Make more money with subscriptions on Google Play

Posted by George Audi, Tom Grinsted and Larry Yang, Google Play

The subscription business model is one of the best ways to make more regular, reliable, and recurring revenue on Android and Google Play. In fact, both developers and users love subscription apps so much that we’ve seen a 10X growth in consumer spend over the past three years and double the number of active subscribers in the past year. Thousands of developers are offering subscriptions through Google Play and are already seeing success with our billing platform. That’s why we’ve been working hard to help you take advantage of this opportunity and give you greater insights into your business and Android users.

New features to help your subscriptions business

You've got a high-performing product with fantastic features and compelling
content, but your business can't succeed without acquiring new users. In
addition to free trials, intro pricing, flexible billing periods, and more, we
recently launched the ability to pay for subscriptions with Google Play
. Although people have already been using gift cards to pay for
Play content in over 20 countries, the use of gift cards to pay for
subscriptions in regions where cash is a popular form of payment, such as Latin
America, has resulted in as high as a 15% increase in subscription spend.

But it's not just about acquiring new customers, it's about retaining the ones
you have. That's why we are introducing account hold, where we
work with you to block access to your content or service if a user's form of
payment fails. This directly links a payment failure to the user losing access
to your content and/or premium features, which is enough to get them to go and
choose a new form of payment. When Keepsafe–the developer of href="">Keepsafe
Photo Vault, a photo locker for private pictures and videos with over 50M
downloads–integrated account hold, their renewal rate on Android increased by
25%. We have over a dozen developers in early access today, and we will be
announcing public availability at the end of June.

We know data is vital to running your business, so we're excited to announce a
new subscriptions dashboard in the Play Console, and a new
report on Android app subscribers.

The dashboard brings together subscription data like new subscribers, cancellations, and total subscribers. It also displays daily and 30-day rolling revenue data, and highlights your top-performing products. This will give visibility into your subscription products and users and will help guide your business decisions.

Insights to help you grow your subscriptions

In addition to products and features, understanding people's needs is core to
building a successful subscription business. We talked to 2,000 Android app
subscribers in the US and UK and asked them how and why they use the apps they
do. The results shared in 'href="">Subscription
apps on Google Play: User insights to help developers win'
highlight some of the opportunities for you to grow your subscriptions user
base, set pricing strategies and learn to keep your users engaged, including:

  • Use free trials to acquire users. 78% of users start with a
    free version of an app, and many cite a discount or end of a free trial as a
    reason to pay.
  • Keep your content appealing and updated to get and keep users
    . It's the most important driver in converting users from free to
    paid users, as well as keeping users engaged and retained.

  • There is a huge opportunity to make money from
    While pricing elasticity varies by category, few users
    cite price as a reason to churn from a paid subscription and 64% either budget
    on a per app basis or not at all (as opposed to budgeting across all app

To find out more about your growing your subscription business with Google Play,
our I/O session
, download
the research report (PDF)
, and get started with subscriptions
with Google Play In-app Billing

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