It’s been a while since we last reviewed our pricing. In fact, you could argue we never have!
Our premium plugin journey began back in 2011 with the release of the Repeater field – our claim to fame, so to speak. Priced reasonably for the time, the Repeater field sold well and paved the way for another three add-ons to be developed; Options Page, Flexible Content field and Gallery field.
In 2015, we streamlined our product offering by combining those four premium Add-ons into a single professional plugin; ACF PRO. We used a similar approach in pricing, adding together the cost of each individual feature for the “unlimited” license. That same price still stands today – $100 AUD (a one-time purchase) – even with the additions of new groundbreaking features such as ACF Blocks.
It’s safe to say that pricing has never been at the forefront of our roadmap. Instead, we have stayed focused on more exciting things like developing new features, fixing bugs, and helping our users. But with an ever-growing user base, our “classic” pricing model is no longer helping our cause – to Build anything with WordPress.
In light of this, we are planning some updates to our pricing.
early 2020 Feb 24th (9:00 am AEST), we will be increasing the price of ACF PRO, introducing yearly renewals and providing more useful license tiers to better reflect the value of our product.
Please note these upcoming changes will only affect new sales. So, if you currently own an ACF PRO license – nothing changes for you!
And with that out of the way, I would like to share with you some unique insights we have learnt about selling a one-time license, and my thoughts on sustainable software development.
Selling a WordPress plugin under the “one-time” purchase model has its pros and cons. For the most part, this model offers a lot of positives, especially for new and emerging software trying to stand out in a busy marketplace.
Our customers often say that “ACF is a bargain” which in turn generates great publicity and helps to drive new sales. Considering that “word of mouth” is our primary marketing strategy, this model has helped grow ACF to where it is today! However, growth comes with a cost.
Over the past 4 years, license sales for ACF PRO have steadily and consistently increased at a rate of around 10% per year. This is both a cause for celebration 🥳 and also a cause for concern 🤔.
See, although our sales are going up a bit, the number of customers relying on our service are going up a lot! Take a look at the following graph to illustrate this point.
With growing users comes growing costs. Things like support, documentation, website hosting, license management, education and community participation are all part of a bigger picture that we value – aka, the whole service.
Switching to a subscription-based model will allow us to better invest in these areas and provide a quality service that grows with its users. And without further ado, our upcoming pricing model!
Our new pricing model adopts a more contemporary approach and has been carefully designed to suit our users across three common use-cases.
We are increasing prices across the board (prices are in $USD) to better reflect the value our plugin brings to developers. Now, more than ever with the addition of ACF Blocks, ACF PRO is a serious developer tool. We have HEAPS of new features lined up for development and can’t wait to share these with you over the coming years.
We are excited to provide an additional middle-tier option aimed at freelancers. This tier provides a very useful 10 site activation limit making it the perfect license for those that work on multiple sites but don’t need the jump to an unlimited license.
We are also changing the way we count activations to provide a more useful service. When rolled out in early 2020, each “site” will allow for 1 development and 1 production activation. This instantly doubles your activation allowance and avoids the “which site do I activate it on?” conundrum. This increased allowance will also benefit existing Personal lifetime licenses!
As mentioned earlier on in the post, we will be implementing yearly renewal fees. This will provide us with a healthy and sustainable budget to continue development on our entire service including the plugin, support, documentation, website hosting, license management, education and community participation.
Managing your subscription will be made easy with the ability to upgrade or downgrade your license at any time. This will allow your ACF PRO license activation limit to grow as your projects do, or shrink if necessary.
Our upcoming pricing changes will only affect new sales. If you are already an ACF PRO customer, your license will remain as is – a one time purchase with lifetime updates forever. This means existing lifetime licenses will be locked-in (Personal / Developer), so please consider upgrading now to take advantage of the current pricing before the new subscription model is rolled out.
In closing, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the ACF community. Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to work on such an awesome product!
The upcoming changes are the result of a lot of careful consideration. We’ve done a good bit of research regarding ACF’s usage statistics, along with reading tweets and connecting with users. If you have any questions, concerns or just want to say hi, please send us an email.
I am incredibly excited about the positive impact these changes will have on ACF’s future. Thanks again for your support!