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Ok, I made my paid app free, and now it's getting popular. What do I do now?

09-29-2012, 02:12 AM
#1
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 19
Ok, I made my paid app free, and now it's getting popular. What do I do now?

Basically, my app has no monetization except as a paid app. So making it free is really free. I don't mind missing out now if I can somehow turn it profitable later.

Originally, I planned to just make it free for a few days, but it started to take off and I figured a free popular game is more valuable than an unknown paid one.

It's in the top 10 in a few countries in its category. In the top 10 in overall games, and in the top 30 or so in all apps overall in Germany.

Do I just keep it free and try in-app purchases?

I've looked at a few games where a popular game was free, then made paid, and it didn't seem to affect much at all. Of course, these were top 10 games, but it seems like a very gutsy move to me.

Anyone with any experience with this?

My game is called Cliff Diving 3D.

If they like it now, they're going to love it after I've finished with a few updates I'm writing now.

Cheers!
09-29-2012, 02:21 AM
#2
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Morestel, France
Posts: 572
Well, it doesn't make sense to me. You won't make any money if you keep it free for ever. Going from paid to free for a limited amount of time is good to get notice by many eyeballs, but keeping it free is a bad move. You'll be better to make a second version free with ads and some kind of iAP to remove the ads or to get more levels or whatever.

JC

09-29-2012, 03:13 AM
#3
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 111
I would suggest not to make it paid again, sometimes the boost up the charts is a flook. I had this happen with one of my very average games. I put it back to paid but was never able to get that boost again when I reverted to free later. Just leave it free and update it with either ads or IAP or both.
09-29-2012, 03:28 AM
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDingo View Post
Basically, my app has no monetization except as a paid app. So making it free is really free. I don't mind missing out now if I can somehow turn it profitable later.

Originally, I planned to just make it free for a few days, but it started to take off and I figured a free popular game is more valuable than an unknown paid one.

It's in the top 10 in a few countries in its category. In the top 10 in overall games, and in the top 30 or so in all apps overall in Germany.

Do I just keep it free and try in-app purchases?

I've looked at a few games where a popular game was free, then made paid, and it didn't seem to affect much at all. Of course, these were top 10 games, but it seems like a very gutsy move to me.

Anyone with any experience with this?

My game is called Cliff Diving 3D.

If they like it now, they're going to love it after I've finished with a few updates I'm writing now.

Cheers!
I think your problem is a good problem to have.

Are you doing this for fun or to try to make a living?

How long was it a paid game before it was a free game? How many users paid for the app compared to how many got it for free? If it's not that many I'd put ads in it and keep it free. I'd be interested in the numbers. If you want email me at michael at badweasel dot com.

The store has changed. I'm just starting to get on the band wagon of free apps with IAP, in app currency, and ads.

The other thing you can do is make 2 versions.. a free version and a paid version. Limit the play a little in the free version and have ads in there. You should also add a lot of other ways to get revenue from your app. Single revenue streams for apps don't work any more.

The question is, do you make the current version the free one and add a new paid one, or do you make this one the paid one and a new one the free one? I know which I'd do.

These days "daily active users" is an important statistic. My game, Big Bad Sudoku Book, has a high percentage of active users. People do actually play the game ongoing and every day. My problem is that further monatization for these users is difficult. In App Purchases hasn't really been working. You are in a good position however.
09-29-2012, 03:31 AM
#5
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 19
Both are good points.

That's my biggest worry, that I'll sabotage any lucky break I might have gotten.

I've had a few great releases on Google, but never seemed to earn much with AdMob. I haven't tried iAd with a popular app, but I'm curious to see how it compares.

AdMob typically earns less than $1 CPM. Actually, even less than .50 CPM is more typical. So I usually associate banner ads in games as a very poor revenue stream.

That said, implementing an in-app purchase would take a week or longer of development. With the delay to getting apps on the store, it could be a close to a month before it's ready.

I'm paralyzing myself with indecision.
09-29-2012, 03:50 AM
#6
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by badweasel View Post
I think your problem is a good problem to have.

