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How to monetize an app without ads

September 12, 2023

Monetization enables developers and founders to earn a return on all of the time and resources that they spend on developing and maintaining the app. They can choose from different monetization strategies, but the vast majority will settle on serving in-app ads to users. 

App monetization without ads

While that is a quick and easy way to start generating revenue from your app, it's not conducive to a good user experience. Users generally don't like seeing in-app ads and would likely switch to an alternative should it become available. 

If you’re in this dilemma and want to learn how to monetize an app without ads, below are a few strategies that you can use to generate revenue without impacting the user experience. 

The downside of ads and why you should explore other options

Users are increasingly becoming distrustful of ads. They’re more concerned than ever before about the data that’s being used to track and serve ads to them. As data privacy and security concerns arise, the acceptability of ads falls. Notwithstanding the fact that ads also ruin the user experience as they generally tend to be intrusive

A lot of users have also developed what’s commonly known in the industry as “banner blindness.” They’ll subconsciously ignore page elements that they perceive to be ads, whether correctly or incorrectly. This impacts Click-Through Rates and thus reduces the app owner’s earnings from in-app ads. 

Banner blindness

These are some of the few downsides of ads, and this is precisely why there’s now a shift to more sustainable strategies that enable app monetization without ads.

Ways to monetize an app without ads


The subscription economy has grown 435% over the past decade. It's evident that users are more than willing to pay a monthly recurring fee for apps and services that they find valuable. Users are required to pay a relatively inexpensive subscription fee and always have the flexibility to cancel.

For app developers and founders, subscriptions bring in monthly recurring revenue. As long as you keep delivering value, customers will stick around, thus lowering your overall customer acquisition costs. This also enables you to deliver your content without ads. A win-win situation for everyone if there ever was one!


Most mobile apps are now monetized through the freemium model as it enables the product to drive the marketing. Users are enticed to join and experience the features at no upfront cost. If they like it, they’ll stick around. 

But how to monetize an app using the freemium model without ads? The goal of this model is to grow the user base significantly in the beginning. The user base can then be monetized down the line with value-added subscription plans and premium functionalities. 

Affiliate marketing

There may be countless products and services within your industry that pay for relevant traffic that converts. By utilizing their affiliate marketing programs, you can generate significant commissions by directing traffic to them through the app. 

For example, if you’ve an app related to travel, you could include affiliate links to hotel booking websites, airlines, travel insurance providers, etc. This doesn't require any costly technical integrations. Simply place the affiliate links in your app or content and start sending traffic. Depending on the affiliate model you’re working on, you may be paid per sale, per click, or per lead. 

Print on Demand

This is a highly effective strategy for app monetization without ads. Print on Demand enables your users to obtain a physical keepsake of their digital content either in the form of photo prints, physical magazines, photo books, canvases, and more.

It's the perfect fit for apps that have a lot of high-quality user-generated content. Through Peecho, you can turn this content into print products very easily with smart solutions such as our Print API and plug and print checkout. It's a low-risk, low-cost and low-effort strategy as you simply work with a Print on Demand partner that takes care of the entire process for you. 

Examples of apps that don’t display ads

Polarsteps is a popular travel planning and tracking app that doesn't show ads. It provides users with everything they need to plan and track their trips. Once they're done, they can request a beautifully printed travel book that highlights their route, travel stats, and photos.

Netflix is another great example of apps that don’t display ads. Users aren’t shown in-app ads, but the video streaming service makes its revenues from the monthly subscription fees that it charges. 

How Peecho can automate Print on Demand for your app

Peecho lets you monetize the user-generated content in your app with no upfront investments. We handle your entire print operation, from printing content to high-quality photo books, wall art, and magazines to collecting payments, shipping globally, and even handling returns. 

Read more about our Print On Demand solutions for apps here.