Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Experiences with Ads vs. Donations so far...

As I'm moving from my old blog to blogger.com I'm re-posting some of the most interesting posts. See the original post in Google Cache here.

After six months I'm still convinced that donations are much more profitable than ads (if we're talking about "background apps" like SayMyName and Announcify).

Here's the original post:

Hello again,

At the moment I'm trying to find the best business model for our upcoming apps. I want to share our statistics with you now...

Before I can tell you about my experiences so far, you need to know some facts: SayMyName launched on 16. August, 2009 (at least Facebook told me so), went down a really long and rocky road, launched a 2$ donate version in November 2009 and finally added AdMob ads less than a month ago.

After more than one year and three (!) different versions on Android Market, SayMyName got downloaded 189746 times and has 52212 users (27%) who are still using it.

So, let's look at what I earned so far:

Revenue so far
AdMob (after one month)Donations (after one year)
40 $439 donations = 878 $
approximately 40 $ a month
approximately 73 $ a month

Wow. Till now, I was very confident that ads brought me more money than donations. Looks like we have some really great users out there! :)

Please keep in mind that SayMyName is an app you only open if you want to change its settings. I would expect a lot more revenue from apps like games, Twitter clients, news readers or OpenOffice Document Readers. ;)

Maybe revenue from ads looks like more, because you constantly earn money every day (1-2$ in this case).

Considering what we just found out, I think you won't see ads in the next big upcoming update for SayMyName.

I hope this encourages some developers (like you!) to develop great apps! :)


  1. I have come to the same conclusion, but it only applies to great apps.

    I made an ad-supported version of my Coinflip app and a $1 donate version. Even though the ad-supported version had over 30,000 downloads and average ratings (evenly distributed, as many 5-stars as 1-stars), the donate version only received one download over a period of 6 months and I decided to unpublish it. The ad-supported version brought in nearly $5/month while the donate version came out to $0.1/month for the 6 months. Coinflip was my very first app and sort of a conversion from a calculator program I made, not much going for it.

    Then I have my Voice Notify app, with as many 5-star ratings as all the others combined. I've received 3 donations totaling $25.29 (after fees) over the last 3 months. Like SayMyName, it is only viewed when changing settings and for that reason I never thought ads would be worth trying. I considered selling it, but I had a friend convince me it might be a bit risky with the nature of the app (it could easily get annoying if not carefully configured, add a stupidly short refund window and there would probably be a lot of unhappy people), so I made it free. Before I started asking for donations, I had someone ask to donate, so I added the option to donate through PayPal in the next release. PayPal fees are less than Google for transfers over $1.10, it allows the donor to choose donation size, and it's a lot easier to handle a single release than two. Currently the monthly revenue of Voice Notify from donations is slightly higher than that of my 4 ad-supported apps combined, or about 5 times higher per download. Also I should point out that two of the donors have contacted me for support before they donated.

    Bottom-line: Make truly great apps, provide great support, and a well-implemented donate option will work much better than ads. On the other hand, it would be very tough for donations to exceed paid and you can't really pair up donations with paid as you can ads with paid.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience pilot.

    I guess it depends on what kind of user your apps have... Looks like I have a lot of kind users. :)

    Also, did you promote your donate version in the ad-supported version?

  3. I need a app developed for a project I am working on. Does anyone know who develops apps for other people. Please contact me at [email protected]

  4. I need a app developed for a project I am working on. Do you develop apps for other people. Please contact me at [email protected]