Welcome to offer codes!

In-App Purchase Apple App Store

Announced during the virtual WWDC 20 and expected since the launch of iOS14 (alongside with family sharing), Apple finally launched Offer Codes yesterday. That announcement was quite invisible since few hours later Apple dropped the 30% rate for small businesses to 15%. This article will let you catchup on the announcement and unveiled details about that new marketing feature for app marketers that is already available in Purchasely.

What are offer codes?

If you knew already about the In-App Purchase Promo Codes as a tool to offer a premium access to press and influencers you will have to learn another very different tool: Offer Codes.

Offer Codes give you a discounted (or free) access to a specific In-App subscription product.

The main characteristics are:

  • A code that you can use once and that unlocks the content/service, for free or at a discounted price, for a certain amount of time
  • Codes expire 6 months after generation if unused (can be set to shorter)
  • Subscription auto renews to standard price at the end of the offer period
  • 10 offers active simultaneously per In-App Product
  • 500 and 25 000 codes generated per batch
  • Limited to 150 000 codes generated till the end of the year
  • Can (or not) be cumulative to an introductory offer

Offer code converts to regular pricing so you won’t need any additional effort once the offer is accepted. This is also a great way of gaining new subscribers, for example you could send an offer code to a newly subscribed user to share it with a friend.
Finally this 6 month availability window give you the opportunity to print the links on flyers and try new physical acquisition channels.

As for introductory offers and promotional offer, you will be able to chose what kind of promotion you want to activate:

  • Free
  • Pay as you go: If you offer a $1,99/month discount during 3 months you will be billed 3 times or …
  • Pay upfront: there you will make one payment of $5,99 for the 3 months promotional period

Marketing teams enjoy full control and effortless creation of their subscription campaigns, from the design, content, pricing and promotions using our Paywall templates to customizable campaign options.

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How does that work?

For app makers

The App Store offers the possibility to choose:

  • if the promo code can be used only for new* subscribers, existing or past (or a combination of those 3).
  • if the offer replaces or cumulates to an intro offer
  • in which countries the offer is available

The setup can be made from App Store Connect.

For users

Offer codes can be distributed through digital ways or regular paper.
Digitally, you will receive a mail with the following pattern: https://apps.apple.com/redeem?ctx=offercodes&id={AppID}&code={Code}

This link will open the App Store app and you will just have to confirm the purchase.

Offer code from the App Store app

If you received a code, you can still go to App Store > Account > Redeem Gift Card or Code but the best thing to do for an app is a way to enter the offer code from within its paywalls just like what offers Purchasely with its paywalls 😍 .

Offer Codes from the app using Purchasely paywalls

What are the limitations?

There are two major limitations to Offer Codes:

  1. Code can’t be personaliszed and are auto-generated so you won’t be able to send the same code for iOS and Android users.
  2. Code can only be used once. You won’t be able to deliver the same code to everyone which would have been great for print flyers. You will also have to adapt the way you will be sending emails or push to accept a CSV file with these offers.

These two limitations will make the distribution of codes more complex as they will have to deliver different messages to everyone and also know what kind of device (iOS or Android) the user has.
Of course solutions exists but we hope that Apple extends the Offer Codes to support that feature and let app makers create coupon codes like “BLACKFRIDAY” working for iOS and that can be replicated on the Google Play Store.

We also found out some minor limitations:

  • Disabling codes applies to the entire batch (500 to 25 000) that you created. You should generate separated batch for each population, usage and destination so that you limit the risk of having to cancel them all at once.
  • Disabling codes won’t change the maximum limit.
  • Offer codes cannot be used for a downgrade (product inferior in the subscription group)
  • On launch day, the receipt data didn’t contain (yet ?) offer code used. The receipt data doesn’t have any information at all letting you know the customer used an offer code.
    It is necessary to have the fact that the user used an offer code and the ID of the offer to be able to make attribution and calculate the performance of a campaign.
    For sure Apple will improve that and we already reported it to them (Ticket FB8909187).

Purchasely is the only In-App Subscription SaaS platform from build to interface, compliant with mobile, TV and app store guidelines. Purchasely gives Marketers full control and ease to increase and retain cross-channel subscribers — in days instead of weeks.

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App Store Offer Codes vs Google Promo Codes

Features App Store
Offer Code
Play Store
Promo Code
Auto-generated codes
Custom codes
Subscriber segmentation
(new, current, previous subscribers)
Geographical segmentation
Number limit 150 000 / quarter 10 000 / quarter / product
(99 999 for custom codes)
Codes expires after 6 months 1 year
Maximum free period 1 year 90 days

Where to go from now?

Purchasely included that feature in its SDK way before it was publicly released and was featured flipped in production the day of the release


This new tool for converting users to subscribers in a new weapon to your marketing fire power that you would be testing to see how it applies to your users and how they respond to it.

Later this year Apple will provide performance KPIs in Sales and Trends and of course we will be providing them into Purchasely dashboard to have a better undressing of how your different campaign perform.

* New user is a user that never purchases in the same subscription group.

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