The Business of Apps


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The Business of Apps. Talk given by Richard Hurring at Swiss Mobicamp on 1st November 2012.

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  • Richard – worked in mobile for almost 25 years, Vodafone, early mobile marketing, Verizon, Marvellous, big brands etc etc
  • If you take nothing else from this whole session, remember this, every day. Coding itself is just one part of the process. An important part of course but just a part, there’s an awful lot of work before and after the coding bit.
  • First thing, let’s consider the word developer. The cliché stereotype developer does still exist of course but more often this notion is outdated
  • The two extremes of the developer range. By the way, all thorough this talk I will make no distinction between games and app developers.
  • No surprises but for perspective the Top 100 is way under 1% of all apps but there is some evidence that the middle is fattening. But we know that one in three mobile app developers lives below the app poverty line.
  • So these guys are the top of the tree, but my focus is not there.
  • The hobbyists, community builders, code junkies, I’m interested in them because they feed the core but they often do it accidentally. I’m interested in people setting out to build a business.
  • The middle class, the silent majority.
  • This is the group I am addressing.
  • Not enough time, effort and thought goes into researching the idea, testing the market, figuring out the money and marketing the app
  • With these kind of numbers its incredibly difficult to cut through the noise. It’s little wonder that:
  • Dead on Arrival. They never stood a chance. So how can we prevent that?
  • A standard ROI statement. Lets consider first what users want and just as importantly, what users don’t want.
  • So we need to build a business that satisfies what users want in return for maximum cash.How do we do that and how do we know what they want?
  • If you were going to approach a vc or investor this is the sort of planning you would have to do. How many developers in the core have planned this carefully BEFORE starting to code? (shopping list example)
  • Make it more simple. Research/Test – Money – Build – Market – Repeat. Crucially this is absolutely not a LINEAR process. All of the activities can be happening at the same time. (with the possible exception of coding)
  • Search for apps like yours in the store. If yes what makes yours different (and are they successful) If not why not, is there demand? Constantly keep on top of app and social trends. Don’t do things for hobby, ‘oh I’m just figuring out responsive design etc. Success formula = (hard work + ability) x purpose. (passion) People saying No to your question is not because they don’t get it
  • A read through this document could have highlighted all of these opportunities for you. They obviously all need further investigation but being an expert gives you a head start. Do you check and question or do you just carry on coding your iOS app. In my case the report re-affirmed the decision to focus our business totally on developer marketing.
  • Actually there are more than two core options – you could use your app to sell real world goods (Dominoes for example doesn’t monetise its app as such) or you could be paid to develop the app by a brand or third party. Plus partners or affiliates, product placement handset makers for pre-install. Plus We know of course there are maybe a dozen different combinations but first it boils down to ads or paid. In app purchasing the current hot option. (70%)
  • There is so much information on this bit I am only going to touch on it lightly where I think it relates to the business of apps. Clean uncluttered design is a must, less almost always is more.A funky name is cool, if you can get it out there, a functional name is not so cool but is more likely to be found by search. What is your app for?The app icon is so much more important than people realise. Apple will not feature etc. Stand out on device and so on.When designing think about how your app will work in other markets, allow for translated text stretch for example.
  • This is the minimum you should do for all apps you build. mostly obvious but this or something similar should be a check list for you, do them all.
  • I once worked with a guy who claimed never to have missed a deadline or overspent on a project. How? When the deadline came, he shipped. When he ran out of money, he shipped. A little extreme perhaps but I’m sure you are all familiar with the Lean Start Up principles. If not, become so. If you are, start living it.
  • Test the assumptions you made initially, A/B test your marketing and monetization options, use your Analytics, use your analytics
  • Paul has forgotten more about mobile than most of us will ever know.Andreas knows everyone and everything.
  • Some of these I’ve mentioned during the talk, others are just useful resources.
  • Thank you
  • The Business of Apps

