Startup Story

How We Leveraged Data to Increase our App Subscription Conversion

As a developer, launching an app business often starts with a simple calculation such as, “If I have 1,000 users and I charge them $5 monthly, that’s $5,000 a month!” While this is true, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the journey to get there can sometimes feel like climbing Mount Everest.

My initial business idea was conceived with similar optimism, daydreaming about millions of installs and thousands of dollars in profits. Reality struck hard, however, after I spent many long and exhausting hours developing and releasing my app, only to discover that this was just the beginning of a much longer journey ahead.

A Recurring Pattern Among New Entrepreneurs

In my conversations with new entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed a similar pattern. Their pitches often contain a phrase along the lines of, “If I only have ‘x’ users and charge a few dollars monthly…” Actual outcomes, however, often deviate from this expectation as entrepreneurs quickly realize that acquiring users and then maintaining them is far more difficult than they imagined.

You might successfully target your ideal customer base and convert users for a few months, but eventually, this “low hanging fruit” dries up, and when combined with limited retention rates of existing users, your app can spin into reverse pretty quickly. Then, the looming question arises, “What now?”

The Story of SpartanApps: Breaking the $10k Monthly Barrier

Let me share how we navigated SpartanApps through a similar situation. No matter how hard we tried and what strategy we employed, the app couldn’t sustainably exceed $10k monthly. It was like we bumped up against an unbreakable glass ceiling once we approached this threshold.  Countless times we made one big push, achieved $10k in revenue level temporarily, only to see it slide back down again.

Our initial reaction was to ask ourselves, “How are we going to increase our installs?,” but as we started examining some of the data, we eventually delved into the app's conversion data.  To our surprise, we discovered that our conversion rate was less than 0.8%, well below the industry standard of 1%. This was a difficult pill to swallow, considering the loss in potential income relative to our monthly download average, and considering that we had no idea how to solve this issue.

More installs weren’t the solution, and so we realized that we were asking ourselves the wrong question.  Instead of asking, “How can we get more installs?”, we started asking ourselves, “Why aren’t people subscribing to the app?” We first sought answers by A/B testing different subscription offerings, but without any direction or insights, we felt like we were just taking shots in the dark.  In an attempt to establish a more focused approach, we then attempted to obtain as much data as possible through various tools and solutions such as Mixpanel and Firebase Analytics.

Data-Driven Decisions and Customer-Centric Solutions

We extracted all possible data from these tools, observed various patterns, and then proceeded to interview clients and define various buyer personas. When we combined all of this information, it eventually led us to test various subscription screens and purchase flows through extensive A/B testing, but this time in a more focused way.

The result? Within several months our conversion rate nearly doubled, achieving a rate of almost 2%!

The Moral of the Story: Use Data to Focus on the Real Problem

With fewer downloads, we increased revenue by addressing the actual issue. Data became our compass in decision-making, guiding us to focus on enhancing user conversion rather than merely boosting installation numbers.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, or you need help, please feel free to reach out via email at I am here to assist and provide any advice I can.