larger user base and is much more fragmented. However, according to CIRP, it is actually losing to Apple in the number of user defections when looking at the absolute number of users. Furthermore, according to MediaPost, iOS app retention rates are 1% to 3% higher than those of Android apps.

Approach to push notifications

From an app developer’s perspective, it is interesting to learn that Android users are twice as likely to open a push notification (i.e. around 3.5% vs just under 1.8% of iOS users), while Apple users are faster to open it (7 minutes vs 48 minutes that Android users take), which might suggest the quality of their interactions with the notification could be higher.

The reason why Android users are more inclined to open the notifications perhaps lies in the fact that push notifications remain visible on their lock screens until the user interacts with them, while on iPhones, they are gone after the first unlock. This could also explain the speed of iOS users when opening the notification.

Post-install activity

iOS and Android users also differ in their behavior once they’ve installed the app. The data acquired by Liftoff in 2018, segmented according to the app’s main goal (installing, registration, reservation, subscription, purchase, or IAP), has shown that iOS performs better than Android in all the categories save for the registrations – non-transactional events like creating accounts or user profiles in an app, in which Android nevertheless had only a minor edge over iOS.

Still on the fence?

Deciding on which platform you want to release your app to get the most out of it can be a daunting task. The most important thing is to have a clear goal in sight. How do you imagine your typical user? What is your target audience size? Is it more or less important than the engagement? Both platforms have its own specific advantages and characteristics. Considering the size and growth rate of both platform’s stores, launching your app on both is perhaps the ideal solution if you can afford to test for both. Moreover, it is more practical to do this from the start, instead of starting with one version and developing the other later. In any case, we hope we gave you enough information to help you make this very important decision yourself.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here