How to use in-app purchases to boost your ASO

In-app purchases could be the secret ASO hack you are looking for.

Sounds weird, sure, but it’s actually a simple concept.

Take a look at your playbook of App Store Optimization efforts. You should see high-level optimization tasks like updating your keyword list, optimizing your title and description and, of course, split-testing your creatives.

But there are a series of smaller, lesser known and, frankly, lesser practiced optimization tactics. While we won’t dive into the complete list today, let’s talk about how in-app purchases could be your ticket to higher search visibility today.

What are in-app purchases (IAP)?

Developers have the ability to charge for various items within their apps whether they be paid or free on the app stores. In-app purchases are things like recurring subscriptions, in-game currency, or full game or app unlocks.

Many free apps will choose to gate certain features behind IAPs as their primary revenue model to abstain from subjecting their users to ads that can be annoying and cause drop-off.

Did you know? Over 5% of app users currently spend money on in-app purchases. Depending on your userbase, that could be a great add to your bottom line!

For more on the specific types of IAPs available on the App Store, read this.

How do IAPs increase my search visibility?

When you publish IAPs on your app, these items show up in organic search.

Two exciting things here are that:

  1. the info on your IAP indexes in search!
  2. the IAP takes up so much additional visual real estate that your app listing extends to fill the user’s entire search results screen at once.

Check out this example from Jigsaw Puzzle:

Using in-app purchases to boost search visibility on the app store | The ASO Project | App Store Optimization tips, tricks and more!

Should you try this tactic?

IAPs are not for everyone. However, if your user base would benefit or enjoy certain content and you can gate that behind IAPs, your revenue model will also benefit. It’s important not to gate too much behind IAPs as users will likely get frustrated or feel they have been tricked and inevitably leave or uninstall your app.

If you have a solid ASO strategy already and are looking to add to your search visibility stack, this tactic could be a great one for you.

If you’re going to try using IAPs for ASO make sure you:

  1. include your target keywords in the IAP description in a natural way (no keyword stuffing!)
    • display name must be at least two characters and no more than 30 characters
    • description must be no more than 45 characters
  2. create custom graphics to entice users to click on your IAP or even consider tying in your graphics with your app’s screenshots to create a cohesive sense of brand for even better CRO! Your graphics must follow these guidelines:
    • JPG or PNG.
    • Dimensions of 1024 x 1024 pixels.
    • 72 dpi, RGB, flattened and no rounded corners.

Looking for help with your ASO strategy?

Get seen by more users. Talk to our ASO specialists now:

How to use in-app purchases to boost your ASO


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