In the pursuit of app development, it is crucial to look beyond mere conversion rates and delve into the complexities that underpin sustainable growth. While conversion rates are a vital metric, a study reveals that a mere 2% of app installs culminate in purchases. 

Thus, relying solely on conversion as a growth indicator falls short; it necessitates the support of subsequent user journey steps, such as subscription, to truly reflect meaningful growth.

In this article, we will illuminate the path to app subscription success, guiding you through each crucial stage and equipping you with the knowledge to create a seamless user journey. Discover the tactics and techniques that empower you to optimize your app’s growth potential and unlock substantial revenue streams. 

Through extensive research, we have uncovered a series of strategic steps that pave the way for user subscriptions, thereby fostering the desired growth and revenue for your mobile app. The initial and paramount step in this journey, from installation to subscription, is the introduction of the paywall—an essential component that first captures the attention of your subscribers.

Join us as we explore the pivotal role of the paywall and delve into the transformative impact it can have on your app’s subscription rates.


Paywalls emerged as a popular business model online in the mid-2000s. They are a form of content restriction that requires people to pay a fee in order to read or view the full content. They work best when used on digital media such as websites, apps, and mobile devices.

Before launching your app with a paywall, you can consider the following concepts and definitions and apply the most useful one for your app.

a) Hard paywalls

A hard paywall is the type of paywall that requires a subscription right away. When a user installs an app, accesses a website, and starts taking action, the paywall appears on the screen. 

These types of paywalls are mostly used by media and journalism companies, such as websites of newspapers, or magazines.

Hard paywalls are usually not recommended by marketers, since it’s a well-known fact that it causes users to abandon the platform most of the time.*

b) Soft (Metered) paywalls

When users can have the experience of your app or benefit from your services for a limited time, we call this type of paywall a soft paywall. In order to use the advanced features or access all the features of your app, users have to start a subscription plan on the soft paywalls. 

As a developer, you can determine which features users can access for free, and how long their time on your app will last.

The article platform Medium and the media outlet New York Times use this model. Although it’s a relatively successful paywall type, it’s still hard to convert high numbers of installs to subscriptions with this model, since it works on a small number of users for mobile apps.

c) Freemium paywalls

In the Freemium paywall model, you can allow access to the major part of your app but restrict access to the premium part of it. 

In this way, you can reach different kinds of users and showcase the majority of your app to a general audience. Having something to offer to your users is great, but the disadvantage of this paywall is, only the premium part of the app is monetized in general.

d) Dynamic paywalls

Though it’s a little bit complex to create one, dynamic paywalls show more information and subscription packages to users. This kind of paywall only appears if the user is very likely to subscribe, according to the discovery and research you will do on your users. 

If you want to use a dynamic paywall, timing is very important, as well as the content and the design of your paywall. They should be created in the most beneficial way. In other words, dynamic paywalls require expertise, analysis, and data about your users to work in the most efficient way. 

For this step, you can determine which paywall you should use, how much information your paywall will cover, and the timing of it. If you’ve gained an understanding of paywalls, you can read the next step, which is Subscription Packages.

Subscription packages

The next screen after the paywall (or during, if you use a dynamic paywall) your users will see is the subscription packages screen. During this stage, there are a few elements you need to know, such as:

  • The loyalty level of your app
  • What kind of service does your app offer
  • Can your services be used for a long period or short period of time
  • The pricing of your packages.

The subscription packages can be seasonal and can change based on the needs of your current and potential users. The packages also can be renewed from time to time.

Understanding the characteristics of your app & your potential users

Another important piece of information is the characteristics of your app, as well as the details about your users.

  • What are your users’ demographics, gender, income, country, and age?
  • What kind of solution do you provide with your app?
  • What are the usage habits of your users?

While you can do proper research on the internet, you will still be estimating this information and cannot be 100% sure unless you gather metrics and work based on numbers. To be certain and work with solid facts, the best method is conducting tests.

Localization, design, and pricing

Since every piece of information you’ve collected may vary for different countries, categories, and time periods, you should do testing and follow a different strategy for the results. 

As an app developer, you should know your competitors, their subscription packages, and paywalls. Localization is also another important factor that can help your app reach users worldwide.

The design and content of your paywalls and subscription packages are also very critical. They should reflect your app, connect and convince your users to take the next step, and should be created in the most profitable way for the users. 

Both user experience and user interface should be on a good level, they should be understandable, and readable, should appear at the right time, and convince them to take action.

Users should understand and feel that they will find the solution by subscribing to your app, and your app will actually bring a benefit, change, and impact to their life. And from the colors you use to the package offerings and pricing, these steps should be taken professionally and based on metrics to ensure optimal returns.

Conversion rate and LTV metrics

Every app has different characteristics. Your app can work great in Japan but you may need to offer longer periods of subscription packages in Russia to get similar results. You can gather all this information by testing. Making segmentations about your users and their countries will maximize your conversion rate, and will hold a critical place for the lifetime value of your app.

If you cannot adjust the strategies that are depending on the different factors, your conversation rate and LTV will be lower. And when these two metrics are low, you may see low install and subscription rates as a result.

In conclusion, the realm of app monetization beckons us to venture beyond conventional metrics and embark on a captivating journey towards sustainable growth. 

Yet, the alchemy of success extends beyond paywalls alone. The magic lies in crafting mesmerizing subscription packages that captivate users’ hearts and minds. With an intimate understanding of user demographics and app characteristics, you have the power to design experiences that transcend expectations. 

The harmonious marriage of localization, thoughtful design, and strategic pricing strategies becomes the gateway to user enchantment. But this journey is not static; it is a dynamic dance of continuous testing and data-driven insights, shaping your app’s destiny and unlocking the boundless potential of optimal returns.

So, my fellow app explorer, embrace this extraordinary odyssey, where paywalls become the gatekeepers to enchantment, and subscription packages weave spells of captivating experiences. 

Step into this realm of possibility, and let the symphony of metrics guide your footsteps as you unlock the full potential of your app in the ever-evolving landscape of digital wonders.

Let’s find the true value of your app by implementing paywalls and improvements that resonate with your audience.