Introducing Expanded Subscriptions in iTunes Connect

Session 301 WWDC 2016

See what's new in subscriptions. Learn how our improvements give you more flexibility and control over pricing, and provide powerful incentives to engage and retain your customers.

[ Music ]

[ Applause ]

Hi everybody.

Welcome to our session on Expanded Subscriptions in iTunes Connect.

My name is Daniel Miao and I'm the engineering manager on iTunes Connect.

So, we're going to start this session off by doing a quick review of in-app purchases in general.

And then we're going to move into the details of how we're enhancing auto renewable subscriptions specifically in iTunes Connect and in the system.

So, we've received a lot of feedback from you around how we can improve auto-renewables to better fit your businesses.

So, we're very excited because today we get to take you through new features that will give you better control over your pricing.

Help you to retain your loyal customers.

And give you and your customers more flexible tools for managing your subscriptions.

So, let's start with the most basic question.

What is an in-app purchase.

Well, an in-app purchase is simply digital content or service that your customer buys from within your app.

Now contrast with your customer downloading your app off the app store and receiving all of that content up front.

Now, there are many ways to use in-app purchases.

But, generally in-app purchases are great if you want to give your customers the opportunity to get an understanding of your app offering before purchasing add-ons to that offering.

Also, if you have a subscription model for your app, in-app purchases are also a great fit.

And there are a number of in-app purchase types available to you.

We have consumables, non-consumables, non-renewable subscriptions, and auto-renewable subscriptions.

Today we also have free subscriptions.

But, free subscriptions will be deprecated this fall.

So, for those of you who have free subscriptions today, you can continue using them.

But, you will not be able to create new ones.

So, let's go through each of these types.

First, we have consumables.

Consumable is an in-app purchase that your customers purchase once per use.

Here we have an example of a simulation game on the app store, Fallout Shelter.

It's a great game.

And the way Fallout Shelter uses consumables is to give you the opportunity to buy in game items.

You use real money to buy in game items.

Add them to your inventory.

And once you've used them up you go back into the game and you purchase more.

Next we have non-consumables.

The non-consumables is in-app purchase that your customer buys once and uses indefinitely.

In this example we have Weirdwood Manor.

This is an interactive storybook app.

When you purchase this app you get the first book in the series with the download.

If you enjoy this book you're able to buy additional books from inside of the app either individually or as a collection.

Once you've unlocked these books they're yours for good.

Next we have non-renewable subscriptions.

A non-renewable subscription is one that is purchased once and available for a limited time.

In this case we have Quizlet, which is a study tools app.

And this app comes with many great features out of the box.

But, if you'd like more features Quizlet also offers a Quizlet Plus service.

You subscribe to Quizlet Plus for one year by paying $14.99.

And after that year if you'd like to continue using the Plus services you'd pay for an additional year.

And finally we have auto-renewable subscriptions.

And auto-renewable is exactly the way it sounds.

It's a subscription that you purchase and it's renewed automatically at regular intervals.

Here we have HBO Now, which is a video streaming app.

HBO Now offers a subscription, a monthly subscription for $14.99 a month.

So, you purchase this subscription initially for $14.99 and each month it automatically renews, and you're charged $14.99.

And if at some point you want to stop your subscription, you go into you manuals subscriptions page in your account settings and you turn off the renewal option.

Okay. So, it says here a few of the different types of in-app purchases.

Now, let's move into talking about the changes that are coming specifically to auto-renewables.

Let's start by talking about proceeds.

So, those of you who have auto-renewables today are aware that up until last week you were receiving 70% proceeds for any new subscriptions to your auto-renewables or renewals.

This is the same for apps and the same for other in-app purchase types.

But, beginning this week, you'll be receiving 85% proceeds from any customers that haven't subscribed for one year or more.

[ Applause ]

The best part about this is you don't have to wait a whole year before you see the 85%.

For those of you who have existing customers, you'll start receiving 85% proceeds on renewals for any customers that have been already subscribed to your app for a year or more beginning with renewals this week.

[ Applause ]

All right.

Next let's talk about app categories.

Today if you want to create an auto-renewable subscription your app has to belong inside a set of limited categories.

Well, we've seen a lot of successful businesses grow around auto-renewables over the past few years.

And we've seen these businesses deliver excellent products to customers that the customers really love.

Additionally many of you have been coming to us asking to open up auto-renewables to your app categories.

