Subscription Apps

What are subscription apps?

Subscription apps are apps that charge users a recurring membership fee. This app subscription fee is most often charged monthly, but can also be charged at a weekly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual, basis, depending on the app. Because regular membership fees are central to the app monetization strategy for these apps, they typically support the cost of the app and increase margin for app developers while generating steady revenue from app users, so are are often free to download in app stores.

How do subscription apps work?

Subscription apps offer dedicated users a continuous stream of new content and features that keep the app fresh and relevant to their users. Subscription app monetization models are becoming increasingly popular across the app ecosystem, with subscriptions granting users access to premium content and services for a wide range of apps and brands.

Examples of apps that offer subscription memberships include:

  • Wellness and exercise apps
  • Dating apps
  • Food delivery apps
  • Lifestyle apps 
  • Shopping apps 
  • News apps
  • Streaming media apps, including mobile, CTV and OTT apps 
  • Gaming apps

Subscription-level access is an especially effective way to monetize for performance marketing objectives, because offering access to premium content, services, or products for a fixed, regular fee helps app developers connect with high-value customers who are engaged with their apps and brands. 

Also, these apps create a comparatively passive income stream for developers, because rather than having to opt in to spending on a case-by-case basis, users often keep subscriptions active ‘just in case’, and may even opt into regularly occurring shipments, email updates, or early access events, enjoying the convenience of set-it-and-forget-it options in today’s fast-paced world.

Examples of popular app subscription models include:

  • Auto-renewing: Auto-renewing subscriptions, as the name suggests, automatically renew at a certain cadence unless users cancel them. 
  • Non-renewing: After the subscription period is over, users must manually renew this sort of membership. 
  • Free trial: Users can try the subscription out for free for a certain period of time before deciding whether to pay for it. Often, these subscriptions will automatically shift to an auto-renewing model after the free trial period.  
  • Multi-level: With this type of subscription, users can select from among various levels of access to find the level that best fits their needs.

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