My sales experience on the App Store. $ 29K for 15 months

    I want to share the experience of developing and selling my iOS application from the Productivity category. I will not talk about the application, so as not to be considered advertising. Just the graphs and conclusions I made.

    For 15 months, total sales of the application exceeded $ 29,000 and today are about $ 2,000 per month ($ 65 / day). The total number of downloads exceeded 500,000 , although most of them were obtained during the free distribution of the application.

    The start was pretty good due to the fact that Apple placed the application in the promotional sections of New & Noteworthy and What's Hot in the American and Russian Appstores. This inspired further work, but subsequently sales schedules were not so spectacular. In total, the project has not yet paid for itself - approximately three times as much has been invested in the application. (The application was created by a team of two people. It took about 10 months to develop the first version.)

    After the start, the stake in the development was on various useful though time-consuming functionalities in the hope that Apple would pay attention to the application again and put it into focus. We added cloud synchronization to the application (not via iCloud), localization in different languages, iPad version and other features, however, this almost did not affect sales.

    The biggest upsurge in app sales was, and remains, during the first appearance of the app in New & Noteworthy. The rest were already smaller bursts after the publication of reviews of the application on different sites and blogs. Attempts to advertise the application on Facebook and Google Adwords did not lead to any change in the sales schedule.

    The main sales were in the Russian and American Appstores. The release of localized versions did not lead to featured in local Appstores (in general, we localized the application into 12 languages, even taught the application to parse user input like this: 毎 年 12 月 20 日 ま で に ク リ ス マ ス プ レ ゼ ン ト の 準備).


    In addition to advertising on Google and Facebook, I experimented with the price and giveaways of the application. Price changes from $ 0.99 to $ 3.99 did not have a significant impact on sales. You increase the price of the application - the positions in the top charts go down, you lower the price - the positions go up. Total sales remain at approximately the same level.

    The optimal price should be determined depending on the number of visitors (traffic) who come to buy the application from outside Appstor.

    Free giveaways attracted attention to the application, but in general, such a practice should not be applied constantly, and even more often. We spent about 4-5 giveaways of the application for a year. In the end, free giveaways ultimately affected, all the time there was a surge in downloads, but the effect was less and less every time.

    iPad version

    After the release of the universal version of the application (version for iPad), sales increased on average one and a half times.

    The iPad version was released just in time for the release of iPad mini and shortly before the Christmas holidays, and Apple put the application on the small Makin 'a List promotion list in the US and Canada. This slightly affected the sales of the application, but not at all, as was the case with New & Noteworthy and What's Hot immediately after the launch.

    Sales in US Appstore after the release of the iPad version:

    What's wrong?

    Like many developers, I once imagined Appstore as a kind of “gold mine”, which will allow you to make good money if you make a good product. I was guided by other figures in sales and the fact that a self-sustaining project is not so difficult to do.

    To understand the essence of the complexity of making money in Appstore, you should think about the question: what, in fact, is the task of Appstore for Apple ? This is an ecosystem that is aimed at developing and promoting the entire iOS platform and selling new iOS devices. Not that users quickly find the necessary applications in Appstore (those who used the search inside Appstore will understand), but to the top of only a few dozen of the most striking and attractive products. In a general sense, the beneficiary in Appstore is only Apple, and not a developer.

    Therefore, it is somewhat naive to expect your application to be faked for being useful, good, and neatly executed. In my opinion, this was and remains the most common misconception of developers regarding today's mobile applications. Appstore’s editors are watching not only the usefulness and uniqueness of the application, but how the application helps Apple to develop the iOS platform, express its uniqueness, and demonstrate how convenient and innovative the platform is. Blogs and sites that write app reviews work in much the same way. I did not work with Google Play and other platforms, but I think that the situation is similar there.

    By the way, our experience with getting into New & Noteworthy confirms this: the application was registered not after the release, but after the function of reminding about tasks by location (geo-position) appeared in it - just when Apple introduced this API in iOS 5.

    I will be glad answer your questions in the comments. Thanks for attention.

    UPD: This is not an app advertisement. In this post, I just tried to answer those questions that I usually hear from friends when they ask "how is your application."

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