So, we're very happy because beginning this fall if your app makes sense for auto-renewables, categories will no longer be a limitation.

[ Applause ]

So, those are some of the policy changes that are coming to auto-renewables.

Now, let's talk about some of the feature changes.

We'll start with how the customer experience will be evolving.

Here we have a subscription management page on your customer's device that they see when they go into the app store, go into their account details and tap into manage subscriptions.

These are all the subscriptions, auto-renewable subscriptions that your customer's currently on.

If we take a look at one of these you'll notice a lot of metadata here that you're probably familiar with.

We have an app icon.

We have an app name.

And incidentally you can override this app name in iTunes Connect for this specific view.

You might want to override this if possibly your app name is over 30 characters.

In which case it'll be truncated in manage subscriptions, or if your service name doesn't quite match your app name.

Next we have the name of the subscription group that this subscription is in.

This will show up if you have more than one group on your app.

And finally we have the name of the subscription itself as well as the duration.

Now, if your customer wants to manage one of these subscription, they simply tap into this and they'll see this view.

Here we see the customer's current subscription along with renewal options for the subscription.

These renewal options are simply other subscriptions in the same subscription group as the customer's current one.

In a subscription group it's just a collection of subscriptions that describe your app offering.

Now, as your customer moves between subscriptions they can only have one active subscription per group.

So, for example, if they went from the full course subscription here to the entree only, once entree only goes into effect full course will stop.

Next, if your customers jump between subscriptions in a group regularly, that will not affect your 85% proceeds.

That means that as long as the customer stays within this group you'll continue to accrue days towards that year that you need to start receiving 85% from this customer.

As part of this feature said, we're also going to be adding the ability to designate, upgrade, and downgrade paths.

And upgraded goes into effect immediately.

So, in this case if we've designated as, if we've designated entree only to full course as an upgrade, the switch to full course would happen once the customer selects it.

If the customer downgrades, the new subscription goes into effect at the end of the current subscription period.

Okay. So, we've talked a little bit about groups.

Now, let's take a look at the structure of one of these groups.

For those of you who are using auto-renewables today, you make recognize the term subscription family.

Beginning this fall we'll just be referring to families as groups.

Here we have an example of subscription service that has three subscriptions in it.

A one week, a one month, and a one year subscription.

Today we have a restriction that says you cannot have more than one of the same duration in a group.

So, in this case that means you wouldn't be able to have more than one, one year subscription for example.

But, we will be removing this subscription in the fall, I mean this restriction in the Fall.

So, that will allow you to do something like this.

We call these subscription levels.

Here you'll see an example that has a silver level of service, a gold level, and a platinum level.

Each of these levels has two subscription in it for a total of six subscriptions in this sample group.

You'll also notice on the side that we have ranks.

This is how you decide what is considered upgrade and what is considered a downgrade.

For example, if your customer were to move from gold to platinum, that would be considered an upgrade, and platinum would go into effect right away.

If they went from gold to silver as a downgrade, that would go into effect at the end of their current subscription.

Period. And those are subscription groups.

So, I'd like to invite Jenn up here to give us a demo of such subscription groups in iTunes Connect.

[ Applause ]

Hi. I'm Jennifer Makower.

I'm an engineer on the iTunes Connect team.

I'm going to walk you through what we have coming for subscriptions and subscription groups in iTunes Connect.

We're going to be working with my app, Meal Manager, which provides recipe and shopping list subscriptions for various meal plan types.

Now, currently we have two meal plan types.

We have a dinner meal plan type and we have a breakfast meal plan type.

And both of those serve as our subscription groups.

So, we're coming out with a new subscription type, which is going to be our new meal plan.

It's going to be for lunch subscriptions.

So, let's take a look in iTunes Connect how we do that.

Here we go.

Okay. So, I'm going to click on the plus button here, next to in-app purchase and select auto-renewable subscription.

So, here's where I'm going to come up with my subscription name.

And when I create a new subscription I'll be prompted in a moment to select either an existing subscription group or create a new one.

So, we'll start with the subscription name first.

This is going to be for our lunch plan.

So, our first subscription's going to be about different sandwich types.

So, I'll type in sandwiches.

And here's where I'll put in my product ID.

Now, once I create my product ID in this flow, it can't be edited later on.

So, I need to make sure we put in the right one.

So, we're making the one week version of our sandwich subscription.

And then I'll click next at the bottom.

