Older freemium app users fork over cash, younger users spend time

Freemium mobile games have been on the rise and account for two-thirds of App Store gaming revenues. But younger and older users register their engagement in different ways, according to new data from app analytics firm Flurry. Younger users spend more time in freemium apps but don’t plunk down as much money while older users are the opposite, less free with their time but more likely to open up their wallets.

It sounds somewhat intuitive considering many younger users are cash-strapped but have more time on their hands, while older users can afford to pay, though their time is limited. But Flurry’s data is helpful in highlighting these differences and showing how game makers can take advantage of them.

The chart above speaks to the different ways players progress through freemium social games. Users who have the time can grind out the experience, earning enough currency to level up and progress. But time-strapped, older users can pay some money and buy virtual currency that speeds up their progress. It’s a good reminder of why the freemium model can work so well, because it can reach a wide audience but can make money from a small percentage.

The upshot is that developers may work to engage younger users, who can build up a very loyal base, but the real money is found in engaging older users who actually pay the bills. The key is to build an app that engages across the spectrum, giving everyone a reason to stay in involved.