App pricing strategy

What have you all been doing to figure out, or tune, your iOS app prices?

If it’s a unique app, it can feel like a real shot in the dark to figure it out.

I know a few cases of someone raising a price only to be rewarded with many more purchases.

All app prices depends on the target public, their need or desire, what you solve for them, their capacity to pay you for what you will provide, and what competitors provide and their prices. You need to know your public, and guess an initial price, and optimize it later trying to get a larger audience (like discounts, etc) and fixing a newer one later if you find it increases the revenue.


What I’m hoping to hear is how people have successfully navigated this. Like, did they start low, free etc.
how long did they stick with thr price before adjusting.
And so on.

The strategy depends on you knowing your public. E.g. Games can start free and sell things inside. But this strategy won’t work for business software, people prefer a fixed price, batteries included, no surprises later. I personally prefer start “fair”, it’s not low. Try temporary discounts before lowering. Maybe you see no changes with discounts, so lowering won’t help.

On iOS, there has been a race to the bottom, led by games that have in-app purchases or incessant ads.
People expect free or cheap, and will complain about any price at all if they have any issues.
Place a price that will recoup your investments within 6 months.
if it sells very well, consider a price hike after word gets out and your app is known.
if it doesnt sell after a year… apps get dusty very quickly since there is no incentive to keep them alive

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With 3 million apps on the App Store is there really such a thing as a unique app anymore? (Just a rethorical question)

Find your closest competitor(s) and see how they perform on

Better start at a fair / low price (don’t go as low as $1) and gradually increase if sales are good.

Even better to implement A/B price testing to find out which price brings in the best ARPU (average revenue per user). But this will only be meaningful with 1000 or more downloads per month.
This A/B test might reveal different results based on the country.
Example: one of my apps brings in best revenue priced at $3 in “rich” countries (Australia, Germany, USA), but in Poland my best revenue was for a $1 in-app purchase.

In November I increased one app’s price by 30% to match my closest competitor. Total revenue increased by 20% so it was a good move.

Offering a 30-50% discount on the in-app purchase within the first 24hrs after the user is presented with the paywall is a very good incentive to maximize the purchase rate of your app.

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Thanks Jeremie, this is really helpful.
The app I’m about to release is pretty unique for iOS, although there are desktop competitors and have been for years (I think I wrote the first commercial similar app back in 2000).

I like the idea of starting low and gradually increasing.

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The color measurement app?
That is a business app. You may do a subscription with free time like first week.
And then charge something like $10 per month, since businesses may easily pay that.

The measurement app you are aware of has a completely different business model and I’m selling via an OEM.
The app I’m working on now is for graphic arts to assess color gamut. It does have measurement too.
This one is hard to do any kind of ROI on (which is normally critical for business apps) but it is very informative, and looks cool.

I may go a bit lower as there can be some pull-through for measurement device sales and then, in the future, do some in-app purchases. I haven’t even looked into the logistic of that, but there are pretty obvious add-ons.

To be honest, I haven’t even considered subscriptions. That’s not a bad thought.

If you pass the perception of “they increase their prices from nowhere” to your clients, you lose the fidelity, old buyers stop to buy upgrades, more apps, etc from the vendor and start to watch the competitors. That’s why I’m no fan of start low do increments after.

If the app is a business app then 1$ is ridiculous. Price increases are a bad idea for business apps, too.

What is the use case for this app? “Informative” and “looks cool” are not use cases. Does the software solve a “bleeding neck”?

The first version of the software I wrote in 2000 was to enable understanding color capability and quality of color profiles before putting them on the press where mistakes could cost tens of thousands of dollars. I cannot say you will save tens of thousands of dollars, but those using this sort of tool use it diagnostically to make sure they have a good handle on how their equipment is performing and what the capability of their devices is. I sold an awful lot of that software at a considerably higher price.

I wasn’t going to explain the full picture here as it’s quite nuanced for the intended audience.

What are price increases a bad idea? I wasn’t thinking just random increases, but rather increases as significant new features were added. That way I can justify the increase, but if it doesn’t increase sales I can always cut back.

I haven’t sold an iOS app before, so I’m really nervous about where to start.

No need to increase. Inside the app sell activation of more features when you insert them (Extra tools, Pro pack, Master Pack, Advanced pack, …). Increase the price if inflation erodes the base value.

So aside from Jeremie, everyone is saying “get the price right in the first place, don’t change it”.
Not sure that is a strategy. It’s not realistic that anyone will guess the right pricing off the bat.

Are presses still a thing? What are the customers doing now? What is the relationship to the desktop app? Are users supposed to use both the desktop and the iOS app? Or do you target different customers?

Why didn’t you think about this before starting with the app?

I’m saying, if you can’t find the right spot at first, start from a point above it and decrease doing experiments as temporary discounts. If you find a sweet spot, fix it there. Decreasing you add more possible prospects, increasing you push more prospects away.

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I thought that too, but others have cautioned that decreasing can give the appearance that it has to be discounted or nobody is interested. Then again, I don’t know anyone who watches the price of apps like it’s on the stock market.

I was part of a very large successful app release in the past. We didn’t know if it should be .99 or $12.99. in the end we went with a higher price than I was comfortable with, and the results were amazing. This was with a company who knew their audience very well, but there was still a lot of uncertainty.

I also thought of releasing it with “introductory pricing”.

Beatrix, I’ve thought about it a lot before starting with the app. That doesn’t mean I’m a marketing expert.
I’m actually not asking anyone here to try to evaluate the worth of my solution, I’m asking for input like Jeremie offered, which I think is really helpful.

“Are presses still a thing”… Look on your grocery store shelf. Everything you see has a printed package, and almost all of that is on a press. So yes, printing presses are still a thing.

Beatrix, the focus here are generic strategies for mobile market sales. And yes, people think about this kind of thing, targeted users, affordability, time to EOL, and much more before developing an app.

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As anyone tried generating revenue with ads?