Can you really monetize a browser extension?

If your extension sees over 5,000 active users, then yes – you can monetize your extension and generate a reliable revenue stream with it.

The real challenge is making money from a browser extension that generates fewer than 100 downloads per month.

Just as in life, there are different stages to an extension’s life cycle. You can’t compare your new extension to one that’s been around for years.

The truth is: it takes time and effort to build an income from developing a browser extension.

No matter what you’ve read, successful extension developers don’t become that way overnight.

Take a look at this step-by-step guide to monetizing a browser extension.

This in-depth article will guide you on monetizing a browser extension. There are still opportunities to make money from browser extensions, even though it can be quite difficult sometimes.

Making Money From Browser Extensions – How Is It Even Possible?

The number of global digital buyers is constantly growing, which means huge opportunities for developers and extension owners.

Selling and displaying advertising on your digital product is a no-brainer, one of the best ways to monetize a browser extension. With a browser extension, you’ll have no need to invest capital in inventory, no issues keeping popular products in stock, and you’ll be able to set up a system that provides instant downloads and updates to users.

There are also a lot of other possibilities when it comes to browser extensions, and regardless of the type of business or website you run, these always be marketing to your current clients and target audience. Since users consider extensions something that makes their lives easier, they enhance the user experience and build loyalty to your brand.

Another appealing aspect of selling and displaying advertising with your extension is that you can convert it into a source of passive income.

If your extension sees a sufficient number of active downloads and your product appeals to your audience, you can make consistent money. But before even thinking about making money with your browser extension you must ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can your extension help users?;
  • How users will interact with the extension?;
  • Do you understand your intended audience? What are their needs?;
  • Which browser do they use the most?

At the same time, it’s good to remember that some users prefer personal devices for entertainment purposes while using other browser types for work. Depending on the purpose of your extension, you should align it to the browser your users are using most often.

Once you know exactly who your target audience is, you can plan how to make money from a browser extension.

Below are some ideas and tips for monetizing your browser extension.

Monetize a Chrome or Firefox Extension

Chances are you already know what browser best suits your needs and which one you’re going to use for your extension. Now let’s take a closer look at how you can monetize your browser extension:

1. Sell Ads Space

When it comes to extension monetization, selling ads is definitely a go-to method for the majority of extension owners. You can either directly sell space on your extension or you can rotate the ads to increase your potential income and connect with potential customers.

Depending on your product type, display advertising may include different ad formats, such as interactive, pop-up, video, and full-screen, short clips also known as interstitial ads.

If you want to get advertisers to your extension, there are two options: you can either conduct a manual search or you can sign up for a service. Keep in mind that searching for relevant advertisers usually requires considerable time and effort, not to mention negotiating the rates.

Luckily, there is Partner Network that gives you access to a large range of advertisers. You can select the best offers from over 30,000 advertisers, from 80 advertising networks.

There are also other useful tools such as MonetizeLink which helps set up automatic conversion of direct links and keywords into advertiser links and the ConvertSocial platform for bloggers and influencers.

2. Go Freemium

Freemium is a popular business model where you offer your browser extension for free and charge for additional features or services. To get started with this approach, you may want to consider the following options:

  • Offer a free trial of the whole extension for a certain period of time;
  • Offer a free version with limited features.

The bad news is that Google is discontinuing paid Chrome extensions, so you’ll not be able to charge for the extensions via Chrome Web Store payments.

3. Add a Subscription

Instead of charging a fee for extra features, you can offer your entire browser extension for a monthly fee. While this is rarely an option if you’re only starting out and nobody knows you, it’s definitely a go-to option if your extension already brings value.

A subscription model may come in many different shapes. For example, if you own a VPN extension, you may offer a basic free package with limited features. Subscribing to a paid package unlocks extra features and many additional perks.

To justify the subscription expense and improve your overall performance, make sure to include only the best premium features into the paid plan.

But what is the difference between a subscription and a freemium? While these models have a lot in common, preferring one model over another really depends on the digital product you’re promoting.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Another popular way to monetize a browser extension is to sign up for an affiliate program. Briefly, you earn a commission every time users click your referral link and purchase something via it. Affiliate marketing involves promoting other companies’ products so you should be careful when adding banners to display on your extension.

It’s imperative that banners or ads that direct the user to the advertiser’s product or landing page be as relevant as possible.

Choosing a brand to promote can be an overwhelming task but with a number of Admitad solutions you can select the brand your audience will like. Since you get the chance to add only relevant brands that complement your extension, they enhance the user experience as well.

5. In-App Purchasing (IAP)

IAP refers to the buying of products and services from inside a browser extension. This strategy allows developers to offer their extensions for free and then provide upgrades, paid features, and special items to anyone who downloads the free version. In-app purchasing is very common with gaming extensions. For example, for a small fee users can skip a particularly difficult level or unlock a special feature to make the game more interesting.

6. Search Ads

Placing advertisements on search engine results implies adding a custom-designed search box into your extension. Once your users perform web searches, they can be either redirected to a SERP, or search results can be displayed in a browser extension without redirection.

You will get paid every time users perform a search and click on ads in search results. This method is less intrusive for the user experience since search advertisements can be customized according to user intent.

7. Product Bundling

Generally, product bundling is when two or more products are being sold together as a bundled package at a lower price than if they were sold individually. There can be an infinite number of combinations of products sold that way as long as they increase the value of the offering.

When it comes to digital products such as software, you can offer users related products when they download your browser extension. You can maximize your revenue potential by offering relevant apps, ebooks, courses, and electronic games to name a few.

Alternatively, you promote other companies’ digital products. In this case, you can either charge a flat fee for displaying ads or a commission for every download.

8. Ask for Donations

While you shouldn’t expect a large amount of money when gathering monetary donations, it still can be an effective way to monetize your browser extension. This strategy has become popular in the last few years and gives people the choice to pay for your extension. Sure, you risk giving away the digital product for free.

At the same time, when users have the choice to make a donation, they tend not only to pay but pay more than they are asked to. That’s why raising money online taps into peoples’ innate emotions.

If you consider your browser extension a simple side project and aren’t into making serious money, then asking for donations could be your best bet.

Wrapping Up. How to Monetize a Browser Extension

When it comes to making money from a browser extension, you have to pick a monetization approach first. Make sure you know exactly how you would actually be earning money from your digital product. There are different approaches to achieving your goals, but at the end of the day, those really depend on your ideal users.

If you are serious about making real money with your browser extension – go for paid or affiliate marketing.