Archive for April, 2011

From 15 to 55,000: a 24 hour experiment on the App Store

From 15 to 55,000: a 24 hour experiment on the App Store

April 6, 2011  |  19 Comments

Just when you think you know a thing or two about the App Store, something like this happens.

We’ve been working on a pretty big iOS project for the last few months and haven’t been paying too much attention to sales figures. So when I logged in to iTunes Connect the other day and saw that our nifty iPhone app Gift Plan had reached an all-time low of 15 sales in a day, worldwide, I thought maybe we should try shaking things up a little. What did we have to lose?

So we decided to do two things we’ve never done before:

  • Trial a new regular price of 99c, and…
  • Make it free for 24 hours to hopefully give the price change a bit of attention.

The entire extent of my marketing plan for this little experiment was posting this tweet. Amazingly it was retweeted by about 60 people, (thanks to TiPB, Mac Stories and Desktop Magazine for being among them). Then Cult of Mac wrote a nice review, and as far as I know that was about it.

So anyway, I wake up this morning and reach for my iPhone to check the figures out. I’m glad I was still in bed or I would have fallen over. In 24 hours, Gift Plan went from 15 downloads in a single day, to 55,290. That’s right, read it again if you have to – I did.

But that was just the first shock. The USA App Store only accounted for a little over 5,000 downloads. It was France which drove the numbers through the stratosphere, with over 38,000 downloads on the French App Store. I wish I’d been able to see it yesterday, but I found out through an app ranking website that Gift Plan was the top free app in France yesterday, even beating the untouchable Angry Birds.

So… What have I learned?

  • Firstly, I knew this already, but I’ve been reminded how immensely different the free app market is, compared to paid – even at a measly 99c.
  • Secondly, I simply had no idea that the French App Store was so strong. We will definitely be thinking more seriously about localisations from here on.
  • Thirdly, even really good apps can sell poorly if no one knows about them. Obviously I’m just a tad biased, but I really like Gift Plan and I think it deserves to sell well for all of the finesse we’ve put into it. But these days, standing out from the other 300,000+ apps is a very tough gig.
  • Fourthly, I’m more confused than ever about charting well on the App Store. If I ever tell you that I’ve got it figured out, you’re welcome to punch me in the face.