Freemium vs Paid Apps

So I’ve been trying to determine the best method for providing both a freemium version of my apps, and a paid version. As of right now, I’ve got a free app, that allows for full use, but only a limited number of levels. In that game, you can use in-app purchasing to purchase or unlock the remaining levels. Then I’ve also got a paid version.

This seems like a very kludgy way to go about doing this. Am I just missing something, or is there no way to allow a limited free version of a paid app, free-mium, etc?

No there is no integrated way.

Amazon has another approach - there you can try any app in some sort of flash player - i think it’s time limited and if you like it you can purchase it.

In your case, I would consider to stick to one model - either get the app away for free and do the in-app-purchase thing - or make it paid … it sounds complicated to me to have to support that much levels of different app types (especially when publishing on multiple stores)

It is a lot more work, however, it gives me double the presence in the market place, I don’t have to include the billing code in the full version, and I have had sales from both versions. I think it’s worth having both available to customers as it may appeal to different types of customers; those that are looking for quality apps and are willing to pay for them, and those that enjoy a good app and are willing to pay for it once they’ve tried it out. That’s the hope, anyway.

Interesting, would you mind sharing some numbers?

I’ve just barely started the paid versions so sales are very, very preliminary. Around 20 sales between both paid versions. I’ll share some numbers from the developer console though!

(Directly from Developer Console, so accuracy is questionable)
Words for Kids
Words for Kids (Free): 1,882 total / 1,342 net
Words for Kids (Paid): 18 total / 13 net

Basics for Toddlers
Basics for Toddlers (Free): 490 total / 349 net
Basics for Toddlers (Paid): 5 total / 5 net

Keep in mind both apps have been in the marketplace for less than 2 months, and they are my first Android apps ever, so the sad stats I’m going to naively attribute to that. :wink:

The paid versions have both only been available for around one and a half weeks. I have noticed the paid versions showing up for search results the free versions did not, and visa versa. I’m not sure if I’m hurting myself by spreading my downloads between multiple versions of the same app, or if your popularity is more of an accumulative thing.

Any thoughts?

So far I haven’t had a very good experience with paid app’s on the Android market.
I have an app (Complete Gym Exercise Guide) with over 400K downloads and approximately 300K active installs; and for the paid app I have around 300 installs ?
I advertise the paid version in my free app and as an incentive to buy it, for £0.89 you do not get the advertisements you would get in the free app.
I’ve been reading up on this and it seems a lot of developers have been getting poor downloads for paid versions of app’s?

As a result of these poor downloads I have been toying with the idea of moving to some iOS development to see if paid app downloads are any better.

I think the paid apps do not work for “without ads” only … there need to be some extra benefit for the user to buy the app. Or a limited version like the ThreadOpener has.

Paid apps have a huge drawback: they get pirated. My Game Tablet Tower Defense was pirated after 2 months all over the internet … I had to write every forum and hoster to remove the files (they did!)

At Amazon I offer ONLY the paid version of Tablet Tower Defense - guess what: it sells much better than on market. (but still far away from >100 installs :slight_smile: ) … but because the free version counts “only” 1.5k downloads the quote is not THAT bad :slight_smile:

I’m just getting some of that stuff setup, like advertising the paid version from the free version, but since I have in-app purchase setup for the free version too, this seems almost a moot point.

I just barely got my first app accepted into amazon, so we’ll see how well that does compared to the Android market, but I’m also thinking of doing at least one of them on iOS just to see what kind of sales comparison I get.

Any one have suggestions for getting ratings?
So far I’ve tried putting a button in the main menu that asks for ratings, it’s non-intrusive, but still highly visible. I’ve made mention of it in every correspondence I’ve had with customers, except for the one or two I’ve had with upset people that I just could not make happy, even after a refund. I also just added a timer that asks them once if they would rate the game in the market place after they’ve opened the game 12 times for the free version, and 20 times for the paid version.

