What are in-app purchases?

What are in-app purchases?

Here we are again, another round of A Non-Techy Talks! This time we’re looking at In-App Purchases.

Aimee Pallett
0 min read
June 11, 2018

I started off a little cocky with this one when putting together first draft of this post! I was like ‘Hey this is easy! It’s buying something in an app!’ Which it partially is. You do make purchases in an app but it’s not necessarily all purchases made within an app. Here let me explain…..

As we’ve learnt from my previous posts I am partial to a good shopping deal, so I'll be tempted to make a purchase on my mobile device, whether that be on a website or through an app. Apps are always my preference but just having a website wouldn’t stop me! So my train of thought was that when I bought something through my ASOS app (other online retailers are available!) that was an in-app purchase. Well, it’s not!

What we’re calling in-app purchases are those things you’d associate with buying extra features or content within the app.

I'm sure you've all played those super addictive arcade style games where you have to clear the page of sweets or attack another village….we all know them. In these apps you can buy extra tools, bonuses lives etc to help you pass or increase through a level. If you’ve purchased these add ons then you’ve made an

If you have somehow managed to avoid these life sucking games then you may have downloaded a fitness app or culinary app where if you want to access a ‘premium version’ or an ad-free version, you've had to pay something for this.

Many of these apps are free to download in the first instance but to continue using after a trial period you have to sign up to a subscription. These apps aren't always just free during a trial period. They could be free to using continuously but with limited content of capability.

When you download an app you will be told if it contains in-app purchases, so it should never be a surprise. If you make the choice to purchase additional content or the extra sweet bomb blasters to pass your level, you'll usually be charged through your iTunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android) account to make things easy.

So as an app creator, offering in-app purchases means that you can provide your app for free and attract a large user base whilst bringing in some revenue by providing additional content for a fee.

I hope this has given you some food for thought on how you can create revenue through your app, but if you're looking for a more detailed explanation of how you can make money with a business app check out our blog on how mobile apps can make you money.

Thanks for reading and if you’d like to hear more from our Non-Techy team member or to be kept up to date with the other great blogs then head back to the main blog page and hit Subscribe!

Next up in the non-techy talks series: What is an in-app browser?


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