How to Succeed with Subscription-Based Apps

by dhavalpatel in APP MONETIZATION on May 7, 2019

GameAppTemplate is here to help marketers figure out how to succeed in the mobile app ecosystem with subscription-based apps, a challenge only few have tackled successfully.

In the field of mobile gaming and eCommerce applications, marketers need effective customer acquisition, retention and monetization strategies. The same is true for a subscription-based service however, much more difficult to implement. Below are a few points to remember when trying to achieve a high-value, high-conversion subscriber model.

  1. Find the Right Audience

The users you are looking for are those who will make a long-term commitment in exchange for valuable content that you provide. If you’re tapping into an audience that isn’t interested in a subscription-based model, then you are definitely headed in the wrong direction.

For this, you need a top-notch user acquisition team and advertising partners that can target and segment users that are relevant to your app, enabling you to build profiles of users based on age, gender, location, past experience interacting with mobile ads, other apps installed on their phone, and do lookalike targeting across the entire mobile ecosystem.

2. Use the Right Metrics against User Acquisition

To ensure results, work with your partners on a cost per action or cost per subscription basis. They are guaranteeing to push users they believe will perform an action like a trial on the subscription side or returning to your app after installing. The cost per subscriber metric is essential if you want the action to lead to monetizing. While there is no guarantee that your users will convert on a particular action, you can achieve results by leveraging behavioral analytics to your advantage.

Take the data from the 2015 Liftoff Mobile App Engagement Index for example. It found that post-install actions cut sharply across gender lines. In shopping apps, women were 32 percent more likely to purchase than men with a much higher install-to-first-purchase rate and lower cost-per-purchase.

3. Test the Right On-boarding Experience

When attempting to choose the right subscription model for your app, pay close attention to and test the on-boarding process for your app. This could look like installing the app, using the app, and then signing up for a trial. If the user sees value in the content, then a subscription will follow. Be sure to keep testing because a variation of this can include eliminating the trial and offering a freemium app with limited to access to content in which case a user can upgrade to a paid subscription.

4. Prioritize testing your subscription plans

Bottom line, testing and optimizing you subscription plans should be one of your highest priorities. These can vary from annual to monthly plans and with each, comes its own unique pricing model. If you offer various types of subscription levels you will need to regularly check the prices and the tiers of each which will likely differ by region. However, keep in mind that offering a range of plans can confuse users causing them to not choose any or, you could push your users into selecting an option that isn’t relevant to them. To prioritize one subscription offer, you need to understand your user base and their interests.

5. Leverage dynamic user segmentation for improved modeling

It will take time to find the sweet spot for your app subscription models. The more time your app spends in the market, the more you can develop the experience of what your users want from a subscription level. You can develop a better understanding of what certain user segments want by using A|B testing model or a multi-variate testing model. These segments might include users who share similar behaviors, live in certain regions, or use certain platforms. Ultimately, your goal is acquire the right set of users for your subscription-based product.

6. Revitalize your app value proposition

In the case of gaming apps, publishers can more easily use the in-app purchase model which compels users to buy additional credits when they reach a certain level in the game. However, a subscription-based model serves up new challenges because there is constant pressure to deliver fresh content your audience will value to keep users from churning. For some apps, content must updated every week or month while others need to be refreshed daily. Take a paid newspaper subscription, for example.

The moment your content becomes stale, users will believe that you are failing to add value to their experience and forgo renewing their subscriptions or cancel them altogether.

7. Pay close attention to churn

In spite of you best efforts, you will always have a segment of users who unsubscribe and they need engagement. Pay close attention to lapsed users particularly those who have installed, and are already familiar with your product as these will be the easiest to reconvert or re-engage.

For subscription-based apps, deploy your re-engagement tactics within the first 60 to 90 days. This includes your re-marketing and re-targeting efforts.

Ultimately, your success in scaling up and retaining momentum depends on how well you understand your audience.


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