Who Wants to Increase Their Paid App Downloads?

So you’ve got a great paid app in the App Store. And a free version of it with limited functionality. You think that a user downloads your free app, falls in love it, goes looking for the paid version and buys it.

Is this what happens in reality?


Instead, you get dozens or even hundreds of free app downloads and only a few (if any) paid app downloads.

This has got to bring you down.

Do you want to know why this happens?

It’s simple: hardly any user will download your paid app version unless they are prompted to do that.

Are we suggesting advertising? Nope. Enough for paid marketing.

In-app purchasing? That’s a great strategy. But we’ve got a simpler idea to increase your app downloads. Welcome under the cut!

The solution would be Free to Pro campaigns!

Basically, this is a variation of cross promo campaigns. In other words, you promote your paid version by showing the message in your free app. It’s easy, free and effective. To get the full understanding of the process see how to set up this kind of campaigns on AppDK (click on image to enlarge it).


You just need to select your pro version app into the Target app field and the corresponding free app into Apps to run the campaign. Think how many sessions the user should run with your free app before they see the ad for the first time. Then write that figure into Frequency cap field. Specify how often the user sees the message in the field on the right. Every 3d run should be about fine.

After that you need to select the creatives in the corresponding field.

You might be wondering whether users will be annoyed by the messages.

Well, not so much. Provided that you write your creative message in a way that a user doesn’t even understand right away that you are about to sell them something. Want to learn to compose these magic messages? Here comes!

Follow these 3 steps:

1) Identify that one benefit that your paid version has over a free one.

2) Ask whether your user wants to possess that benefit in the message body

3) Give her/him the choice of just two answers: yes or no with yes leading to App Store.

Like this:

iPhorisms free to pro creative

What about mentioning the price? It’s optional. If you mention it in your other creatives for this campaign, there is no need to write it again. In a Free to Pro creative for our Ultraweather app, we omitted the title altogether. As a result this creative features a remarkable CTR of 32,76% and outruns the other creatives CVR-wise (0,45 against the average of 0.1).

Ultraweather free to pro creative

Yes-No messages are, of course, a great discovery. However, don’t limit yourself to them only. Make use of some ideas from our previous post on effective message formulas. Those ideas apply to Free to Pro campaigns as well.

So exactly how effective is this Free to Pro thing?

We get a lot of downloads from organic search and in-app purchasing. And still Free to Pro campaigns are responsible for 5–10% of our paid apps downloads every month. Quite impressive given that these campaigns are extremely easy to launch.

So go reveal those benefits that you paid apps feature and describe them in the most appealing, tasty yet concise way!

By the way, do you have an SDK to implement all this? If not, make use of AppDK. It’s free and you already know a lot about how to use it.

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