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Updated: November 13, 2023

Comment How To Make Money Online

Gamified Productivity App Earns $100K/Month

  • $100,000+ estimated monthly revenue
  • Published November 13, 2023 by Niall Doherty
  • Contributor: Fardeen Khan

Forest is a productivity app that incentivizes users to avoid their phones through a gamified system.

You basically open the app and plant a virtual tree ๐ŸŒณ which grows while you focus on a task. If you then stay off your phone for the duration of the timer, the tree fully matures.

But if you exit the app to use your phone, the tree withers and dies ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Launched in 2014, Forest has more than 10 million downloads on Google Play and the product description on the Apple App Store readsโ€ฆ

Top productivity app in 136 countries. More than 2 million satisfied paying users.

Last month’s revenue estimates by SensorTower (free account required) ๐Ÿ‘‡

I know, those download numbers don’t exactly vibe with the revenue numbers. 

Here’s whyโ€ฆ

iOS customers will need to pay [$3.99] if they want to download the app which comes with premium features, while Android users can install it for free but they will receive the basic version. For more advanced options they will have to make in โ€“ app purchases.

SensorTower’s estimates aren’t perfect, of course, but I reckon it’s still safe to say that Forest is pulling in around $100,000 in monthly revenue ๐Ÿคฏ

Some of that revenue goes towards planting real trees, 2 million and countingโ€ฆ

“Forest team partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on Earth. When our users spend virtual coins they earn in Forest on planting real trees, Forest team donates to our partner and creates planting orders.” (source)

Much of Forest’s success can be attributed to its use of gamification strategies ๐ŸŽฎ

Rabani Kharbanda wrote in 2021โ€ฆ

I credit [the app’s] success to effective use of gamification psychology. The app is fun to use because it appeals to certain Core Drives within us that motivate us towards certain activities.

Using something called the Octalysis Gamification framework, he goes on to break down the different features of the app that make it so appealing ๐Ÿ˜

One suchโ€ฆ

Core Driver 5: Social Influence and Relatedness

You can invite friends and family members to the app. If any one of you exit the app when the timer is running, then the tree will automatically die. This shared experience helps people bond, at the same time drives competition. If you do succeed at not opening using your phone, while your friends fail, you get their envy and respect.

Might be worth giving this app a try yourself if you struggle to stay focused.

Also, if you’re a 90’s kid like me, Forest might remind you of Tamagotchi. It’s essentially the same thing, except with a Tamagotchi you were looking after a virtual pet ๐Ÿถ instead of a virtual tree ๐ŸŒณ

And Forest tied their game to productivity, so it became a useful and enduring tool.

Always interesting to see old ideas succeeding in new ways.

Could some old tech from your childhood be the next big thing? ๐Ÿค”

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About The Author
Niall Doherty โ€“ Founder and Lead Editor of eBiz Facts Born and raised in Ireland, Niall has been making a living from his laptop since quitting his office job in 2010. He's fond of basketball, once spent 44 months traveling around the world without flying, and has been featured in such publications as The Irish Times and Huffington Post. Read more...

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