August 10, 2021


Dhruti Randeria


Instagram is a name that everyone has become familiar with today. How can we not? Instagram has ascended to new heights and boasts of over 1 billion active monthly users. What is even more astounding is that Instagram rakes in close to $20 billion in just ad revenue alone!  So, what is the secret to earning this much? Actually, there are quite a few ways by which an app like Instagram can generate handsome revenues.    

How to Monetize A Free Instagram Clone App

Looking at the success of Instagram, creating an app like it could be the investment of a lifetime! Once you develop an unpaid social media app, you will be looking for ways to earn from the app. You won’t have to rack your brain as an array of earning methods are openly available.   These are the most popular methods of monetizing your Instagram clone app.     


Advertising as an app monetization strategy is the best way to monetize your app easily without trying too hard. Partner with a third-party ad network and choose which ads you want to display. Choose a product category that will align with your target audience’s interests.   You can earn every time an ad is displayed, clicked, or when the advertised product is purchased (product ad) or installed (app ad). This in-app ad integration is leveraged by all apps on the market today.  These ad types exist and can be implemented during your app’s development. 
  • Native ads

Native ads don’t appear as regular irritating ads, instead, they look like they are part of the app itself. That is because such ads are made to perfectly match the theme and feel of the app on which it is displayed.    For an Instagram clone app, native ads are an ideal pairing for the type of audience this social media app attracts. 
  • Interstitial ads

This type of ad is basically a full-screen pop-up that can be closed by a small “x” on the top of the window. These ads can be made to display at a certain time, to avoid frustrating users! 
  • In-app video ads

This type of advertising can be used as a rewarding scheme. Offer users a chance to watch an in-app video to get credits or unlock features within the app. 

Freemium Upsell

Free apps need monetization methods that won’t turn away users with hefty prices or troublesome ads. A large number of free apps use freemium upsell to generate profits as users are always looking for new features and the latest trends in social media.  An Instagram clone can incorporate its own premium paid features. Users can pay to get access to these features that improve the app experience and give extra perks. Examples are picture filters, frames, and themes, etc.   

In-App Purchasing

A feature that has just made its way to social media apps is the ability to complete in-app purchases from within your Instagram clone app. You could adjust your app to let users keep track of their purchases with an in-app purchases inventory.  The advancement of mobile app development has made it possible for users to pinpoint their desired product through Instagram and checkout without leaving the platform.   In effect, you can charge a small commission percentage for every transaction successfully taking place on your platform. By offering in-app purchasing, you could potentially rival eCommerce businesses.  Another option is to develop a platform like the Merch by Amazon one. In this option, users create a product and promote and market it over your platform, benefiting both parties.  

Referral Marketing

Another monetization technique is referral marketing. In this app monetization model, your app will promote a certain brand’s product or service. In exchange for this promoted visibility, the respective brand will pay you.  How much money you are paid depends on which of the referral marketing models you select.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)

As the name suggests, the platform is paid out depending on the number of times an ad is clicked on. Platform owners can partner with a third-party ad network like Adfonic or Google’s AdMob to make the most of referral marketing.
  • Cost Per View (CPV)

Cost per view is the major revenue-generating method being utilized by gaming apps. This type of referral model will pay your platform based on the number of times an ad (usually a video) is viewed. 
  • Cost Per Install (CPI)

Cost per install is a relatively new marketing practice but an effective one. That is because an overwhelming number of in-app advertisements are promoting mobile applications. If users are enticed by the short video of the app, they will install the app through your clone app.  In return, you can earn money every time the app is installed from the ad displayed on your platform.   While scrolling through any social media app, you would probably have come across sponsored posts. These posts are easy to identify but can sometimes be useful to a user, hence, chances of users clicking and acting on the call-to button are high.   


There are very few Instagram clone apps that won’t consider adopting a subscription plan for users. It is a great way of making a profit solely from your end of the app.  You can start by luring users in by offering a product or service for free for a limited time. After this time, only give access to this product or service to users who pay for the subscription.


There are indeed great opportunities to monetize your Instagram clone App in more ways than one. However, careful planning, market research, and a measured approach should be taken with the help of mobile app developers.   You can leverage the knowledge and experience of the developers to choose the best Instagram clone app business model for you. This will give your app the best chances of succeeding in the market and giving an investor rewarding profits. 

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