Another year and I'm still here! If you're wondering why I haven't blogged in a while, well actually I have - but it's a long story which I won't go into here.
Anyway, last time I wrote an app-business post I spoke about giving in-app-purchases (IAPs) a try. So I converted my Today Calendar app to be free with ads, with an option to do a 99c IAP to remove the ads. Which was interesting, so i'll share the results here. To make it more readable, i'll give you a tongue-in-cheek weekly summary first:
And here are the actual figures if you're interested:
Dec 20th: 700 free downloads, 12 IAPs 21st: 600 free, 2 iap (terrible!) 22nd: 650 free / 9 iap (looking good again) 23rd: 700/9 24th: 600/12 25: 580/4 26: 1101/10 27: 736/10 29: 600/7 30: 830/9 31: 610/6 1st jan: 840/12 (still looking good!) 2: 870/10 3: 710/6 4: 670/6 5: 640/7 6: 670/3 7: 388/4 8: 460/7 9: 161/4 (downloads *really* dropped off, unsure why?) 10: 120/1 (yuck) 11: 120/1 (ouch) 12: 130/4 (picking up again?) 13: 130/4 14th jan: 130 free, zero IAPs. My app is now as dead as a can of spam.
So it certainly worked better than when I was simply selling the app for $1 on the app store. I guess that's because people have the chance to 'test drive' the app first before buying it, because 99c is such a huge commitment. But after a few short weeks, sales have dried up.
At least I can say i've tried the ads and the IAP model now. But what else remains to try? Make yet another farmville clone game? Spend megabucks on marketing? I think i'll stick to my dayjob from now on.
One more thought before I move on, let's look at conversion rates: on my best day, my conversion rates are about 2%, and on the worst day, about 1%. For an app with good reviews (lets be honest, not great reviews, but it's a far cry from a one-star-wonder) - that's just a poor reflection of the app market. About one or two in a hundred people who go to the effort of downloading my app bother shelling out a lousy buck to support the developer, ensure future updates, and nuke the nasty ads? Wow. And I've heard developers say 'don't make apps for android, the users are too tightwad to pay', well it looks like iPhone owners aren't any better, unfortunately.
Well! Excitingly, 2012 is over. If you've followed my blog, you'd know that that is excellent news. But i thought i'd write a few of the lessons I learned in 2012. You don't have to read these if you don't want, i'm writing these mostly for my own benefit:
I heard this week from a great guy in china who said he read an old one of my blog posts, and it inspired him to quit his job to become an iOS developer! How cool is that. Well, if anyone else is feeling the need to change jobs, here's a tip: iOS contracting is great - if you want to know why, email me :)
Oh and as always, please email me if you've made an iOS / web app, i'd love to promote you in my next newsletter!
Thanks for reading! And if you want to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you: chris.hulbert at gmail.
(Comp Sci, Hons - UTS)
iOS Developer in Sydney.
I have worked at places such as Google, News Corp, Fox Sports, NineMSN, FetchTV, Woolworths, and Westpac, among others. If you're looking for a good iOS developer, drop me a line!