I figured that since I’ve recently started hitting around $100/day on avg, I could share the biggest lessons I’ve learned on the App Store.
1. The most important part of the funnel is the top. Finding your app is the most important part (via App Store search or web search). The top of the App Store is the Icon, the name, the screenshots, and the description. If these can’t be done well the app isn’t worth further development.
2. The first version should do what it needs to do and nothing more. The original version of GifShare beta — which converts GIFs to videos — did nothing other than that — I made the design usable, but it wasn’t pretty. The remaining features were easier to implement as users will complain about what the app needs to be better.
3. Measure whats important — If you aren’t measuring things, Mixpanel is free, and Flurry is free forever. If your serving ads, active daily users is good to know. I also track how many GIFs are converted daily for this. Don’t measure too much — data bloat will only serve to distract you.
4. Don’t change too many things at once — This is really hard because the review cycle is 7 days so sometimes you might be tempted to make a lot of “improvements” at once — don’t do this! I’ve made this mistake recently, and my revenue dropped massively — because I had made so many changes at once, I wasn’t sure what caused it. Fortunately, I was able to guess what it was on the next update, but you shouldn’t have to put yourself in that position.
5. Use a backend service to dynamically update your app — To overcome the long dev cycles of the App Store, I created a backend using Parse.com which I could change data to my Upgrade screen and for which I could test different promotions for new apps without pushing a new update. I recently tested promotion screens for several different apps to see which one might be more worth my time building next.
6. Don’t fall in love with your app – “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” Very much like Edison’s thoughts on ideas, the best way to find an app that works may just be to build a lot of them.
Before actor Ed Helms got “lucky” with winning an audition he gave for a correspondent with The Daily Show, he was making a living in New York as a voice for radio commercials. The nature of the business meant he was auditioning for new commercials every day, sometimes multiple times in one day.
When the Daily Show role came up, he auditioned for it, then he was done with it. Totally forgot about it. Not only did he get the role, but having gone through so many auditions taught him to audition really well. His emotionless state of auditioning actually worked to his advantage.
That’s almost how you have to be with your apps. Make your apps prove themselves to you as viable business opportunities before you start spending heaps of time on them. The first changes you make should be to the top — the app name, the keywords, and the icon mainly. If these don’t work then move on. Never attach yourself unless it begs for your attention.
Now it’s time to hit $200/day. Game time!