Monetizing Mindfulness: How Meditation App Development Can Boost Your Revenue Streams

Globally around 275 million people meditate. The target audience of meditation app development projects is incredibly diverse: these are people seeking stress relief, dealing with sleep issues, and exploring meditation as part of their spiritual journey. For businesses in the wellness field, the diverse user base represents two big opportunities: to help users find what they are looking for and to monetize the services. The question is, how can the monetization of mindfulness apps be both effective and ethical? And what strategies can help achieve sustainable user engagement and retention?

As the tech team behind multiple wellness projects, including Envol, a holistic healing assistance app, we know the answers to these questions first-hand. In this article, we aim to help you figure out how to increase meditation app profitability and maintain trustworthy relationships with your customers. App monetization strategies, user engagement tips, ethical data monetization — we’ve covered it all.

The current landscape of meditation apps

In 2012, only 4.1% of American adults practiced meditation. In just five years, the number tripled to 14.2%. By 2022, around 18% of Americans (36 million) meditated. Shortly put, the meditation and mindfulness market shows no signs of slowing down, with mobile apps being one of its most influential segments.

According to a report by The Insight Partners, the mindfulness meditation app market size is expected to grow from $533.2 million in 2022 to $2.63 billion by 2028. But how did this ancient religious practice suddenly become such a major part of Western health and wellness culture?

One of the reasons lies in the growing awareness of mental issues meditation helps to deal with. As of 2024, there are 970 million people globally who suffer from mental health or substance use disorders. Moreover, 36% of adults worldwide say mental health is the biggest health problem people face in their country.

So, what’s the role of meditation in coping with mental health issues? While there isn’t a ton of research on the matter, meditation has proved to positively affect physical and mental health. For example, in 2018, a study supported by NCCIH analyzed 142 groups of participants with diagnosed psychiatric disorders, comparing mindfulness meditation to no treatment and established therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy. The study, involving over 12,000 participants, found that for treating anxiety and depression, mindfulness approaches were better than no treatment at all, and they worked as well as evidence-based therapies.

As for the role of meditation apps, Dr. Stephen Schueller, UC Irvine professor and executive director of One Mind PsyberGuide, commented on the matter in an interview with Scripps News:

"It's an app versus nothing, and what we do find is that although apps, when used on their own, lead to consistent but small to moderate benefits in mental health, you know, it may be better than nothing in some circumstances. I do think that digital tools have the opportunity to scale and provide sort of a base level of access and resources to people who may not receive care otherwise."

The thing with meditation and mindfulness apps is that while they are a profitable business, they also make meditation as a health practice more accessible and affordable. Here is The New York Times list of the best meditation mobile platforms for 2024 you need to explore if you are considering building a meditation app of your own:

  • Headspace is a subscription-based meditation app that offers guided mindfulness and meditation sessions, focusing on topics like stress reduction, sleep improvement, and overall mental well-being;
  • Calm is a subscription-based meditation and sleep app known for its soothing audio content, as well as guided and unguided meditations that focus on relaxing in general;
  • Healthy Minds is a free basic mental wellness app developed by psychologists and funded by donors that provides a clear sequence of well-structured courses and is a great option for beginners;
  • Smiling Mind is a free and simple mindfulness app aimed at younger people that offers well-structured beginner courses. It’s a particularly good choice for kids and young adults.

Monetization models for mindfulness apps

Monetization models for meditation and mindfulness apps

Monetization of meditation and mindfulness applications is fairly similar to monetizing any other mobile platform. However, there are still a few considerations to keep in mind. In this section, we’ll go over the most common and effective monetization models, focusing on how the leading meditation platforms apply them.


The subscription model is the primary choice for popular platforms since it offers a sustainable meditation app revenue stream. As a rule, this strategy entails apps offering a free trial period for users to test the service out. After that, they can purchase a subscription (monthly or annual) to continue using the app. For example, Calm provides full content access for $69.99 per year for a premium subscription after a 7-day free trial. Subscription to Headspace costs the same: $69.99 annually (or $12.99 per month), but with an extended 14-day free trial.

Meditation apps that use the subscription model can also provide introductory offers, discounts for annual commitments, etc., thus increasing the likelihood of conversion to long-term subscribers.

Subscription-based monetization model

Additionally, there is an option of a freemium model where users can choose between a free version of the app with basic content and features, and a premium version for a subscription fee. This is a great way to engage a large user base for new apps. However, in the long run, it can result in a large number of non-paying customers, so some apps change their monetization model along the way. Headspace, for instance, stopped offering a free version in 2022.

In-app purchases

Similarly to the freemium model, the in-app purchases strategy allows users to purchase additional meditation and mindfulness courses, exclusive content, premium features, and more for a one-time fee.

This model is one of the most popular ones: around 55% of app creators believe in-app purchases are the most effective mobile app monetization model. However, there is a catch: the approach can be problematic when the free versions of the app don’t really benefit users seeking mental support. Therefore, if you choose to implement this strategy, ensure that your platform's free version is still fully functional and that the in-app purchases are required for extra services only.

