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How to monetize e-learning app in 2021?

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eLearning Application Monetization

The e-Learning app monetization is a definition of the income sources, that is, what your customers will pay you for. In this article, we will discuss what are the possibilities, identify the nuances of implementation, and understand which option to choose for you.

Today, there are many options for app monetization. We have selected the 7 most effective ways to monetize an educational app: 

  1. pay-per-course

  2. subscription

  3. freemium

  4. additional option

  5. ads model

  6. goods and services sale

  7. leads sale

Let's look at each of them.

Effective Ways to Monetize Your eLearning Mobile Apps

Here are 7 ways to monetize your educational project. You can choose one option or combine several options for selling the EduTech application.

Course fee

The most common and clear option. You can sell copyrighted or popular courses. Sometimes, free workshops, intensives, or webinars are held to attract the audience to the course. If the exchange rate is in demand, the price can be raised. It is better to do the increase once a year and it must be motivated by something.

For all courses, there is a market average price that you can focus on. If you want to make premium access, then increase the cost by 2 times the average. If you want broad coverage, cut the price in half. But remember that price always follows product strategy, not the other way around.

Simplicity also has disadvantages. For example, lack of variability. If you make money on courses, you will hardly be able to make another source of income the main or at least comparable in value.

Another disadvantage will be the eternal search for a fair price. You will constantly need to maintain demand and therefore change the pricing policy. But you can't change the price all the time, so, for the most part, it won't be optimal.

Monetizing an educational app through the sale of courses requires constant proof of its value. Each new course is an additional budget for the marketing campaign. The effect of scale, synergy, or simply the brand will not start working soon. Therefore, growth in a geometric progression in the first or second year can not be expected.

The biggest plus is getting money before the actual launch of the project.


Subscription is another of the most popular ways to monetize an e-Learning application. In essence, the user pays for access to your application, which contains a certain set of useful content/lectures/courses/videos, which is often limited in time. You can subscribe for a month, a year, and a lifetime. In this way, you can attract people of different interests.

You can also limit your subscription to the number of courses available, the number of users, or the number of visits. You have the right to choose your model and offer your users the most convenient way to subscribe.

This option is more variable. Payment for time is considered fairer, and access to different materials justifies the cost. First, because it gives more opportunities and variations for sale.

The main disadvantage of the subscription will not be a high margin, in some cases, it may go into the red.

Also, you must have a fairly extensive base of courses at the start. When a customer buys a subscription, he will immediately want to start training. So, your educational app must be completely ready.

The subscription has a scale effect. The client gets access to a huge amount of resources for a relatively small price. It bribes him. The main task of the producer is to keep the client on the platform as long as possible. And this is possible only if the quality of training is at a high level.

The value of resale in the case of this approach to online school monetization is growing exponentially. In the case of a subscription, the quality must exceed all expectations: we earn on the renewal of the subscription!


Many educational platforms offer training for free. But to receive a diploma, which certifies the completion of the course, the user will have to pay.

Most students, of course, abandon this option because the value of the course lies in knowledge. But some percentage will agree.

The main difficulty is to make the diploma from your e-Learning app have to value before employers. For example, Coursera is still a loss-making company. And lives on subsidies. So before you monetize an app by selling a diploma, think twice.

However, instead of a diploma, you can sell another asset. For example, final exam/feedback / mentoring / access to the course after passing. Think about what might be of value to the client at the end of or after the training.

Additional option

In this case, you provide several learning options as part of a school or course. For example, the "Student" tariff is free, the "Master" tariff is already for money.

The difference and key-value will be in additional options. Checking homework, course materials, chat or forum access, etc.

This is a fairly popular option for monetizing an online school. First, because you allow the customer to test your product. He will use the free option and, if the quality of training is at a high level, will pay extra.

Second, you can work on several levels at once: from free to premium. And thus, distribute the margin: 20% of customers who will make a profit and cover costs by 80%.

However, if you decide to make several tariffs, then correctly calculate the cost of packages. The cost of free students should not be unprofitable.

Sale of goods and services

Let's say you sell a brokerage account opening and maintenance service. In this case, it makes sense to organize an online school of investing.

The higher the quality of courses and teachers at this school, the higher the trust in the company. This means that they are more likely to buy the service from this company.

This model of monetization of the e-Learning app has become popular everywhere. You have noticed that almost every large company has its information blog or offers webinars. They do it to show their expertise to a wide audience, but they will sell their services.

Advertising model

Everything is free, but we show advertising to those who take courses in the educational app. You should bet on mass courses and popular topics. Most often, this model is chosen by large media projects that already have traffic and they need to improve its quality. For example, the number of views per person.

One way is to gradually take the course - page by page, which leads to more ad impressions. The user also gets used to the resource, as it receives quality content and spends a lot of time on it.

One of the variations of the online course as a media product will be photo galleries or tests.

Sale of leads

Leads sale is a kind of advertising model. Let's go back to the example with a brokerage account. Suppose you are a media resource that writes about investing. You create a free course that thousands of people take.

Next, you negotiate with one of the brokers and sell them customer leads, that is, information about those who have undergone your training. Again, this online school monetization model is only suitable for high-traffic media resources.

