Kylie Jenner App Revenue – Subscription Models Crush It In The App Store

It's no surprise that celebrities have taken notice of the app store.

Last year Kim Kardashian's app minted (ahem) $200 million bucks for Glu Mobile. 

Not bad.

Of course, sister Kylie Jenner had to out-do the older sibling once and for all with her own app (that is now more popular than Facebook and Instagram on the app store).

But that's not the best part.

Whoever implemented this monetization strategy is a genius.

….or maybe an evil genius. 

Check this out:

Monday September 14, 2015

App goes live:

kylie jenner

Goes to the top of the charts (no shocker there).

September 15-20, 2015

Users have the following experience.

Create “Free” account which then prompts you to agree to a $2.99/mo subscription with the first 7 days free:

kylie jenner subscription

So all those 14 year old girls who just downloaded the app click “Continue.”


September 21, 2015

Remember all those nice people who downloaded the app on launch day?

Time to pay the piper.

7 days later, all those “free trials” switch on the $2.99/mo subscription and charge the Apple ID associated.

If you think people were smart enough to cancel, think again:

kylie grossing


By our best estimates, that's about $200,000-$300,000/day.

Like all subscription businesses, that's just going to snowball.


The Subscription Model Just Dropped the Hammer On the App Store

Everyone in the internet marketing world knows subscriptions are a great business model, but no one has ever tried this other than apps like the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal and Spotify.

But we may now be seeing something new happen.

While the Kylie Jenner App example (in my opinion) is ethically questionable, the results from a pure monetization standpoint are staggering.

Keep your eye open for app developers to start leveraging this type of business model. The Kylie Jenner app revenue gives us insight into how much more potential this model has.


Now, I need to get back to Kylie's latest makeup tutorial.





  • Mark Nagelmann September 22, 2015

    Lol! Reasons I’m happy I don’t have a teenage daughter…

  • Riley September 23, 2015

    Cool post, Carter. What about the 30% fee AS takes out of TOP LINE revenue? This seams to really harm the subscription model. Will Apple change their pricing model? Will apps with subscriptions use in-app advertising to push users to one of their own conversion points OUTSIDE the app store?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas September 23, 2015

    @Riley – Apple takes 30% of any money (paid or In-app). Ad networks take 30-50% of revenue from advertising. That’s the cost of doing business in the app store. One thing that you can do is create the subscriptions on a website, then send people to the app to use their login info – this is what Spotify did to combat Apple Music’s launch.

  • Jorge Diaz September 23, 2015

    Magazines in the now defunct Newsstand section are a way to have your own Subscription App. I have several of those apps with great results

    Another great Subscription app example is the 12 Minute Athlete on the app store

    Great post didnt knew these apps that all the kardashian sisters have had recurring payment monetization.

    They also do affiliate marketing for other products like make up

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas September 23, 2015

    @Jorge – yes, they have tons of other deals going on inside the apps. The life of a celebrity 🙂

  • Joey Goodman September 23, 2015

    HBO Now jumps to top grossing every 30 days like clockwork ever since its release in May… Then it disappears for a month with its 2 1/2 star rating… Then it’s back up to the top spot…

    “Subscription Terms” are front and center… And… if “Family Sharing” is setup, parents will get a notification requesting authorization for the purchase… (and will probably never realize the recurring cost because of its perfectly priced $2.99…)

    Not sure what to make of this except that last makeup tutorial was like totes OMG amazing!!!

    I hear ya’ Carter… I feel ya’ Carter… Great info. my man…

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas September 23, 2015

    @Joey – haha love it. And yes, the HBO subscription is a great example. They also illustrate a very responsible party who’s legal team is sensitive to chargebacks and false terms bc they have a strong brand to protect, vs Kylie who’s team is much more concerned about $$$.

  • Markus Geisler September 23, 2015

    Great Subject Carter! There are a lot of under the radar apps out there using the subscription model….I’ve seen a number of therm that are on the yearly plan…as well as those on the monthly plan. Mostly in the diet and weight-loss area as well as the weight-lifting and body-building area. But there are also those in the self-improvement /productivity/ coaching areas as well. Apps like Fitocracy, Lose-it! (yearly), etc.
    Then there’s the model, where you sign up for a coach outside the app and pay them separately…..
    ….but I like this model! I suppose almost any of the top niches could be set up with a subscription app! Time for me to get moving on this! ;D

  • Damian September 25, 2015

    What I want to say is that is the future of apps (but maybe in more ehtical way where users are more aware of subscription and can easily switch of)
    Reccuring subscription income + email marketing = is the King.
    I will be launching a productive app with goal setting and achieving somewhere in the last days of December or first days of January with subscription model. We will see if it works.

  • Sam October 2, 2015

    I am a software engineer and spent HOURS trying to figure out how to cancel my subscription. THERE IS NO WAY TO DO SO! Customer support tells you that you can do it, but obviously there is no other way but to contact them and ask them! And of course, those bastard are taking their time and waiting until Iget charged to reply.

    I am surprised this deceitful tactic is even legal, but I can tell you that the in the long term it will breed some bitterness from former fans like me. I am so bitter about having been screwed over by that I will actively spend the next month trying to ruin her lives. I want to make sure that I am heard and that no other teenage girls get taken advantage of.

    Kylie Jenner, I hope you burn in Hell.

  • Annoyed Mother October 28, 2015

    This app is a rip off!!!
    My daughter signed up for a FREE Trial. Free my arse! My account was billed for this so called FREE Trial and then they continued to try and get a Monthly Subscription as well!! Talk about taking advantage of teenage girls.
    In the end had to call iTunes to get this CRAP sorted. This to me is the lowest form of income you could get, if you are preying on teenagers and Lying to potential app users.

    Will be spreading this with other sites as I’m sure others out there have been stung by the same latest SCAM by these sorts of developers and celebrities (if you want to call her that because I don’t!!!)

    Big Rip Off and Scam.

  • Hugh Kimura October 28, 2015

    @Annoyed Mother – We certainly understand your frustration. This is a revenue model that could work with the right type of content, but this isn’t the best execution of the business model.

    For anyone who wants to know how to unsubscribe from the Kylie Jenner app, follow these directions:

    1. Go into iTunes on your desktop or mobile device
    2. Go into your account settings:
    a. On iOS, go to the App Store app, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap on your account. In your account settings, turn off your subscription to the Kylie Jenner app.
    b. On your desktop, click on your account name, then go to your settings. Then under subscriptions, turn off the subscription to that app.

    If you have any further issues, contact Kylie Jenner support:

    Hope that helps!

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