Should I use subscriptions for an app selling photo-filter-like content?

  • 31 March 2022
  • 2 replies

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

Hi y’all,

I’ve been thinking about business models for an app I’m working on.

Let’s say that I’m selling specialized photo filters. And you can choose from a library of them, a sort of marketplace.

My first thought was to use tokens/coins. You buy 300 coins with an in-app purchase, and then you can spend 100 coins to buy a filter. That sort of thing.

Would a subscription model make sense here? I would, in fact, be selling content that I could update. And it would keep me from needing to track tokens per individual user.

I don’t know, would a subscription model be the right fit?

2 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

I think if you can continue to provide new filter options, then a subscription definitely makes sense. There’s a lot of very successful apps (e.g. VSCO) using this model. If your plan is to launch a set of filters that may not be updated to frequently, then one-time purchases for specific filters or sets of filters would be the way to go.


I do think that keeping track of tokens would be unnecessary overhead on your part. I’d either go subscriptions, or a specific one-time SKU for each filter.

Userlevel 1
Badge +4

Oooo, good points all around. 

Kind of tricky to know whether the app will have the kind of success that would justify a subscription. If it really takes off, then I would be super motivated to keep making content.

Or maybe I need to have 12 months of content releases lined up ahead of time and go all in on subscriptions!

Hmmm, good stuff to think about.

It’s definitely a pretty casual use case that I’m envisioning, so it’s hard for me to think that folks would want to subscribe if the goods I’m offering turn out to be more of a forgotten novelty (I hope not, but hard to say). But maybe?

Maybe it’s the kind of thing where I do both: if you want access to the full library and all the new content, you subscribe. Otherwise, you can buy a la carte. Is that a good idea? An option to buy direct plus a subscription option? Sort of a Prime Video approach, I suppose.