Monetizing Mobile profile
Monetizing Mobile
Monetizing Mobile
Everyone thinks that having an app in the AppStore makes you a millionaire, but it's not true. Most developers make less than $500/mo on their own apps. You will learn how you can control your success in the AppStore, how to monetize your apps successfully and the things you need to do to make your apps successful.
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Monetizing Mobile
Public post

Results of Apple's scheduling changes

My first experiment under Apple's new price scheduling changes just completed and I have some good results.  For those of you who didn't notice this, Apple has updated their interface for scheduling pricing changes in a way that the shortest pricing change must be two days.  So I used to schedule a paid day beginning on Monday and Tuesday being free, but now it has to be Monday to Wednesday.

Because of this my apps are spending more time in the paid category so my total downloads for the month are down from 16k to 14k. My total paid downloads however doubled.  My sales went from $600 to $1040 which is amazing but also somewhat expected.  (Remember I am tracking gross sales in the AppStore so this includes the 30% Apple Tax)

This proves two things to me:
1) I was totally wrong in thinking people wouldn't pay for apps
2) Cycling your pricing is a requirement for an independent app developer with zero marketing dollars.

I was also on track to have my biggest AdMob month ever but then my Android app was demonetized for some navigation issue that I can't find and of course AdMob/Google will not explain.  So I wrapped up the month $40 lower than last month for ads ending at $167.

In an effort to see how I could improve my user interaction and generate more ad revenue I have been experimenting with chat bots.  Initially I created one script for a bot, then expanded to have the bot leave and come back as a 'new' person.  It says general things and responds from time to time as well.  So far I have seen some success.

I then decided that it would be a good idea to add some mystery to these new users by having a few cryptic messages mixed in with the goal or trying to bring back a rock star chat user that seems to have left.  If that user does come back there will be a buzz from the other users to greet them.

This has since evolved.  I have been doing some research on augmented reality games (ARGs) and they are fascinating.  I'm now working on a script for my new chat characters that I will release all at once on my users hopefully triggering a rabbit hole effect that will help drive the game and the user's interacting in the chat.  I'm building this in a way that will allow me to revise and reuse this in the future if this becomes popular.  So far in my testing the chat bots are driving my ad revenue up as much as $6/day.

That's it for today, have a great weekend!
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Monetizing Mobile
Public post

Pricing Cycles Impact Downloads

One of my recent experiments was to try to determine if a specific day of the week being a paid day for my apps would produce better results overall.  As it turns out I have some results and proof of how important it is to cycle your pricing in the AppStore.

At the end of 2019 I was setting one paid day per week and moving that day across the days of the week every few weeks to see how things changed.  In January I resumed my cycle of Mondays and Thursdays being paid.  Given that information, take a look at this chart:

You can see how fast my downloads were growing prior to the single day per week experiments and how fast they spiked again once I resumed the two paid days per week cycle.  I would suggest that you spike your pricing as often as possible to get the greatest growth in your audience that you can.

Another thing that has changed is the way Apple allows you to set your pricing changes.  I've noticed that I can no longer set Tier 1 for Monday and Tier 0 for Tuesday.  Now you have to have a full day of a Tier before you can switch back.  This should be interesting and I'm thinking that this has to do with others figuring out this pattern of behavior as well.

My new pricing cycle is to set Sunday as the beginning of my paid day, Tuesday as the end (covering Monday), then Wednesday as another beginning and Friday as an end (covering Thursday).  I don't know if this change in scheduling is simply cosmetic, meaning that it is more reflective of the behavior in the store itself, or if this change will cause my app to appear in each tier for more than a single day.  I will give more details as my results come back.

Have a great weekend!

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Monetizing Mobile
Public post

Price Cycling vs. Ad Revenue

As you know I've been cycling my pricing for the AppStore (Apple's, Google Play doesn't allow this) and my results are showing that my paid downloads are out-pacing my ad revenue by almost 300%.

June was a record ad-revenue month for me.  I earned $208 on the month in ad-revenue which is a HUGE win given that I've spent probably 30 min on a simple upgrade on a single app this month.  My paid downloads however generated $594, bringing my monthly total to $802.  (Keep in mind that I'm tracking 'sales' not 'revenue' so Apple is still going to grab 30% of the sales total but 'sales' is a better measure for my analysis.)

In all of the experiments that I've done, price cycling has produced the best results by far.  Second in importance has been strategic review requests followed closely by scheduled push notifications.  You just can't expect an app to do well if you aren't participating in it's AppStore experience.

If you are not doing these things yet, go schedule some price changes now.  Set your cycles for one or two weeks so you can see how things behave.  Once you have that set, find one or more notifications that you can schedule for the same period of time.  If you aren't pushing the buttons the income from your apps just won't happen at all.

