Testing Freemium With iPhone Apps

I’ve never been a big fan of freemium. I’ve often felt it was used by companies who had far-too-large budgets and who didn’t know how to sell and/or didn’t have anything good to sell. Like it was used to hide flaws. “Well, it’s free, I can’t complain that it sucks!”

In an effort to be the idiot I’m going to stop thinking that. It’s really been an unfounded judgement on my part. In actuality, I often appreciate companies that let me try their products before spending money.

Today I’m releasing versions of my Gratitude Journal (free download) and my Pushups Bootcamp (free download) iOS apps using the freemium model.

What does that mean?

  1. The apps are completely free to download and use, with full functionality.
  2. The apps have interstitial ads that show up after certain actions.
  3. Users can remove the ads by making a one-time In-App Purchase on the Settings page of each app. This will remove the ads forever. (If you get a new device just tap “restore” on the Settings page and the In-App Purchase is magically reissued on your new device.)

Which ad company am I using?

Chartboost and Revmob. I’ve got a little split testing script in each app and over time I’ll be able to determine which company’s ads work best for my particular apps.

The reason I chose Chartboost and Revmob over the dozens of other options is I’ve heard the most good things about these companies, as far as income is concerned. Both of their models are essentially to serve ads for free games/apps. Every time one of those free apps is downloaded via an ad the publisher (me) gets $0.50 – $4 per installation. This is different than other ad services that pay a few cents per click or for a certain number of ad views.

Basically, App Publisher A buys ad space on App Publisher B’s apps, but instead of paying for views or clicks they pay for app installs. (Well, OK, Chartboost has both pay per click and pay per installation.)

I think that’s fair. If my apps aren’t giving the advertisers any value I don’t feel like I should make money from the ads. But if my apps are sending advertisers new users then I should get paid well. As far as I’m concerned, upwards of $4 for a free app download is solid.

Download Gratitude Journal Free and Pushups Bootcamp Free
Gratitude Journal Free iOS iPhone App Pushups Bootcamp Free iOS iPhone App

New App Next Week!

Next Thursday I’m releasing a new app based on One Thing productivity mixed with a bit of Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” philosophy. If you’re an entrepreneur, author, blogger, or person who likes to get stuff done I think you’ll like this one.


Upcoming travels: I’ll be in Berlin March 20-25. Then again April 1-4. Then the Netherlands April 4-7 and Norway April 7-12. Let me know if you want to hang.

8 Responses to Testing Freemium With iPhone Apps

  1. Are you thinking of doing any Android versions? I’m a fan (business-wise) of starting with iPhone apps, for a lot of reasons, but I’m a fan (user-wise) of buying your apps for my doesn’t-have-fruit-on-it phone :)

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