Free Trial Conversion Rates: Understanding the Meaning behind the Metrics

By Todd White
Jan 31, 2022
office girl answering videocall

Click here to sign up for the free trial conversion webinar on Tuesday February 8, 2022.

What’s a popular way to increase product exposure and expand your customer base? Invite prospective customers to try your product for free.

“Thanks to its advantages, the free trial model helps speed up the monetization process,” says Max Yarchevsky, CEO and founder of Boxmode. “However, if you tend to use this model, pay special attention to the CR (churn rate), the percentage of customers or subscribers who stop being the company’s customers within a certain period (stopped buying or canceled subscriptions).” 

Your organization’s vision and goals will impact the success of your free trial model. For example, a newer brand can increase product awareness with an opt-in free trial offer, whereas a more established brand can attract more customers with an opt-out or freemium offer campaign. But let’s talk numbers and what we can pull from those results. 

Computing Your Free Trial Conversion Rate

The formula to determine conversion rate is pretty straightforward. Divide the number of users who signed up for the service after using the free trial by the total number of free trial offers. Take that total and multiply it by 100. The sum is the trial conversion rate. But once you’ve computed the total, what’s a reasonable benchmark? 

There are three general free trial model options: 


Opt-In Unlimited Free Trial

Minimal signup requirements. Often, users only need to provide an email address, and they only need to provide a credit card number after the free trial time period ends. 


Opt-Out Unlimited Free Trial

Users must provide a profile and credit card number up front. If they don’t cancel when the trial offer time period ends, they are charged the full amount for the first month of subscription service. 


Freemium Limited Free Trial

Offers a selected amount of key features and functionality available for a limited time. You’ve likely encountered freemium trial offers if you play Candy Crush Saga or if you rely on Grammarly for editing documents. Both are examples of a free service.

Depending on the free trial model, most SaaS campaigns aim for a 15 to 30 percent conversion rate. But if your conversion rates are hovering around 10 percent, let’s examine some factors that may have impacted your results.


Factors That Impact Free Trial Conversion Results


Features Don’t Align with User Expectations 

Users learn about your subscription services from your website. If you’ve presented your product with heaps of features, hoping to appeal to everyone, your objectives will be unclear. 

Free trials are an opportunity for you to promote solutions for your targeted users with engaging interactions, information, and support. Should you select the opt-out trial offer that requires prospects to pay up front to try your platform, expectations are even higher. 


Trial Offer Requires Too Many Steps to Sign Up

A trial offer that requires an excess of redundant data and fields to sign up amounts to one thing: a mistake. Just look at your offering from a customer’s perspective: The experience should be simple, relevant, and customer-centric. 

“A free trial might not cost customers money, but they are investing time in your product. If setting up the free trial account requires a little time on the part of the trialer (as long as it’s not too much time or too complicated a set-up) they are more likely to stick with it after the trial ends,” says Chelsea Segal, CEO of Targetwise. 

Chelsea added that not only will prospective customers see how your product benefits them but they will have already put time into inputting data, adding clients or friends, uploading images—effort they won’t want to duplicate elsewhere. 


The Product Price Doesn’t Align with Value

When you don’t take advantage of the trial period to share key feature information, resources, videos, and more, it’s hard for prospective customers to quickly understand the value you bring to their workflow processes. Partner that with a chunky, redundant free trial onboarding experience, and you’ve doomed your conversion rates. 

Instead, ensure your biggest selling points are accessible through a freemium service, with features that cater to the customer’s needs, and just enough exposure to the full service with sticky points that entice them to subscribe for the full version. 

If you’ve established your pricing points, now is the time to reinforce the value your product contributes to users while they are using it. By using customer-centric strategies that align with user expectations, offer a seamless customer experience, and reinforce product value, your free trials will pay off with paying customers. 


Webinar Explores the Keys to Converting Free Trials


Looking to convert more free trials? Join us for a webinar filled with ways to keep your free trials on track to paid engagements. 

The Key to Converting More Free Trials webinar, set for Tuesday, February 8, at 12 p.m. ET, is co-sponsored and hosted by Todd White, cofounder and VP of Sales at GUIDEcx, and Bryan Neale, founder of Blind Zebra. Topics will include: 

  • What to do when adoption rate is low through the trial
  • How to engage other people in the decision process during the trial
  • When you should extend a free trial
  • The single most important part of the trial (It’s not what you think!)


Register here.

Todd White


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