(Note: this is the second part of this story. You can read the first part here.)

Integrate with third-party services

Having a product that has an integration with services needed by the customer will hook the users and is likely to increase the level of engagement.

Having customers with higher engagement will potentially result in higher levels of retention as the user gets more dependent on the product.

Using Dark room a user can export and edit directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and many other applications.

Make the user dependent on the product

In free to use products the users are not committed to the product and it is important to think about the incentives for the user to stay.

The best way to make the user dependent on the product is to aim for high usability, then the users get dependent on the mere functionality of the product. This reduces the risk of the user churning but also the user will be more willing to pay.

Darkroom besides being extremely usable and having tons of functionality makes the user depend on the product in a number of other ways, for example, using Darkroom you can edit the photo/video format, edit the metadata, copyrights, watermark and the associated hashtags all from one app.

Darkroom also lets users import the photos inside the app and make it primary photo storage. All this makes the users depend on the product thus increasing the possibility of converting.

Turn users into advanced users

A way of increasing the probability of becoming a premium user is to make the average users advanced since they are more engaged in the product.

The way Darkroom does this is to provide many features for free that a user can learn without spending any money. A user can learn the never ending combinations of filters, edit a different kind of media, and batch copy all their edits to create a library and use these filters on other assets.

This gives the ability to the user to turn into an advanced user with a deeper understanding of the features available. These users use the products more frequently and therefore will understand the valve in premium offers.

Introduce premium features in a setting where the user can relate to them

To make the user aware of the premium value it is important to introduce the premium feature in the right setting where the user can better understand the functionality.

Darkroom informs the user about the premium feature in the most subtle way. For example, when editing a video you can see the "Try Darkroom + for free" banner which informs the user of a premium feature and it helps the user understand the full potential of the service and how it can add value.

Also, note the fact that you can use the premium features even if you haven't subscribed and only when you are exporting the asset is when you get prompted to upgrade which helps the user relate to these features on a personal level.

Include features in the premium version that increases the user’s perceived value of the product

It is important that the perceived value of the product when a user makes a purchase increase substantially. The way Darkroom does it is by clearly showcasing what the user will get when they subscribe. For example, a subscribed user can

  1. Edit video
  2. Selective colors
  3. Use curve tools
  4. Use premium filters
  5. Add watermark, etc

Having knowledge of all these features before making a purchase increases the user’s perceived value of the product and they are more willing to upgrade.

Also noteworthy is the way Darkroom showcases the extra features in the subscription slider. The slider creates a sense of a never ending list, which subconsciously delivers a message that the valve you get after subscribing has no limits.


Congratulation to Darkroom for winning the Apple design award 2020 and building a great application for filtering photos! There are surely tons of other things to learn from this great app and I would love to hear your feedback!