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How To Increase In-App Purchases?

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on July 30th, 2022 10:51 am

App Builder Appy Pie, January 3: An app is developed largely with the intent to make money at some point. There are a number of revenue models which can be applied to your app depending on a multitude of factors. Some, not many, have garnered some success by charging people for downloading their app, while others still have tried the same with in-app advertisements. However, for a majority of the mobile apps and their owners, freemium models and the feature of in app purchases has become the go to model of monetization. It is quite easy to first convey the value that a free app has to offer to you and get the users hooked before charging them for certain value-added features or content via in-app purchases at strategic times.

In order to maximise the revenues through in-app purchases, conversion tracking and optimization assume a lot of importance.

In-app purchases are the purchases that are made from within a mobile application. These purchases are made by the users when they want to access special content or features within the app like power-ups, hidden levels, coins, offers, and more.

Why is it important?

It’s true that the mobile users today are becoming more and more dependent on their mobile devices for just about everything. They have actually been known to research the khakis that they want to buy on their mobile apps, before walking into the store and buying it. This might not look like a big deal to you as a business owner, but there is more here than meets the eye.

Whenever a buyer abandons a purchase to go complete it either on your website or in your brick & mortar store, they are exposed to a number of distractions which might lead to them changing their mind altogether. Hence, it is the brands that can manage to convince the buyers to complete their purchases on mobile by providing them a seamless purchasing experience, who are more likely to become well positioned in the future.

The eCommerce companies have benefitted the most from the growth of the mobile apps. As compared to the mobile websites, apps keep the users better engaged, lead to a 286% increase in products viewed, 23% increase in purchases, and an increase of 120% in conversion from the view to purchase. Mobile marketers have been using a variety of tips and tricks to increase the number of app downloads, but that is not the be-all end-all of an app’s success. Any business needs to drive purchases and revenue and the tips that we are going to list out hereunder would help you flourish your business through apps via in-app purchases!

1. Convert Web Visitors To App Users

It was just a few years ago that most of the eCommerce companies were quite smugly focusing only on their web presence and mobile apps were a mere add on. Users could easily access their desktop websites on the mobile phones. This has drastically changed today as the mobile web engagement is effectively negligible. Those who have a strong web presence but have been a little late to wake up to this trend need not worry, because there is a way to harness the web traffic that they are generating. Most of the people are researching on their mobiles and are quite often making their way to your website, this is where you can step in and save them from the jittery jerky checkout process on the mobile website. Tweak your website with deep links that would take the user to the corresponding page in your app thus enhancing user experience and driving up in-app purchases.

2. Use In-App Messages To Your Advantage & Drive Up In-App Purchases

In some of the apps, especially retail and booking apps, the in-app purchases are not mere secondary features, but an integral part of the app. The basic idea of a user browsing through a retail or booking app is to make some kind of a purchase. The trick here is to convert the window shoppers into buyers.

For this purpose, in-app messages can prove to be quite an effective tool and medium. The sales, deals, and discounts are attractive to the users. Quite like the brick and mortar stores, any such sales need to be promoted in the apps as well. In-app messages are a great way to promote all those wonderful deals that you have for your customers.

Another way to push in-app purchases is through personalisation. When you look at each buyer’s browser and purchase history, you can push specialised products in accordance with their buying behaviour.

3. Consider Multiple Marketing Channels To Drive Engagement

Mobile marketing is anything but one-dimensional, hence a marketing campaign across a variety of channels is the only effective way to stand apart and drive bottom line success. These channels that we speak of, may include, but are not limited to paid acquisition, content sharing, email marketing etc. These might all differ from one another in terms of their maturity, projected success or failure, and the kind of returns they bring on the investments, but one common link between them all is that they can all benefit from deep linking.

4. Limited Time Offers

This works the best once your users are accustomed to making in-app purchases already. In that scenario, you may go ahead and offer a special discount, deal or offer on a certain purchase, but the catch is to do it in a limited time frame. This is a strategy that has stood the test of time, and it works even today. When you impose a time limit to the discount or deals you offer, there is a direct impact or feeling of ‘buy now or lose out’ which tends to create an urgency in the buyer.

5. Deep Linked Marketing Emails

It’s true that there are numerous mobile marketing channels, but email marketing is probably one of the most mature and effective ones. Traditionally eCommerce companies have been depending heavily on email marketing to drive buyer engagement and revenue. In the recent times however, majority of the users are reading their mails on mobiles where the mobile web interface proves to be a hindrance in the traditional user flow.

In response to this, you, as an app developer or owner would need to insert some well placed deep links into the marketing emailers, so that the users are routed optimally towards an enhanced overall experience.

6. Lure Them With New & Shiny Things

It is natural for most of us to be attracted to anything that is new. When you have a user base that is already hooked to the in-app purchases, it is important that you keep their interest by offering them something ‘new & shiny’ every now and then. Novelty and variety piques the interest of the app fans and makes them come back asking for more while readily making in-app purchases.

7. Explore Options To Find What Works For You

Though email marketing can be deemed as one of the oldest yet effective channels for promotion, but these days there are so many more channels for you to explore. It is a good idea to venture in and explore the channels that are available to you. These include:

  • App Discovery
  • Paid Search
  • Social
  • Referrals
  • App to App
  • Content Sharing, and many such more.

