How Mockup’s Yearly Subscriptions Skyrocketed?

Mockup’s yearly subscriptions sales have increased by over 999% in the last week ! Here’s how the graph looked like:

But that wasn’t by luck. Two weeks ago, we released Mockup 3.3, with major changes to the business side. But, before we dive into them, let’s start with a quick overview.

Quick Overview

When I launched Mockup back in September 4, 2020, it was a very basic app. It was a stripped-down version of what it is now. Launching a minimal product was very helpful, but let’s not get into that. I want to talk about the business model if it.

Since the app was that simple, there weren’t many features to monetize. Making it paid upfront, on the other hand, misses a lot of potential. I wanted it to be a paid app, but I also wanted users to be able to try it out for free. And I was never a fan of subscriptions. For me, the only solution was to set a limit on the number of sketches. Users can then try the app for free before having to pay to continue using it and creating more sketches.

Introducing Subscriptions

Believe it or not, the in-app purchase was only 6.99$, which I reduced on launch to 4.99$! Thankfully, Kevin Quisquater, the developer of Super Habit and other amazing apps, reached out to me via Twitter DMs. He made me aware of the potential I’m giving up and provided me with plenty of valuable advice based on his own experience. Following our talk, I raised the price to 11.99$, then to 19.99$, and for the first time, I introduced a yearly subscription.

I eventually introduced monthly subscriptions and gradually raised prices over time. However, users who got the app for 4.99$ still have all the updates and features! They were early supporters, and I am grateful to them.

Despite these changes, the business model remained nearly unchanged for two years. A free app with three free sketches and a paid upgrade to unlock it. During this time, I was collecting best practices from other developers’ experiences and the tips they share, analyzing other apps, as well as advice from some experts in the field in-order to put up the optimal model on how to work the app’s subscriptions .

The Change

The app has evolved significantly over these two years, and I’ve realized it now has monetizable features. So, about 4 months ago, I decided it was time to change. It’s time to put these practices into action and implement a new business model. The app is still available for free, but it is no longer limited to three sketches. Rather, some features are marked as premium.

This way, users can keep the app for free and create as many sketches as they want. However, advanced users will need to upgrade in order to access all of the features. Some of these features include templates, elements, using symbols, etc…

But that wasn’t the only change. We also worked on the onboarding and upgrade experiences. Previously, the app didn’t have any onboarding. So in this update, we worked on designing and implementing an onboarding screen that introduces users to the app and culminates in the upgrade screen.

On the other hand, the upgrade screen was designed precisely. The small details were important to us. Here’s a before and after comparison of the upgrade screen:

The screen now shows all of the premium features that users will get when they upgrade. All of these features, moving in a slider, seem much more interesting than “unlock” the limit on number of sketches. Moreover, to encourage users for the yearly plan, the other plans are hidden by default. In addition, a discount badge was added to show users how much they save by paying yearly rather than monthly. For those who do not want to subscribe, the lifetime option is still available.

Furthermore, the yearly plan comes with a 7 days free trial. As a result, users can still try the full features before paying. We also made sure to mention the benefit of each plan in a plain and simple language. There is no benefit mentioned for monthly. In addition to the discount, users who pay yearly receive a “7-day free trial.” And it says “One-time purchase” for lifetime.


To be honest, I wasn’t very sure about the change. I was optimistic, but I couldn’t be sure before the release. Once released, I noticed a jump in subscription activations. That was a good sign. However, because we implemented a 7-day free trial, I had to wait to see if these activations would convert into sales. And it happened after the first week! Sales increased as well. Certain users did cancel, while others did not. Nevertheless, those who kept it and converted it into sales were far more than what we would have previously had. I kept monitoring, and after two weeks, here are the results:

  • The yearly subscription sales increased by > 999%
  • The monthly subscription sales dropped by 23%
  • The lifetime sales increased by 62%

Frankly, other factors aided in this situation. We’ve done a lot of social media marketing, both on our accounts and with our collaborators. We also launched on Product Hunt, which boosted our visibility. But since the launch was one week ago, the converted results had not yet appeared. It may have had an impact on lifetime sales, but the effect on subscription sales will be evident in the coming week.

Wrapping up

So, to wrap it up, here are the main factors that helped increasing subscription sales:

  • Onboarding screen
  • New business model: unlimited free sketches and premium features
  • Redesigned upgrade screen:
    • Focus on the most important plan
    • Show discount & benefits
    • Provide free trial

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