How to Boost In-app Purchases

Getting people to use your app regularly is just the first challenge. The next big challenge is to get people to make in-app purchases. The problem is how to get people to make more in-app purchases, particularly if they aren’t accustomed to spending money when they are using apps.

December 16, 2020
How to Boost In-app Purchases

Getting people to use your app regularly is just the first challenge. The next big challenge is to get people to make in-app purchases. The problem is how to get people to make more in-app purchases, particularly if they aren’t accustomed to spending money when they are using apps.

In 2017, nearly 50% of mobile app earnings was from in-app purchases. That makes it a staple of the earnings in most industries. With about 90% of a mobile user’s time being spent in apps (and only 10% browsing online), boosting in-app purchases should be fairly easy, but you have to figure out the right way to convince your users to make those purchases.

Determining the best way to increase in-app purchases depends on the purpose of the app. If you have a game, fitness, or e-commerce app, you will have a much easier time finding ways to nudge your customers to spend money. It will be a bit harder to increase app purchases if you are in healthcare or entertainment because either people are willing to pay for an account or they aren’t; they typically aren’t interested in spending money (or any additional money if they have a paid account).

The way that you boost in-app purchases does depend on the industry. However, there are some actions that are fairly universal, regardless of industry. This article takes a look at those universal aspects.

Promote Your App Online

People are more likely to spend money in an app than online – mostly because of the convenience of apps. By nudging your customers to start using your app instead of just using the website, it will likely be easier to get them to make purchases.

People tend to spend several hours a day on their mobile apps. If you can get them to use your mobile app regularly, you can increase the likelihood that they will make purchases from your business.

Create Tiered Accounts

Having a free version of the app gets people to start using your app. You can then offer at least one other type of account to encourage customers to upgrade to get additional features. This is one of the most common ways of boosting in-app purchases, but you do need to be careful. The free version of the app has to offer enough information to make people want to keep using the app. If it doesn’t, then people will likely just delete it instead of upgrading.

Usually the difference between the free and premium version is the removal of ads or unlimited offerings (such as save space on the app). This is both easy for you to implement the changes (you either just remove or add a feature or features) and noticeably enhance the experience for users.

Establish Strategic Push Notifications

Push notifications can be incredibly effective in convincing app users to make a purchase, even if they weren’t planning to. However, push notifications need to be used strategically to work. If you send several push notifications a week, it is more likely that you are training your customers to ignore your notifications.

Some of your marketing efforts should include strategic use of fear of missing out. Create occasional opportunities that give your customers some pressure to make a purchase or lose a great opportunity. It is definitely not something you want to do very often. For example, create a unique opportunity around the app’s release anniversary or a holiday. Send a couple of strategic push notifications around this event to boost in-app purchases, then you can recreate the schedule for each consecutive year.

Establish a Loyalty Program

Similar to special events, loyalty programs can be a great way of getting more people to make in-app purchases. Ranging from special discounts to additional features, loyalty programs are incredibly popular with app users because loyalty programs aren’t used very often in apps. This could give you an additional advantage over the competition because loyalty programs aren’t used as much with apps as they are in brick and mortar shops.

You will need to make sure that your customers are aware of your loyalty program. If you have a brick and mortar business, this tends to be easier as you just make sure to have a comparable tab in your app. If you don’t have a program, you can start sending out emails and a push notification or two about the upcoming start to a new loyalty program. You’ll probably want to offer something for people who sign up, such as a few hundred reward points.

You’ll want to determine what people will get as a member of the program as well. Reward points can be used to earn products, to get generous discounts, or to receive monetary rewards. These kinds of rewards increase the chances that your customers will look for things in app instead of moving to another business since they won’t want to miss out on your rewards.

Offer Rewards for Referrals

This is another popular method of boosting the number of customers you have, as well as boosting in-app purchases. It requires very little effort on your part to initiate the referral program, but it can have huge rewards as people start using the referral program to get their friends and family to use the app. All you have to do is have a short message or tab in your app letting customers know that they can refer the app to others for a reward, such as reward points or a monetary gain.

Moving Forward

There are a lot of ways to boost in-app purchases, but few that work well regardless of industry. While this article has offered some universal ways of improving your in-app purchases, the way to optimize these tips will depend on the industry. For example, what you offer in your premium account will need to be tailored to your industry. If the app is for entertainment, removing ads is going to be highly effective in getting people to switch to your app, but that won’t work so well in an exercise app since people will simply find an exercise app without ads so they aren’t interrupted.

Ultimately, you need to know what your audience wants and the things that are likely to make your audience interested in what you have to offer. That will require research and regularly monitoring app feedback. This is the best way to know what will work to make your customers more willing to make in-app purchases.