How Do Apps Get Popular: Best In-App Purchases That Affect ASO

How do apps get popular on App Store? Learn the best in-app purchases ASO tactics to enhance your product page visibility on App Store in 2022.
How Do Apps Get Popular: Best In-App Purchases That Affect ASO
Your mobile application is sleek and functional. You have perfected its every feature and made it look like a dream before putting it up on Apple App Store or Google Play. Now, how do apps get popular once they hit the shelves of those virtual stores? What do you have to do to make sure your product stands out and attracts users? The competition among App Store apps is soaring, and employing just the traditional ASO techniques does not guarantee you the necessary number of downloads. That is where some more advanced App Store Optimization comes into play.

Apart from optimizing your metadata and polishing your product page’s visual elements, there is another robust tool you should consider utilizing – In-App Purchases (IAPs). If carried out properly, your IAP ASO efforts can yield marvelous results, giving your app more visibility in a short time.

If you do not know much – or anything – about IAPs and have no clue about how to use those to boost your ASO strategy, keep reading this post. Our Asolytics experts will explain what In-App Purchases ASO is, why it is such a big deal, and how it helps make your application more appealing and desirable to Apple App Store and Google Play Store users.

How to Maximize Your ASO Efforts with In-App Purchases?

With your App Store product page keywords updated, app title and description streamlined, and creative assets polished and split-tested, it is now time to focus on some lower-priority tasks. More specifically, you need to pay attention to optimizing your in-app purchases that, surprisingly, can turn out to be your best secret ASO weapon.

While we will not go through every detail on HOW to create and launch IAPs for Google Play and Apple App Store (you can learn all that from other Asolytics guides and tutorials here), let us talk about WHAT in-app purchases are and how they can improve your app’s search exposure. We will also cover some of the best in-app purchases optimization cases that might serve as a source of inspiration when you are designing your own IAP ASO strategy. Continue reading to find out what are in-app purchases and how do in-app purchases work.

What Are In-App Purchases (IAPs)?

In-app purchases (IAPs) are a widely practiced monetization model where additional digital content or products are sold to users within mobile apps or games. IAPs offer mobile app developers an easy way to profit from their free-to-download iOS and Android products by prompting users to spend money on add-ons, recurring subscriptions, premium features, and various app unlocks.

To avoid ads that irritate and put off users, often causing those to abandon the free app or game, many developers opt to lock certain extra content or services with IAPs.

Types of In-App Purchases in Apple App Store and Google Play Store:

There are three types of IAPs found on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store:

  • Subscriptions allow mobile app/game users to access certain content or service within an app for a set length of time in exchange for a fee. Subscriptions are the most popular in-app purchases when compared to other types.
  • Consumable purchases include items like in-game currency or additional health points that offer a one-time improvement of the gaming experience.
  • Non-consumable purchases are a type of IAP where the user pays to unlock some premium features (bonus game levels, ads removal, pro edition upgrade) for permanent use. Non-consumable purchases have no expiration date and can be transferred between devices associated with the same account.
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Appearing in multiple App Store locations, such as app store lists and search results, in-app purchases are also a valuable source of semantics for your mobile application ASO.

How Does IAP ASO Help Boost Your Search Visibility?

When you add IAPs onto your application product page, they appear in organic search. It is beneficial for two reasons:
  • the information about your in-app purchases is indexed in search results;
  • your in-app purchase captures more visual real estate, and your app description expands to cover the user’s whole search results screen at once.

Is IAP ASO the Right Tactic for Everyone?

IAPs are not a tool anyone can or should use. Nevertheless, if you are confident that your target audience will appreciate certain digital content or features, you can consider hiding those behind in-app purchases. If performed correctly, it can benefit your app revenue model immensely and solve the problem of how to get people to use your app. It is crucial that you do not tie up too much content into IAPs as it may upset your users, leading them to believe they have been defrauded, which will negatively affect the in-app purchase conversion rate. Inevitably, such an approach will result in people quitting or uninstalling the app altogether.

If you already have a well-thought-out and efficient ASO strategy set up and are now seeking ways to build up your product page search visibility, this technique could be perfect for you.

