Freemium vs Free Trial: Best SaaS Pricing Strategy in Asia



12/5/20233 min read

Best SaaS Pricing Strategy
Best SaaS Pricing Strategy

The digital realm of Software as a Service (SaaS) is abuzz with the perpetual debate between adopting a Freemium or a Free Trial pricing model. Both models have their merits and demerits, and the choice between the two often boils down to the specific context of a business, its target market, and the inherent nature of its offering. Let’s delve into insights derived from various expert sources and explore how these models can be navigated, especially in the nuanced Asian market.

The Essence of Freemium and Free Trial Models for SaaS

  • Freemium: Provides users with free access to basic functionalities indefinitely, aiming to entice them to upgrade for additional features.

  • Free Trial: Offers full product functionality but for a limited period, post which users must subscribe to continue usage.

Diverse SaaS Strategies Across Models

Different SaaS companies employ varied strategies, such as Sales-Led, Freemium, and Free Trial models, to engage and convert customers. The choice often hinges on factors like the complexity of the product, the target market size, and the company’s financial and technical capabilities. For instance, freemium models might be apt for low-complexity products targeting larger, overserved markets, while free trials could be beneficial for more complex offerings in underserved markets.

Balancing Act of SaaS Expansion into Asia Market

While freemium models can significantly boost brand awareness and user base, especially in the Asian market known for its price sensitivity, converting these users into paying customers poses a challenge. The Asian market, with its distinct user base and cultural nuances, demands a meticulous balancing act. While the freemium model can attract a substantial user base, the general reluctance towards subscription services necessitates innovative strategies to convert these users into revenue. This could involve exploring alternative monetization strategies beyond advertisements, understanding the psychological and behavioral aspects of Asian consumers, and providing tangible value that justifies the transition to a paid model. On the other hand, free trials, despite having better conversion rates, necessitate a compelling demonstration of value within a constrained timeframe to persuade users to transition to paid plans.

With over 50 years of experience combined with our team at, we are ready to provide business consultation services to lead your business into the Asia Pacific region - profitably. Come talk to us now and see how our playbook is different from other consulting firms out there where our focus is to help you expand at the right pace, staying lean and profitable.

Free Trial
Free Trial
Unsplash: A Unique Freemium Success SaaS Story

Unsplash, a popular free photo-sharing platform, started with a freemium model, offering high-quality photos for free. Unlike other platforms that rely on advertisements or subscription models, Unsplash took a unique approach by partnering with brands. Through their "Unsplash for Brands" service, brands collaborate with photographers to create images that subtly feature their products. These photos are then made available for free on Unsplash, providing brands with significant exposure every time an image is used. This innovative monetization strategy aligns with Unsplash's mission of "photos for everyone" and showcases how businesses can think outside the box to generate revenue without compromising user experience.

SaaS Key Considerations and Strategies

  1. User Segment and Market Type: Tailoring the model to cater to specific user segments and market types (overserved vs. underserved) is crucial.

  2. Product Complexity and User Learning Curve: The model should align with the user’s willingness and ability to navigate the product’s complexity and learning curve.

  3. Financial and Technical Sustainability: Ensuring that the chosen model is financially and technically viable for the business is paramount.

  4. Conversion Strategies: Employing strategies like limiting feature access, introducing usage limitations, and creating a sense of urgency can drive conversions from free to paid plans.

Navigating the choice between freemium and free trial models, especially in the diverse and complex Asian market, demands a nuanced, strategic approach. Businesses must weigh the pros and cons of each model, align them with their operational context, and meticulously craft strategies that not only attract a robust user base but also ensure sustainable conversions to paid plans. By intertwining insightful strategies with a deep understanding of market dynamics, SaaS businesses can carve a path that harmoniously blends user acquisition with revenue generation.

Alan Wong
Alan Wong

Alan Wong is founder of and a startup mentor with over 20 years of professional experience managing software, Saas and consulting services MNCs.

About Author