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Monetizing Mobile
Public post

Percentage of users that want Ad-Free

A few years ago when I really stared focusing on how to monetize my apps I ran with the idea that only 20% of users would pay for an ad-free version.  This came from an article in Forbes that found that roughly 14% of users were willing to pay to remove ads. (link)  So with that in mind I decided to focus on the 80% that were willing to put up with ads and so far that strategy has done fairly well.

Now two months into my experiment with a "Free" Ad-Free model I have discovered a very different picture.  From my analytics I can tell the total number of users across a month and how many are my reward (or ad-free) users.  Here are my results:

Ghost SLS:


Ghost Chat:

I want to point out that in both Ghost SLS and Ghost Chat the feature if extremely prominent while in GhostTalk the feature is hidden in the 'info' section of the app with the dependency credits.

In all three cases I am seeing roughly 2% of users that are willing to go ad-free.  I know from watching my users interact that they are probably 15-30 years old but I don't have any hard evidence for their ages because I don't ask for or track that information.

Keeping in mind that the feature is actually 'free' I would estimate that very few users would opt out after learning the details of the feature.  This isn't something I am going to spend any time to discover though because it's not really the goal.

Realizing that around 2% of my users take the ad-free option and the other 98% either don't care or avoid it assuming it's a paid feature, I am fairly confident now that I am maximizing my ad monetization for these apps.  Remember that reward ads pay roughly 4x what a normal banner ad pays, so the users that get ad-free are delivering the equivalent of 4 ad taps for the ad-free benefits.

I really thought this percentage would be much higher and would lead to the app being primarily ad-free for the active users because they would spend 30 seconds every X days to hide the other ads.

It's also curious that the users have never mentioned this feature to other users in the chat.  It's almost like an advanced form of ad-blindness where users instinctively avoid tapping ads, but if it happens they also instinctively close the ads and return to the app.

This is interesting, I'll let you know if my numbers change over time.

Have a great weekend!

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Monetizing Mobile
Public post

What about Ad Free ... for Free?

I have been running a test of an Ad Free feature in my Ghost apps for the past two months and the results are very interesting.  First of all I bypassed Apple's 30% fee by not using an in-app purchase model.  Instead users qualify for AdFree by watching a 30 second Reward Ad.

This resulted in a rejection of one of my apps for not submitting the in-app purchase, which proves that the reviewer didn't really look at the feature at all.  (I save all of my conversations about app rejections now because I think they may come in handy down the road, and because most are so absurd that I don't think people would believe me.)  This one was resolved by pointing out that the feature was not an in-app purchase.

The reason for the 30 second Reward Ad is simple, it pays at least 4x what a normal ad pays and the user doesn't have to leave the app.  So instead of $0.002 per add tap, I get $0.008 and the user gets ad-free for one month.  I did this because I get a few hundred downloads per day so if all of my users did this we would all be happy.

Oddly enough, even with the feature being free, I still only get a small number of users taking advantage of it.  In fact, for Ghost SLS, I made it a prominent button on the screen and it still is a feature that most users avoid.  The other thing I found odd was that none of the users that do discover this feature tell the other users about it.

I may add a value to my web socket so I can see if a user is running ad-free or not.  I'm curious to see if my power users are the ones that discovered it or if it is a different set of users.

Anyway, have a great weekend!
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Monetizing Mobile
Public post

New Trick: Web Sockets!

Not long ago I decided to switch all of my chat platforms over to a simple web socket setup and away from Google's real time database.  The reason was that the 'real time' part actually wasn't and there was no way to get an accurate count of users on the system.

Now it's simple, when someone connects or disconnects to my socket I send out the user count to everyone subscribed.  Messages are filtered and relayed instantly, I can let people know that someone is typing and on and on.  Web sockets are amazing!

But even better, I want to share what I put together for myself so I could moderate the chats and notify myself of events like 'user clicked on ad'.  This is my AppleTV (below)

Rogue Traveler is not yet set up on the web socket which is why it doesn't have a count but the other 5 are.  From here I can pick a user's name with my remote and warn, reward or ban them from the chat.  I can also delete messages.  So basically I can moderate all of my chats from my couch.

The chats themselves are more active at night but as you can see the ad clicks are coming through nicely.  This happens to be just after a scheduled notification was sent out inviting all of my users to join the chat while watching a hyped ghost show on the Travel Channel.

Notifications are POWER!  It's worth your time to research and come up with a notification strategy for the next month and schedule those things at the same time you schedule your pricing cycle.

My goal for this simple app is to have my TV sound like a Vegas casino!  So this week I am going to refine my notification plan for all of my apps for the next month, add the web socket to more apps even if they don't include a chat and build out the schedules for next month.

Have a great weekend!

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