Upfront app purchases

The pay-to-download app monetization model involves charging users a one-time upfront payment for downloading and accessing the app. This strategy is not a very popular approach in 2024 since it can be hard to engage users when they have to pay for the app they haven’t had a chance to test. Besides, it can be tricky to calculate a viable price per download with consideration of the future updates, support, and other costs that come with running an app.

Still, in some cases, this works: Buddhify is one of the most popular platforms for guided meditations with an upfront cost of $3.99 on Google Play and $4.99 on Apple Store. For this pretty affordable price (compare it with the Headspace subscription), users get access to the “meditation wheel,” where they can choose from various meditations for different purposes like falling asleep or dealing with stress.

Partnerships and collaborations

Partnerships with influencers, wellness experts, and reputable brands open up new opportunities for the generation of profit from meditation app development. To be more specific, such collaborations can involve co-created or sponsored content with bloggers, exclusive programs with established meditation experts, co-developed premium offerings with wellness brands, etc. Such an approach can help create a mutually beneficial ecosystem where both the app and its partners leverage each other's audiences for increased visibility and revenue.

Mindful Guided Runs from Headspace and Nike

It’s worth noting, though, that partnerships and collaborations rarely serve as the primary app monetization strategy. Apps like Calm and Headspace rely heavily on revenue from app subscriptions while partnering with various credible companies. For instance, in collaboration with Nike, Headspace created guided meditations for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, specifically runners.

Summing up, there is no right or wrong answer for which app monetization strategy is best for a mediation platform. The choice depends on the app's unique value proposition, target audience, overall business objectives, and other factors. Whether you go for one model or a combination of strategies, it’s essential to align the chosen approach with the app's core mission and ensure that it resonates with its community's expectations.

Find out more: How to Develop a Mental Health App: Features, Cost and Design Ideas

User engagement and retention strategies

Let's say you've selected a monetization strategy aligned with your business objectives. Ensuring its success, whether through user subscriptions or in-app purchases, hinges on effectively implementing user engagement and retention strategies tailored to your specific audience. In the table below, we gathered the essential features to include in your meditation app design as part of an effective user engagement and retention plan.

Functionality to increase engagement and retention How it works
Seamless onboarding 74% of customers are likely to switch to other solutions if the onboarding process is overly complicated. Moreover, with mobile apps, users decide whether they might continue using the app within the first 20 seconds. To achieve a flawless onboarding experience, focus on highlighting core features, minimizing irrelevant questions, simplifying the sign-up process, and avoiding unnecessary explanations about navigation or icons.
Personalized content Personalizing content is key to building loyalty and user appreciation. We recommend tailoring meditation sessions to individual preferences and providing a personalized and relevant experience based on user goals or progress. For this, you can utilize machine learning algorithms, artificial intelligence, and data analytics for user’s behavior patterns and preferences to adapt content dynamically.
Push notifications Integrating meditation and mindfulness reminders helps users establish a consistent routine. Calm, for instance, found an almost 3x increase in retention for users who set daily reminders. However, to be effective, push notifications must be executed correctly. Make them personalized, find the right balance in terms of frequency, and give users the option to customize the timing of the reminders.
Community building Meditation is often a personal and introspective journey, and having a community within the app provides a platform for users to share their experiences, insights, and challenges. This sense of community creates a supportive environment where people can find motivation for their mindfulness practice. To provide this functionality, you can allow users to share experiences, join challenges, participate in group meditations, and more.
Feedback and surveys To maintain user interest and engagement, you need to actively gather valuable feedback through ratings, reviews, and surveys targeting personal experiences. This way, you can understand user preferences, address concerns, and improve the app based on user input.
Rewards for loyal users In addition to free trial periods and seasonal discounts, you need to reward users who stick with your meditation app. Gabe Zichermann's hierarchy of rewards, encapsulated in the acronym SAPS (Status, Access, Power, and Stuff), suggests that cost-effective rewards (like those emphasizing user status) are more engaging than free or discounted items. Options for rewarding loyal customers include VIP program memberships, access to freebies and premium content, moderator status, early access to updates or products, etc.

By combining these strategies, you will be able to not only attract users but also foster a loyal and engaged user base within your meditation app.

If you want to dive deeper into the matter and find out how to make a meditation app, check out our guide on building a platform like Headspace.

Data monetization in a privacy-focused era

Data monetization is a less obvious and transparent yet highly effective way to increase meditation app profits. User data can be of great value to companies since it can offer insights into consumer behavior and market trends. As a result, businesses that get access to this data can:

  • Deliver highly personalized ads based on user preferences and behavior, increasing the chances of conversion;
  • Make data-driven strategic decisions by analyzing customer preferences, market trends, and competitor analysis;
  • Explore new meditation app potential revenue opportunities by selling data directly to third-party organizations.