So, here's where I'm going to create our new subscription group for our lunch plans.

And I'll type in lunch plans here.

And then click on create.

So, what we have here is our redesigned in-app purchase page.

And I'll come back to this in a moment to walk you through what's on this page.

But, what I want to focus on right now is subscription groups.

So, I'm going to go to the top of the page here and click on lunch plans, which will bring us to our subscription group page.

So, here at the top you can see we have the sandwiches subscription that we just created.

Below that we have our subscription group reference name.

And below that we have our localized app store metadata.

And we can add additional languages when you want to localize for additional languages.

As well we can go here to override the app name if we want to.

So, in this case my app name is Meal Manager, Recipes, and Shopping lists, which is a little bit too long to show up on the account management page.

So, that would get truncated.

So, I'm going to select use custom name, and just use the short version of our app, Meal Manager, and then go to the top of the page and click save.

So, what I'd like to show you next is how to arrange multiple subscriptions to create an upgrade and downgrade path.

So, I'm going to move over to our breakfast plans, which has a number of subscriptions already in it.

And what we can do here is arrange these subscriptions so that they're in an order of our upgrade and downgrade path.

So, first is our full course, which will be our highest level of service.

So, I'm going to pull that out of the grouping here and move it to the top.

And I'm going to take both versions of the subscription.

We have a one week and a one month.

And within one ranking here this basically, this can have differences of either price or duration.

The main idea here is that they're moving between these two subscriptions.

It's neither an upgrade or a downgrade.

And then I'll take omelets only and move that to the bottom, which is our lowest level of service.

And then I'll click save on the top here.

So, as Daniel explained, all these subscriptions within this group are mutually exclusive.

So, a customer would only have one of these subscriptions at a time.

If your intention is to have your customer have two subscriptions, they would need to be in two separate groups.

So, now this is arranged in my upgrade and downgrade path.

So, full course subscriptions are the highest level of service.

Muffins and omelets, movies and omelets are my mid-range subscription level of service.

And omelets only is my lowest level of service.

And you can actually have as many levels of subscriptions as you want.

We just say three for now.

But, you can see the numbering on the side here indicates which level it is.

And that is about subscription groups.

I'll give it back to Daniel.

[ Applause ]

Thanks, Jenn.

All right.

Now, let's move into how we'll be changing the way you plan price changes with auto-renewables.

Will start with territory pricing.

Today when you price an auto-renewable subscription, you choose one price tier for the entire world.

Behind the scenes, this price tier is associated with prices in individual territories around the world.

Now, we at Apple today manage these prices on your behalf.

When there are currency fluctuations we update these prices for you.

Now, this has always been convenient.

But, you asked us for more flexibility.

So, beginning this fall, you'll be able to price per territory.

[ Applause ]

The way this will work is, instead of choosing a single price tier, you'll start with a base currency and a base price.

This base price will come from a predefined list of prices.

And as you move though the work flow, we will generate prices for each territory that you select based on the current exchange rate at the time that you plan the price change.

After we generate these prices, you can go in and you can edit the price for say Austria.

Maybe you want to change the price here from $1.99 to $2.99.

And you can do this for one country, or you can do this for multiple countries.

Once you set up these prices and you've hit save, this price change goes into effect at whatever start date you've selected.

Next let's talk about customer attention in the context of price changes.

So, one of the biggest challenges today with customer attention when we change price is increasing the price of subscription.

When we increase the price all the customers that that affects, which is all the customers, receive an email that says that the price has increased and the subscriptions are stopped.

From here they have to go into their app store app, go into their account settings and re-enable the subscription at the new price.

Well, beginning this fall, we're introducing a streamlined consent process.

With this new process when a customer receives price change or a price increase they will get a push notification and an enhanced email.

From either the push notification or the email they can simply tap and they'll go directly into an app store page where they can review the new price and consent to it.

This gives your customers many more opportunities to consent in a more direct and understandable way.

Now, no matter how good the, no matter how good this flow is, if we increase the price there's always a chance that we can lose customers, which is why we've added the feature to preserve prices for existing customers while increasing prices for new ones.

[ Applause ]

Let's take a look at how this might work.

Let's say we're launching a new service in Japan.

We'd like to set our initial price at 120 yen.

So, we set that up.

And once this in-app purchase goes live, we'll have our early adopters paying 120 for both new subscriptions and renewals.

