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App pricing strategy 101: Roadmap to pricing your app

Published 24 November 2016 by Stuart Hall App pricing strategy 101: Roadmap to pricing your app diagram I've found time and time again that one of the decisions about launching a new product that confounds me the most is pricing. Getting it right can make or break the success of your app, so where do you begin?

In this overview you'll learn:

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After going through this process dozens of times I've discovered two golden rules for app launch pricing strategies:

  1. Resist the temptation to overthink it in the pre-launch stage. Your first pricing model will be, at very best, an educated guess as to what will work.
  2. Only real users can tell you what your app or it's features are worth. No expert, book, blog or crystal ball can tell you what you should be charging for your app (yep, I know, this sucks).

In other words, focus on getting v 1 out quickly, not ever-elusive “pricing perfection”.

That said, there are a few simple questions you can ask about an app and the company building it that will help you arrive in the right ball-park for launch.

The options

There are two key decisions you need to make up-front about pricing your app:

Free gets you more downloads, right?

Sure, it's easier to get people to download an app they don't have to pay for upfront, but that's not the question you need to be asking at this stage. Free downloads will only work well for your company under certain conditions, and to figure out if the conditions are right you need to think strategically about:

Pricing Strategy 101

Here's a little diagram I use to help me with those key decisions (you'll find some explanatory notes below)…

pricing flowchart

Is your app's main goal to support your primary product?

You could define “primary product” in a few ways: your primary revenue stream, your primary point of contact with customers, or perhaps the product/service you sell in the greatest volume. Here are some examples of apps that support a different primary product:

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