Distimo recently published an interesting report (free, registration required) on how app price changes affect revenue for iPhone & iPad apps. They give a breakdown on the scale of price changes but only give the really interesting results – the download and revenue impacts – averaged across all price changes. The key result is…
As long as there are algorithms impacting revenues there will be people trying to game them. In the world of mobile apps there are two sorts of algorithm that can be routes to success, chart rankings and search rankings. Chart rankings are very simple and typically just use some time-weighted download volume. Search rankings are much more complex, involving keywords, reviews and other social or similarity-based data as well as downloads. Developers can use a range of tactics to improve their ranking in these algorithms, some of them much more legitimate than others.
2012 was another big growth year for mobile apps. Apple continued to launch new products, sell them in ever greater volumes and distribute more revenue to developers. Meanwhile Google overhauled their market and developer revenues climbed sharply. Android developers also saw the Amazon Appstore expand and become a serious second revenue source. Developers who created quality apps and marketed them well were richly rewarded. However, for many developers the major challenge of getting their apps discovered by users only got worse. How is 2013 likely to compare? Will app revenues continue to grow at similar rates and will those revenues keep concentrating in the hands of fewer publishers?
74% of developers use two or more platforms concurrently. At the same time, developer platform choices are now narrowing. On average mobile developers use 2.6 mobile platforms in our latest research, compared to 2.7 in 2012 and 3.2 in our 2011
research. The Android-iOS duopoly in smartphone sales is gradually creating a concentration of developers around these two platforms: 80% of respondents in our sample develop for Android, iOS or both, making them the baseline in any platform mix. Developers that do not develop for one of these two platforms generate, on average, half the revenue of those developers that do, leaving little doubt as to the concentration of power within these two major ecosystems.
We asked developers to pick the top platform, among all platforms they have used or are planning to use, on a number of different aspects of mobile development such as discovery, learning curve and monetisation. We then compared how iOS and Android fare against each other, based on the opinions of developers using both platforms. Find out which platform came out on top.
Our new Developer Economics survey shows that developer interest in Windows Phone remains high but slightly subdued as a result of poor handset sales. The 55% intentshare from the last survey has not resulted in a single percentage point increase in mindshare (still at 21%). Windows Phone is facing a bootstrapping problem as Microsoft’s huge investment in Windows Phone has yet to pay off. Adoption by developers is not the main issue, as highlighted by the high levels of developer interest in Windows Phone: developers seem to be on standby, waiting for the market signals that justify an investment on the platform.
Ahead of the release of our latest Developer Economics survey, we look back the biggest challenges developers reported in our 2012 survey. Here we discuss six of them, with some basic tips on what to do about them. The challenges are split between marketing and post-launch app and user management. The three biggest marketing challenges were: keeping users engaged, targeting the right users and identifying the right revenue model. The three biggest post-launch challenges were: Tracking bugs and errors, getting users to review your app and updating applications in the field.
Ahead of the release of our latest Developer Economics report, we look back at some important results from our last survey. In our 2012 Developer Economics report we included a developer sentiment barometer for the various mobile platforms. As we move into 2013 several new platforms are on their way but all of them look very similar to existing platforms from a developer perspective. We can use this existing data to predict how developers will perceive the new platforms.
Backend-as-a-Service (Baas) provider Kinvey published an interesting infographic on the average time taken to build an iOS or Android app (with a backend service) this week. The data comes from a survey of 100 developers with their estimates averaged. For apps with relatively complex backend requirements as featured in the survey, our simple analysis suggests developers could save 45% of the effort required to ship a Minimum Viable Product by using a BaaS.
Elliot Schmukler from LinkedIn spoke at a recent Growth Hacker conference about the strategies they’d used to grow the site since he joined in 2008. His advice was very helpfully summarised by Sandi MacPherson, Founder at Quibb and is general enough to be applied to mobile apps. Read our take on his main points.