However, data monetization raises many ethical concerns regarding privacy and user consent, especially with meditation, mental health, and healthcare apps. Well-being information is, without a doubt, sensitive for many users, yet even influential and popular platforms don’t always do a good job of protecting it. For instance, Mozilla's investigation of 32 mental health and prayer apps found that 28 raised strong concerns over user data management, and 25 failed to meet minimum security standards. BetterHelp and Talkspace were among the worst apps on the list.

Unethical data monetization can have lasting reputational and financial ramifications for business owners. So, is it at all possible to monetize user data ethically? Before exploring this option, we recommend getting acquainted with the recommendations below. In addition to our own experience in the field, the list is based on a 2023 panel discussion hosted by Reaktor, a global tech company whose NYC team spoke with tech leaders about the intricacies of data monetization.

Tips for ethical data monetization in a privacy-focused era

Tip #1. Create data utilization strategies

Before you start collecting data for possible monetization, it’s important to determine the purpose of its use. By adopting a strategic and purpose-driven approach to data utilization, you will ensure that every piece of collected data aligns with specific business objectives and decision-making needs. Basically, the advice here is to harness data with a purpose instead of mindlessly collecting it.

From an ethical standpoint, such an approach also allows you to transparently inform users about how and why their data is utilized, giving them the choice to consent or withhold consent based on the intended purpose. As a result, it mitigates concerns related to potential misuse or unauthorized exploitation of personal data.

Tip #2. Apply the value proposition approach

When businesses engage in data monetization, they also take on the responsibility to ensure fair compensation for users contributing their data. This compensation can take many forms, including monetary compensation, exclusive discounts, and other incentives.

With users becoming more educated about data privacy rights, the value proposition approach is now a necessity. Fair compensation practices show that businesses are committed to building transparent relationships with users and establishing a fair exchange between companies and individuals in the data ecosystem.

During the panel discussion, Fernando Ferrer, principal data engineer at Reaktor, pointed out that while there's resistance to sharing personal data, users can be open to the possibility when presented with a tangible societal benefit, such as medical research advancements. Therefore, as long as you come up with a compelling offer for your users and remain transparent, data monetization can be an option for your business.

Tip #3. Prioritize data security

In addition to being transparent about data collection practices, you must also ensure your app complies with legal and ethical standards. This involves:

  • Staying up-to-date with relevant data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
  • Implementing robust security measures, such as encryption, firewalls, and regular security audits;
  • Ensuring data anonymization and aggregation to remove any personally identifiable information and combining data in a way that prevents users from being identified;
  • Avoiding discriminatory practices, respecting individuals’ rights, and using data for legitimate purposes.

It’s worth noting that data monetization is a continuously evolving practice, and ethical practices may also change depending on technological advancements. For instance, in the near future, we might have to deal with the ethical dilemmas of AI automating data extraction processes. In this landscape, businesses must prioritize trust, value creation, and forward-thinking strategies to find and retain customers.

Mind Studios' experience

In Mind Studios’ over a decade-long experience with software development, we’ve learned that the monetization plan is an important brick in the foundation of the app’s financial success. Yet we also believe that even a smart, calculated monetization strategy won’t work unless the meditation app has a mission based on a genuine desire to support users on their wellness journey. We know this first-hand since we are the tech team behind Envol, a thriving holistic healing application.

Envol, a holistic healing assistance solution developed by Mind Studios

When our clients, Julie Morin and Tim van Driessche, approached us, they already had an Android app. However, they weren’t satisfied with its performance, and we knew we had to engage in a proper discovery stage to determine how the product could serve users better. For this, Mind Studios studied the market leaders in the wellness niche and launched surveys among Envol’s original users and the creators’ social media followers. After all, user needs, expectations, and pain points can help find the most effective development vector.

As a result of the survey, we found that while practicing with Envol can benefit anyone, its target audience consisted mainly of people with chronic illnesses and injuries, with the app helping them decrease stress, pain, and other symptoms. These findings determined our further strategy, including the user engagement and retention plan.

Today, Envol is a unique blend of several types of apps, including meditation apps, wellness apps, and, to an extent, performance and habit trackers. As of 2023, the platform reached 12,000 downloads across platforms, over 8,000 active users, and a 43% retention rate. With the app being an ongoing project for us, we can’t wait to see how the Envol journey unfolds.


The meditation and mindfulness app market is undoubtedly a profitable and rapidly growing sector, driven by the increasing global awareness of mental health and well-being. However, to generate revenue from such a project, its monetization strategy must align with user expectations, ensuring that the chosen model complements the app's mission. To achieve this, monetization strategy development should be integrated into the initial project development stage.

With multiple wellness and mental health platforms in our portfolio, Mind Studios has the expertise to guide every aspect of app development, from the discovery phase and formulation of a monetization strategy to creating a product that makes revenue. If you want to create your own meditation app but don’t know where to start, fill in a short contact form to request a free consultation and discuss possible implementation strategies.