At today’s Google I/O developer conference, the company introduced several changes designed to make it easier for Android app developers to generate revenue through subscriptions, particularly when trying to reach users in emerging markets. Notably, the company said it will now allow developers to offer users the ability to subscribe through prepaid plans that essentially provide access to an app and its services for a fixed period of time that the developer sets.
Users could then purchase in-app top-ups when their subscription ran out and they had the funds to continue. Google said the feature would make sense in regions where pay-as-you-go cellular plans are standard. In those markets, consumers are already used to the prepaid model, so extending it to apps could help boost developers’ subscription revenue. However, prepaid subscriptions could also help target other use cases, such as subscription-averse customers who are hesitant to get stuck in ongoing charges and who want more control over when and how much they spend on their mobile apps.
Google also announced expanded pricing options with the launch of “ultra-low” price points to reach users in emerging markets.
Last March, Google lowered the minimum price limit for products in more than 20 markets in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific, allowing developers to lower prices by as much as 10 to 30 cents (USD). ) . At the time, the company explained that these “sub-dollar prices” would allow developers to reach potential new buyers by adjusting prices to “better reflect local purchasing power and demand.”
Now, Google says that developers can lower prices by up to 5 cents on the dollar. This would allow developers to run local sales and promotions and support various microtransactions such as in-app tips.
While these changes will help better target Android app users in emerging markets, Google has also made other improvements to app subscriptions.
The company said it’s making it easier to sell subscriptions on Google Play by letting developers set up multiple basic plans and special offers, to reduce the overhead of managing an ever-increasing number of SKUs as developers adjust how they work. they want to sell subscriptions with offers
In this setup, a developer can set up multiple basic plans, each with its own billing period and renewal type, such as auto-renewing monthly or yearly plans, or prepaid monthly plans. Then, for each base plan, they can create multiple special offers throughout the life of the subscription. For example, they could create an acquisition offer for a limited-time free trial, an upgrade offer to move from a prepaid plan to an auto-renewal level, or even a downgrade offer to help retain a subscriber who may be looking to cancel while you are not using all the benefits of the subscription.
Google also offers an in-app messaging API that can be used to remind users to update their payment information when their payment method is declined, he noted.
Last year, the company announced that it would start supporting other payment methods, including cash and prepaid plans. Since then, it has expanded its library of payment methods to include more than 300 local payment methods in 70 countries, adding e-wallet payment methods such as MerPay in Japan, KCP in Korea and Mercado Pago in Mexico, Google said.