Last week I was able to launch my new iPhone app: Ad Alert for checking Google Adsense earnings. This is a project that I have shared from start to finish on my blog here, so its been an interesting journey!
I began considering building an iPhone app about a year ago. Then through multiple ideas and other obstacles, I've finally got the app up and selling on the app store! Today, I want to share with you in detail the costs and income of my new iPhone app over the first week.
Before I dive into the income numbers though, I wanted to share some of the lessons learned. Overall, I am extremely happy with how my iPhone app turned out. The app allows users to check their Google Adsense earnings on the fly and receive a sound notification every time their earnings hits a certain level. So, every time a user earns $10 more in their account for example, their phone will make a “cha-ching!” sound.
Like with any outsourced project, one of the most important things you can do is make a smart hiring decision. In order to hire someone that will work well on your project, you should always do as much pre-hiring “interview” questions as possible. This could be just emailing back and forth about their understanding of the project, or asking for any questions or advice that they have about your job.
This will help weed out a lot of the providers that either do not communicate well (or at all) or those that may not have a similar vision as you of the project.
Overall, I felt like I hired a great developer, and I'm happy with the way the project turned out.
I have done a number of podcast interviews recently, so I had some advice from some experienced iPhone app entrepreneurs. One thing that they all emphasized was the importance of doing all you can when you app is first launched to market your app. The initial week can see a higher amount of downloads if you are able to get featured by Apple or rank well for your particular category.
Well, I wasn't featured by Apple or anything like that, but I was able to get 25 reviews in the App store, with the overwhelming majority being 5 stars!
One thing that I knew all along when I was created my app was that it was limited in its potential audience. After all, in order for my app to be useful you not only had to be a Google Adsense user, but you also had to have an iPhone. So, I always knew that my app would never have mass appeal like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, or even as much market potential as Benny Hsu's Photo365.
But targeting a more niche market, was also part of my strategy. I was not trying to hit it big with just one iPhone app. I felt like I could treat iPhone app a bit like I do niche sites. If I can target the right niche, then not only can I “rank” well in the App store, but I can still be profitable.
So, this app could be the first of many for me. It was a learning experience that is paying off as well!
Week 1 Income Report
In the first 7 days, I was able to get 103 downloads! So, that is an average number of sales of 14.7 per day. How does this translate to dollars?
Well, I am selling the app for $2.99. So, in the first week my gross revenue was $307.97
Apple is nice enough to take 30% of this and leave me with 70%. So my “take home” pay was: $215.58
Obviously, this isn't going to knock your socks off. But honestly, I'm happy with it. I have a couple of reasons why I'm okay with this income.
First, as explained, I know my app doesn't have “mass appeal”. Its a fun little app for Google Adsense users – a very niche app.
Want to see my new iPhone app on the App Store? Check it out here!
Compared to Other Adsense Apps
Secondly, this is actually better than any other Adsense App is earning right now! How do I know? I have been using AppAnnie.com to track my earnings and rankings within the app store over the first week. So, I have been able to see that my Ad Alert app has been ranked higher for total grossing amount in the business category than any other Adsense iPhone app. So, this tells me that the highest grossing Google Adsense app has a revenue potential of about $20 to $30 a day.
So, I might not be making a killing, but I'm doing about as good as I can with the niche that I've chosen.
Most of the other Google Adsense apps are priced lower than mine at either $0.99 or $1.99. So down the road, I may try testing out a lower price point on my app to see if it increases downloads and earnings.
Wrapping it Up
At this point, I really don't know how successful the app will be. Certainly it is going to take 3 or 4 months before it turns profitable. I invested just shy of $3k in developing the app. So, I have no doubt that it will be profitable, and hopefully in a few months time, I will still have $300 to $500 a month in passive income from sales on the app store. Time will tell.
I also think my experience paints a pretty realistic picture of iPhone app development. Yes, you hear of lots of big hits, but there are lots of apps that never even make as much as I have already. If you are considering developing an iPhone app, you should be aware of this. If you listen to my podcast interview with Pat Flynn, you will note that while he and his partner make about $5k or 6k a month from iPhone apps, the majority of that comes from just a few of the apps. They have 27 iPhone apps in all, and so many of them don't make very much.
So, what do you think? Is it better to go after an app idea that has mass appeal or target something that is more “niche”? I personally think that this app has been an AWESOME learning experience for me. Not only did I get a great education on building an iPhone app, but I should be able to actually turn a profit on this app in a few months.
Overall, I would definitely recommend that if you are planning on building an iPhone app, that a good way to start is with a less expensive app where you can learn the ropes. Then once you really know what you are doing, you can dive in head first and invest in something bigger.
I would love to hear your comments or questions below!
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