Update from December’s Experiment

Last month (December) I ran a little experiment. I decided to change the price of my Bacon Farts app from $0.99 to $4.99.

I figured sales revenue would plummet as a result of this price change. It seems I was wrong.

bacon-farts-revenue-201501

As you can see, revenue immediately jumped almost FIVE TIMES!

In January, it has leveled off but has remained 160% above the norm.

And actual downloads have remained practically identical before and after the change. Which is amazing!

Lesson learned: EXPERIMENT WITH PRICING

(You can read more in my December App Income Report.)

What’s Up With QUMBO?

I modified my keywords and title at the end of December. How did that change downloads and income levels for January?

Downloads dropped about 300%. Income dropped 50%. Not so great.

I’ll keep fiddling with keywords as time goes on. I’m also considering switching to paid instead of free. I’m just kind of curious to see what would happen. (You can’t fall off the floor, right?)

What’s New?

In January, I launched a new game! It’s called SWAY. It was a blast to build!

I built it as part of the Buildbox 30 Day Game Challenge. (Following that link will let you read more about my experience with Buildbox.)

Once again, the results for yet another app release are not great.

Another disappointment.

Although reviews are quite good and people seem to enjoy playing the game, it just hasn’t managed to get much traction. (Read: only a few downloads.)

I think I need to start looking into pre-selling and marketing my games before I launch them. I’ve been doing some research on the subject. With some effort, I hope to figure out the marketing side of independent game development.

I like to build games. I like to play games. But I have yet to figure out how to market games. Especially given I have no budget for advertising. Guerilla tactics are a must!

More on that in the months to come!

App Downloads (January 2015)

app-downloads-201501

Pretty standard graph here. Nothing too interesting. All signs point to mediocrity. But at least downloads didn’t drop.

What did drop was income… check this out…

App Income by Ad Network (January 2015)

advertising-income-201501

This month’s advertising income: $330.64

A huge nosedive from December.

A 41% drop.

I know. December had the Holiday in there. And that’s true. But a 41% reduction in ad revenue is hard to swallow.

Just look at those percentage drops!

Vungle revenue is down 53%. That’s not great. What happened, Vungle?

Playhaven revenue is down 39%.

Revmob revenue is down 34%.

I toggled Playhaven and Revmob here and there to see if I could get better eCPMs from one over the other but never had much luck.

I know advertising is a risky business. Maybe I need to look into paid downloads and in-app purchases instead of relying on advertising. (Logging that in my CEO brain right now.)

Total App Income (January 2015)

total-app-income-201501

Total app income from both advertising and paid downloads for January 2015: $470.41

That’s a 31% drop from last month.

At least paid downloads saved me 10%.

Lessons learned

MAKE GAMES WITH IN-APP PURCHASES

I can’t rely on ad revenue remaining constant. When it’s up we celebrate. When it’s down we get discouraged. As a certified control freak, I’d like to have a better handle on controlling income.

FIGURE OUT APP MARKETING

Clearly I don’t have this figured out. I watched some tutorials on App Store Optimization (ASO) and figured I had this whole app marketing thing in the bag. I was dead wrong. Back to the drawing board on this one.

Looking Forward

It’s been a disappointing month, revenue-wise. Especially since downloads were pretty constant.

But it’s not all bad. The biggest bright spot was the awesome results from raising prices. So I’ll continue to celebrate that one… because this is a tough business, and we all need to be able to celebrate something!

Releasing a new game (SWAY) was another bright spot. Even if it hasn’t caught on just yet.

How was your month? What are you seeing for a shift from the Holiday season? Feel free to share in the comments below.

I hope you had better results than I did!

Thanks for reading. I hope this information has been helpful.

We’ll see you next month for February results.

Chris