Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers

18 August 2023
Reading: 1 min

Acquiring and retaining subscribers is a top priority for app developers. The subscription model offers a recurring revenue stream and a loyal customer base, but it also presents unique challenges. How do you convince users to subscribe? How do you keep them engaged and prevent churn? In this article, let’s discuss working with app subscriptions. 

Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers

Finding the optimal trial period

By offering the right trial period, you can encourage your users to fully explore and experience all the features of your app, increasing the likelihood of them converting into paying subscribers. To determine the optimal trial duration, consider the product’s lifecycle and the time required for users to derive maximum benefits from it.

Analyzing user behavior is essential in calculating the time it takes for them to derive value from the app and become familiar with its functionalities.

Additionally, it is important to keep an eye on the trial periods offered by your competitors. If your trial period is significantly shorter than that of your competitors, users may be inclined to choose other apps over yours.

Choosing the right price

When entering the market, it is advisable to perform a thorough analysis of your competitors to inform your pricing decisions for your app. 

Also, conducting A/B tests can help you identify the most effective monetization strategy. Calculate the lifetime value (LTV) and average revenue per paying user (ARPU) when evaluating and comparing various strategies. These metrics provide valuable insights into the long-term profitability and revenue potential of different approaches.

Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers

Optimizing the paywall funnel

Prior to implementing a paywall, it is crucial to establish a well-designed funnel for your app, as it can have a greater impact on subscription conversion than the paywall itself. When constructing your funnel, consider the following aspects:

  • User experience. Ensure a seamless and intuitive user journey throughout the onboarding process, eliminating any potential friction points.
  • Onboarding questions. Strategically decide the questions you ask during the onboarding funnel to gather relevant information without overwhelming the user.
  • Potential obstacles. Identify and address any potential obstacles that may hinder the user’s progression, such as unnecessary signup forms or complex navigation.
  • Personalization of the paywall. Tailor the paywall experience to each user, leveraging personalized recommendations or targeted offers to enhance conversion rates.
  • Interactivity of the funnel. Incorporate interactive elements within the funnel to engage users and make the experience more enjoyable and memorable.

To find the optimal paywall solution, it is advisable to conduct thorough testing of different options. Consider experimenting with video paywalls, as they have shown the potential to significantly increase conversion rates. By evaluating and comparing various paywall strategies, you can determine the most effective approach for your app.

App Store subscription tools

The App Store offers a range of standard tools that can be utilized to effectively increase your subscriber base. Here are some of them:

Introductory offers

Apps that offer auto-renewable subscriptions have the option to provide eligible users with discounted introductory prices, which may include even a free trial. These introductory offers can be extended to customers who have not previously received such an offer for the specific product or any other products within the same subscription group. There is a variety of options for such offers:

  • Pay as you go. During this introductory offer, new subscribers are charged a discounted price for a predetermined duration of time in each billing period.Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers
  • Pay up front. As part of this introductory offer, new subscribers make a one-time payment at a discounted introductory price for a specific duration.Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers
  • Free trial. With this introductory offer, new subscribers receive complimentary access to content for a predetermined period. While the subscription begins immediately, subscribers are not charged until the conclusion of the free trial period.Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers

Promotional offers

Promotional offers can be a powerful tool for re-engaging lapsed subscribers or incentivizing current subscribers to stay. On macOS, iOS, and tvOS, you have the ability to provide departing or existing subscribers with limited-time offers, such as discounts or free maintenance periods, for their auto-renewing subscriptions.

You have the flexibility to define the criteria that subscribers must meet in order to qualify for these offers. These offers should be presented to users within the user interface of your app, ensuring that they interact with the offer directly.

To avoid any confusion, it is important to only present these offers to eligible subscribers who meet your specified criteria. These promotional offers are not available to new users, but they can be a compelling option for subscribers who have previously churned. With promotional offers, you can even provide users with another trial period, even if they have already utilized one in the past.

Family Sharing

Family Sharing allows users to share access to auto-renewing subscriptions or non-consumable content with up to five family members across all of their Apple devices. Enabling Family Sharing for subscriptions can make your content or service more appealing to subscribers. 

Developers can enable Family Sharing for in-app purchases and non-consumer items in App Store Connect. This only applies to the iCloud family, and you won’t have to implement your own subscription sharing solutions. 

Don’t forget to indicate in the UI whether the user can share the product with their family. Knowing if a product can be shared will help users make choices that best fit their needs.

Renewal date extension

Provide compensation to customers for temporary service disruptions, event cancellations, or interruptions to live events by extending the renewal date of a paid active subscription. 

When using this endpoint to renew eligible purchased subscriptions that support Family Sharing, it automatically extends the renewal for all family members’ subscriptions.

Working with App Subscriptions: How to Increase Conversions and Retain Subscribers


To effectively manage subscriptions, it is important to take into account several key factors. This includes determining the optimal trial period, which can greatly influence, analyzing user behavior, and identifying the appropriate duration for the trial period. Pricing decisions should be informed by competitor analysis and metrics such as Lifetime Value (LTV) and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). Optimizing the funnel for paid services requires careful attention to user experience, onboarding processes, identifying potential barriers, and personalization. Additionally, the available tools provided by app stores should not be overlooked, as they can greatly contribute to the success of your subscription-based app. By implementing these strategies, app developers can effectively increase their subscriber base and achieve long-term profitability.

Have a story to tell about traffic arbitrage?
Become a ZorbasMedia contributor!
Become an author