Market your subscriptions with offer codes
November 19, 2020
You can now create and distribute subscription offer codes for your apps, giving you new ways to market your subscription. These one-time use, alphanumeric codes can be redeemed on the App Store or within your app. You can also create unique URLs associated with an offer code and distribute these using your choice of channels.
Offer codes can help you acquire, retain, and win back people by letting them experience your subscription at a free or discounted price for a specific duration. At the end of the offer period, the subscription auto-renews at the standard price unless a subscriber cancels it or turns off auto-renewal.
Offer codes can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can:
- Send an email sharing the latest features, recently added content, and an offer code to current or lapsed subscribers so they can experience your service for a limited time.
- Distribute flyers that include unique offer codes to promote your service to event attendees.
- Partner with another company on a marketing initiative or campaign to help promote your app.
- Provide an offer code to a subscriber with a customer service issue to compensate for the issue and encourage retention.
- Distribute offer codes within an app that you are sunsetting as a way to transition subscribers to your new app and promote your service.
You can provide multiple types of offers to people depending on your business goals. To determine which type might be best for a particular use case, consider each offer’s intended use, customer eligibility, redemption limits, and other criteria.
Configure and create offer codes
You can create new offer codes within App Store Connect. When you set up a new code, you’ll also need to determine customer eligibility: Is this for a new, existing, or expired subscriber?
If creating a code for a new subscriber, you’ll also want to decide whether the code is valid in addition to any introductory offers you may provide within your app.
As with other subscription offers in your app, you can choose whether the offer is free, pay as you go, or pay up front.
After you’ve configured your offer, you can create and download codes. You can create up to 150,000 new codes every quarter per app.
Note: Codes expire a maximum of six months from their creation date, so be mindful of how many codes you create at a given time to ensure you have enough valid codes to last the duration of your campaign.
Once you’ve downloaded your codes, you can use the URL in App Store Connect and create associated one-time code redemption URLs. You’ll need to copy the URL from your offer details page, then add the specific code to the end of the URL, like so:
Customers can redeem only one code per active offer, but may be eligible to redeem multiple different offer codes for a single subscription, depending on your configuration choices.
Before creating any offer codes, be sure to set up your server to validate receipts so you can properly entitle service. You can also enable App Store server notifications to understand subscription updates and status changes in real-time.
Distribute offer codes
You can distribute offer codes however you choose. Consider which channels might be most effective at reaching your intended customers. For example, you might distribute code redemption URLs in digital marketing channels such as your email distribution lists or text messages. You might share printed offer codes at events or even alongside the purchase of a physical product.
When distributing offer codes, make sure to note any eligibility or availability limits, as well as the code’s expiration date. If sharing offer codes with existing customers, make sure the offer is for a subscription within the same subscription group as their existing subscription.
Redeem offer codes
In order for customers to redeem an offer code, your app must be in the Ready for Sale state in App Store Connect. Customers on iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 and later can redeem offer codes by entering them in the “Redeem Gift Card or Code” page in their App Store account settings, or directly within your app if you’ve implemented the
presentCodeRedemptionSheet API. Additionally, if you’ve created and shared one-time code redemption URLs, customers can redeem offer codes using that link.
Apple handles the redemption experience, which includes an offer details screen with the app icon, subscription display name, duration, and pricing; if you’ve previously added a promotional in-app purchase image for the subscription, this is shown instead of your app icon.
You can customize each of these details within App Store Connect. To help people make an informed decision, make sure that they clearly describe your subscription. If a customer attempts to redeem your code but does not have your app installed, they’ll be able to download it during the redemption experience.
If you choose to support in-app redemption, consider adding a way to enter an offer code during relevant moments in the user experience — for example, adding a “Redeem Code” link on your subscription’s paywall screen, or in your app’s settings screen.
Once a user redeems an offer, provide a relevant experience based on their subscription state. For example, for a first-time subscriber, you might highlight the benefits of your subscription and provide onboarding. If your app includes account creation or requires agreement to additional terms, make this process as smooth as possible for customers who redeemed a code and are new to your app.