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Freemium is a business model, often associated with digital services, where basic features or services are provided free of charge while advanced features or services are priced. This strategy is used to attract a large user base that can later be converted into paying customers. In essence, it’s a blend of “free” and “premium” services under one platform.


The phonetic spelling of “Freemium” is: /ˈfriːmiəm/

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>Freemium Model Encourages User Growth: The freemium business model allows users to use the basic features of a product or service for free, which can lead to rapid user growth. This can increase the visibility of the product and attract potential premium users.</li><li>Conversion to Paid Users is Crucial: While Freemium can attract a lot of users, the success of this model depends on converting a portion of those free users into paying customers. This conversion is essential for the profitability of the service or product.</li><li>Balance Between Free and Premium Features: It’s crucial to maintain a balance between what is offered for free and what is kept behind the paywall. If too many features are available for free, users may not see the value in upgrading to the paid version. Conversely, if too few features are offered in the free version, users may not be drawn to the product in the first place.</li></ol>


The freemium business model is important because it offers a unique balance of free and premium services that can drive customer growth and generate revenue. Under this model, a company provides basic services to the users for free, while charging for high-quality features or advanced functionalities. This strategy attracts customers by giving them the opportunity to try products or services without risk before they commit to a purchase. Once users understand the value of these offerings, they may be more inclined to pay for the enhanced version. Therefore, the Freemium model can be an effective method for customer acquisition, helping businesses build a large user base and potentially convert these free users into paying customers in the long term. This can lead to more sustainable and scalable revenue growth.


The purpose of the Freemium model is to offer customers basic services for free, while charging a premium for more advanced features, facilities, or related products. The idea is to attract a large user base by providing functional yet limited free services, and then convert a portion of them into paid users who would like to take advantage of more sophisticated offerings. Often used by software and digital content companies, this model aims to balance the needs of customers who want low-cost or free access, and the companies’ need to generate revenue.Freemium is used as a business strategy for several reasons. Primarily, it helps in attracting a broad audience. Companies can entice users with their basic services without any upfront payment, therefore reducing the barriers to entry. Once these customers begin using the product regularly, they might find enough value to upgrade to the paid version. Furthermore, Freemium models allow companies to differentiate themselves in a crowded market space by demonstrating the value they can provide before asking for payment. This can also create a sense of trust and credibility among users. Thus, Freemium is a valuable strategy for customer acquisition, retention, and revenue generation.


1. Spotify: Spotify offers two models; freemium and premium. With the freemium model, users are allowed to access many features of the app for free, but there will be ads between songs and some limitations on skipping songs. The premium version is ad-free and allows greater flexibility in song selection and skipping, but comes at a monthly fee. 2. Zoom: The popular video communication platform offers a Freemium model where users can access a basic version of the platform for free with some usage limit like 40 minutes limit on group meetings etc. For advanced features and unlimited usage, you need to subscribe to its premium version.3. Dropbox: Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing and storage system that offers both free and premium services. The free version offers a certain amount of storage space. When a user runs out of free space, they have to move to a premium subscription to get more space and additional features.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Freemium?

Freemium is a business model where basic services or products are provided for free, while premium or more advanced features are charged. This model is popular in digital businesses such as software or gaming companies.

How does the Freemium model work?

The Freemium model works by offering users access to basic functions or services for free, enticing them to use the product. If users want additional features, upgrades, or services, they must pay a fee.

What’s the advantage of a Freemium model for businesses?

The Freemium model can attract a wide user base. The exposure creates an opportunity for a proportion of those users to upgrade, thereby generating revenue. It also presents a chance for businesses to showcase their premium offerings to the user.

Can the Freemium model work for any business?

Not necessarily. The success of a Freemium model largely depends on the type of product or service on offer. It tends to work well in digital businesses like gaming, software, social media platforms or streaming services, but may not be as effective in other industries.

What are some examples of companies using the Freemium model?

Many well-known companies use the Freemium model, including Spotify, LinkedIn, Zoom, Dropbox, and Fortnite. These companies offer basic versions of their services for free, but charge for premium features or functionalities.

What are the risks associated with the Freemium model?

One risk is that a large number of users may only use the free version of the product, making it challenging for a company to convert enough users to the premium version to generate sufficient revenue. Additionally, there can be high costs associated with providing free services, particularly if a large user base frequently uses them.

How can a company increase its chances of success with the Freemium model?

Success in the Freemium model often depends on the careful balance between what is offered for free and what requires payment. The free services should be enticing and valuable enough to bring in users, but the premium services should be tempting enough to prompt them to upgrade.

Related Finance Terms

  • Microtransactions
  • Subscription-based model
  • In-app purchases
  • Ad-supported apps
  • Pro version upgrades

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