💎 Growth Gems #95 - Monetization and Apple Search Ads
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This week I’m sharing gems on:
These insights come from Jeff Grang and Thomas Petit.
🥇 TOP GEM OF THE WEEK
1. Monetization: customization, trials, cancellations
Gems from Jeff Grang (CPO at Purchasely)
I couldn’t be at App Growth Summit Berlin back in April, but I did get a chance to mine Jeff’s talk Advanced techniques to improve the subscription funnel.
There were some good reminders regarding the following:
Monitoring the ‘install -> paywall viewed’ metric
The importance of looking beyond conversion rates and influencing users to subscribe to the most valuable plans (typically the longest ones), both at the time of subscription and through upselling
Displaying limited-time offers
Paywall and content customization
💎 Display several paywalls: from something very generic that explains the whole subscription on the first session to something very specific as users access the paywall from different places of your application.
This is something Tinder excels at, for example. It does help that the app has different in-app purchases for the many use cases, but this can be an inspiration even for a single-subscription app.
Here are also some examples Jeff share with me (from Bim).
💎 Improve and optimize niches. There are overperformers and underperformers (e.g., young people, specific geos, etc.). You want to optimize for these different segments. Example: health & fitness app Fitness Coach from Luni developed a program with the UFC with different content for a male audience.
What’s your underperforming segment that represents the most volume? What can you do to make the app more valuable for these users (or get them to share it)?
Which segment converts at a high rate? What else can you sell them?
Free trial duration and extension
💎 You should have a free trial duration that matches the discovery time: your expectation of how long it takes users to experience your app.
💎 To improve the trial-to-paid experience, you can offer users a second chance by allowing them to extend their trial if they didn’t experience the app. You can also lower the barrier with a discount.
I like this because the “discovery time” mentioned above might vary per user, and many external factors can influence whether a user experiences your app or not.
💎 Apple gives you information on upcoming expired credit cards. Send users an email + notification to let them know their card is expiring, so they can fix it.
Apple does A LOT to charge subscribers in case an issue arises. But there is no reason to rely just on their efforts, so enabling the grace period and doing the above will help your involuntary churn.
Need some inspiration? Reid shares examples from Spotify in Battling Payment Issues to Improve Retention.
💎 You should put an unsubscribe button in your settings that gets users through an in-app cancellation flow so you can gather data from users on:
Why they want to cancel
What they liked about the app.
Below is an example of cancellation flow from Uptime.
Other ideas you can try: displaying a CTA to buy Lifetime before they even get to the flow, showing an offer depending on the survey answer, or suggesting a downgrade option.
2. Apple Search Ads: misconceptions, mistakes, and insights
Gems from Thomas Petit (Growth Consultant)
He mentioned some painful or incoherent things about the channel and Apple Search Ads’ UX.
I was more interested in some misconceptions/mistakes and his take on why ASA is valuable beyond the channel’s performance.
💎 Using targeting in Apple Search Ads does not work if people have “Personalized Ads” turned off, which represents 78% of users. This means that a Custom Product Page based on a specific targeting (e.g., gender) will get very little traffic.
💎 A lot of people are looking at CPP results in the wrong way: you can not compare performance from your Default Product Page (served to users with iOS < 15.1) and your Custom Product Page (served to users with iOS > 15.1). The only way to compare is to do a before/after the test, which is not ideal.
The more people update their version of iOS, the less the Default Product Page is getting traffic, making it even less relevant.
💎 Always look at Apple Search Ads as being two different channels: Brand and Non-brand. You should never blend them.
Thomas also mentioned not to compare ASA (AdServices attribution) and other channels (SKAN attribution), but this Brand and Non-brand separation at the channel level is crucial.
💎 One method to assess the cannibalization of Apple Search Ads is to pause the channel so you can look at the impact on your App Store Connect search installs. Do this separately for Brand and Non-brand because the cannibalization will be much stronger for Brand.
💎 ASA bidding does not have a second-bid auction logic (when you’re charged one ct. more than the second-highest bidder). The auction might not react like you think it would.
This surprised me: while I’ve seen unpredictable things happen, I’ve always considered that ASA had a second-bid auction logic (with Apple also considering other factors like TTR).
Thomas argues that there are instances where:
You raise your bids and end up paying a higher CPT even though you get the same amount of impressions
You slash the bids, yet get the same volume of impressions.
💎 Try lowering your bids on keywords where:
You have all the share of voice already
You have a very good click-through rate (20-40%)
You might end up with much lower spend but a similar volume of impressions.
The power of ASA data
💎 Search Match informs you about how the Apple Search Ads algorithm perceives your app and what it thinks it is related to. Look at the Search Terms to understand what you may be doing wrong with your metadata, and make adjustments.
💎 Beyond ROAS and performance, Apple Search Ads brings the value of insights: you can use the data to inform other growth areas. Examples: you can identify which competitors are converting much higher on important keywords, look closer at their audience and approach, and take actions outside ASA.
And before I leave, here is a quote on the impact of creatives on the entire customer journey:
“The more mature the app is, the less impact keyword optimization will have” - Anton Tatarynovich (Senior ASO, ASA Manager at Freeletics)
See you next time. Stay curious!