    1. 1. catchy The Business of Apps Richard HurringThe Business of Apps catchy
    2. 2. catchy Catchy is a specialist developer marketing agency, based in Bath but working with mobile eco system clients all over the world.The Business of Apps catchy
    3. 3. The Business of Apps catchy
    4. 4. You are building a business, notan app The start The fun bit App/Business Daily question: Am I moving my business forward?The Business of Apps catchy
    5. 5. What kind of Developer are you? There are more than 1 million publishers of apps. These can no longer all be labelled with the word ‘Developer’The Business of Apps catchy
    6. 6. So what kind of Developer are you? Are you Rovioor Fred?The Business of Apps catchy
    7. 7. The Developer Pyramid Premier 32% of app revenue comes from the Top 100 Core apps (Flurry) Revenue Tail DistributionThe Business of Apps catchy
    8. 8. The Premier Catchy defines Premier as the developers and publishers at the top of the pyramid. Rovio and Zynga are prime examples. With revenues and downloads in the millions the rest of the developer community is trying to push up to this level.The Business of Apps catchy
    9. 9. The Tail. Catchy defines the Tail as the developers and publishers at the bottom of the pyramid. The stereotypical developer, Fred in the Shed. Probably works full time elsewhere and codes as a hobby. Most likely of all groups to be operating at a revenue level which is below the app poverty line.The Business of Apps catchy
    10. 10. The Core. Catchy defines the Core as the developers and publishers in the middle of the range. Not Rovio or Zynga but not Fred. Serious about app development, its your sole or primary source of income, you may be alone or in a team, but Apps is what you do.The Business of Apps catchy
    11. 11. The Core.The Business of Apps catchy
    12. 12. CoreBusiness Even in the core, many developers are, from a business perspective, too focused on coding and beautifying their ‘great idea’The Business of Apps catchy
    13. 13. Publish& Pray There are well over a thousandapps published every day – on Google Play alone it’s at least 3 apps every 5 minutes, all day, every day Just 20% of paid apps are downloaded more than 100 times. That number reduces to 0.2% when looking at more than 10,000 downloads Figures from App AnnieThe Business of Apps catchy
    14. 14. CoreBusiness Thousands of apps are delivered to the app store DOAThe Business of Apps catchy
    15. 15. What is your business? The purpose of your any business is to deliver great user experiences, outcomes and benefits for the largest ongoing return of revenue against the investment of time and resource. How?The Business of Apps catchy
    16. 16. What do users want? They don’t want your app. They don’t care about apps, features, code, or platforms. Users care about experiences, outcomes and benefits.The Business of Apps catchy
    17. 17. The VC approach Do I have What problem Who has Is this group a unique or am I solving? this problem? big enough? interesting benefit set? How can Is the cost/benefit Where are I reach the How will it gap big these people? people with make money? the problem? enough for Devices/platforms? my usersThe Business of Apps catchy
    18. 18. Easy 5 Stage processThe Business of Apps catchy
    19. 19. Research Extensively Do your research, is there demand or are you creating demand. Test your ideas – ask ‘would you use this’ Find greatideas – App Store Monitoring (sometimes it’s easier to copy!) Be an expert. Go big, have a purposeThe Business of Apps catchy
    20. 20. Example – Developer Economics 2012 Tablets, the mobile web, Windows phone, Facebook Symbian, Java, Brew The app review loop BRIC demand for localised apps And so onThe Business of Apps catchy
    21. 21. Figure out the money diligently Do this before you start developing. There are only two options – get paid by users, or get paid by advertisers. Consider multiple strategies, particularly on different platforms and in different marketsThe Business of Apps catchy
    22. 22. Build a great app creatively Differentiate by design Get the name right Design a great app icon Think GloballyThe Business of Apps catchy
    23. 23. Market Relentlessly You must; Build a great splash page and social sites Get your title and meta data keywords right (ASO) Choose the right category Take great screen shots Get friendly reviews early And ask for reviews from users Give users as many chances to share as possible Install in app analytics Sign up for an App Store analytics serviceThe Business of Apps catchy
    24. 24. Market Relentlessly You should; Make a promotional video Write a press release (don’t forget vertical press) Send promo codes to influencers You could; Employ an app marketing agency Pay for expedited reviews Run an in app media campaign (sign up for mobile app tracking if you do)The Business of Apps catchy
    25. 25. Do it all Quickly And repeatThe Business of Apps catchy
    26. 26. Repeat Don’t just repeat with this app (but do that) Use your analytics Repeat the whole process all over again, including idea generation The chances of having one breakthrough success app are slim Create a portfolioThe Business of Apps catchy
    27. 27. Credits Some friends that helped; Paul Golding – Andreas - Vision Mobile andreas@visionmobile.comThe Business of Apps catchy
    28. 28. Links Useful places - Track conversion rates - DIY design bible - Industry insight - Design and all things mobile - Business models - ASO tools - ASO tools - App business - InsightThe Business of Apps catchy
    29. 29. Thank you The Business of Apps Richard Hurring @richardhurring +447831114131The Business of Apps catchy