Now, after some time has passed, we're ready to launch our product formally.

So, we get our marketing teams ready.

We do a big push.

And we like to set our launch pricing at 240 yen.

But, when we set this price change, we like to keep our early adopters at 120, because they've been loyal.

They've been sticking with us.

So, when this new price change goes into effect, we'll have our launch customers paying 240 for both new subscriptions and renewals.

And we'll have our early adopters continuing paying 120 for their renewals.

Now, some more time passes and we're ready to move the price up to a new target price that we've had in mind.

This new price is 360 yen.

But, this time when we want, when this price change goes into effect, we'd also like to bring our launch customers up to 360.

So, we set that in our price change.

And once this goes into effect, we have one set of customers both launch and post-launch paying 360.

And we have early adopters still continuing at 120.

Now, notice here that the launch customers did have their prices increased.

So, they do get a consent request.

Finally we've reached the end of the year and we decide that we're ready to simplify our pricing going to the next year.

And we'd like to bring our early adopters up to 360.

We go into iTunes Connect.

We edit that price change.

And once we hit save, our early adopters move up to 360.

This change happens immediately, unlike the other price changes that we plan for the future.

Now, we have everybody paying 360 from here into the future until we plan more price changes.

Okay. I'd like to invite Jenn back up here to give us a demo of iTunes Connect and the new price flow.

[ Applause ]

So to go back into my Meal Manager app.

What we've decided to do is market our subscriptions with the three phrase approach.

So, when we launch a subscription we're going to come out with an initial price to attract some early adopters.

And we're going to keep them renewing at that price for a certain amount of time, then on our second phase we're going to raise the price a little, but only do that in a few select territories.

And then lastly we're going move up to their target price that we want to sell our subscriptions at going forward.

So, let's get started working on that.

So, I want to go into my dinner plans.

And dessert and entree is the next subscription that we're going to be releasing.

So, I need to go in and set up some initial pricing.

So, this again is our subscription group page.

And I can click into the specific subscription here.

So, again this is our new in-app purchase details page.

We have the reference name at the top.

We have a subscription duration underneath that.

We have the price schedule below that.

And I'll come back to that in a moment to set up our initial pricing.

Again we have our localized app store metadata.

And I can add additional languages when I'm ready to market this for additional territories.

And then our app store, app review information.

The screen shot should show how our in-app purchase is, presents itself within the context of the app.

And we can put in some additional app store review notes there to help extra find our in-app purchase.

So, I'm going to go click on set price here below price schedule to set up our initial pricing.

So, my base currency is U.S. dollar.

And that can be set as a preference within your user profile.

And I'm going select the initial price for this subscription at 99 cents.

And then click on next at the bottom.

So, these are the prices that were calculated based on current exchange rates.

If one of these territories, I have some additional licensing fees or other business needs and I need to raise the price for that one particular territory I can come in and select this and move it up whichever price I need to.

And if I forget which one was the initial price that had been calculated I can come over here and it will remind me.

So, I'm going to scroll down to the bottom here and go click on done.

And then click on okay.

So, once this subscription goes live, that will be our price for the subscription.

So, I'm going to click on save at the top of the screen.

And then go back to our subscription group page and move to our appetizer on entree subscription.

So, in this case we've launched our app.

We have some initial early adopters.

And I want to raise the price a little bit for our next phase of marketing.

So, I'm going to click on plan a price change.

So, as I said in this case we're going to be raising the price, but only in a few select territories.

So, I'm going to pick the United States and Canada, Italy, Spain, and France.

And then click on next.

The price, the date for this change will happen on June 24th.

And again, my base currency is U.S. dollar.

And I'm going to make the price $1.99 for this change.

And then click on next.

So, again these are the current exchange rates for, based on my base price selection.

And I can see here what the initial price was.

You know, we originally selected 99 cents for the early adopters.

And the new price will be $1.99.

And then I'll click on next at the bottom.

And here's where we're going to handle what to do with our existing subscribers.

In this case we're going to keep our early adopters renewing at the price that they originally subscribed at.

And this change will be for new subscribers that come on starting from the date that I selected earlier.

So, I'm going to click on done.

And that change will go into effect on June 24th.

That's the date that I selected.

And click okay.

And, so then we we'll have two prices going forward for this subscription.

And I can change this price if I need to up until the date that it goes into effect.

So, I'm going to go click on save at the top of the screen.

