Flappy Bird developer rakes in $50,000 a day off in-app ads

Flappy Birds gif

Flappy Bird is arguably one of the worst games ever created. Not because it isn’t good mind you, but because it’s so frustratingly hard, its millions of players wonder why they keep coming back for another round of punishment. Available on both Android and iOS, Flappy Bird became an overnight success, soaring to the top of the charts from little more than word of mouth, and becoming an inspiration to indie devs everywhere.

Apparently, its creator — Dong Nguyen — didn’t welcome the new found fame, taking to his Twitter asking for some time to reflect:

Something he never wanted? An interesting statement considering the developer currently has 2 other titles hovering the App Store’s top 10, with Flappy Bird’s in-app ads raking in close to $50,000 a day. Yes, folks. That’s more than most of us make in a year.

So, what was Dong Nguyen’s formula for success? Simply spending a few hours a night, building a game we’ve played before, 8-bit graphics we’ve seen before, and Mario Bros-inspired visuals that are anything but original. It’s so crazy to think that Flappy Bird actually launched more than 8 months ago, but only recently gained over 50 million downloads.

So where does Flappy Bird go from here? Well, in his interview with The Verge, Nguyen mentions he wont be attempting to further monetize the game with in-app purchases, or even an ad-free version. He feels like messing with it now could cause the game to lose some of its magic. Instead, he’s toying around with the idea of a sequel. Some people just want to see the world burn…

Download on Google Play: Flappy Birds

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  • Thomas

    If he’s making this much a day I hope there are no IAP’s for this game ( never played it myself ).

    • Shawheim

      there aren’t and the only time you see an ad is in the top bar before you play.

      • Shawheim

        actually you only see ads when you die.

        • duke69111

          I like it that way to be honest. Its not obtrusive and its making the guy money.

        • Aaron Mayeux

          and you die a lot :P

    • guitarist5122

      no, there isn’t. At least that I know of. I’ve only played it for about 30 min total.

    • bob

      I don’t buy it… No way in game advertising clicks through enough to even pay him that much less sell through enough for the advertiser to pay that. Total nonsense rumor if you ask me.

      • Don_SoLow

        It makes sense because there’s an ad at the start screen, every time you die you go back to the start screen with that ad. More than 100 million people have downloaded and I’m pretty sure more than 50% of them play for at least 30 minutes a day. In that game, in 30 minutes you can die over 50 times reverting back to the start screen with the ad… With that being said, I can see them making that much.

        • bob

          Doesn’t matter if there’s no click through or sell through on the advertising. Ad views make a little money but nothing like 50k a day.

        • Guest

          Do you believe that Google makes most of its wealth from ads?

      • Muhammad Ali

        Do you buy that Google makes most of its wealth from ads?

        • bob

          Owning an independent advertising agency I know that’s 100% true. As much as 97% of googles revenue comes from advertising. That being said those advertisers for the most part don’t pay for views they pay for clicks and sell through activity. For advertising to be worth anything it has to generate sales revenue. If people aren’t clicking through and buying it’s not doing a thing.

          • Muhammad Ali

            Yeah I understand they’re mostly pay-per-clicks ads, I just thought one app developer with a larger enough user-base can generate $50,000 from pay-per-clicks if Google can make billions.

          • hello

            you own your own advertising agency and you’ve never done 50k days? hahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahaha. wait give me two more minutes. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL.

  • BronzeLincolns

    never heard of this game until now. good for him though.

  • Fel Pe

    50k a day for that? FML!

  • http://www.facebook.com/madmikeX3 Michael Parks

    That game is terribly hard. I can’t get but 6.

  • toomuchgame441

    game is insanely hard… I gave it about 30mins as well… Thinking of uninstall… but kudos to the dev, a simple formula worked!

  • CGS

    I downloaded this game the other day and have already wasted about six hours of my life on it and only just today made it past 22 freakin’ pipes. On the leaderboards in Google Games there are people with scores in the MILLIONS. It’s freaking insane.

    • CerealFTW

      Those are fake. And my high score is 94 at lol

      • CGS

        Hmm interesting. How do you know if you don’t mind me asking lol

        • Guest

          somebody did the math and it was impossible to do basically. take the number divide by the time it takes in second to pass a pipe multiply by etc….

          • Muhammad Ali

            I’ve always wondered how people rank those fake scores on leaderboards.

          • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

            Simple: “you can’t trust the client”.

          • mausium

            Tether your phone to a web debugger/proxy like Fiddler, set a breakpoint for the score, change it once your client attempts to submit.

          • Muhammad Ali

            Let me guess, your score on Flappy Bird is 999?

        • duke69111

          There has been multiple articles on how to hack the game and put in your own score. I read the article and actually looks really easy to do, you just need root.

  • http://Google Raul

    Watch out Nintendo don’t start wanting a piece of that cake.

  • TONY ALDO

    Maybe I should learn how to program.

  • deeznutz1977

    now I don’t feel as bad about blocking the ad’s for the 5 minutes I played

  • Caezar07

    Never heard of it but I just downloaded it. This is not my style of game. It’s another one of those unreasonably hard games that a lot of people put a lot of time into and get really good at, kind of like “The Impossible Game”, which was easier than this game IMO.