Below is a brief sum-up of the main formatting requirements and some tips on how to get your IAPs ASO to a good start on the Apple App Store:
  • When working on the text-based metadata – IAP title and description – ensure that the target keywords fit in seamlessly and naturally. Stuffing keywords is the wrong way to go! Include your most relevant keywords in the title and avoid repeating them in the description:
  • IAP title (display name) must be 30 characters long.
  • IAP description is a maximum of 45 characters.
  • Apple App Store promotions cannot exceed 20 IAPs at a time.
  • Only subscriptions and non-consumables can be promoted via IAPs.
  • You can tweak the order & visibility parameters for your IAPs to make them only appear to specific users (those who haven’t made the purchase yet/ those who already downloaded).
  • Be creative when designing your promotional images – IAP icons – your goal is to tempt users to click on your IAP. You might want to make your IAP icons visually consistent with your main screenshots to display a coherent story with a powerful sense of your brand.
  • JPG or PNG images only.
  • Dimensions of 1024*1024 pixels; pixel density – 72 dpi.
  • Color model – RGB.
  • IAPs must support the SKProductStorePromotionController API.

Most Outstanding IAPs Optimization Case Studies to Learn From

Here are some examples of implementing a successful IAPs optimization strategy that helped brands improve their ASO performance, allowing them to occupy the top positions in app charts:


By complementing its traditional ad-supported business model with IAPs, TikTok managed to get its users to spend over $2.3 billion on purchasing in-app digital content in 2021. It is an impressive 77% rise in consumer spending revenue compared to the previous year. One of the ways they were able to achieve it was by implementing sponsored hashtags, which allowed viewers to purchase goods that they saw in viral videos that they liked.


Meditopia is an example of how apps can improve their App Store product page visibility through adopting a well-optimized IAPs strategy. Using the App Store Promoting In-App Purchase feature, Meditopia succeeded in showcasing some of the digital goods it sells within the app, namely subscriptions. As a result, the promoted IAPs brought the app up in the search list and gave Meditopia more space on the screen, pushing the competitors down.

Key conclusion: with a solid IAPs ASO strategy, Meditopia is not only one of the first apps to surface in the App Store search results but also the one to enjoy additional visibility thanks to the Subscription. Note that when adding its IAP, Meditopia decided against specifying the direct price and opted for a free trial instead, which might have been a calculated move to prevent visitors from being put off by the price.

The Photo Cookbook

The app product page includes IAPs that encourage users to buy various non-consumables. These non-consumable items have the following titles:
  • Vegetarian – 60 recipes
  • Asian – 60 recipes
When paired with the app title, these IAP titles create some very natural and pertinent long-tail keywords – vegetarian cookbook, Asian cookbook, etc. Each of these terms makes the app rank pretty high.

Key conclusion: many apps (music apps, translator apps, wellness/fitness apps) on App Store that offer subscriptions or non-consumable IAPs can benefit from utilizing the above strategy. The formula is simple and ever-efficient: app title with a term highlighting the most crucial product feature + IAP title keywords that narrow down and specify the keyword from the app title.


Tinder is the leading non-gaming application in terms of overall revenue for in-app purchases. It thrives on selling premium subscriptions like “Tinder Gold” that provide access to certain much-wanted features, including curated matches, one monthly Boost, unlimited Likes, 5 Super Likes a day, and more.
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Embrace IAPs to Boost Rankings

To sum up, any mobile application that offers in-app purchases today should embrace the unique opportunity to promote its IAPs on Google Play and App Store. Paired with text optimization, it will increase your product’s search ranking and enable you to inform your users of the app’s paid options before the installation.

Here are key takeaway points that summarize what has been mentioned above:
  • Of all IAP metadata elements visible to the user, the IAP title is the only one indexed in the Apple App Store. Keywords used in the IAP description are ignored.
  • IAP title has the lowest weight of all indexed App Store keyword placements.
  • IAP titles on Google Play are also indexed and can contain up to 55 characters per IAP.
  • It is best if your IAP titles target long-tail keywords.
  • IAP icon is a further opportunity to visualize your IAPs content.
Now you know why you should use IAPs ASO tactics to create additional visibility for your app. We have also given you some great examples of how other companies have done it successfully. All that is left is to work out an efficient IAP ASO strategy that would meet the unique needs of your product and achieve the targets you set for it. Feel free to refer to other Asolytics guides for tips on how to launch Google Play and Apple App Store IAPs.