Hey! Quick note. This is a follow-up post from a previous article where I discussed why we’re changing our pricing model and what our overall philosophy is for how pricing should work. In case you haven’t had a chance to check that post out or just wanted the TL;DR, here it goes.
Since the start of Adalo in 2019, we’ve never changed our pricing. In that same time frame, we’ve added a TON of new features, workflow improvements, and much, much more.
After a number of one-on-one conversations with you all, we came up with three principles that make up our pricing philosophy.
1. Pricing should be tied to the value you’re getting with Adalo & your usage — which widely varies from maker-to-maker.
2. Pricing should be predictable & simple to understand.
3. Pricing works best when it’s good for your long term success and Adalo’s long term success.
And finally, we wouldn’t be here without our community, so for being loyal customers we want to offer the option for you to continue on your current plan for the next 12 months. This is all part of our process to evolve our pricing and continue to get feedback from you all. Thank you for creating with Adalo!
Now onto the next step…
As a part of our ongoing efforts to talk with you all throughout this process, I wanted to give you an update. After coming up with an overall pricing philosophy, we realized that our next challenge was to figure out a new model that somehow managed to balance all three of our principles — despite the potential for these principles to be at odds with each other.
This post goes into that model. It’ll discuss the five different elements that make up our new pricing structure and why we think this path is the perfect balance.
Quick heads up, this post will not go into the exact specifics for all of the different plans. I’m trying to keep you up to date in real time and as a part of that I’d like to keep talking with you all so that you can help us figure out those specifics. So just like last time, here’s a link to book a meeting with me if you’d like to chat. As soon as we work through the exact details for what those plans will look like, I’ll give you another update.
The Five Elements of Our New Pricing Structure
In order for our pricing to be fairly tied to value, easy-to-understand, & beneficial for everyone’s long term success, there are five elements that will determine the different pricing plans.
1. Number of Apps | 2. Total Storage | 3. Monthly App Activity | 4. Features | 5. Collaborators
Let’s go over some key details for these 5 elements and then afterwards I’ll go into a longer deep dive as to why we think these are the perfect balance.
#1 Number of Apps
Being able to create apps as quickly as you are with no-code is like a superpower. And with that great power (comes great responsibility 😉), some of you come to Adalo and know exactly the one idea that you want to build and you stick with that project. Others come to Adalo and love the speed with which you can build apps empowering them to build out a lot of different app ideas. In order for our plans to reflect this, there will be different amounts of published apps available on each plan.
One very key detail in that last sentence is the word ‘published.’ We know that one of the most important parts of the creation process is being able to quickly test out ideas and also to share those ideas with others so that they can learn from them and incorporate them into their projects. And because of that we will continue to have unlimited test apps available for everyone. Additionally, we know there will need to be ways to change which apps are ‘published’ on your account and the ability to purchase additional published apps while still remaining on lower plans.
#2 Total Storage
One of the key differences between an app and a website is that apps tend to store a lot of data. You have the information that you put into the app while you’re building it and then you have data that your users continue to add to it over time. Adalo offers you all a way to create your own databases and then the ability to store, host, and process that data directly through your account. We also have a way for you all to connect to your own external data sources if you’d like to store your information that way. Moving forward the total amount of data you have stored will continue to be a way that we differentiate the plans. One change here is that we’d like to be more generous with the amount of data that each plan allows. I’ll go more into why we think this way, but at a high level we think that data that is just unused and sitting there getting stored isn’t that valuable to you all and doesn’t cost that much. The real value you’re getting is when your end users are using that data. Which leads us to our next element: Monthly App Activity.
#3 Monthly App Activity
Every app is designed to help some group of people in some way. And the amount that they use that app is most closely tied to how much it helps them solve whatever problem it was created to help them with — in other words how successful your app is. And because of that we thought it made the most sense to align our success with your success and tie our pricing to how much app activity your app has every month. In addition, this aligns closely with the amount it costs us to run your app.
We considered a variety of options here for how to track and charge for app activity (which I’ll go into a lot more detail on below if you’re interested), but we ultimately landed on a new concept we’re calling App Actions. App Actions are the amount of actions that are getting run throughout your app by all of your end users. So when someone in your app clicks on screen to create a new record or updates something or navigates to another screen to trigger an email to send, those are all tracked as app actions.
