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What to do when people sign up for repeated trials

· 5 min read

trial to paid

Ever think about making a new account to catch the last episode of a show after your free trial has run out?

Well you aren't alone.

Signing up multiple times to get repeated free trials is one example of what we call multi-accounting. You can learn more about how users are taking advantage of your free trials in our article; "How your one week free trial is being used for three months".

While your user growth and funnel metrics may look good if every user creates multiple accounts for repeat free trials; multi-accounting can be damaging to your business. There can be substantial financial cost, degraded user experience or compliance implications associated with this behaviour. It can also impact your ability to accurately measure life time value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC) and make informed decisions about your user acquisition spend.

Repeat trialers can be a huge growth opportunity for your business when handled correctly. We have put together some guidelines and best practices to help your business convert as many of them as possible into happily paying customers.

What makes sense for your business

You first need to make a decision about what it is you actually want to do with the user upon detecting they are repeat trialers. I've channelled my years of experience building processes around multi-accounting for products with hundreds of millions of monthly active users to provide simple options for converting repeat trialers into happily paying customers.

The actions you may want to take upon detection in the signup flow can be quite different to what you would do if you made the detection in the standard product or sign in flow.

upollo repeat trials flow

Upon detection in the sign up flow, you may want to:

  • Enable them to sign up and honour the trial period, but tell them this is their last time.
  • Enable them to sign up but offer a reduced trial.
  • Block users from signing up a new account and direct them to a pre-existing one.
  • Enable the user to continue to sign up but not honour the trial period.
  • Ban the user from ever signing up or using your product again (you won't convert anyone with this).

If a user is detected as a repeat trialer at another point your options will be more limited but they are still effective. You can:

  • End the trial early.
  • Let the user continue using the trial but inform them that they will not be able to do it again.
  • If you have detection in the sign up flow implemented, you can let the user continue using the account with no interventions knowing you will catch them if they try to sign up again.
  • Offer a reduced cost program in place of the trial.

Any of these actions can be used in conjunction with a challenge to the user. A challenge is a request for more information and is used to gain more confidence in an assessment of repeat trialling. Once you have challenged the user, with an SMS challenge or similar, you can then use this new data to check to see if the user is repeat trialling again. We will have another article on how to complete effective challenges coming soon.

upollo repeat trials email

Any of these actions can be used in conjunction with a challenge to the user. A challenge is a request for more information and is used to gain more confidence in an assessment of repeat trialling. Once you have challenged the user, with an SMS challenge or similar, you can then use this new data to check to see if the user is repeat trialling again. We will have another article on how to complete effective challenges coming soon.

The sooner you act, the better the results. Catching repeat trialling early means less spend, less users expecting a free ride and more happily paying customers. In either case, if the user has made multiple accounts in the past, it is unlikely the email address they are using when you flag them as a repeat trialer will be the one they want to use if they start paying for your product. It may be necessary to unify the multiple accounts or direct them to their account of choice

Being flexible can help you acquire new customers

The trick to any successful repeat trialling process is to assume positive intent and ensure you are introducing as little friction with the process as possible. As a result, there may be times when the right action for your business to take is to allow repeat trialling; assuming they only have a reasonable amount of pre-existing accounts.

When to allow repeat trialling:

  • Any substantial changes to the features your product/service offers.
  • A rebrand of your business, users may not connect the dots between your previous and current branding.
  • A significant marketing campaign. Users may not have previously understood the value you can provide them. A new marketing campaign, a new sales pitch to your prospective users may excite people about what it is you offer. Their attempt at another trial could be out of legitimate curiosity and not a way of avoiding fees.
  • You may want to allow another trial after a certain amount of time has passed. Your trial 12 months ago may not have excited the user but it could now.

In these situations it may also be worthwhile to direct these users to their pre-existing accounts and offer them another trial there.

Easily acting on repeat trialling

Detecting repeat trialling, or more generally, multi-accounting, on your own can be a real challenge and takes resources away from building out your core product. Upollo enables you to detect and then act on these repeat trialling users in real time, more accurately measure LTV and CAC and stop users who should be paying from using your product for free.

Once you have decided what you want to do with repeat trialers you need to plan your messaging. More on that coming soon.

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