How To Boost Your Mobile App’s Conversion Rate Without Overhauling Its Core Features

Conversion rate should be a priority-one KPI for anyone tasked with app monetization.

It’s integral to revenue forecasting, effective growth marketing, and can even impact user acquisition strategies. It speaks volumes about your app’s overall health and the level of engagement you can expect from content updates. Without understanding the variables that impact conversion, it’s impossible to tie development initiatives to your bottom line. For publishers trying turn around an underperforming SKU, targeting a higher conversion rate should be step one.

The obvious solution for many is to look for ways to improve their app’s core functionality. After all, a good product sells itself. Unfortunately, that’s rarely an option.

Feature development is expensive. Monetization teams are typically required to work within strict boundaries when trying to hit their targets, which can be frustrating. While an app’s core value offering may be the primary reason for users to pay, there are thankfully other tactics publishers can use to increase conversion without digging into an app’s fundamental features.

Tutorialize Purchases
The mere-exposure effect is a human behavioral phenomenon wherein people show preference for things they have encountered before. Given the choice between something they’ve seen, heard, or done in the past and something completely new, most people will choose the familiar option. Publishers can take advantage of this.

When designing your app’s first-time user experience, include a section that walks users through the completion of a mock purchase. There will obviously be certain limitations: users won’t be able to get to the password entry stage of IAP completion without actually buying something, but be sure to hold their hand through every step leading up to and immediately prior to it. That includes navigating through your app’s menu, entering the IAP store, selecting a purchase, and even receiving its contents. Familiarizing all users with these steps will make them more comfortable with eventually completing purchases on their own.

Offer Personalized Discounts
Sales, bundles, offers and promotions are all proven methods of driving up an app’s conversion rate. Publishers see even greater results when applying some basic personalization tactics to these time-tested strategies. Using your analytics/segmentation tool of choice, (we suggest Tenjin!) track and segment your users according to their engagement with your app’s unique features. If yours is an e-commerce app, offer users sales on the item categories they view most often. If you’re a game publisher, track which parts of your core compulsion loop each user gravitates towards and then adjust the promotions they receive accordingly.

Many publishers have found dynamic sale adjustments to be an effective method of increasing conversions. When it comes to sale personalization, there’s no limit to how granular you can get, but a basic progression-based system is typically all you need to start seeing results.

First, settle on a core progression metric. This should be an accurate measurement of how far along a user is with your app. For mobile games, this could be the highest level they’ve achieved. For others, a simple session count should be sufficient. Set progression thresholds that you can use to trigger pricing adjustments. If users advance beyond the threshold, incrementally increase the discount being offered until it’s enough to convert a meaningful percentage of users. As overall conversion goes up, so will your revenue.

Give Out Free Samples
Whether your app monetizes through a freemium economy, paid content gating, or subscription, conversion rates go up when users know what they’re missing. Whenever possible, let users see what life would be like if they paid. Examples include:

  • Providing them with enough premium currency to make a meaningful, experience-altering purchase.
  • Giving them a peek into content waiting for them beyond a pay-wall.
  • Offering a few weeks of paid subscription privileges for free.

In the case of free-to-play games, or any other app that employs a tiered currency system, rewarded ad placements are a win-win monetization opportunity. By offering users the chance to earn premium currency in exchange for viewing ads, publishers are able to generate revenue while providing users a glimpse into conversion that could be enough to persuade them. Be sure your payouts are high enough that users can make meaningful purchases with the resulting currency, otherwise you run the risk of frustrating newcomers with what might seem to them like a greedy in-app economy.

While it might initially seem frustrating, having limited options when addressing any publishing challenge can be a blessing. It forces producers, designers, analysts and marketers to get creative. In the case of conversion rates, it requires monetization teams to empathize with their users and understand the mental obstacles keeping them from converting. The resulting design improvements lead to better products, happier users, and a healthier bottom line.

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