Are you doing this for fun or to try to make a living?

How long was it a paid game before it was a free game? How many users paid for the app compared to how many got it for free? If it's not that many I'd put ads in it and keep it free. I'd be interested in the numbers. If you want email me at michael at badweasel dot com.

The store has changed. I'm just starting to get on the band wagon of free apps with IAP, in app currency, and ads.

The other thing you can do is make 2 versions.. a free version and a paid version. Limit the play a little in the free version and have ads in there. You should also add a lot of other ways to get revenue from your app. Single revenue streams for apps don't work any more.

The question is, do you make the current version the free one and add a new paid one, or do you make this one the paid one and a new one the free one? I know which I'd do.

These days "daily active users" is an important statistic. My game, Big Bad Sudoku Book, has a high percentage of active users. People do actually play the game ongoing and every day. My problem is that further monatization for these users is difficult. In App Purchases hasn't really been working. You are in a good position however.
As of this week, it's what I do for a living. I've been fairly successful on Android, but never had a big break with iOS. This time it's the opposite - I think primarily because Google doesn't have a 'new' section anymore. It takes a very long time even for a good new app to get traction over there.

I have a free version ready, but it seems pointless to release if I keep this one free. It earned a few hundred sales in about 4 days before I made it free.

A friend of mine had the same issue with in-app purchases. He made a great app centered around in-app, but it didn't meet expectations at all. I wish I planned for some now though.

The ads in the free version I have ready only show ads between game play, but I might anger the early adopters. I guess I could give them promo codes for my other non-ad games. Not sure.
09-29-2012, 04:02 AM
#7
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Morestel, France
Posts: 572
Your game looks good but not good enough to stay in the top chart (sorry, it won't last there very long). So, you should put it back to paid when you notice the massive drop in downloads and you should start working on your free version now. You free version should display ads (iad and admob to fall back) and allow your player to unlock the full version with iAPs. Your games won't compete with each other (because they are way too niche) so, they will live like 2 different apps and you'll get more money. Keeping your paid app is important because time to time (every 6 months, no more) you can put it for free for a week. This will boost all your other apps.

Currently, I am only using iad (adding admob soon) and I am earning in average $500 a month with ads. That's only a portion of my income (my paid version and iAP are making the real $), but I wouldn't call that minor. And I am hopping to boost this income a lot with adding admob (my games are well spread other the world and iad doesn't display ads most of the time).

JC
09-29-2012, 09:24 AM
#8
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 19
It's possible it will be a flash in the pan, but another day and another 30% increase in downloads. I wonder how it would be doing if I had a better icon? Fixed that now, but it still needs to go through the update process before it will change.

I was surprised by the comment about it being niche. Is it really? What would you consider a mainstream app?

I'm going to wait and see how it goes over the weekend. If it starts to taper off, I'll set it to go back to paid in the week.
09-29-2012, 05:18 PM
#9
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 101
EvilDingo,

I looked at your app and you have plenty of room to add iAds to it during game play. Just use a dynamic top section of your hud and allow the ads to cover the top of the game and adjust the hud down so it stays visible.

As for revenue eCPM wise I see 2.25-3.00 eCPM. After 7 months of iAds that is pretty much the standard range. Some spikes and some low points but that is what I see.

Hope that helps. But get the iAds in it and see. If you maintain downloads then you will have some revenue at some point.
09-29-2012, 07:39 PM
#10
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 19
Thank you for checking it out. I've added iAd to the actual free version (which hasn't been released yet.) It's using AdWhirl to try an iAd first, then fall back to AdMob if there are none available.

eCPM of $2 would be great. I'm so used to the terrible eCPM of AdMob.

There is no guarantee the new free version will do as well as the existing paid(free) version though.

So I'm going to take a chance and hope the 2-app strategy will work.

Another cliff diving game I checked has only one version and millions of sales - Stickman Cliff Diving. I think my game holds up well compared to that one but I have no idea how he decided it was time to start charging for his game (and have it pay off so well.)