I’m really at a loss for how other apps get so many ratings. Do you just really have to annoy people with it?

no … they vote for themselfs … some of them are kinda … … yeah … 1star … some of them are very … yeah :slight_smile:

if they truely like the app -> they will rate it, and if they truely hate it, they will rate it also xD

I’ve never asked for rating the game … it’s better to have on 5-star rating (you can give yourself haha) instead of 3 5-star and 2 1-star :slight_smile:

it’s just a matter of time and users, most of the apps with high ranking maybe have a big customer base on facebook or ingame social things - which I found kinda intrusing (even, if they work well)

I have in-app purchases in my game. The game itself is free, with 4 paid addons $0.99 each.
The result is not very good - I get 1 purchase for approximately 200-300 downloads.
In other words I need 300 million downloads to become a millionaire. :slight_smile:

Is this because people don’t like in-app purchases? Maybe I should just make free and paid versions of my game?

I heard of some apps which made good results with in-app purchases. But then you need something, that they really want in your game.

show ads in your game and offer a purchase that user can buy to get it adfree, that is a good way to do (as long as you stick with ONE store) …

Unfortunately, I can’t show ads in the main game activity - I’m using the entire touch-screen and users will often accidentally touch ads…
I can only show ads in game menu, where users spend just few seconds. I guess there will not be much profit from ads there… And not many people will pay to remove these ads.

I have a similar “problem” with Tablet Tower Defense - the game consumes the whole screen area.

In the free version I’ve made a dialog showing the ad, when you get a special item. So the user have an alert if he gets an item which I can also use for ads.

The good thing is you can use such ads also for house ads which can be quite good to promote your other games

I’ve never used ads, so I have very little idea how this system works…
If I put ads wherever possible (in menu, splashscreens, dialog windows) and user will see 10-20 ads per hour of play - is this enough to justify using ads?

even 1 ad per game would be fine … it’s more the matter what you are expecting. Don’t distract the user to often, the ad should be a useful information not an annoying thing . if it is useful and interesting, ppl will click it :slight_smile:
advertisers are interested to sell something so many ads are build that users will click them - just obey

you don’t get rich of that but you can make some bucks out of it, which is nice. If users dont want to see ads but like your game, they will hopefully buy it … some ppl does not buy anything, so forget about them, some ppl does never click ads, forget about them too :slight_smile:


And how much money are we talking about (very-very roughly of course)? :slight_smile:
Say my game has 10.000 active installs
Will it be like $5 a month or $500?

10K active might get you a few bucks a day depending on how often the game is played. My examples are Rebound, which has 12K actives and generates about $2-$3 a day and Tap Crazy which has 7K actives and generates $5-$6 a day. Tap Crazy is getting many more impressions per active user. It is played more often.

Tap Crazy might be interesting to you because it is a game that requires touch screen like you say yours does and I just display the ad all the time, menu or not. Users lose a little play space and probably accidentally click ads sometimes. The trick is to make sure the game pauses and resumes properly if they do accidentally click an ad.


In some ways, it’s a trade-off between more ads and more users. The more ads you put in, the less people are likely to enjoy your app (especially if they’re in annoying places). The less ads you put in, the more likely people are to enjoy and recommend your app. Hence getting you more users, which in turn brings in more revenue… so less ads can actually be better :slight_smile:

I’m trying out a strategy at the moment, where I release several small apps, with absolutely no advertising. These link back to my Android Market listing, so people will hopefully enjoy the apps enough to recommend them. And a few will click through to download one of my other apps which do have advertising, to make me a bit of money.

Ok, yesterday I released a new version of Doptrix without in-app purchases. Instead it’s now possible to buy a small Unlocker app ($1) from the market which upgrades Doptrix to full version.

In the first 18 hours more than 25 people purchased Unlocker.
I understand that this is the first wave and then the figures will probably go down, but so far this model looks promising and much more profitable than in-app purchases…

how is it with piracy …?