Time Out 2: two years on

Today is the two-year anniversary of the general release of Time Out version 2.0.

This time last year, I wrote a blog post celebrating the first anniversary with some pie charts breaking down the sales of each supporter duration by the direct and Mac App Store editions.

To mark the end of the second year, I thought I'd follow up with another chart; this time looking at the rate and type of repeat support.

The supporter model used by Time Out was a bit of an experiment — would it be feasible and sustainable to have relatively low priced purchase options for specific time periods? People could buy the lowest level (just $2.99), and never pay again. It'd only work if many people instead chose a higher level, and at least some people renewed their support after the initial period expired.

To help encourage that, I reward ongoing support with useful new features that are only available to supporters. New people becoming supporters, and existing people renewing their support, encourages and funds ongoing development. Everybody wins!

So how has it turned out?

Well, looking at a sample of about the last month, here's a table with the percentages for each supporter level, compared with the first purchase and subsequent renewals:

Purchase 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
3-month 49.7% 6.2% 1.3% 0.3% 57.4%
6-month 14.1% 3.1% 0.3% 0.0% 17.4%
12-month 20.0% 4.4% 0.8% 0.0% 25.1%
Total 83.8% 13.6% 2.3% 0.3% 100.0%

Here's a graphical representation of the same values:

As you can see, most people do purchase the cheapest option the first time (almost half), and most people only buy once (83.8%)... but a goodly number do renew (13.6%), with a higher proportion of them opting for 12 months than before. Relatively few have renewed again... but that may be due in part to version 2 of the app only being available for two years, so people who chose a 12-month supporter status for the first or second purchase won't be due yet.

Looking at the raw data does support this; I see many people who chose the 3-month option initially, then opted for 6- or 12-months when they renewed. Very few people purchased 12-month then renewed at a lower level. A noticeable number also chose 3-month each time; paying quarter-to-quarter (though sometimes with some gaps).

Overall, I'm happy with these results. A high proportion of minimal one-time purchasers may seem a little disappointing, but it's to be expected. A large influx of new customers is good for the app. I just need to keep improving it, and hopefully many of them will choose to renew, or at least recommend the app to others, who will also become supporters.

Time will tell how things go, but I consider this encouraging so far.