Six Ways to Jumpstart Your Promotional IAP Sales


A key component of your game’s economy is the IAP sale. With UA costs down, installs up, and a generally less crowded promotion window, January is the perfect time to run IAP sales. Here are six things you can do to dramatically improve their effectiveness.


1.Targeted Push Notifications

 Players aren’t going to see your sale unless they get back into the game. This makes a compelling push notification campaign essential during an IAP sale.

Targeting notifications to specific groups of players can be very valuable:

  • Begin by sending a message detailing the specifics of the sale to players who have paid before. They will understand the value of the deal you are offering and will jump back into the game to get it.
  • Players that haven’t purchased may not yet see the value. Try tailoring the message to entice them to play again and let your in-app messaging carry them the rest of the way.


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2.In-App Messaging

The next step in a successful sale is ensuring the player understands the value of the offer. Prominently display and clearly label the discounted price, discount percentage, and currency being rewarded. This eliminates confusion for the player, communicates value, and offers them a clear call to action.

It is very important that the messages can be configured and activated without requiring an update. Every field should be easily changed independently. Fuse offers IAP merchandising tools to tune promotional offers from an external dashboard.




3.Store Badging

It should be made very clear what items are discounted in your store. Having a selection of “Sale” and “Best Value” badges for your IAPs is a best practice. Like the in-app messaging, these badges should be dynamically configurable.

 Note: In the example below, the IAP on sale has been moved to the highest-visibility position in the store view. This should also be configured dynamically. Remember, you are trying to reduce the number of mental hurdles a player needs to make before they decide to make a purchase.




4.Conversion Sales 

When first experimenting with running sales in your game, try running a sale that targets only non-paying players, or a “conversion sale”.

When running conversion sales, it’s important to discount at least one IAP to the lowest available in-game price point. For example, if your lowest IAP is $4.99, take a $9.99 item and put it on sale for 50% off. Exhibiting both options side by side with a clear badge or icon uses the game’s internal economy to your benefit. Even with no prior knowledge of the IAPs qualitative value, the 200% increase demonstrates quantitative value.

The additional currency that this item provides will help to increase the player’s overall engagement in the game and lead them to consider future IAPs – making them perfect candidates for an “upsell” sale down the line.


5.Upsell Sales

 Upsell sales target users who have already made at least one purchase and have had a chance to learn the qualitative value of your IAPs. For this reason, you can’t rely on quantitative value alone to make the sale.

Make sure that the IAP you’re discounting can provide adequate gameplay value for experienced players. As a rule, the discounted IAP should offer value beyond the session that its purchased in. For example, a $49.99 IAP on sale for $29.99 should allow players in a world-building game to bypass all possible wait timers for the next few gameplay sessions, or unlock a feature that pays greater dividends in gameplay value the earlier it is purchased.  “Builders” are the typical example of a feature that unlocks greater depth of play.


6.Iterate During Soft Launch

 Running experiments during your game’s soft launch is the best way to find out what type of sales or offers are most valuable to your players. Every day of your soft launch is a new opportunity to learn more about your players and what they want.

  • Use an A/B testing system to compare the results of different sales.
  • Try new copy in your push notifications.
  • Experiment with new artwork for your in-app messaging. 

Using your soft launch research, plan to run your most successful sale during the weekend following your worldwide launch/feature. This will likely be a high water mark for DAU in the game’s lifetime and it is vital that you use those numbers to your advantage.

If you would like to discuss these tips more, please leave a comment or send me a tweet at @rhettfester.

Diana Aquino
Creator, Problem Solver, Professional Shopper.

Contact her on Twitter @diana__aquino