After almost a year of developing a and releasing a handful of iPhone apps to the App Store, I should be rolling in money, right?
In fact, I can officially reveal that with the exception of development contracts, my iPhone apps have netted me a grand total of:
Yes, £0. It takes a lot of face up to facts, but it can’t be much more blunt than that. Granted I did sell a few units, but these were nowhere near the amount required to release any real payment into my bank account.
So what went wrong?
Well to be quite honest, I didn’t really market my apps at all well. I was hoping that simply being in the App Store combined with a word-of-mouth viral networking effect combined with some online ads would be sufficient. From there I could perhaps get some feedback, and introduce improvements in line with demand.
Did it work? Far from it.
Sadly since the iPhone market is pretty much saturated with thousands of apps, this is pretty much impossible to accomplish. You’d probably have more chance winning the lottery than going with that approach.
I even tried making one of my apps free and promoting one of my paid apps in the description. The actual response in sales was negligible.
It seems to me the only viable ways of attracting people to a new app are:
- Getting it featured on the App Store
- Pushing it out to as many review sites as you can ahead of time
- Making it free
With regards to #3, not getting into in-depth analysis I will say this: if you have an app with a remotely useful purpose, people will consistently download it.
For example one of my apps, Anim8gif, gets at least 20 downloads a week – mind you, that figure isn’t really useful since none of those 20 people bother to write a review or send any useful feedback.
Right now though, i’m a bit tired of spending my budget coming up with the next big idea with elaborate marketing that’s likely to bring in tons of revenue. So here’s what i’m going to do.
I’m just giving up on making money off my own iPhone apps altogether. All my current apps: Anim8gif, VidSplit, and Overthecam are now free.
As for making future free apps, I am still undecided. Am I really getting anything out of the experience? Current signs point to no.