Now my guess is that some of you (especially those of you with super successful apps) are curious how many app actions your apps have. In order to help you get a better understanding of this new metric we’ve got a brand new dashboard for you all inside of your team settings so that you can see these. The dashboard has a breakdown of which apps are accruing App Actions during your current monthly billing cycle as well as a chart that shows the total amount of App Actions every month. We even have a way that estimates how much activity will happen the rest of the month and what we predict it will be next month.
A few other very important points on App Actions.
1. As a reminder we are not charging for App Actions right now. This dashboard is just for you to start to get an understanding of where your apps are at. And again, if you’re a paying customer you’ll be able to stay on your current plan for up to 12 months so that you have time to see your apps activity over time and get a sense of what the cost will be. This will also give us time for everyone involved to understand App Actions.
2. We do not want these App Actions to be cost prohibitive so if your app gets to the point where it’s so successful we will work directly with you to figure out a monthly price that works where the price for a specific amount of App Actions gets cheaper for you.
3. We are planning to have our different pricing plans have different amounts of monthly App Actions limits. But with this comes one very important detail: if your app goes over your plan limit we will not stop your app from running actions. Your end users’ experience is the most important thing so we will not want that to be negatively affected with these limits. In the case that you go over, we will have to work that into our pricing model to make sure that this is the case
Similar to how it works today and similar to most SaaS products, there will be different features available on the different plans — with access to more features on the higher plans. For example, publishing your apps to the web and to the App Stores is one of the most important features on Adalo and that will remain available only on the paid plans. On that note, we will continue to have a free plan available for everyone as testing out your ideas is key for everyone before launching to the world. As a part of these changes, we are looking into adding more than just the 2 paid plans — that way we can have different features available throughout the plans.
Another pattern that we see with you all on Adalo is the number of members working on projects. Sometimes it’s just one solopreneur creating a new app and then sometimes it's a whole team of individuals collaborating together. And with that the different plans will have different amounts of collaborators available. We will continue to have a way to purchase additional collaborators if you’d like to remain on the plan you’re on and you just need a few more members to your team.
Why We Think These Elements Allow Us To Find the Perfect Balance
It’s pretty standard with SaaS platforms to have tiered plan pricing structure and to differentiate them with access to different features, the number of collaborators who have access to those features, and the number of projects that you can create. The unique challenge with no-code app builders has to do with the value that makers get from their apps being used by their end users and with the costs associated with storing, processing, and running that data. I’d love to open up and take you through some of the discussions that ultimately led to us deciding that App Actions was the best balance here. As a reminder we were trying to balance simplicity with accuracy.
One of our first thoughts here was to go with the most simple metric we could think of — users. While this metric is easy for you all to see and easy for you all to understand we quickly realized it wasn’t that accurate and wasn’t really that fair either. For example, you might have an app and that one user signs up and then never comes back. So now that user is costing you more but they’re not really getting much value from the app you’ve created. Additionally, you might have a really simple app that just has a couple of screens and someone else might have another app that has over 100 screens and is really complicated. Those apps cost us different amounts of money to store, process, & run that data. But those apps might have the same number of users that have signed up — so that didn’t really feel accurate for the level of usage for each one of those apps.
On the flip side, we considered a very complicated formula to come up with the exact API calls that all of your apps are making in order to come up with a way to talk about server capacity. But at the end of the day that felt really hard to quantify, explain, and for you all to be able to predict.
That’s why App Actions felt like the perfect balance. We believe that tying our success to your app's success is the best move for everyone. In essence we want to focus on who’s most important: your end users. And that’s why we tied it to how much activity it’s getting per month. If it’s getting more activity than your end users are getting more value — and that’s fantastic!
One additional benefit that this type of pricing structure allows us to finally start doing is to differentiate the technical infrastructure that different apps get to improve our performance. Right now with everyone grouped together we have no way of doing that. This new model will unlock that.
As a reminder this post is simply to keep you up-to-date with what we’re thinking about in terms of a new pricing model. If you’re a paying customer today, you’ll be able to stay on your current plan for the next 12 months.
Our next steps will be to continue talking with you all and to analyze apps built on Adalo to see what plans and limits make sense. We’ll keep you posted as well as we have details here. And again if you have any questions or thoughts and want to talk with me, here’s a link to my calendar to set up a meeting.
Finally, thank you so much for pushing no-code forward and creating incredible things on Adalo!