How To Maximize In-Game Purchases

February 15, 2023
February 14, 2023

You have worked hard to build a great game and attract a player base. Now, how do you make money from your efforts? In-game purchases are one of the most effective monetization strategies for many types of games. Learn how to maximize this revenue stream.

Key Takeaways:

  • In-app purchases are one of the most popular sources of revenue for free-to-play and freemium games.
  • To maximize purchases, you must study your players to determine what they want to buy and when they want to buy it.
  • Carefully balance gameplay with monetization efforts so that players do not become frustrated or feel like they are being forced to spend money to complete the game.
  • A few big spenders will generate most of your revenue, so attracting and keeping them is critical.
  • The easier you make it for players to make purchases, the more likely it is that they will do so.

What Are In-Game Purchases?

In the past, most games either cost a one-time upfront fee or charged players a recurring subscription to continue playing. Today, many games are free-to-play, particularly in the mobile games market.

One of the most popular monetization strategies for these games is to offer players the chance to purchase in-game lives, currency, boosts, and other items that either enhance gameplay or help players get further in the game.


Most in-app purchases are items, such as in-game currency, that a player can only use one time. If players want to use these consumable items again, they must purchase them again. These types of purchases appeal to players who do not want to wait around or jump through hoops to earn items for free.


Non-consumable items are in-game purchases that players get to keep and use more than once. Examples of non-consumable items are levels, characters, loot boxes, and cosmetic upgrades.


Subscriptions provide players with access to various kinds of premium content for a specific period. These subscriptions may either automatically renew until the player cancels or require the player to manually renew once the subscription period is over.

How Do You Maximize In-Game Purchases?

About 48.2% of all mobile app revenue comes from in-app purchases. Maximizing this revenue source requires a careful balancing act. You must find ways to incentivize players to make purchases without causing them to get frustrated and stop playing your game.

Determine What Motivates Your Players

Different types of gamers and different types of games gravitate toward different kinds of in-app purchases. For example, gamers who enjoy long play sessions and play addictive games that are hard to put down may want to purchase extra lives so that they keep playing for longer.

A casual gamer who only wants to play for a few minutes at a time may prefer purchases that help them get further in the game faster. Puzzle and trivia games naturally lend themselves to selling hints. Highly competitive gamers may prefer purchases that make their characters more powerful, such as weapons upgrades or items that help them level up faster.

Avoid Giving Away Too Many Items

Many items that players can purchase are also available for free in the game. However, to get players to purchase them, you must ensure that you do not hand out too many of the items for free. You must find the balance between keeping the game playable and fun and giving players a reason to purchase in-game items.

Incorporate Purchases Strategically

It is essential to introduce in-game purchases in the right places and at the right time in the game. The purchasing opportunities should align with the player’s progression and the challenge level of the game so that every time there is a chance to buy something, the players believe they need the items that are for sale.

Do Not Make Items Too Powerful

The items players can purchase should provide players with enough of an advantage that they feel like they are worth buying. However, you must avoid creating a situation where players feel like they have to purchase the items to win the game.

This is particularly important in multiplayer games. If players who do not make purchases feel like they cannot compete with players who do, they will probably leave the game, and they may also leave you poor reviews and tell their friends not to play.

Unless you have a very large base of players, this can cause the player pool for your game to dry up, and multiplayer games are not much fun if there is no one to play with or against.

Catch Some Whales

Mobile gaming whales are players who spend a large amount of money on in-app purchases. These users are rare and make up a small percentage of the player population but can account for 50% or more of a game’s revenue.

The best way to catch a whale is to utilize major ad networks and optimize your ad campaigns to attract players who are likely to make in-game purchases.

Consider Rewarding Players for Purchases

Some games reward players for in-app purchases by giving them the chance to become VIPs by accumulating points for every item they buy. VIP systems typically come with some exclusive perks and are popular in casino games and some mid-core games.

It is particularly important to make your whales feel valued by offering them perks, such as exclusive deals. Make sure the language you associate with these perks makes it clear that they are for your most valuable players.

However, do not forget about your other players. If you create a great experience for lower-spending players, these players may evolve into bigger spenders.

Make Transactions Easy

The more steps players have to take to make in-game purchases, the more likely they are to back out without completing the transaction. Design a purchasing system that requires as few clicks as possible and gives players a variety of easy ways to pay.

Players are more likely to complete a purchase if they can do it quickly and without having to interrupt their play session. If they have to get up and go looking for their wallet because you have not made it easy to pay from their phone, they may decide it is not worth the hassle.

Make Sure Players Know About Your In-App Store and Visit Often

Without being too pushy, make sure players know that your in-app store exists. Give them a reason to visit frequently, such as offering free daily rewards, new items, and daily deals.

How Can You Tell If You are Maximizing Your In-Game Purchases?

To judge whether your monetization strategies are working, you need to track several metrics:

  • Daily active users
  • In-app purchase conversion rate
  • Average revenue per paying user
  • Customer lifetime value

Your analysis of these metrics will help you determine what is working and what you need to adjust to maximize your in-app purchases and other revenue streams.

How Can Sonamine Maximize In-Game Purchases?

Sonamine’s monetization campaigns can help you encourage players to make their first in-game purchases, incentivize repeat purchases, and buy subscriptions. We leverage industry best practices to turn your players into paying customers. Contact us online to get started.

Join our newsletter and receive a FREE
Player Retention
Best Practices GUIDE
Get the e-book now
Receive a FREE
Player Retention
Get the
e-book now
Money Back Guarantee For Braze Customers

For a limited time until June 2024, Sonamine is offering a 60 day money back guarantee to Braze customers. Come experience the ease and simplicity of the First Time Spender Nudge package and watch your conversions soar.

Get started
Money Back Guarantee For Braze Customers

For a limited time until June 2024, Sonamine is offering a 60 day money back guarantee to Braze customers. Come experience the ease and simplicity of the First Time Spender Nudge package and watch your conversions soar.

Get started
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.