In-app purchases are quickly becoming the preferred method for earning revenue with smartphone and tablet applications. Seventy-five percent of people expect free mobile apps. They’re wary of paying for something they’re not familiar with, and for good reason. People engage with only a small number of the apps they originally download. Ninety percent of app installs lead to disengaged users in just three months.
Cornering the mobile market is tricky, but you can successfully monetize your app and achieve the long-term loyalty you’re looking for with the right approach to purchases. Making money with in-app purchases boils down to one question – why will they buy things from your app? Here is the complete guide to making and marketing a successful app.
Build an Alluring Base App
Before you start pushing in-app purchases, you need to convince your customer of the value of your app. Realizing certain achievements can give customers a quick hit of feel-good dopamine that keeps them coming back for more. Reward users with badges, bonuses, discounts, and other perks early on. If your app functions as a game, make sure players level up quickly in the early stages, then gradually increase the difficulty. Your users must recognize and appreciate the value of your base app before they will make a purchase to enhance it.
Push in-app purchases during the sweet spot after your user has established a routine of regular use and before they begin to disengage with the app. Most in-app purchases take place about 12 days after the user first launches the app.
Know Your Market and Expand Your Reach
Android and Apple are locked into an intense competition for the top slot in the app marketplace. Google Play has more app downloads, but the Apple app store generates more revenue. Android rules the market outside the U.S., making it a top pick if you have a large customer base in Asia, Africa, or South America. In these countries, feature-packed mobile devices like the Galaxy S7 more often use the Android OS. Ideally, you’ll launch your app in both stores, but if you have to start with one, make sure you’re targeting the right demographic with your pick.
Track Buyers Using Unique Identifiers
Just 2 percent of app users actually complete an in-app purchase, so it’s important to get to know who those people are. Use unique identifiers to track your buyers, such as a user name or email address. Evaluate the date of their purchase, how long they used the app before buying, and what they finally pulled the trigger on. Use this data to push the most popular in-app items, or run well-timed promotions to get more sales during a hot season for a particular type of feature.
Consider Consumable vs. Non-Consumable Purchases
In-app purchases are available in both consumable and non-consumable varieties. Consider the functionality of your app carefully before deciding which is the best fit for your program. Consumable purchases have a limited life span. Once you’ve used them, they’re gone. They encourage repeat buyers, but you have to design them well or users will become frustrated and abandon the app. Common consumables include extra lives, clues, or hints in a game.
Non-consumable purchases are those that are good for the life of the app. If you have a photo editing app, you may sell additional filters, brushes, fonts, or layouts for unlimited use. A non-consumable item doesn’t lend itself as well to future purchases, but you can often charge more for downloading them.
Enable Automatic Renewal Subscriptions
Subscriptions allow you to give users access to particular features for a set period of time. If you can lock in your customer’s loyalty during your subscription period, you can often get repeated purchases of this type. Make sure you enable automatic renewals so customers can set their account to automatically purchase a new subscription period when the current one ends, locking in continued revenues until they actively cancel the subscription.
Approaching in-app purchases carefully can open up a new source of revenue for your business. Make sure you’re offering something of value with each purchase to boost customer engagement and loyalty. Done right, your selection of in-app features can draw in new customers and keep them coming back for more.