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App store economics

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  • 1. App Store Economics The do’s and don’ts Mugunth KumarThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 2. About me • Author of the iOS 5, iOS 6 Programming: Pushing the Limits book - Reached the top 100 books in Amazon’s Computer and Technology books list • Trainer - Conducts classroom training on iOS programming at iOSTraining.sg.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 3. Agenda • The Mobile Eco System • Differences between Open Web and App Store • Designing • Submission • Marketing + Launching • App Rejection • Updates to App • QuestionsThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 4. Target Audience • Those who sell and make money from App Store • Those who make free apps and want to get traction for their complete product through the App StoreThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 5. The Mobile Eco System • Accept the fact that the mobile eco system is locked • iOS App Store is locked and so is Google Play • Though you can sell apps outside of Play (and you can’t on iOS), number of downloads is far too low. • Lamenting won’t help • Apple is the most developer UNFRIENDLY company in the world, yet has attracted the most talented developers to work on their platform • OTOH, Apple is the most customer friendly companyThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 6. Open web vs App Store • Open vs Locked • Web is open. • You can deploy anytime you want. • App Store is not open • You have to wait for Apple to approve. • Plan your deployment strategies accordingly • Approximate release dates (reviewtimes.shinydevelopment.com) • Slightly optimistic, but still ok.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 7. Deployment Strategies • Deployment strategy in a locked App Store • If your app uses a backend server • Go live with your production server when you submit • If your server is down or someone screws up while Apple is testing - Brrr • Work on version 1.1 while waiting for approvalThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 8. Building the App • This is 2013. Almost 5 years after the SDK went public • Every single app you see on App Store has a customized UI • Hire a good designer/UX Expert • May or may not be full-time, but still hire one. • You can’t live without them.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 9. Indies • You can make an app targeting a broader audience • You can make a niche app targeting a specific audienceThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 10. Target audience for your app • When you make an app targeting a smaller group you have the liberty to price it higher • Apps for kids = Broad audience (High competition) • Apps for kids with special needs = Niche audience (Low competition) • Competition and price are inversely proportional. Higher competition means your app ends up being a commodityThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 11. Pricing - Sweet Spot • $0.99 - $1.99 • $2.99 - $4.99 • $9.99 • $19.99 • $49.99Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 12. Pricing • Before lowering your price, think. • By doubling the price, will I lose half of my prospective buyers? • If the answer is “NO”, do that. • Because, by lowering your price, you will not automatically get twice the number of buyers • And you will enjoy lesser support emailsThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 13. Not making enough? • I’m selling my app and I’m not making enough money • Two things. • Your app isn’t known to many people • Your app is expensive • In most cases, it’s the former. Do your marketing.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 14. App Store Marketing • Getting downloads on App Store is different from getting visitors to your website • Most downloads are through word of mouth • Analytics won’t help for the most part • Think again, how did you come to know about Whatsapp or Instagram? • Customers are your marketers • Review sites (the big ones) can help, but not that much (Think Color) • No SEOThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 15. Launch • Launching the app • Soft launch • Hard launchThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 16. Soft Launch • Most websites use Soft Launch • Totally won’t work for Apps • Why?Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 17. App Store Algorithm • Favors • Apps that are recently submitted/published • Apps that are updated often • Apps with higher number of positive reviews • App enters New and Noteworthy or Featured sectionThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 18. New and Noteworthy • Your app should be NEW • Your app should have a considerable number of downloadsThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 19. Featured • No loophole • Apple tends to feature apps that are “New and Noteworthy” and looks beautifully done • Lots of animations and good looking UIThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 20. Featured • Apple also features apps that use a “cool hardware or OS feature” during the honeymoon period. • Apps with push notifications • Apps for Passbook.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 21. Featured • Unlike most other App Stores, you can’t “talk” to someone at Apple to get featured. • If someone (a marketer) promises to get your app featured, ignore himThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 22. App Store Front Pages • Featured section - You are already successful • Chillax and sip that pina coladaThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 23. App Store Front Pages • New and note worthy section • Very important for startups (Free apps) • Usually apps stay here for 30-50+ days • Improves your “Word of mouth” marketingThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 24. Hard Launch • Apps should always use Hard Launch • Easier to get into “New and Noteworthy” section • Easier to get into “Top 10” Free/Paid apps section • All because your app is new and gets tractionThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 25. Hard Launch • Wait, but my app is still not ready yet • Yes, continue iterating. No choice • If your investors are pushing hard, do a soft launch • But when you are ready, submit a new app and do a hard launch (v2) • Submitting new app means, your old users will not get an update. But that’s ok.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 26. RejectionsThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 27. App Rejections • App crashes at launch • App doesn’t work as advertised • Server was down when Apple was testing • App uses private APIThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 28. App Rejections • Analyze your crash reports and fix the issue • On launch crashes are mostly dynamic load errors • Your developer would immediately know why. • When your app doesn’t work as advertised, Apple will sometimes as you to fix the description (Metadata update) • This is not always a rejection. • Private API - You normally get a clear email from Apple what private API you tried to use.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 29. UpdatesThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 30. Updates • Update your app regularly • Keep your users delighted • Remember, Apple is the most customer friendly company. If Apple iDevice users are happy, Apple will be happy. • Aim to submit one update every week for the first three months and one update every fortnight there after.Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 31. Open vs closed debate • Yes, Apple is closed and Web is open • Bitching around is not going to help your business or make you rich • …unless you are a journalist • Think, what’s next. • Win the Apple wayThursday, 11 April, 13
  • 32. Questions?Thursday, 11 April, 13
  • 33. Thanks @mugunthkumar mugunth@steinlogic.com iostraining.sg Available for consulting services and in-house training iOS App Development API Design Mobile UXThursday, 11 April, 13