Trial mode tips for Windows Phone apps

At the Windows Phone camps that I’ve been presenting at around the east region, I’ve been showing how to use trial mode to help increase sales by giving users a way to try your application before they commit to buying it. Here are some suggestions to use trial mode effectively.

  • Read about Using the Trial Mode API there are a lot of good tips in there.
  • Check the trial mode when the application starts up as well as when it is activated, since users might be coming back from the activity of actually buying it in the marketplace, and you want to recognize that without forcing a restart. At the very least, if a restart is required, tell them that when they return to the app.
  • Don’t check the trial mode bit from inside an XNA game loop – unless you want to kill the game’s performance and your potential sales. Smile
  • Nag trial users appropriately to buy the app, and give them an effortless way to get into the marketplace to buy it. Nag them every 3rd or 4th time they run the app, or whenever they run into the limitation of your trial functionality.
  • If you have a Silverlight ad control that displays ads in trial mode but not in purchased mode, remember to remove it from the control hierarchy – setting its Visibility property to Collapsed doesn’t stop the code from running and the app from making network calls.

If you have any tips or questions on trial mode and Windows Phone, or experience using it, share with me and others in the comments.

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