6 Things We’ve Learned – Apps – P1

When apps were just a glint in our eye, we would have found a blog like this very helpful, so we thought we’d write one for anyone else with glints. Part one of the blog sums up what we’ve learned so far in bringing our apps to market.

#1: It takes longer than you think.
From conception to birth, our first app, The Geordie Motivator, has taken 18 months. It could have been much quicker but it was fitted around client work which paid the bills. It was also ambitious for a first app, as it involved over 350 sound files. Our second app, the Marlow Window Shopper, only took seven months, but it was a much more straightforward build. The reality is that you need to set realistic expectations or you risk getting a ‘Friday’ app (as in the saying, “Do you want it good or do you want it Friday”).

#2: Dealing with the Apple App Store review team was a breeze but takes time. 
Once the Geordie Motivator app reached the beginning of the App Store review queue, it took 10 days before it went into active review and then a further 10 days (including some minor revisions) before it was ‘Ready for Sale’. The Window Shopper took only 6 days. You have to be patient. Most important, don’t set a launch date without taking into account that you can’t make the App Store’s review process fit your schedule. Thankfully we didn’t have a client breathing down our necks for the Motivator, since we ended up putting back the launch date by about six days.

Email time log for the review process for The Geordie Motivator (two versions, paid-for and free)

#3: iPhone downloads WAY outnumber Android downloads.
We have been struck by the huge difference in iPhone and Android downloads (the two platforms we chose). The global numbers for Android phones and iPhones led us to expect Android dominance just based on sheer market presence, but no. The graphs below of our Geordie Motivator and Marlow Window Shopper downloads over the last few months tell an intriguing story. iPhone out-downloads Android by a factor of about 12 (Motivator) and 7 (Window Shopper). Having very different apps showing the same download pattern, and with a mix of paid-for and free, means we feel fairly sure that this could represent a typical pattern, but one of the key things is that there are lots of variables involved and demographics will play a bit part in this variance. A significant consideration for clients is that if they only have enough budget for one platform then this evidence could be a useful decision-making tool! We’ve thought long and hard about explanations and there are so many that we’ll explore these further in a future blog.

In part two we will look at what we have learned about marketing apps, especially when you don’t have much budget.

If you’re interested in developing an app or getting further consultancy on an app idea you have then please contact us.

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