Promotional In-app Purchases: Boosting your ASO KPIs

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With over 2 million new apps and games released in 2021 only, your app is constantly fighting for users’ attention. That explains why App Store Optimisation has become a top priority among app marketers. Unfortunately, the conventional methods of increasing your app’s visibility, such as optimising your product listing metadata, is no longer enough to push your listing to the top. Luckily, the app stores constantly deliver new features, that with the right approach, can really work in your favour and help you deliver sustainable growth for your app. And Promotional In-app Purchases (PIAPs) is one of them.

Here’s how to take advantage of PIAPs today.

But First… What are Promotional In-app Purchases (or PIAPs)?

Promotional In-app Purchases, also known as PIAPs, is a new iOS App Store feature that allows users to browse in-app purchases directly on the App Store and immediately make a purchase, before even downloading your app. 

What makes them especially useful for your ASO KPIs is that they appear in a few different places on the App Store: on your product page, in search results or can be featured on the Today, Games and Apps tabs. They provide your listing with a ‘window display’ which you can use to showcase content that was previously found only inside your app. 

Thanks to this new feature, your users can go window shopping, view what features you have on offer and make purchases without setting their foot through ‘the door’. It’s a great tool to drive discovery, conversion and monetisation of users through the App Store.

Types of In-app purchases

There are four types of in-app purchases you can take advantage of to monetise your apps in the App Store:

  • Consumable

Often used in apps and games with a freemium business model. They provide different types of consumables that are depleted as they’re used, for example, gems that help you progress in a game. Note, these cannot be promoted through PIAPs.

  • Nonconsumable

They promote features that are purchased once and don’t expire, such as access to a premium photo filter for a photo editing app.

  • Auto-renewable subscription

They provide your users with ongoing access to content, services, or premium features of your app, such as cloud storage, premium video access, graphics, education, etc. 

  • Non-renewable subscription 

They offer access to services or content for a limited time, for example, a 1-month subscription providing seasonal gardening tips, and can’t be renewed automatically. 

How Promotional In-App Purchases can support your ASO strategy

Here’s what to keep in mind before devising your PIAPs strategy:

  • Each app can promote up to 20 different in-app purchases, which means that many of your app’s products or subscriptions can be showcased. 
  • If you have more in-app purchases that you’d like to promote, you can prepare your in-app purchase cards in advance, get them approved by Apple, and wait for seasonal opportunities to switch them out. 
  • This gives you the flexibility to change the in-app purchases on your product page at any given time based on your business needs, such as a limited-time promotion for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, for example.

Allowing you to showcase your app and its features in a more impactful way, Promotional In-app Purchases are a great way to encourage monetisation for your app. They’re packed with practical capabilities that can help you boost your app’s visibility and conversion, as well as increase your down-the-funnel sales. 


How PIAPs Impact Visibility

Promotional in-app purchases are a great tool to help you increase the visibility of your app as they allow you to associate more keywords with your app in the algorithm. 

Each PIAP consists of:

  • Promotional image – it appears on your App Store product page; on the Today, Games, and Apps tabs if your content is featured; and can appear in search results.
  • Display name – it can be up to 30 characters long and should be as clear and easy to understand as possible.
  • Description – it helps you to highlight the benefits of each offering and can be up to 45 characters long. 

Both the name and description are trawled for keywords, meaning they can help you expand and strengthen the volume of strategic and relevant keywords associated with your listing. Additional keywords mean wider reach helping your app move up the ranks in the App Store and essentially increase its visibility. As a result, more users will be able to find your listing, whether or not they are specifically interested in the in-app purchase.

How PIAPs Impact Conversion

PIAPs can also boost your conversion rate. Your in-app purchase cards work as an extension of your store listing and provide your users with more information about your app’s offering. That is to say, relevant users are more likely to understand what your app is about quicker because there is more space for you to tell the whole story.  

What’s more, by increasing the real estate of your app through PIAPs, you’re squeezing out the competition beyond the fold in the search results. As a consequence, the users will have to scroll further to see the apps you’re competing against, which drastically reduces their chances of download as they’re positioned further down the list. 

How PIAPs Impact Product Sales

Finally, Promotional In-app Purchases can impact your app’s product sales, boosting your revenue KPIs. Users can now explore the full range of features of your app ahead of download, which can significantly improve your sales funnel. If you’re offering a valuable product and your marketing strategy is on point, you can be confident that PIAPs will immediately lead to more sales as users are more inclined to purchase the product they can see.  

