Willie Sutton is alleged to have stated that he robbed banks because that’s where the money is. A similar reason can be given as to why so many online marketers have joined the gold rush to develop apps, as if you hit a home run with your app, you can literally rake in millions of dollars. According to Nielsen, the number of apps loaded per smartphone has increased by 28 percent in the past year alone, and the concept of developing and offering an app, particularly the ones that offer gaming experiences, are becoming an effectively obligatory feature of being an online marketer.
Some very interesting statistics that shed light on the reality of the app status quo:
- 88% of all app games are free downloads.
- Apple takes a 30% cut of all apps through its store.
- An inordinate number of iOS users don’t have credit cards.
- The minimum reasonable budget to develop a competitive game app is $100,000 (and up).
- 80% of all app developers earn 3% of revenues, so they’re lucky to buy lunch.
When you do hit it out of the park, though, the income is spectacular:
- Cut The Rope: 3 million apps sold in 6 weeks.
- Infinity Blade: $10 million in sales in seven months, total revenue over $30 million.
- Jetpack Joyride: 350,000 downloads in one week.
- Order & Chaos: $1 million in twenty days.
- The Heist: Half a million apps sold in one week.
…and the real stunner:
- Tiny Tower: 1 million apps downloaded in four days! (Granted it’s a freemium and not a straight paid app.)
The number one spot in apps in the USA is the average revenue equivalent of approximately $50,000 a day, however some megahits can do $50,000 in just hours.
Then there are the apps that had the potential to become hits but got derailed on the way to riches:
- Big Mountain Snowboarding
- Fish Moto
- Punch A Hole
…and many others ended up selling just a handful of apps resulting in income in the… I hope you’re sitting down… hundreds of dollars. That’s after investing five or maybe even six figures to develop the app. Ouch. Might as well have had a BBQ and grilled the hot dogs on flames from burning $100 bills.
If you’re starting to get the picture that app development is a casino, you’re pretty close to the truth. Yes, there are some ways to stack the deck to some degree:
- The structure of app development favors experience, so developers with multiple game apps make more money per game.
- Getting your app featured by Apple can cause a real spike in downloads, and they love apps that are educational, use their latest features and help sell devices.
- Obtaining positive reviews in the leading online sites can help a lot too.
- Porting a successful game app to other platforms can be very lucrative.
- Learn to love EFIGS with a side of CJR: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Russian are obligatory languages to localize game apps.
The primary obstacle to app development to dovetail into your overall online marketing presence is actually the false set of expectations that most developers enter the market with. It’s easy to see the huge paydays garnered by some game apps and think that you’re the next one with the winning app lottery ticket. Some of the key questions that any online marketing wannabe game app developer has to ask include:
- Are you developing an app exclusively as a revenue stream or are you attempting to cross-promote your brand through it?
- What are the demographics and other features of your target audience, and do they represent a large enough segment?
- What is the competitive landscape for the app you have in mind?
- Will you stop at one app or do you have an entire series that you’re contemplating?
- How heavily financed are you and could you afford a total loss situation without handicapping your entire brand online marketing effort?
An app can be a huge moneymaker and boost your brand’s online profile… but only if you stay away from the snake eyes and boxcars!