Most of us are aware of the importance and significance of a first purchase in mobile apps. That transition from 'non payer' to 'payer' is a genuine watershed, especially when you consider that only 1.5% of any users (in the world of games at least) make a purchase in any given month. Non-payers, in whatever way you want to think about that definition, make up the vast majority of mobile app users, and the single greatest division in the world of mobile apps is between those who pay and those who do not.

But there's more to it that that. Those who make a first purchase are more likely to buy again. That shouldn't come as a surprise, but the numbers themselves perhaps should. Over 50% of all first time purchasers go on to purchase again - which makes anyone in the group 'payer' about 50 times more likely to make a purchase at any given moment in time that those in the non-payer bracket. That data suggests that mobile app developers should be investing time and effort in delivering alternative experiences - whether within the app, or via in-app messages - to users who have paid and not paid.

Getting To Second Base

So purchasers are more likely to make a second purchase. But what's really interesting is just how soon that happens. In our monetization report - which took data for 10s of millions of players over the course of January 2014, we found that the median time from first to second purchase was an extraordinary 1 hour and 40 minutes. For 25% of players who went on to make a second purchase, that purchase was made within 5 minutes of the first purchase.

For mobile app developers looking to maximize revenues, these numbers give pause for thought. Clearly there is a significant opportunity to target those users who have just made their first purchase - as this is a 'receptive' time when a second is not just possible, but likely. But doing this requires an extremely fast reaction to this changing reality. It is vital to not only understand what has just been purchased, but process that information and feed it back to the app - so that the user is offered complementary purchases - or indeed more of the same.

The obvious analogy is with mobile retailing. We are all familiar with purchasing a book on Amazon only to be told we might also be interested in another by the same author, or on a similar subject. They understand how one purchase easily turns into another, and they personalize and optimize to make it happen.

Native mobile apps will have to take the same approach.