An app for the masses. Millions of downloads. Millions in Revenue
Does anyone even shoot for this anymore? I mean those in this community. If you are reading this, then you are part of that community.
You know what I mean. The indie app developers dream.
Let me explain a little bit. Depending who you follow, work with and how you make your money….the last 6-12 months you may or may not of been doing of >>
Niching down. Niches Niches Niches.
Research and find an audience that’s:
- Under appreciated
- In need of a solution
- Ready to pay for that solution
- Then build a small following of these people and begin to hone in on what they really want. Not what they told you the first time. You have to dig a little deeper.
- Then you build the damn thing. Letting them be a part of the process along the way. Getting feedback, adding features that you would have never guessed without asking.
- You launch it and >
- tell these people about the app you created for them
- ask them to spread the word
- run Facebook install ads
- get influencers to post about it
- a bunch of others
- You use the data from that launch and plan to find more people that want your app
- You start to scale up with ads and whatever else only to find out that costs to acquire users can spike.
Maybe the market got a little saturated.
So now what?
You did everything you were supposed to do.
Well…there are a ton of things you can do, but most of them probably won’t work for most people.
- Build a new app and launch to that same hungry audience
- Market physical products to these people
- Repeat everything you did for this app and enter another niche
Well…we could think bigger. Even if you had a category chart topping app for a few days, a week, a month, 2 months it eventually dropped right?
- Either the influencers traffic dried up (everyone that wanted it, bought it)
- Your CPI went up (less users for same budget)
- You dialed back spend
- You quit running ads
The system of creating a niche app, marketing it for a temporary spike up the charts is exciting, but is it sustainable?
No so much.
I had an emoji app that brought in nearly 20k in 1.5 months, held #1 in it’s category for 30+ days and pinged around #98-200 of the top paid apps overall in the US store.
My organic lift from running ads and getting shares, getting it up the charts for others to see was nice, but let’s be honest.
For that particular app. I put it there.
I built the app. I marketed it. I ran a lot of ads.
Eventually is was less an less profitable until I was losing money for every download I bought.
So I had to either rethink my strategy, make new ads, find new audience or just pick a new niche.
I went with the latter only because I was having the most success with that initial month after launch. The spike of downloads. The launch to the thirsty audience on a hot day (metaphorically). It’s more fun too!
If you are thinking >
“Yea, I get it man..but what can we do about it?”
READ ON >
After going through the process of creating enough niche apps I kept having this thought pop in my head over and over.
Day after day.
The idea of >>
An app for the masses. You know, the kind of app that doesn’t lose steam after 5-10k downloads. Something that you can build out for a year.
- iOS and Android
- Die hard customers
- Cool features
An app that has the legs to be downloaded by millions.
Not only downloaded, but loved. Mass appeal.
Now you might be thinking…
“Yea, Todd, that sounds great, but millions of downloads?”
Isn’t it hard to make an app that millions will not only love, but pay you to download and use?
Well, it depends >
- Who you ask
- When you intend to publish the the app
- What kind of app
- What leverage you have
- What data you have
- What kind of demographic you are chasing
I’m sure this completely accurate, but right now in the US there are over >
250,000,000 people 18+
So I’m not asking for everyone over 18 to download my app, just maybe 2 million.
That’s less than 1%. About .008% to be exact.
The only reason I mentioned over 18 is because I don’t really create apps for kids so I wanted it to be reasonable. Plus, most people above a certain income level and 18+ have smart phones. There are even programs to get smart phones in the hands of lower income individuals.
I think there are so many people out there in the space trying to create an app for 2,5,10k people, not 2 million.
The niches are wonderful to build out backend systems and multiple apps for a little revenue, but every once in while I think it would be nice to remember what business we are in.
We develop apps. Millions and millions of people have phones right?
Ok. You get the point.
Have you even had one of those days where you know you got a lot done, but have nothing to really show for it?
Grind work. Backend systems, research, outreach, ect.
I often wonder on those days, how long until what I did today will turn into something of monetary value. Will it ever? Of course not everything will, but the day I described….
Ever had weeks like that? What about months?
Where it all blends together. Your weekends and weekdays seem the same. The only reason they are even recognized is because the friends and family in your life point it out be simply having that change in schedule.
I also thought about this today when doing research to create an app for the masses.
