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make an app, get rich...

03-23-2012, 09:36 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 37
make an app, get rich...

Hello fellow indie developers,

During my ramping up on iOS development, I enjoyed reading blogs of other developers and their experiences with delivering apps to the app store. So I thought I would return the favour and write a little about my experience in perhaps helping other future first timers.

So how hard is it to make a dollar on the app store? I can think of one saying "Like drawing blood from a stone".

I released the iphone version of my first game "Memory, Pictures & Puzzles" on Saturday, March 17 and plan on releasing the iPad version on Saturday, March 24. I released it in the word and puzzle category. First note, the word category is much easier to attain some shelf space. I had 16 downloads in Canada and that was enough for a temporary position of #13 and 10 downloads in the US and that was enough for a temporary position of #52. As far as the puzzle category, it never broke the top 200 in the US and made #58 in Canada. Since releasing it, it has sold between 6 and 10 copies a day.

I made two huge mistakes that I have learned from. The first, I completely underestimated the importance of a stand out icon. The reasoning for the icon I chose was yellow and red stand out in the list of icons, but after that it does nothing to intrigue the user to touch it and read more. What I believe is contributing to the user not clicking on the icon was, they see the icon and then the name "Memory, ...". The word memory has users thinking it is a simple kids memory game. This was another huge mistake.

So what have I done to attempt to save the app...

1) I attempted some advertising. I advertised on Facebook. Another terrible decision. Facebook advertising is extremely simple to set up. A few clicks and typing and I have an add targeting a specific group of 54 million people. Great! And it will only cost me $0.06 per 1000 impressions. Well $38 and 750 000 impressions later and 42 clicks, I realized that FB is not the right approach for iOS app advertising.

2) I have created a FREE version, offering 10 puzzles as a taster. I changed the icon for this one and released it in the Word and Trivia category this time. I also changed the name, now it is "Guess the Puzzle ..." I believe this will help eliminate the idea that it is a simple memory game. Another big change is because I made this have only 10 images with a link to purchase the paid version, I have cut the size of the app down from 137 MB down to under 50 MB and can now be downloaded anywhere to give it a try.

3) I have begun coding on supporting Game Center and matchmaking. Hopefully that will have friends invite other friends and grow the game.

Everyone who has played the game has really enjoyed it. From the small community of purchasers of this game, I have sold some in-app purchases for other puzzle packs, this is very encouraging.

I will update with numbers from the effect of my FREE version.

If any of you have any other ideas with what a developer can do to save their app, please do let me know.

03-23-2012, 11:27 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
Cheers for sharing, lots of useful pieces of info here. Hopefully sales will trend upwards will all the tweaks you've made. The iap sales from such a small user base is definitely very promising.

Good luck in the future

Check out my upcoming game Juice Jumpers

Follow me on Twitter
03-23-2012, 11:43 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 37
Thanks wexer

I had a look at your game and your post with regards to your plush toys. I think that is a great idea. If you've got contacts that can help you out and even better at that, close contacts whom you can guilt to help you out (girlfriend) it's a good idea to make use of them.

Even if they don't sell like hot cakes, it's helping spread the word and interest about your game. I wish you good luck with your game.
03-23-2012, 12:38 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing the results.
The Facebook ads where you set Cost Per 1000 Impressions isn't best choice. I would rather choose CPC idea. But I don't know how much would that give...
03-24-2012, 07:42 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
Originally Posted by SibaStyle View Post
Thanks wexer

If you've got contacts that can help you out and even better at that, close contacts whom you can guilt to help you out (girlfriend) it's a good idea to make use of them.
Guilt, a thing of beauty

Check out my upcoming game Juice Jumpers

Follow me on Twitter
03-24-2012, 06:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 37

Great News. I released the iPad version of my game today, March 24 and it is ALREADY in the TOP 25 of word games for Australia, Canada, US and UK! I don't know what the #s are yet, will find out tomorrow, but this is very promising.

One change with the iPad version in comparison to the iPhone version. I released the iPad version in the Word and Family instead of the Word and Puzzle. I don't know if that made a difference or not.

Update #2 with regards to FREE version

I have decided to hold off on releasing my free version until I can deliver it with Game Center and matchmaking support to play online. The biggest reason being is that you really only get one shot at releasing an app. It's while it is a new release and people download it for free to try it out. I believe the ability to play against your friends or strangers across the world will make it that much more appealing. Also, the first timers will do some promotion for me in inviting friends to play against them by downloading it themselves.

That's it for now. I will update with numbers tomorrow.

Last edited by SibaStyle; 03-24-2012 at 06:19 PM.