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.


Life @ the App Store - Part 1: Overall sales figures

I got my first App Store paycheck about 2 years ago and my first iPhone app - GeoLogTag - was downloaded for the 5000th time somewhere last week. A good time to look back and share my App Store experiences. 

To put things in perspective I will (re-)introduce myself. I’m a professional programmer since 1992 and I started developing for the App Store in August 2008. All iOS app development is done in my spare time as a hobby.

I’m also a passionate amateur photographer. That explains why all my apps are photography related.

I have 4 apps in the App Store with the following launch dates

  • GeoLogTag: December 2008
  • Scotty (PhotoToMac): June 2009
  • WiiPhoto: August 2010
  • PhotoMeta: April 2011

It took about 5 months before I received the first payment, because at the time a payment was only done if the total sales exceeded 250 USD in one of the 7 regions (Americas, Europe, Great Britain, Australia & NZ, Japan, Canada, Rest of the World).

Note that the chart below is in Euro since I live in Belgium. With the current exchange rate €1000 ≈ $1400.


Lessons to be learned from the above chart:

  • more apps doesn’t mean more revenue
  • a “slow” month doesn’t mean the next month will be slow too and vice versa
  • revenue per hour worked is extremely low

Cumulative payments over 24 months ≈ €18 700 ($26 200).

During that period, costs were approximately €3500 ($4900) consisting of hardware, advertising, iPhone dev program, ...

That makes a net result of €15 200 ($21 300) before tax deduction. Certainly not enough to make a living of it, but I have no plans to quit. Here’s why:

  • I love programming and I certainly love making iOS apps.
  • I love photography. Making photography related apps is a perfect combination for me.
  • I love to travel. Thanks to my App Store revenue I can make extra trips with my family.
  • I’m not running out of interesting app ideas

In the upcoming weeks I will post more detailed sales figures and other info about my last two and a half years at the App Store. If you don’t want to miss these, follow me on Twitter.




Supereasy SmugMug geotagging

Since day 1 - that’s 2 years ago now - GeoLogTag can geotag Flickr photos. The reason I choose Flickr, was because it was the most popular photo sharing website.

It was time to add support for what is considered the best photo sharing website: SmugMug.

GeoLogTag now makes adding a location to your SmugMug photos supereasy. Let GeoLogTag track your location while you take photos and after you upload them to SmugMug, it takes just a couple of taps to geotag them. 

Besides SmugMug support, a couple of other features are added, some of them because users requested them. So, if you have a feature request or any other type of feedback, don’t hesitate to contact us.

The full list of new features in version 3.2: 

  • SmugMug support
  • Extensive in-app help section
  • If available, altitude is displayed while tracking locations
  • When location tracking is started, a message is displayed until the first location is tracked
  • Bug fix for crash when generating GPX files on an iPhone 3G

Also good to know is that iOS 4 is a requirement for this version.



iOS 4 support and more ...

I got a lot of questions from users if and when I would add support for iOS 4. The main reason being that they want to run GeoLogTag in the background.

I have the habit to test each version of every app on real devices. Since my iPhone 3G is not capable of running apps in the background I needed an iPhone 4. That turned out to be more difficult then I initially thought. I live in Belgium where the iPhone 4 became available on the 30th of July. I was about 20th in line, but only 10 devices were available!

About a week later I bought my iPhone 4 in France because in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany there was no iPhone 4 supply. Now that I had the hardware available I could start testing (including a test cycle with beta testers).

Besides background support, I added some other features too. The full list of new features in version 3.1 looks as follows:


  • Geologging and geotagging in the background (iOS 4 only)
  • Geologging continues when the iPhone is locked/put asleep
  • Support for extra RAW formats: DNG and Leica (RWL)
  • App icon badge shows the number of logged locations (iOS 4 only)
  • Retina display graphics (iPhone 4 only)

I did some battery life tests to see how the iPhone 4 GPS chipset and battery compare to the iPhone 3G. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. You can find the detailed results on the battery FAQ page.



Support for RAW and other useful stuff

Starting today, GeoLogTag 3.0 is available in the App Store. 

The most important new feature is native support for RAW formats. This will make life a lot easier for RAW shooters working on a Mac. The list of supported RAW formats is available here.

Other useful features are:


  • Better geotagging performance for JPEGs located in a Mac shared folder. About 10 times faster compared to the previous version.
  • Log in to a Mac with your username and password.
  • A running clock on the GeoLog screen to make time synchronization with you camera easier.
  • A rough indication of how much battery is left while logging locations. The more you use GeoLogTag, the better the estimation becomes.
  • A new log mode: 1 location every hour.
  • Altitude support.
  • Better support for people taking photos while travelling through different timezones.



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