My experience with the “Blinkist trial”: Big boost

Quite a lot higher trial start rate with lower conversion percentage.

Published: April 26, 2024
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At the end of January 2024 I decided to change how my onboarding works in SwitchBuddy in relation to subscription offer. Previously the onboarding would end with a simple footer that would offer the user to check the SwitchBuddy+ subscription or just finish the onboarding.

If you know what “Blinkist trial” is, you can skip this paragraph. Otherwise, a short explanation follows. This approach to trial was first shared by the people behind the Blinkist app. Its main idea is to make it “risk-free” for the user to try your app without forgetting about it and converting it to a paid subscription. The original approach uses a notification on the fifth day of the free trial to remind users that their subscription ends. The UI is very often a timeline showing when specific stuff will happen - the notification and, finally, the paid conversion.

Instead of a notification I opted for calendar event, because I was already familiar with it and thought it could help me because people will trust their calendar more than the notification from my app which might get lost. Otherwise my approach is pretty close to what Blinkist originally did.


In my current onboarding, the trial screen is always shown at the end of the onboarding flow (except when the user already has a trial and cannot start again). Users can close it with the close button at the top left. My main motivation was to get more people to experience the full app without bumping into limits. Since SwitchBuddy+ is an entertainment app and not something you truly need, I always had problems with conversions and even getting folks to try the trial.

The results

In the first month when the change was live, I was able to boost my trial start rate from sub 2% to well over 4%, which translated to a massive number of new trials. The conversion rate went down from around 31% to 22%, but the absolute numbers showed clear improvement. I got around 40% more new subscriptions, even though the total downloads in February were a tad smaller than in January.

March numbers were identical to my February ones.


Crazy April

At the end of March, I made what I thought were small changes to the onboarding. I added prominent text to the first page explaining that this is an unofficial Nintendo Switch app and added a thank you message in quotes with my first name.

I then also updated the Games portion of the onboarding. Instead of showing current featured games in a grid with the ability to add them to favorites, I just listed the benefits of the games section. These include price drop notifications for wishlisted games, OpenCritic review scores, and more, and that was it.

At the time of writing this on April 25th, my trial start rate is 6,4%, which seems crazy, and the conversion seems to be on track. However, since there are many pending trials, I don’t have the actual conversion rate yet.

It seems wild that these small changes would have such a big impact, but maybe they did, and it wasn’t just a random fluke.

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Filip Němeček

iOS blogger and developer with interest in Python/Django. Want to see most recent projects? 👀

iOS blogger and developer with interest in Python/Django. Want to see most recent projects? 👀