To come up with the data for its First Annual Developer Survey, App Promo collected opinions from over 100 qualified app developer participants between April 4 and April 23, 2012. While the survey provided plenty of interesting feedback from its participants, perhaps its most eye opening finding was the fact that 59 percent of developers said their most successful app failed to generate the revenue necessary to break even with their investment into the project. Add to that the 80 percent who said that they could not support a standalone business with the revenue generated from their top app, and you can see that the app industry is one that is not easy to make a splash in.
As for what it takes to become successful, the survey stressed the importance of investing resources to ensure that projects are marketed properly. Only 12 percent of participants claimed to generate $50,000 in revenue form their most popular app, placing them in the top earner category. Approximately 11 percent of developers said they were able to reach the landmark of 500,000 downloads. The top earners reported an average marketing budget of $30,000 and a 14 percent time investment in promoting their apps, which denotes the sacrifice that must be given in order to achieve success in the increasingly competitive app universe.
While the responses from the top earners offer insight into how app success is attained, responses from the opposite end of the spectrum show why failure is so prevalent when it comes to app development. Of the developers surveyed, 68 percent noted that their most successful app generated $5,000 or less in revenue, and 63 percent reported download numbers of 50,000 or less for their top app. These numbers would probably do little to motivate a prospective developer to jump into the arena of app creation, but a closer look at more of the survey’s results provides some reasoning behind such a lack of success.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of the developers surveyed (91 percent) said that marketing was an essential ingredient for app success, 52 percent admitted to having no money set aside for marketing. Even more alarming, 52 percent said they allocated 5 percent or less of their total project time towards marketing efforts. With such responses, it is easy to see why so many apps fall by the wayside in an already saturated market.
An infographic tagged with the catchy title of “Wake Up Call – If You Spend it They Will Come” was released by App Promo in addition to their official white paper on the topic. The infographic relays highlights of the surveys findings in an easy to read format, and App Promo hopes that members of the media and owners of internet blogs will republish it to help increase awareness of the importance of marketing to app developers. The infographic and official white paper that details all the statistics derived from the First Annual Developer Survey can be downloaded from App Promo’s website, http://www.app-promo.com/.
Gary Yentin, App Promo’s CEO and founder, commented on the purpose of the First Annual Developer Survey: “After two years of working with developers on increasing downloads and money for their app, we wanted to do this survey to dispel the myth that all you have to do is build an app and watch the money roll on in. Our survey echoed exactly what we have been finding in the market, developers have to spend money and time on marketing in order to succeed.” Yentin used the QuickHits Track 2012 CTIA Executive Forum to formally present the surveys findings.
The overall message behind App Promo’s First Annual Developer Survey and infographic is rather simple. If you want to make it big in the app game, it certainly helps to have a great, original idea. No matter how good an idea is, however, failing to push it to the masses will decrease its chances for success.
The survey revealed just how hard it is for developers to turn a profit, but it also showed how many are failing to invest the proper time and resources into marketing their offerings. With the popularity of smartphones and mobile devices growing at an astronomical rate, the app industry appears as if it will be around for years to come, giving ambitious developers various opportunities to make their mark. Whether or not that mark is made depends on how much they are willing to sacrifice for success.
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