8. Timed Offerings

This is especially effective in gaming apps. The moment right after the user has downloaded your app, is the moment when they feel the best about it, they feel positive and are enthusiastic about exploring it. A nudge for in-app purchases at this time is a good idea to exploit this euphoria. At certain points when your user is choked, or at a crucial level, a suggestion for the appropriate in-app purchase is likely to be converted into a real sale. Timing is crucial and it would be wise to use it well.

9. Get’em Hooked!

When it comes to in-app purchases, it works the same way as the app rating or review requests. The user has to be hooked or deeply engaged with you to be actually interested in going forward with an in-app purchase. It is a good idea to offer your core value proposition right at the beginning and then let them know quite clearly what the app is going to be used for. It may be deduced that the more you can engage your users, the better user experience you can offer, higher are the chances of the in-app purchases to actually happen. Getting the user hooked is a combination of two factors, first, the criticality of the problem and the desperation to look for a solution for that problem, and second, how quickly and effectively can you offer the solution to the user’s perceived problems.

10. Let It Be A Seamless, Flawless Experience

One of the most critical things about an app for a user is his experience of actually using the app. It is important that the experience a user has with the app is easy, seamless, and flawless. When the experience is jerky or abrupt, the chances of a user engaging with the app goes down and so do his chances of making an in-app purchase. Offer them tutorials, to make sure that their experience of using the app is not frustrating or confusing in any manner. At the initial level, make the wins or other interactions smooth and easy, as they keep going up the levels, make it harder to win.

11. Monitor & Use In-App Behaviour To Drive In-App Purchases

The in-app behaviour, when used properly, would offer you great insights. When you understand the user behaviour patterns in the way they interact with the app and the way they navigate through the app, it gives you the opportunity to strategize the in-app purchases. If you send out push notifications for every offer and in-app purchase you have in your kitty, you might end up frustrating your user and losing him if he decides to uninstall the app because of it. However, if you use triggers like a certain in-app activity to shoot out relevant push notifications suggesting a particular in-app purchase.

12. When The In-App Purchase Is A Subscription, Offer Extension Of Trial Period For Free

There is a large group of users who are pretty engaged and active on the app all through the trial period, and then go completely quiet once the trial period is over. It is for these clients that a free trail extension model works the best! This extension may be offered in exchange of a feedback or insight that you can later use to rectify issues or build up your database and insights.

13. Let Your Free Plan Be Just Good Enough, But Not Too Good

The free trial period or free trial version should be good enough to bait and hook your users, but make sure that when they get really engaged with the app and begin using extensively, they hit a barrier when they are compelled to go for an in-app purchase in order to unlock and avail special features. This is one of the most effective ways to gain advantages of onboarding and user engagement.

14. Encourage Customers To Finish Their Purchases

For mobile marketers, the intent to buy is not enough. They have to wait with bated breath till the user has input their payment information and have clicked the ‘Buy’ button. The abandoned shopping cart is a bigger phenomenon on mobile than any other platform and mobile messages is one of the most effective ways to reduce it. Push notifications and emails are the best ways to tackle the issue. In case a user adds something to their cart but doesn’t check out, it is a good idea to reach them through any of the outside-app ways and nudge them a little. These notifications work better when personalised in the following ways:

  • “You’ve left an item in your cart” is impersonal, try mentioning the name of the product they left behind.
  • If the product they ordered is limited in stocks, mention it. Create a sense of urgency to encourage them to complete the purchase before stocks run out!
  • Keep an eye on the user’s in-app behaviour to time your push notifications in a way that they get it when they are the most engaged.

15. Offer Special Deals When Users End Free Trials Early

During the trial period, most of the users are positive about the app and it is a good idea to use this time well. Offer special offers, if they upgrade to the paid version in the first two days, and encourage the users to end their trial period sooner. The users who have been using their app extensively for the first three days are more likely to convert than those who don’t. Offer them an early bird discount or other such advantages and use the in-app analytics of these users to identify the real accelerators.

16. Promote The Premium Services

When you are offering premium services, it is important that you get it out there, make some noise, and let others know what you are offering. Let the users know of the advantages they will get when they sign up for the paid services. There are three major ways in which this may be done:

  • In-App Messages – while the user is exploring or using your app, they are the most engaged. At this time in-app personal messages can help them point to the special features, help them forge a relationship with the app, and even consider going for the premium features.
  • Drip Campaigns – this is essentially an automated email marketing campaign where emails are sent out automatically according to a defined schedule. The trick to having an effective drip campaign is getting the timing & relevance right. They are great for announcing new updates, features, or price drops for an app.
  • Text Messages – text messages tend to have a higher engagement when compared to email messages as about 90% of the text messages are read within first three minutes of receiving it. Text messages, however limit the length of the message to 160 characters, so it is important to provide information in crisp and defined manner.


Concluding Note

The solutions or tips mentioned above can be used in any combinations, but not all of them suit all kinds of apps. Hence take a step back, relax, and choose the ones that suit your app the best. Make sure that you put in your own inputs when it comes to strategies and their implementation and you are bound to see some great results.

Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

App Builder

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