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Tuesday
May172011

Life @ the App Store - Part 2: App sales

My previous post was all about overall App Store sales figures, this one’s all about app specific figures and how my apps perform relative to each other.

Let’s start with the number of app downloads per month. Each app shows a remarkably different trend. 

The GeoLogTag (blue line) trend can be explained solely based on major new releases. In May 2009 support for geotagging Mac photos over Wi-Fi was added as a feature, resulting in a nice sales jump that went on for a couple of months. Then sales started to decline slowly. The next major release (introducing e.g. support for RAW photos) at the end of January 2010 again resulted in a huge increase in sales and a relative slow decline afterwards.

Note that GeoLogTag had minor sales spikes when mentioned on a popular blog or podcast. New features definitely had a bigger impact on sales. Note that GeoLogTag also had a couple of major releases that presumably didn’t appeal to a lot of people. E.g. no sales spike to be found after adding SmugMug support in December 2010.

Scotty (formerly known as PhotoToMac) is a totally different story. The overall trend is slightly upwards and the spikes are mainly caused by blog posts. For example the spike in August/September 2010 is the result of 4 different mentions (one of them is MacWorld Sweden). I’m not sure why Scotty downloads have an upward trend. Maybe because more and more Mac users buy an iOS device or vice versa. Or maybe publicity by word of mouth.

Another remarkable fact is that the price of Scotty went from $0.99 to $1.99 in November 2009. There was a minor effect on download count, but revenue obviously doubled.

My third app, WiiPhoto, is clearly not performing well. After the initial spike, downloads went downhill pretty fast. Interesting to know is that it took me a couple of months to develop the app.

Lessons learned:

  • New releases with major enhancements can have a positive impact on downloads
  • Being mentioned on blog posts or on important websites can result in sales spikes
  • It's hard to make predictions based on current or previous download figures
  • Experimenting with the app price is worth a try
  • App success is not related to the amount of work that went into developing the app

So far for app download count. Let’s take a look at app revenue. GeoLogTag costs $4.99 since day one (if I remember correctly) and with the exception of a couple of short sale periods it has been at that price all the time.

Scotty started at $0.99 and went up to $1.99 after a couple of months. WiiPhoto costs $2.99.

The chart below shows the contribution of each app to overall monthly sales (in percentages).

Scotty has evolved slowly but steadily to the “main” app in terms of revenue. The bad news is that most of the functionality offered by Scotty will probably be part of the next major iOS release. 

In my next post it’s time to unravel the decision process I use to choose what will be the next app I’ll develop or the next major feature I’ll add to an existing app.

Follow me on Twitter if you don’t want to miss that post.