About 60 weeks ago I went full time publishing and marketing apps.
On a low average (not sound crazy), I bet my average hours per week since I quit is 70-80. Let’s call it 75. It’s easy to not count all those hours you spend late at night. When you work for yourself it’s not something you really count.
At least I don’t. Might be interesting, but the reason I don’t track it is I’m not trying to prove my hours work are going to be traded for cash.
t’s hard to turn off
I just work to get things done that push a project from idea to reality.
So 75 hours a week x 60 weeks = 4,500 Hours!
Damn. Sounds like a lot. Here’s some perspective.
If I cycle 100 miles a week at 20mph avg. speed that’s 5 hours of seat time.
5 hours a week cycling goes a long way with keeping in shape physically and mentally, but with work I’ll spend 75 hours in a chair without thinking twice about it.
I’m going to bet that in the pile of the last 4,500 hours of work lay the pieces to push an app to the masses.
The ideas, resources, and data.
Not only push it, but have it be a success. Bold claim?
I think about this also. All the projects, all the research, all the data, the connections…ect.
They are all here. Pair that with persistence and a little crazy and you have an app for the masses.
Here’s one of the most interesting things about creating an app for the masses. It’s not as much about the app is it is about getting it in front of your ideal user.
Not a shocker right? How many apps have you created that you thought were clean, functional, clearly thought out, feature rich that flopped? Think about those before Facebook ads. Before people were using influencer marketing.
It’s not really the app that’s the challenge. It’s the discovery. Go look at the top paid of free apps in the store later. How many are great?
How many are just sorta there? You could go pick a popular app, find comps, read all the negative reviews and make a better app with a little cash, but you need users.
I need users. We all need users.
If you thought this was one of those posts where I point out a problem, talk about it, then pitch some new secret way that everyone that reads it can purchase some extra secret formula for 48 hours only at 50% off for the cheap price of $1497, then I’m sorry to disappoint you.
Wow, after writing that and kinda laughing at myself, I wish I had one. That’s a great price point.
Well good news and bad news.
BAD NEWS >
I don’t have something to sell you
GOOD NEWS >
I am just going to tell you how I plan to not only create an app for the masses but get it in front of the people that will want it and make them feel compelled to download it.
Up in the post I mentioned 60 weeks doing apps full time, but I’ve been actually doing it part time since Oct of 2012. So about 260 weeks.
So many failures, I don’t want to get into that right now, but with those failures (here comes the cliché part NO one will actually take serious, but will work) I have a lot of data.
- Pixeled Websites for apps
- multiple app blogs
- About 20 niches under google analytics
- 100’s of apps with attached demo info
- Hundreds of thousands of downloads that are backed by Facebook analytics
- Thousands of email subscribers across several niches
- 10+ Facebook pages
- influencer facebook connections
- more stuff
You get the point.
What do all these things have in common?
That data! Come on, I said it above.
More so, than that though, an app for the masses is for the masses, so all those data sources and leads I have above can be not only a way to discover how to reach my new user, but an actual vehicle for the delivery of that compelling pitch to download my app.
In summary, I’m putting all of what I have…to work in creating and promoting my app for the masses. I will also use the assets we already have (if even for just the “bones”) to create an app.
Just because it’s an app for the masses doesn’t mean I need to target 250 million people. I can still niche down a little. A few million users will do.
Why not me? Why not you?
I think categories that have a lot of potential for this would be >
Sorry, no games for this app. I want to focus on the value the above categories can provide. It’s just a better fit for our leads and current assets.
What about you?
Do you have old apps, leads, data, ect you can use to market an app for the masses?
If not, then there’s no harm in creating a project you can mine later to your own app for the masses.
I have a variety of old apps (from another world) with a website, tons of data (over a million downloads), that some day I will use for a new app. You need the foundation projects to have the showcase ones later.
If you want to hear more about this journey CLICK HERE and join our email list. If you have joined in the past, still fill it out as we are deleting most of these old lists because they simply aren’t worth the time to keep.
There is a good chance that in the future I will start a new blog that will be a shift from just apps to:
When that’s ready, I’ll ask anyone that’s interested to join that community as well.
So cheers to creating an app for the masses.
I’m sure this will be a multi part series.
PS, funny thing about this kinda long post was this was the first line >
“Today’s post isn’t going to be too long, but hopefully it gives you something to think about”