It’s worth mentioning that your promotional creatives are very important here. They should be highly engaging for your target audience, reflect the unique offering you’re trying to promote and be consistent with your branding to create a harmonious image of your app across all visibility points of your listing. Here are some great examples:

In the examples above, the promotional images meet the criteria of a good in-app purchase creative. All of them are easily distinguishable from the icons and screenshots, they clearly communicate the apps’ offering and are on-brand. 

Remember that not all users will be interested in the Promotional In-app Purchase itself, but it doesn’t mean that the PIAP card cannot help them discover your app and, with the right creative, encourage them to explore more. In fact, PIAPs can help you to segment your users into high-intent power users (those who download PIAPs from the App Store), and everyone else, who may need more convincing to buy a product, start a free trial, or subscribe. 

The segmentation is especially valuable from the app growth standpoint and can become a part of your long-term strategy. Once you know who your high-intent users are, you’re able to target them for more frequent marketing automation campaigns, offer them additional products or even engage them in the potential brand ambassadorship programme.

4 tips for implementing PIAPs into your ASO strategy:

1. Analyse your niche 

Some verticals, such as photo editing apps, have jumped onto the PIAP trend quite quickly. Whether your competitors are doing it or not, it’s worth testing out PIAPs to see which messaging and price points are going to convert your users in the most effective way. If you’re new to the App Store and have several competitors offering PIAPs, keep an eye on their products and prices for inspiration. It’s likely that they’ve tested their prices, which can save you the valuable time and effort you would normally have to spend on the trial and error process and can help you tailor your offering better.

2. Keyword optimisation 

Think about your app listing and PIAPs as a whole. Are there any keywords that you can’t fit into the 160 keyword-indexed character limit of your listing? Promotional in-app purchase cards provide you with an invaluable space to not only describe your unique offering but also optimise towards your strategic keywords in order to boost your overall in-search ranking. Additionally, any in-app purchase will trigger a prompt by the App Store to get your potential user to download the app first. Why is this important for your keyword ranking? The algorithm will still associate the download of your app with the keyword that was used in the search, so it will consider it a relevant keyword for your algorithm, boosting your visibility and overall ranking. 

3. Promotional image

We have mentioned this already but the promotional image is important because it provides users with an idea about what to expect from their purchase. However, this is not the only reason why you should nail your creative. On your app product page, the promotional image appears above the screenshots making it the first visual element of your app that users see. Therefore, ensure that your promotional image tells a story on what your app is about, otherwise, your audience won’t be able to understand your product at first glance. Bear in mind that your promotional image cannot be too similar to your screenshots or icon, as it won’t be approved by Apple. 

4. Test pricing 

Promotional in-app purchases allow you to compare different pricing structures, such as weekly, monthly, annual subscriptions and more. As an example, you may use PIAPs to test whether a free trial offering impacts your conversion rate. 

The same goes for one-off purchase products (consumable in-app purchases). If users opt for a particular promotional in-app purchase over another, this could provide you with valuable data to run a specific marketing automation campaign with a better selling product in mind. 

Test different promotions regularly – after all, you can have up to 20 PIAPs, which gives you plenty of room to experiment. Note, however, that search results will only show your non-consumable in-app purchases. If you have a gaming app that uses gems as points, an in-app purchase card offering a one-off package of 50 gems would not appear in the search results; only on your product page.

Key Takeaways

Promotional In-app Purchases work as an extension of your app and can be a great addition to your ASO strategy in 2022. They can impact your visibility, conversion, and product sales, providing you with more opportunities to showcase your app and collect valuable insights about your audience. Remember to use an attention-grabbing promotional image that is aligned with your brand and illustrates what your app is all about. And finally, don’t be afraid to test different promotions on a regular basis; that way you’ll learn quickly what works best for your target audience and understand how you can adjust your offering to increase sales. 

If you want to find out more about how improving the mobile customer experience can impact your app marketing ampaign or you have any app marketing questions feel free to reach out to the Yodel Mobile Growth Team. Additionally, you can sign up to our newsletter for exclusive industry updates and app marketing insights from the ASO Agency of the Year. Want to find out more about optimising your app? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #AppMarketingUK LinkedIn group.

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