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Anton
Anton
July 24, 2023
8 min read

Paywall A/B Test Ideas for Subscription Apps

In previous articles, we've covered the basics of paywall testing and best practices for designing and executing experiments. However, an equally important part of a successful A/B test is a good hypothesis.

Paywall A/B Test Ideas for Subscription Apps

Ideas for A/B testing

What is worth testing to increase the revenue of an application? The following options could be a good idea:

  • A product with and without a trial (switch)
  • Paywalls that explain in detail how the trial period works and inform about the notification before the end of the trial period.
  • Set of one, two, or three products with different durations (from one month to one year), one-time freebies
  • Subscriptions on separate buttons and toggle buttons with subscription descriptions and a CTA button
  • Backgrounds (static and dynamic) and visual elements on sidebars
  • Call-to-action button (size, background/gradient, text)
  • And, of course, testing different onboarding screens along with the paywall itself

Get inspired by the paywalls of successful applications in various categories with Apphud Paywalls Gallery.


A/B testing visual elements on paywalls

The impact of paywall design on revenue is large and even critical, as the payment screen communicates directly with the user at the most important step for them - the decision to use the product and its premium features.

How can we configure and test paywalls quickly and easily?

JSON Remote ConfigJSON Remote Config

The Remote Config comes to our rescue.

This framework allows us to configure individual elements on the paywall and replace one variable with another in near real time.

It is important to understand that the application must be prepared to use Remote Config. First, you need to include placeholders in the application code for all the UI elements, blocks, and texts that you want to test.

Then, with Remote Config, you can configure:

  • Title text and descriptions
  • Media elements used (images and videos)
  • Layouts or layouts of the entire site
  • Display of individual blocks (user reviews, carousels, lists, etc.)
  • Layout of paywall close link/icon
  • View/style of individual elements
  • Any other settings/options

In Apphud Remote Config is configured with JSON configuration, which allows you to transfer paywall settings in a developer-friendly format.


A/B testing paywall products

In addition to the appearance of the paywall, it's just as important to test different subscriptions (and their prices) on paywalls.

Let's briefly go through the main types of subscriptions and purchases and see when it's optimal to use them.

Weekly subscriptions

A popular option for applications that target users who are willing to pay a small amount each week. Also, a good option to start monetizing an app.

Monthly subscriptions

This is the most balanced universal subscription type, often used in different categories and app niches. On the one hand, these subscriptions increase the price compared to weekly subscriptions, but at the same time, they do not weigh heavily on the user's pocket, allowing you to achieve a significant number of renewals in the long run (assuming the app is of sufficient value).

2/3/6 Month Subscriptions

These are not the most popular subscription types, but they are worth a/b testing in different combinations. For example, compare 1/2/3 month subscriptions (perhaps 2/3 month subscriptions will better retain users in a particular case), and also, for example, test 6/12 month subscriptions (in this case, a semiannual subscription may be a more convenient alternative to an annual subscription).

Annual subscriptions

The most lucrative and retainable subscriptions. Annual subscriptions are expensive to sell, so you need to be sure of the quality and value of your product. In addition to bringing in money up front, these subscriptions can be renewed once or even twice and build a loyal user base around the product.

One-Time Purchases (Lifetime Subscriptions)

These are non-consumable purchases that unlock the premium features of the application for life. In the past, before the increased popularity of subscriptions, such purchases were popular in apps. The downside is that a one-time purchase has no renewals, which means the user has to pay a lot all at once. On the other hand, it still works in some cases.


A/B testing product combinations

One of the most important features of paywalls is the ability to place different types and combinations of products on them. This gives users freedom of choice and pricing flexibility.

However, as with other components of an effective paywall, the set of products is different for each application, so developers need to look for their optimal solution.

Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of different numbers of paywall subscriptions.

Single product

One product on the paywall exampleOne product on the paywall example

Pros:

  • Paywall looks light and uncluttered
  • Unlocks all of the app's premium features at once
  • Doesn't force users to decide which plan to choose

Cons:

  • Users don't have a choice of subscription formats
  • Must choose a single pricing option
  • Difficult to understand the user's ability to pay
  • Possible to under-convert some users to paying users

Two products

Two products on the paywall exampleTwo products on the paywall example

Pros:

  • More freedom to experiment
  • Allows you to mix different pricing options: weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.
  • Gives the user a choice between cheaper and more expensive options
  • A well-chosen combination of products will be more profitable than a single purchase

Cons:

  • Need to have a good understanding of the user's needs for the application
  • Product prices need to be allocated correctly to build the right choice for the user
  • More time for experimentation is needed before finding the right combination

Three products

Three products on the paywall exampleThree products on the paywall example

Pros:

  • Plenty of room for experimentation
  • Allows you to steer the user to the option that is most beneficial to you
  • More user insights due to the variety of products

Cons:

  • High variability of options, it's hard to choose the best option
  • You need a lot of traffic for testing
  • You'll need to create a large set of products (with different prices) for experimentation
  • The paywall looks overloaded with visual and textual information

Intro offers

Apple allows you to create a special kind of subscription to give users a taste of the app's value. This logic is implemented through so-called intro periods. Their essence is to offer discounts to new users who subscribe for the first time for a certain fixed period of time.

The user can be asked to pay immediately 'up front', or a discounted price can be deducted during the first N updates of the subscription.

It's a good idea to test the acclimation period for new users. Even though they will pay you less at first, it may more than pay off in the future when they become loyal payers.


Conclusion

In order to come up with quality hypotheses for paywall testing, you need to study a lot of applications and know the best approaches.

It's also important to understand which key visual elements and product combinations affect conversion rates and other important metrics.

Only by choosing the right visuals that best communicate the value of the product and putting together the optimal subscriptions and pricing you can achieve impressive results.

At Apphud, we created a suite of products to help you explore hypotheses, conveniently run a series of experiments, and find valuable insights in analytics.

Have fun experimenting and multiply your revenue!

Anton
Anton
Head of Product at Apphud
10+ years in mobile. Anton started his career as a backend developer, last 3 years has been working as a product manager. He created a podcast dedicated to software dev. Successfully launched (and sold) his own apps.

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