tap tap tap (Convert, Voices) has done quite well in the App Store despite not being a game developer. Continuing this trend, the company has announced today in a lengthy blog post that their newest app, Camera+, has made $250k in its first month. Surprisingly enough, the app did so with no advertising (the company doesn't advertise for its apps anymore due to costs) and quickly declining sales in the US market.
So how did they do it? Here's the abridged version.
Since tap tap tap does no advertising anymore, John Casasanta, head of the company and writer of the blog post, says that the key is to start with a HUGE launch. Huge as in contest for $10,000+ worth of camera equipment... but the key is how to get the word out. Fortunately for tap tap tap, John Casasanta is also the head of MacHeist, so the company got a large head start, but now tap tap tap has its own opt-in list with 70,000 subscribers. Says Casasanta, "Granted, not every developer has access to such resources, but there’s no reason that anyone can’t build-up resources of this sort over time… it’s taken us years so patience and persistence is key."
I guess in any business, you're only as successful as the people you know, or in this case, the amount of people you know.
The rest of the success lies in the app itself. Since the US App Store is completely dominated by games, it's imperative to have a flawless, detail oriented app with some fun touches and well done social network integration. The post talks, in detail, about making things feel right, with not too many options, but enough to work correctly. Also, developers need to be completely open to feedback, and update when the app needs to be updated, but only when the updates are necessary.
As a non-game, it's very important to keep hope even after sales wane in the US. The app market overseas is very different from our game and entertainment app dominated store, with countries like Finland having 14 of the top 25 being non game and entertainment apps. Check out the sales chart on the right to see how foreign app store are supporting Camera+.
The post ends with a warning. "You can spend a year on an app and hardly make a dime on it. It’s not just the nature of the App Store… it’s the nature of practically any business." Only make an app if it's something that you love, and be sure to slave over every last detail.
So good luck to all the devs that are out to make your own $250k. If every app turns out to look as well made as any of the tap tap tap apps, the world would be a much better place.