Mobile applications are a lousy business. More than 60% of applications earn less than $500 per month (Vision Mobile). And the market is getting worse every day. By 2018, Gartner predicts that less than .01% of mobile applications will be financially successful. As developers grow increasingly desperate for monetization, Amazon (which runs its own app store in 200 countries) identified success factors of the Top 50 applications.
Median monthly revenue per app by Operating System, Feb 2014
More Time = More Money
Getting people to download the app is only the first step toward monetization. 62% of revenue occurs after the first 7 days and 35% of revenue occurs after the first 30 days. Successful apps create a new habit. The Crafting Contagious Workbook by Jonah Berger provides some tips.
VISUAL: Session Time
Advertising is growing but In App Purchases (IAP) dominates
In-app purchases generated 53% of revenue in Apple’s US App Store in January 2012. One year later, it generated a record 76% (Distimo). For ad-based apps, the two most common models are cost per click (CPC) and cost per thousands impressions (CPM)
CTR by Ad Format
In-Store Promotion Drives Awareness and Downloads
The Top 50 apps, on average, invested more toward marketing and promotion within the App Store. Campaign bursts, carefully tested and measured, actually achieve a noticeable increase in downloads.
Mobile App Promotion