  • Jason Yuen

    What a humble guy. Most developers would wring the game dry of revenue by mutating it into something that ultimately dooms it to failure. Who remembers Draw Something?

    • Mike Monroe

      There’s something wrong with our culture when we blame the developer. Not only in jest, but serious rage directed at the developer. I can’t believe the developer took a gun to the heads of 10 million people and made them play his game.

    • jakedock

      I don’t understand your post at all,what is wrong with trying to make more money, through trying to develop an app more people would want to waste 99 cents on? Don’t understand why this guy is taking his app down, thinking he will put it back up a few months later, but now even more people are going to buy it, and even more people are going to know its name. I never heard of this game in-till today.

  • Cale

    where is the source for this revenue estimate of $50k per day? i am calling bs…

    • Justin Oneill

      The source is on your smart phone. just go to the app store and see how many downloads it has

      • Cale

        i still dont see where it says “this app makes $50,000 USD per day”. so what if it has 10m downloads? that doesnt mean that it makes any particular amount of ad money per day. please correct me if im wrong

        • http://flappybirdapp.blogspot.com/ Tetanos

          they make lots of money when each person play the game , have you ever played flappy bird ? if you did you would saw some ads appears when the game pauses or after hitting a bib by the bird .

          if you don’t have the game you can just try it Online here :
          http://flappybirdapp.blogspot.com/

          ..

          • Cale

            like someone else in this comment section said “That being said those advertisers for the most part don’t pay for views they pay for clicks and sell through activity. For advertising to be worth anything it has to generate sales revenue. If people aren’t clicking through and buying it’s not doing a thing.”. i never noticed the ads, much less clicked one of them. i then went back and looked for the ads and they dont entice anyone to click them at all. so how are they making money? by people clicking them accidentally? if so, how many people click the ads per day and how much does the dev make per click? im not aware of accurate information about this subject being available anywhere. so yea, im calling bs on the $50k/day estimate. i think its realistically more like $100-$800 per day.

          • hello

            just because you don’t click on the ads doesn’t mean others don’t. those in the advertising industry make $xx,xxx per day numbers easily. it’s incredibly easy to bank off of advertising if you know what you’re doing. i’ve had multiple $20k+ profit days from my ventures going viral, and all i did was have ads in the sidebar that delivered leads to the advertiser. nobody on the advertiser side generated immediate revenue. an example of an ad is a car insurance quote company or a private university.

          • evilbunnie

            You’re not very smart are you. People will pay a lot more money to even get 10 million people to NOTICE their ads. $50k is a conservative estimate.

          • Cale

            my point is that $50k is just some random number who the hell knows pulled out of their ass. yes, i know how advertising works, which is why im so skeptical of that number….

          • CromWelp

            Holy what. How do people not understand that all you’re asking for is a legitimate citation on an exact number. The internet is a terrible place.

          • Cale

            lol i know. i understand how advertising works. i have an adsense and an adwords account of my own. im just asking for a credible source. i think its just a rumor that started somewhere and now all the news sites copy it just because its hot news. in fact, i looked at the ads the other day and all it said was “Advertise on Google Adwords!”. I couldnt even get it to display a real ad. I’m guessing he made quite a bit of money in the very beginning but people stopped paying for his ads when they realized they were wasting their money. either that or google shut down his adsense acount, i dont know.

      • Cale

        like someone else in this comment section said “That being said those advertisers for the most part don’t pay for views they pay for clicks and sell through activity. For advertising to be worth anything it has to generate sales revenue. If people aren’t clicking through and buying it’s not doing a thing.”. i never noticed the ads, much less clicked one of them. i then went back and looked for the ads and they dont entice anyone to click them at all. so how are they making money? by people clicking them accidentally? if so, how many people click the ads per day and how much does the dev make per click? im not aware of accurate information about this subject being available anywhere. so yea, im calling bs on the $50k/day estimate. i think its realistically more like $100-$800 per day.

        • Tanner

          Advertising isn’t exclusively sold by conversion rate; you can buy click and impressions as well: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1704424?hl=en 10M eyeballs is a lot. That’s 10% of the Super Bowl, and those ads are merely impressions.

        • Justin Oneill

          Theirs different ways, research CPM (which stands for cost per thousand) meaning 1,000 views. for every 1000 views of an ad you can make money, it just depends on the amount of money they are asking for. If users click them it could be more and if users click and buy it could be even more. If 10,000,000 eyes are looking at something though, that’s definitely advertising. I can guarantee you I know what Candy Crush is now but have i ever played it? hell no! lol…

          • Cale

            my point is that $50k is just some random number who the hell knows pulled out of their ass. yes, i know how advertising works, which is why im so skeptical of that number.

  • PixelPower

    http://androidfreegamesapps.forumotion.com/t471-smash-flappybird-for-android

    Ok for anyone who doesn’t like flappybird , you can smash him and help mario reclaim his graphic’s. I found out about this on facebook ,its actually a funny game Super Mario makes a cameo appearence and tells you smash that damn bird.

  • http://tristamus.wix.com/aiello Tristamus

    Why are you guys saying there’s only ads when you die? There are ads mid game-play and they make my phone stutter and I die >D

    Just pointing a fact out here, since everyone seems to have forgotten this?

  • knightriderx

    Kudos to the programmer for no originality.

    Nintendo called. Mario wants his pipes back ;)