Monetising KickSmoking

KickSmoking is a windows phone app that I built 2-3 years ago which has been in maintenance mode for a while.

Despite being on the back-burner it’s still the number one quit smoking app on the Windows Phone app store. It’s had over 60k downloads and still achieves upwards of 50 new installs a day, and with 224 reviews at an average of 4.5 stars I’m not the only one who thinks it’s awesome.

However, despite the stats I’ve only managed to earn about $300 to $400 over the lifetime of the application. I don’t know many people who’ve managed to push over 60k downloads yet failed to make a grand.

This isn’t due to the platform (the number of downloads are there) - I believe it’s due to the poor monetisation strategy in use.

During this blog series we’ll cover the existing app and monetisation model, the plan going forward, and finally the results of the experience.

The current monetisation model

Currently there are two versions of the app, a free version and a paid “pro” version. The only difference between the two versions is that the free version is ad-supported.

The main failings with this model is that there is no way to upgrade from in the free app which has over 99% of the downloads - I’m convinced we’re missing out on a lot of sales here.

Another area which can be improved is around premium features. We need to give more of an incentive to upgrade than just removing ads - however we still want the free app to be extremely useful so we will focus on adding features to the pro version rather than removing them from the free version.

The plan

We’re going to add an in-app upgrade option to allow free users to upgrade their app to the pro-version without downloading a whole new application. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to pay us!

We don’t want to leave out our existing customers loyal customers, so we’ll also keep our pro app up to date. As a bonus they will get all the new features at the lower price they originally purchased the app at as a thank-you for the support.

The pricing

Cigarettes are expensive, so are developing apps. I’ve easily sunk more money into this little venture than received. At $1.99 it’s just not sustainable - I’ve had people tell me they’ll buy it if I lowered the price to $0.99, but with no disrespect if you’re not going to buy it at $1.99, you’re probably not going to buy it at $0.99.

The converse is also true to some extent so the price point will be moved to $4.99 - holding all else equal this should cover all the hosing costs for the back-end services.

This is about making the app sustainable - I want to be able to provide the best KickSmoking app available, and even port it to additional platforms. There needs to be a revenue stream to support this.

New design

This isn’t about squeezing money from an old app! We’ve not going to increase the price without upgrading the app, KickSmoking is showing it’s age so we’re going to introduce the new pricing along with a brand new app.

For the next instalment in the series we’ll cover the new design and the features it uses to help encourage people to upgrade to the pro version.

See also