Dropbox's persistent account upgrade prompt

July 18, 2019
Upsell prompts

Rather than gating its features behind a paywall, Dropbox shows off their cloud-based storage service with a freemium version.

But Dropbox Basic is limited—free users only get 2GB of storage to play with. That may be fine if you just need to share a few files, but 2GB leaves little wiggle room if you want to fully benefit from a cloud-based storage system.

One solution is to upgrade to Dropbox Business, which offers 2,000GB (2TB) of storage and a variety of useful features. 

screenshot image of dropbox business upgrade prompt modal with call to action and illustration of a cat in a box

Dropbox knows that at some point, free users are going to need more storage. But instead of simply hitting users with an upgrade prompt when they reach their limit, Dropbox uses a persistent (but dismissible) prompt to remind users of the restrictions that come with a free plan, and offer them the opportunity to upgrade at any time. 

screenshot image of dropbox's dashboard with a premium plan upgrade prompt modal that says: want more space. try dropbox business

As users click through the platform, the upgrade prompt message changes ever so slightly, but remains in the same location. 

screenshot image of dropbox sharing with a premium plan upgrade prompt modal that says: using dropbox for work? try dropbox business

If users do dismiss the prompt, a simple “Upgrade account” CTA remains in the top menu. 

screenshot of dropbox upgrade account call to action button in the top menu

Why this is really good UX:

  • The upgrade notification is subtle—it’s situated outside the user’s line of work, but close enough that the message doesn’t get lost. Dropbox has managed to make its upsell prompt visible without causing user frustration.

  • Because the prompt appears consistently throughout the experience, users who choose to ignore it today will know where to click when they’re ready to upgrade tomorrow.

  • Alternating between different copy and visuals in the same space is a nice touch—it subtly attracts attention from users who may have otherwise tuned out the repeating prompt without intruding on their workflow.