Selling Subscription Apps through Apple. 3 Case Study Examples, Best Practices and Step-by-Step Instructions. Table of Contents. Why Sell Apps? 3 Case Study Examples Apple’s Terms Best Practice: Sell through Your Website Selling through Apple: Step-by-Step Instructions
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Selling Subscription Apps through Apple
3 Case Study Examples, Best Practices and Step-by-Step Instructions
Why Sell Apps?
“On the one hand, information wants to be expensive,because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”
Stewart Brand, creator of the
Whole Earth Catalog, to Steve
Wozniak at the original Hackers' Conference in 1984.
Tablets and mobile apps put information in customers’ hands at exactly the right time. And consumers are willing to pay for this convenience.
Majority of mobile opens in iPhone
One Third of U.S. Adults Get News by Phone or Tablet
On a scale of 1 to 10, iPad users rated their overall satisfaction, on average, at an 8.8
The Guardian (despite poor paywall practice and a lengthy 3-month trial with a 2% conversion rate) is estimated to make around £118,830 per month, or £1.4 million ($2.1 million) per year from its iPad app.
According to app analytics firm Distimo, the top 100 grossing apps in that section of the iPad Store are reaping about $70,000 a day, collectively.
See the ‘Future’ Case Study Example for more revenue numbers
Source: “People love tablets, iPadsespecially,” published by the Online Publishers Association: http://www.online-publishers.org/index.php/opa_news/ir_standalone/people_love_tablets_ipads_especially
3 Case Study Examples
Future built an in-house production software called FutureFolio to design its interactive tablet magazines. It is now licensing the software to other publishers
Over 1 million downloads of its World Atlas App, priced at $1.99
468,000 downloads of
“7 Billion” App, priced at $4.99
Sells apps through your Website!
More later on why this is a best practice that will increase your revenues!
“[We] targeted English speaking nations, right hand drive markets (some parts of Asia), the BRIC nations and most of Western Europe. Targeting was iPad or iPhone users, who are small business owners, plus anyone who has stated they work or are interested in Trucks, Haulage, Logistics, Warehousing, etc…. Facebook gives you a massive range of options. “
Head of Publications at Road Haulage Association
via the Specialist Media Show discussion group on LinkedIn
Best Practice: Sell through Your Website!
National Geographic sells its iPhone/iPad apps on its website. That allows the site to collect 100% of revenues and bundle the offer with Kindle access for one low price!
Strategy+Business also uses this tactic, advertising their digital package through a homepage overlay.
Selling through Apple
When Apple launched iTunes, many customers linked a credit card to it. As Apple allowed other content creators to sell content, it continued to link sales to the iTunes platform, now called iTunes Connect.
Proper display name listed when user buys subscription within app
Proper publication name listed when “Marketing Opt-In” requests more info.
Wrong Display Name Entered
Wrong Publication Name Entered
If your Support URL is a dead link, your app will be rejected by Apple.
The Support URL provides a nice way to get more customer information from app subscribers.
See our Case Study on Strategy+Business for more on this technique. (But don’t copy their form page!)
Apps are downloadable software. Therefore, most subscription apps are listed as “free” in the iTunes Store. Customers then buy the subscription “through the app.”
This is a serious downfall in marketing your app, and why we recommend selling your apps through your own website, if you have the tech support to do so(see slide 16).
Individual subscribers are alerted within 10 days of their renewal date about the price change. There is no email blast to all subscribers.
Apple sends an email if it looks like customer’s card is about to expire, or if they tried to buy a song and card was declined.
Bottom Line: Apple’s expiration procedure will protect your paywall, but likely tax your Customer Service department as expired subscribers call asking for re-instatement and access to content they missed.
Trial Offers + Bonus Time
Keep in Mind: Only a third of apps are still used 90 days after download:
In addition to a free trial, you can cue a “Marketing Opt-In” to get more information from your subscribers.
Customers choose togive Apple permissionto share their name, email address and zipcode with you.
The reward for customers for opting to share their info is free bonus time in your app without paying.