And then go back to our subscription group page and move to our entree only subscription.

Now in this case we've gone through those two phases of marketing and we're ready to raise the price to our target price that we wanted to sell the subscription at going forward.

So, I'm going to click on plan a price change here in the price schedule.

And now in this case I'm going to apply this to all territories.

So, I click this box at the top here and click next at the bottom here.

Again our date for our marketing campaign will be the 24th.

So, I'll select that date.

And the price change will be $2.99 for this subscription.

Again, select next.

And once again we have the calculated prices.

And I can see that the last price change we had was $1.99 on March 18th.

And our new price is going to be $2.99.

So, I've clicked next at the bottom.

Now in this case for our existing subscribers, the last price change, I want to move anyone that had subscribed after that point up to this new pricing.

But, we're still going to keep our early adopters at their, renewing at that original price that they had.

So, this change I only want to affect just the existing subscribers that came in since that last price change.

So, in this case I'm going to select apply price change to existing subscribers.

And I've applied it to all territories.

But, I can go and select individual territories that this would apply to if I needed to.

And I can see here, it says existing subscribers, $1.99 subscribers will now pay $2.99.

And that is what I want to do.

So, I'm going to click on next.

And it's important to note that once this price change goes into effect it cannot be changed.

And once it does go into effect, the user that will be renewing, that will have their price effected, will be notified that their price has changed.

And they will need to consent to that higher price before their subscription renews.

So, that is what we want to do.

So, I'm going to go ahead and select the check box here, and then click done, and then click on okay.

So, once this price change goes into effect, it will be you won't be able to go back and change it.

But, we can edit it up until that point that it goes into effect.

So, I'm going to select save at the top here and go back to our subscription group page.

And for our last task we're going to a look at our full course subscription.

So, now in this case we have hit the target price that we wanted.

And it's time to move those early adopters into our pricing so we can simplify the price for this subscription.

So, I want us to take a look at what we have here.

I want to click on the March 18th date here.

And I can see that the current price for new subscribers is $4.99.

And I can even see what my proceeds are for the first year for new subscribers.

And if they stay with us for a year or more I can see what my proceeds will be for, from that.

So, I'm going to click on done.

But, what I want to do is raise our early adopter price up.

So, I'm going to click on initial price here.

And here I can see that these subscribers are paying 99 cents.

So, we want to move them up.

So, I'm going to click on show price change options.

And here I can see the again, 99 cents.

And that the current is $4.99.

So, I'm going to click this check box up here.

That will apply it to all territories.

And again, if I need to I can selected individual territories to apply this to if I want to do it that way.

So, here it says 99 cent subscribers will pay $4.99.

That will simplify a pricing for this subscription.

So, I'm going to go ahead and click next.

Now in this case, the price change will take effect immediately.

So, as soon as I click save, that's it.

It cannot be edited or changed.

So, they will, and when the Windows subscribers, when it's time for them to renew they will get the agreement.

You know, the consent request to consent to the higher price for this subscription before the subscription will automatically renew.

And that is what we want to do.

So, I'm going to go ahead and select the check box here and then click done.

And then click on okay.

And now we have one price for the subscription.

So, once I click save that will save the changes and it will not be able to be edited.

And that is territory pricing.

[ Applause ]

Hey, thanks again, Jenn.

All right.

So, we talked about a lot of things today.

So, a quick recap of what those items were.

We talked about increased proceeds.

You'll be receiving 85% proceeds for any customers that haven't subscribed for one year or more.

We're expanding to all categories for auto-renewable subscriptions.

We're giving you the ability to define, upgraded, and downgrade paths.

We're allowing you to price per territory.

We're streamlining the consent work flow.

And we're giving you the ability to preserve prices for existing customers while increasing prices for new ones.

If you'd like more information, please go to this link, a bunch of great resources here.

We also have a number of related sessions.

We have the using StoreKit for in-app purchases with Swift 3 session that happened earlier today.

This is a great session to learn how to integrate your app using StoreKit with all the things we talked about today, including how to check for seats and other things that you can do with in-app purchases.

There's also the What's New with iTunes Connect session that's happening this Friday.

Be sure to check that out.

There's all kinds of new announcements that we're making around iTunes Connect.

That's this Friday at 1:40.

Thanks for joining us and enjoy the rest of your conference.

[ Applause ]

Apple, Inc. AAPL
1 Infinite Loop Cupertino CA 95014 US