App Case Study: June Income & Usage Report

In my last post I launched and promoted my score keeping app for both IOS and Android along with a support site.  The project in its entirety took a little over four months, from concept to launch.  I had to build this project in my spare time since I was still working a full-time day job and I was eager to see an ROI for my efforts.

Like a child on Christmas morning I waited to see what would happened.

When an app if first launched, the iOS and Android store front’s give the app the benefit of the doubt and ranks your app high, but if your app is not getting the downloads, ratings and reviews then it will start to fall down the charts, fast.

Income and Usage Reports : Android Score Keeper App

I was completely unsure how the Android version of this app was going to perform.  More to the point, the UI was going to be an issue.  Although still accessible in a scroll view, I had to force the app screens into landscape mode which cut off a lot of the apps functionality and content.   This was a shortcut that needed to be taken since I was running out of time to create proper UI interfaces for all different Android screen sizes.  I believe the results of this decision are reflected in the charts below.

Android Install/Usage Reports

The Google Play Developer console gives a lot of good information about the current health of your app. This includes the Current/Total Installs, Average Ratings, Crashes and more details.

Case Study Google Play App Metric

Case Study Google Play App Metrics

(additional app details purposely blotted out, the next post will reveal the actual app)

What I am most interested in is the CURRENT / TOTAL INSTALLS.   This piece of information is invaluable to give insight on how well an app is performing. CURRENT installs tell you how many unique devices currently still have your app installed while TOTAL user installs tells you the total amount of unique installs that have taken place on users devices.

I am generally happy if my apps have between a 20% – 40% active to total install ratio.  Unfortunately as of the time of this report the Android score keeper is just about at an 18% ratio.

Let’s take a look at the Android Scorekeeper Current / Total Installs over the last three months:

Android Scorekeeper Current VS Total Installs

Android Scorekeeper Current VS Total Installs

The initial app launch was ok but I did not have the momentum to keep it going up the charts.  After three months the end result was a grand total of 45 Current Installs, with over 244 Total Installs.  Right now Current and Total installs seem to be proportionally climbing.

If you have a high TOTAL install rate, but a low CURRENT installation rate, that usually means that the ASO and marketing are on target, which means people are installing your app but something about the app is making people un-install.  This is the problem I am seeing for Android score keeper app.

Android Income Report

The billing model for this app was initially based off of a Pay to Use monetizing method set at $1.  After a few weeks I changed the app to free to download but supported with in app advertisements. There are several different in app advertising companies that you can use, I chose to go with AdMob.

If you do go with in app advertising you will need a massive amount of app usage to see any kind of ROI.  In my opinion this is one of the harder app monetization methods to endure.

Android Score Keeper Earnings

Android Score Keeper Earnings

To date, the Android Score Keeper only earned about $.30 from in app advertisements.  Not Good.

The android version of the scorekeeper app did poorly in both sales and installs. While initial installs were not too bad, it had a high un-install rate, which meant people did not like the app. Which of course provided poor app usage which in turn produced very little income.

I believe I did all my app research correctly and ensured during development I included feature’s that were a big complaint on other similar score keeping apps.   But not spending enough time on the UI came back and bit me.  More on this in the next post of this case study.

Income and Usage Reports : iOS Scorekeeper App

While I was unsure about how the Android counterpart was going to perform, I was very hopeful for the iOS app.  I spent additional time in the UI to ensure that the app would function well on ALL device types and give a good overall UX.   The iOS version has the same functionalities as the Android counterpart and in my opinion looks much better.

IOS Sales and Trends

Unlike the Google Play reports, all that iTunes Connect gives me is installs over time.

iOS Score Keeper Installs

iOS Score Keeper Installs

I have had about 147 app installs in total.  You can see the initial jump from the product launch.  But the app quickly lost any momentum it had and fell so far down the charts that not many people are finding it.

IOS Income Report

Like the Android counterpart, The billing model for this app is free to download but supported with in app advertisements using AdMob.

The Income results are very un-impressive for the amount of work that went into the app:

iOS Score Keeper Earnings

iOS Score Keeper Earnings

Overall I earned $1.01 from in app advertisements for the iOS Score Keeper.  About double what the Android version made.   There will be no vacations this year.

IOS App Analytics (beta)

iTunes Connect just recently introduced a new beta app analytics systems that provides additional insights into your apps performance. But there are some caveats:

  • Right now it’s only enabled for iOS 8 devices and later.
  • Usage data is only being allowed for users that have agreed to share their data with third-party app developers, which means the reporting is not going to be wholly accurate.

With that said, here are a few numbers I was able to gleam:

  • 48 Total App Units. These are unique app installs
  • 300 Total App Store Views. The number of times my app’s Store page was viewed.
  • 63 Total Number of Sessions. This is where the app was accessed for at least two seconds.

Already I can see a huge discrepancy between the information provided in the Sales and Trends reports and this new metric system.  For now, anything taken from the new IOS App Analytics will be taken with a grain of salt.

Android & IOS App Usage Metrics

While the both Google Play and iTunes Connect do a good job of giving me initial install metrics, it does not tell me how people are using my app. This is where integrating some kind of third party analytics software comes in handy. Flurry is popular, but I chose to stick with Google Analytics since I use it will all my other projects.

I combined both IOS and Android usage information here.  This is because the tracking I set up within the apps both go to one Google analytics property.  Within the apps themselves, I implemented reporting filters so I can separate the two out in the final analytics reports.

How Active Were Users in the Score Keeping App?

Overall Score Keeper App Usage

Overall Score Keeper App Usage

The screen view number is impressive, but when compared to actual earned $ its rather small.  That should give you an idea of how much usage an app needs in order to generate even a small amount of revenue.  Returning users are quite large, so for the few people who did use the app they seemed to enjoy it.

Overall it appears the app is too niche and not broad enough which confirms my initial fears, the scorekeeper market is way too small and overly saturated right now to bring in any kind of income worth while.

In The End

Success and failure is all in the eye of the beholder.   While my apps did not have a large amount of installs and earned $, the lessons learned for future projects are invaluable, not only to me but anyone following this case study.

Keep in mind that 59% of apps don’t generate enough revenue to for an ROI.  Worse yet, 80% of apps don’t produce enough revenue to support a stand alone business.  Building a business out of apps is a numbers game.  You keep trying until you find that golden egg and even then that golden egg may only produce a good $500 a month in revenue.

But.  Every now and then.

Someone breaks out with a run away success, a platinum egg.  Apps like Flappy Bird and Snapchat are testimonies to that fact.

If your like me and App Development is part of your portfolio, don’t give up.  Success might be just around the corner.

I learned a lot from this project and am happy to share that with this community. My next post will diagnose and go into more detail the six main reasons why this app failed.

  Do you have any successful app stories?  What do you think?