App Store Promotional In-App Purchases - How to Boost and Optimize Promoted In-App Purchases

In mobile applications, new features keep emerging, enhancing the pleasure derived from their usage. One of such features is the ability to make in-app purchases. In this article, we will give you a glimpse of RadASO's expertise and delve into the concept of In-App Purchases, how they function, how to promote them, and why they are important for both developers and users. With that out of the way, let’s proceed straight to the matter at hand.

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What are In-App Purchases?

In-App Purchases refer to the acquisition of virtual goods (digital items, premium access, content, or extended subscriptions) within an application. 

In other words, In-App Purchases enable app users to acquire additional features, content, or services that are not included in the app's default functionality. For instance, you can purchase exclusive paid content or subscribe to the premium version of an app, which offers additional features and benefits.

These purchases can be promoted and made available directly in the App Store, but for that to happen, In-App Purchases must first be added to App Store Connect and approved.

Types of In-App Purchases

There are four main types of in-app purchases:

  1. Consumables. For example, in gaming apps, users can purchase additional lives or precious gems. When depleted, these items can be repurchased.
  2. Non-consumable purchases, such as premium features within an app. Examples include workout plans for fitness apps or weapons and equipment for games. Such purchases unlock content, features, or other benefits permanently.
  3. Auto-renewable subscriptions for additional features or content. This could involve speech-to-text conversion in a messaging app or offline music streaming in an audio player. When users purchase a subscription plan with auto-renewal, they are charged on a regular basis until they manually cancel the subscription.
  4. Non-renewing subscriptions for additional features or content that are valid for a limited time. Users can purchase a subscription without automatic renewal and manually renew it whenever they want to extend their access to a service or content.

What do Promoted In-App Purchases look like?

Promoted In-App Purchases appear on the application page, in search results, and can also be featured in the "Today," "Games," and "Apps" tabs. However, in order for Promoted In-App Purchases to be displayed at all, their visibility needs to be configured beforehand in App Store Connect.

Important: Consumables will not be displayed in the search results.

Metadata and recommendations for optimizing Promoted In-App Purchases

Each promoted in-app purchase contains its own metadata: display name, description, and promotional image.

Display name (up to 30 characters) – indexed. The title of the promoted in-app purchase should be clear and understandable to App Store users, reflecting the essence of the purchase, for example, "Text to Speech Unlimited". Apple recommends avoiding generic names such as "100 gems". For automatically renewable subscriptions, the subscription period should be clearly indicated.

Description (up to 45 characters) – not indexed. The description should be clear and facilitate the understanding of the benefits that users will gain from the purchase. It is worth using a unique description for each promoted in-app purchase to set them apart from one another.

Promotional image (PNG or high-quality JPEG with a resolution of up to 1024x1024). Each promoted in-app purchase should have a unique image that best describes its content. Images should not be screenshots and should not imitate the application icon to avoid confusing the users. Apple also does not recommend overlaying text on the promotional image. After uploading the promotional image, Apple adds a frame to it. When a promoted in-app purchase appears in the search results or on tabs such as Today, Games, and Apps, the application icon is added to it in the lower-left corner for additional context. 

Therefore, when preparing the promotional image, it is crucial to consider these factors to ensure that they do not obscure essential aspects of your design.

The display name and description can be optimized for 39 locales, just like the regular app page metadata. The promotional image remains the same for all locales.
You can find additional pointers on where to add metadata for promoted purchases in App Store Connect in the Apple documentation.

Insights and Tips on Using Promoted In-App Purchases

  • Keywords from the name of a localized promoted in-app purchase can be indexed in all countries, meaning that the name of the in-app purchase you’re promoting in the French locale can be indexed in Italy or Ukraine.
  • Promoted purchases can be indexed based on keywords from the metadata of the main app page. Additionally, keywords from the promoted in-app purchase name can be mixed with keywords from the metadata of the main app page.
  • Use search terms in the promoted in-app purchase name that will help you rank your app in the 1st position. The promoted in-app purchase will occupy the 2nd position, thus allowing your app to practically dominate the entire search results page, pushing competitors down. As a result, you have the potential to increase conversion rates and thus increase the number of installs.

Promoting purchases in the app: Promotional In-App Purchases

Before you proceed with promoting in-app purchases, make sure that the app supports the SKPaymentTransactionObserver, delegation method, and that promotional images are added to all in-app purchases you want to promote.

You can promote up to 20 different in-app purchases simultaneously. Learn more about configuring the visibility of promoted in-app purchases in the Apple documentation. To select the in-app purchases you want to promote, follow these steps in App Store Connect:

  1. In the My Apps section, select your app.
  2. On the sidebar, under Features, click App Store Promotions, then click the Edit button:
  3. Next, choose the purchases or subscriptions, set the display order on the app page (optional), and click Save:

After this, the promoted in-app purchases should appear on the app page and, after indexing, start appearing in search results.

What to do if the Promoted In-App Purchase is not appearing in the App Store?

Sometimes, the promoted in-app purchase may not appear in any of the placements. This is likely because you’ve enabled the limited visibility option in the promotional in-app purchase settings. To change these settings, you need to go to App Store Connect and follow these steps:

  1. In the My Apps section, select your app.
  2. On the sidebar, under Features, click App Store Promotions, then choose the desired form of promotion.
  3. Scroll down to the App Store Promotion section and, under App Store Visibility subsection, click Edit:
  4. Select the visibility option for all users and click Save:

After this, the promotional in-app purchase will become visible to all users and will be displayed on the app page as well as the search results.

Closing thoughts

To conclude, In-App Purchases work as extensions of your application; they can influence visibility, conversion, and sales, providing you with more opportunities to showcase your application and gather valuable information about your audience. You can test different types of promoted in-app purchases to understand which one works best for your audience and how to improve your offer.

And if your application already uses a subscription model or one-time in-app purchases, you should take advantage of promoting them in the App Store through Promotional In-App Purchases. By optimizing the metadata of promoted in-app purchases and configuring them for mobile app promotion directly in the App Store, you can increase the visibility of your application and potentially boost conversion to increase the number of downloads.

Therefore, implementing In-App Purchases in your application can be an effective addition to your ASO (App Store Optimization) strategy in 2023.

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