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How much money can an ad-funded game make on iPhone? How about $4.00 per user per month!

By on February 14, 2011
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Mobclix, the mobile ads optimisation company, has released a startling infographic.

It sets out the amount of money a developer can expect to make per user per month from its games on iPhone and on Android. It has analysed 50 top-performing apps that each have 500,000 downloads and/or 75,000 DAUs. It then worked out the average revenue per active user per month.

The results are amazing. iPhone games generate $4.00 per active user; Android users roughly half that at $1.90. Utilities and entertaintment apps fare even better (see the graphic below).

image

The small print is, as always, absolutely critical. The apps are all free and spent at least two weeks in their top 10 charts. The only revenue that Mobclix is counting is advertising revenue.

Most importantly, Mobclix defines an “active" user as someone who visits the app three times a week, for at least five minutes a time. For all we know, this could represent only 1% of the total number of downloads. A game developer with an ad-funded game with a million downloads is highly unlikely to be making $4 million per month.

These figures are a sighting shot, an upper bound. They tell you how much money you can making from your most-committed users if you are building an ad-funded game that engages players heavily, three times a week for at least five minutes a time.

If that isn’t an incentive to design an engaging game with strong retention mechanics, I don’t know what is.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
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  • Fully agree. The standard numbers are below a dollar. It sounds a little biased to me. 
    To put it in context: 
    Quick math – $4 USD / $0.05 – $0.08 per click = 60 – 80 clicks per month per Unique User. 
    Assuming 1% Click-Through-Rate (slightly higher than normal) gives 6000 impressions per Unique User each month. 
    Assuming 30 seconds avg time of impression – that’s 200 minutes.
    So basically for an app to make $4 per unique per month, that unique user will spend 200 minutes per month in the gameapp and have a much higher than normal click-through-rate.

  • The confusion of active, unique and registered has plagued the Internet industry from the very beginning.

  • I agree, that would make the numbers look a lot more reasonable but they are seriously misleading the reader then.

  • That is how I read it. $4 per MAU sounds way, way too high to me.

  • So the way you read it is that their number is revenue “per active users”?
    The chart says “per unique” and active is only mentioned to explain how they filtered the apps part of the survey.

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