September 11, 2009
It's probable that many of you have had this question pop into your head at least one time or another: How does getting featured in the App Store affect app sales? The obvious answer is that sales go up, but how much exactly do they go up and how long can higher sales numbers be expected even after the app is no longer featured? Return7, the developers of Billminder, have chosen to reveal their recent sales numbers now that their app is being featured by Apple, which should hopefully help us answer these questions. Billminder is a financial app for the iPhone and iPod touch that helps you keep track of and pay your bills. It has been relatively successful since launch, averaging about 100 copies sold per day. It recently received a UI overhaul in v2.0 that helped drive sales as high as 400 copies sold per day before leveling back off to around 200 copies. This was enough to push the app all the way to the top of the App Store's Top Paid Apps list in the Finance category, something most developers, including Return7, would be happy with. However, being at the top of their category must have been enough to get Apple's attention, as the app is now being featured in the "What's Hot" section of the App Store, and it has been there since September 8th. This move to the front page helped Billminder's sales immensely, as you can see from the graph below. Sales went from about 200 copies per day to well over 1,000 copies during the first day of being featured by Apple. Billminder's sales continue to climb even today, as the app has now surpassed about 1,200+ copies per day.
Apple, of course, doesn't feature apps forever, so as a developer you have to take what you can get. It is impossible for an app to sustain sales numbers like those from being featured. This left me wondering how much overall sales are helped by being featured. Those 1,200+ sales numbers can't be expected forever, so what can we expect? For that answer I turned to Alpha Acid, whose app, Adaptunes, was also recently featured by Apple but has since been removed from the front page. Just like Return7, Alpha Acid seen a huge sales increase on the very first day their app was featured (graph below), with numbers 80 times the regular sales rate. So now that Adaptunes is no longer featured, what are the sales like? Well, Andrew Kuttig from Alpha Acid has told me sales are still up overall, about 5-6 times higher than they were prior to being featured. These exact numbers can't be applied to Billminder, since they are entirely different apps in different categories with different prices, but at least you get the idea. It's worth noting that it hasn't been that long since Adaptunes was featured, so sales could continue to taper off as weeks pass.
So what does this tell us? Well, for one, being featured is great for sales, at least in the short term, but that was already apparent. It helps that the app in question is worthy of being featured, just like in Billminder's case where the app was already in the top position in the Finance category. But what we can take from this is that being featured is a stepping stone, or more like a springboard. If your app gets featured, you will see a huge increase in sales, and if you can continue to provide a quality product, it's likely that the increase in sales will continue, just not at the same extreme level from being featured. It's no wonder developers wanted more ways to get to the front of the App Store. Hopefully the new "Top Grossing" list is only the beginning and Apple can find more ways to highlight some of the latest and greatest apps out there.
Adaptunes - Speed-based Volume Control
Alpha Acid LLC