One year ago I wrote the first posting on my blog. I had two apps (actually one… paid and free version) in the Android Market (now Google Play) with a total of 2367 downloads. Today I have thirteen apps on Google Play (actually ten… paid and free) with more than 155,000 downloads. Assuming the same growth rate for the next year I should have 9,500,000 downloads next year (I hope I can refer to this one next year and can say “I was just joking but … ” 😉 )
What I have learned in that Year
Having success with an app is similar to winning the lottery
I have some apps out there and every time I published a new one I thought: ok, people will really like this one, this will be my next hit. But usually it’s again not the killer app and I have the same 10-20 downloads per day for the new app as for all the others. There was only one app that really surprised me. The GPS Widget. It’s still not a killer app but it performs much better than I expected. It has about 380 downloads per day. The intent of the widget was not to be downloaded thousands of times. I developed it because I missed something like that on my phone. Maybe that’s the point. The only successful app I have, I did because I needed it and not to have success with it.
It’s impossible to know if an app will have success or not before you publish it. But maybe the lottery factor can be reduced by investing much more time into development and especially into design of apps. But you still can not know if the invested time will pay off.
Cross Promotion IS easy and Important
To every app I add a “More” button if it’s possible (by “possible” I mean every app which requires INTERNET permission for some other functionality). When the users clicks on the button a list with all my other apps will appear. From my logs I see that every day about 130 user click on that button. 130 people more see my other apps and about 20% of them click on one of the apps. This is some free traffic with nearly no effort.
Request Users to Rate the App
Requesting users to rate the app really has the benefit that not only frustrated users give you one star ratings but also some of the happy users hit on the idea to give you 5 stars. The overall rating will increase if you actively request users to rate your app (assumed the app is not crap at all).
Calculate time for Maintenance
An app is not finished after publishing. A lot of users find bugs or ask for new features. Most of the bugs a real and most of the requested features are really good ideas. But it takes a lot of time to fix the bugs and implement new features.
Ads generate some revenue
But only if you have thousands of impressions a day. Otherwise you only get a few cents.
A good Idea for an App is just one out of three
“You just need a good idea to create the next killer app.” That’s the consensus. A good implementation of the good idea is at least equally important. And the third part of a successful app is promotion/presentation and the monetization model. It’s really not easy to find the optimal monetization model. It’s a lot of trial and error and different for each app.
In the past year I learned a lot about Android app development. I learned how to:
- develop Wallpapers
- develop Widgets
- use the camera
- use sensors like compass, accelerometer, …
- implement Services
- integrate Ad Networks
- integrate Facebook
- integrate Samsung S Pen
I will try different ad networks with mediation on my existing apps to improve ad revenue. I also want to try out in-app purchases.
And maybe I’ll have a look at developing for iOS. But I have neither an Apple computer nor an iPhone. So I’m not sure if I this will really happen.
I definitely will develop further apps in the future. Currently I’m working on a new game. It’s a bigger project than the previous apps. It will take some time. Stay tuned.