Just think about it: Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and about 90 percent of similar applications are free, you don't pay a dime for using them. And yet, none of the companies who make these apps are beggars who scrounge around for money to live on. It’s the opposite – they earn millions and billions in hard currency. So how does it work?

1. First of all, it’s advertising

The most popular and profitable way to make a social media platform or messenger bring money is to place ads there. You must have noticed that there is always something popping up in the corner of some pages, luring you with sensational messages like “Grow your hair faster in one day!” or “Trump showed everything and then did a split.” Admit it, you like clicking those links every once in a while, so each of your clicks brings income to the owner of the platform. It's simple: the owner places ads, and then advertisers pay him for impressions and clicks.

2. Secondly, it’s tempting features

Let’s be honest: have you ever bought a new tank in an online game? Or seeds for your virtual farm? To shake off a couple of coins from you, developers add tons of attractive and innocent additional settings, features, mods, and other things into free apps to make you make in-app purchases. It's simple and very profitable.

3. Thirdly, it’s VIP services

At first glance, it may seem that this method is a twin brother of the previous one, but the difference is fundamental. In this case, the developer offers such a scheme, honestly looking you in the eyes. Let's say you like a music player app. You can download the basic version with a minimum set of functions or a 30-day trial version for free. But if you want it to also teach you pole dance techniques and continue to work for you after the trial month ends, be ready to spend some money.

4. Fourthly, it’s subscriptions

This is the favorite method of the owners of online media outlets. Some of the content there is available free of charge, and those who want to regularly read new serious articles (for example, on how to make money on free apps) are invited to join the subscription.