Top 10 Grossing Android Apps.

Android applications were originally slow to catch on, but now they are expanding like crazy.
Everyday more than 1.5 million Android smartphones are being activated around the world and the number is set to soon hit 1 billion android activations.
This means that developers are making money from the 700,000 plus apps available.
While most apps don’t make it to the top page, there are 10 that have risen to the top and it shows some interesting trends.

The top 10 Android apps are:

  1. Rage of Bahumut-Free
  2. Zynga Poker-Free
  3. Live Holdem Poka Pro-Free
  4. Tap Fish-Free
  5. Slotomania-Free
  6. Defender 2-Free
  7. Slot City-Free
  8. Draw Something-$1.99
  9. Tiny Village-Free
  10. Smurfs’ Village-Free

9/10 Free
When you read through the list what is the first thing that jumps out at you?
If you are a thrifty reader like us, you will notice 9 out of 10 apps are free.
This may come as a surprise but it really does make sense. The free apps get people to download easier because no one needs to open their wallet to start using its funcitions.
From there, app developers can use classic advertising and cross-promotion to start filling their pockets. Many are also using services of alternative payment.
Services such as Tabatoo or PollToPay allow developers to cash in on a large amount of traffic because of the in-game nature of these payment systems.
They don’t distract from using the app and actually add something to the experience.

5/10 Casino Games
The other point that might jump out at you is 5 of the 10 are simulated casino games.
This is interesting because it shows what type of app to develop, and luckily they aren’t to difficult.
People love spending time on these types of games because they feel they are gaining something.
This is why a service such as PollToPay can also add to the experience.
PollToPay will allow casino app users to gain extra coins by taking surveys instead of having to make in-app purchases or going into imaginary debt.

The Android Market is a great place to start monetizing your app because of the huge number of users and the small cost to be included in the store.
Android developers only have to pay a one time $10 fee to join google play, and can keep up to 70% of profits. Compare that with Apple’s $90 yearly fee.
Android also makes developing its apps much easier with the use of 3rd party app development tools.
It will be interesting to see if Android can continue to attract more commercial developers and beat out iOS in the future.


Shame my country doesn’t allow virtual casinos (my client paid a huge fine for having one) because I have a lot of experience in making slots (and even Texas Holdem - although making a new version for Android would probably kill me, it’s a VERY complex game). I think I will do them anyway when I find time and hope no one will notice, haha.

By the way how much do you pay in average per poll? And is it compliant?

We pay the price of in-app purchase. Yes it’s compilant.

I thought all virtual goods/currencies must use Google Play in-app billing service according to latest Google Play Policy?

Did Google lower their developer fee to $10? Last time I checked it was $25. That was what I paid

Hey Kate,

Seems like a very interesting idea but we ran into some issues similar to this a few months ago. Not that it wasn’t abiding by Google’s current terms but that it was in a bit of a grey area of incentivizing users through virtual goods. We spoke to a lawyer specifically about it and it was advised to change our methods because it may bite us harder later on if Google decides otherwise. It reminds me very much of Tapjoy back when they were on both iOS and Android and they were wiped out completely from the apple store.

I’d love to get your take on this because it is definitely an interesting topic of monetization that I’m actually all for, studies have shown incentivizing does work on some levels.


Wonnylee - what is your take on incentivized install (GetJar/Tapjoy) - too big to ban for Google - or that it falls in grey area.

Most apps offer paid route as well as the incentivized install route - thus removing the “compelling user to do something to progress in game”.

However, it still leaves open the possibility of “manipulating download numbers for apps by incentivizing them to download an app (by offering features in game)”. This is diminished somewhat if user still has a choice to choose between apps from an AppWall (like GetJar/Tapjoy) and not a single app. And it’s biasing potential diminished even further if user always has ability to proceed in game (if user is given daily reward of free coins for instance - so potentially everything can be unlocked eventually with daily reward coins).

A third variant is when users are offered free features in one app if they download another of their apps. This is a special case of the above - since there is no AppWall - a specific app is being offered.

What’s your take on the state of the incentivized industry ?

My own take is that (I have used GetJar/Tapjoy - although the features I offered were probably not that great) - but revenue was 1/10 of Admob banner + interstitial revenue. Plus it tends to confuse the user. Also developer has to take great pains to structure the app around that model - which in turn seems wasted effort if later one sees 1/10 revenue contribution. Then GetJar/Tapjoy also suffer from “every gold coin requires EFFORT” - which is precisely what the “whales” are avoiding (“we have the cash”) - thus GetJar/Tapjoy type setups cannot capitalize on the “whales” since GetJar/Tapjoy is still a type of “work” for the user. It is far easier for a “whale” to pay $50 than for GetJar/Tapjoy to do that (would require 500 downloads to earn that !).

I believe, incentivizing will only go as far as the advertisers push it… not the developers or Tapjoy. I say this because incentivizing can be great for an ad campaign - “Free Breakfast at Denny’s” or “Free Cup of Coffee at Starbucks” that results in amazing return on investment from their behalf. However, when we look at it from Tapjoy’s perspective, they’re really just making the results of a campaign more inflated because the user is trying to get rewarded for the app/game they’re already in. It’s backwards. When an advertiser looks at the dashboard the next day they see “10% CTR or 1,000 Confirmed Downloads!”

I’ve personally advertised on Tapjoy and Getjar before to drive downloads for apps and it’s very clear, while a lot of users downloaded the game (initially happy with results) we quickly learned the traffic didn’t add up. Meaning users downloaded to get credit in their game but ended up deleting the app altogether and we just paid for nothing.

Sooner or later, most advertisers will catch on and the strategy will need to change. However, if you’re giving free coffee… expect good results.

Hey guys,

Nice conversation, and thank you for your comments. We really do care about the Google/Apple privacy policy.
Wonny, we found a way to keep from being banned by Google or Apple. That’s our “Secret Sauce” and it can’t be posted online for free reading.
But, for all of you guys, we can confidently say there is a way to do this.

Good luck!