How to choose the best educational app monetization strategies?

Whatever business model an online educational platform develops, it will work effectively under three conditions.

Competitive advantage

Even at the stage of creating an educational app, you should think carefully about what you can offer the audience so that people learn from you and pay you money. Whether your idea is not new, or someone will copy it, you must set trends and provide a quality and useful product.

The EdTech apps attract online students with quality courses from leading universities and experts. Successful online platforms offer end-to-end products that combine self-study and one-to-one distance learning with a tutor.

Many educational apps offer original courses, gamified methods for learning new material, use augmented reality, attract the best professors from all over the world, and develop unique topics that touch on the pain of professionals.

When developing an e-Learning platform, it is worth focusing on modern trends, audio, and video materials. Such content allows you to better assimilate the material due to the student's involvement in the process.

You must believe with your product and tell students about it in as much detail as possible. The value of the knowledge that you sell in your application should be clear to everyone.

Positioning and brand awareness

A clear description of the product will make it possible to quickly expand the circle of users. And you can tell a wider audience about your product through marketing campaigns.

Social media is one of the most important channels for educational applications today.

Social activity is a must on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other resources where your audience is.

The promotion of online education is impossible without social media. The e-Learning app is a b2c product. This means that the path to the consumer lies precisely through social networks. And one more factor that should not be forgotten is the ability to manage public opinion about the company.

Fair and reasonable pricing

Price matters to users. A transparent pricing model will give customers a sense of value for money. Reasonable product pricing will help you attract more users and get good reviews.

Common app monetization mistakes

Many educational projects make mistakes at different stages of their app monetization. We will tell you about the most common mistakes in monetizing an e-Learning application to save you time, money, and hassle.

Random selection of ad network

There are many ad networks on the market that provide traffic monetization services. The most common mistake at this stage is to pick one ad network based on reviews and not test the rest. Different market players have different traffic quality, analytics, and ad control capabilities: a couple of weeks of working with an ad network is enough to understand its effectiveness.

Most often, owners of educational apps choose an ad network based on CPM - effective cost per 1,000 impressions. However, this is not enough. Estimate the Fill Rate - the ratio of the number of impressions of an ad creative to the number of requests for its display. The higher the indicator, the more effectively the advertising space is used. It is also necessary to take into account the types of creatives that will be shown (banners, native ads, videos, etc.), and the conditions for working with advers.

Pay-per-performance ad networks usually offer a high fill rate, but it is not always profitable for publishers to work with them, because in this case there is no guarantee of traffic monetization.

All by myself

One person cannot be an expert in all areas of activity. You can come up with the most convenient e-Learning app, but this does not guarantee its top positions in the App Store or Google Play, users, and huge profits.

It is advisable to think over a monetization strategy for an EduTech app before its release. And the most correct decision would be to contact not the advisers on the forum, but the professionals. One two-hour consultation from an agency or a mobile promotion pro can save 30% to 60% of your ad budget and help bring users to a low CPI by ensuring a high retention rate.

And loyal users are much easier to monetize.

Wrong monetization model

Let's say you decide on your own to choose a suitable monetization model for an e-Learning app. The benefits of each monetization model can backfire.

For example, Freemium is only suitable for applications that can provide real value for an additional fee. Otherwise, users will overwhelm you with negativity even before you realize your mistake.

One of the biggest subscription monetization fakups was the Scribd book reader. They promised unlimited access to all the books for those who paid $ 9 for a monthly subscription, but with the small print caveat that if you read too much, which could damage the company, your access will be restricted. This led to an avalanche of negative comments.

Wrong ad format

Another super popular monetization model is in-app advertising. It is easy to implement and the profit can be seen within a week after launch.

The main problem with ad monetization is the wrong choice of time and place for displaying ads. To understand when and where to show ads, you need to set up analytics in Google Firebase or other platforms and track the user journey.

Another common mistake is irrelevant advertising. You should always choose the advertising spots where your audience is. In simple words, do not advertise online casinos in an app for children.

Cheating in ASO and cheap traffic

Although only the lazy one did not mention the importance of ASO, some developers still want to cheat the system. In particular, they put the number of downloads in the "Developer's Name" column on Google Play.

The point is that the developer's name is shown in the list of applications when searching, and "100 million downloads" add trust to the new application.

Cheap in-app traffic is a separate evil in-app promotion. Users are practically forced to install the application, and then "finished off" with advertisements in it.

The users you catch up in this way will be difficult to monetize. A high Churn rate, bad reviews, and a serious threat of application ban are too high a price for attracting users.

Non-scalable monetization strategy

The EduTech monetization strategy should fit into the long-term strategy - along with the development of the application, the monetization opportunities should increase.

Focus on the user journey, analyze the duration of sessions, retention DAU, MAU, and form a strategy that would increase user engagement. The logic is simple: the longer the user is in the application, the more ads can be shown to him.

Non-segmented audience

When analytics indicators drop, it is important not to optimize everything at once, but to understand which users to work with and which features to finish.

It is important to segment users not only by geo, gender but also by their behavior in the application and profiles. This way you can work not with all users of the application, but with a targeted audience.

Do you have ideas for a new educational startup? Write to us and we will help you develop an e-Learning mobile app.


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