This is the first of five entries in a case study about my first failed IOS and Android app. While the app failed, it provided a lot of good valuable lessons including a good overall app development workflow for great app ideas.
This particular study shows how I was able to take an idea to the initial marketing and keyword research and finally determine an app billing model.
The Million Dollar App Idea
I find the birthing of the first 10 minutes of an idea to be foundational for the world that the project will live in. Those first vital 10 minutes are just as important as the next 10 weeks of development. This is your eureka moment where your brain runs at light speed generating all the other sub ideas to fully encapsulate the main idea. I had one of these moments one night playing games with my family.
Lightning Strikes. I love to play games and got tired of always having to find a pencil and paper to keep score. The score card usually ends up being the back of an old receipt. And who really wants to be the one to keep score anyways? No, my time is best used in devising the next move in the game I’m playing. There has to be a better way…
The Idea. A simple and to the point score keeper app for both Android and IOS. Now being the developer and entrepreneur at heart that I am, my first inclination is to build one out to MY customization’s. Never mind there are already a ton of these on the market, my score keep app was going to be unique.
Most successful app developers generate a lot of success of off innovating of an existing app. Make it unique, improve it and overall provide a better end user experience and you are almost assured a piece of the pie. That was the idea.
Dominate The Market. Just doing a quick app search in both the Android and IOS store fronts I noticed that the market was already saturated with scorekeeper, scorecard and scoring apps.
That’s OK because my app was going to be different. I had an idea to make my score keeper stand out with some twists.
My plan was to create a score keeping app for every kind of score keeping there was. My app would include a member profile system, charts & metrics, player history, timers and more. My initial score keeper app was to include only basic score card templates. Then after initial launch I would add in additional score card templates such as Golf, Bowling, Darts, Baseball, Soccer and more. In this way I would easily dominate the score keeping app market. My app would look and function better than all the others currently on the market.
Along with the app I would also create a support site that would funnel traffic back to the store fronts.
Market & Keyword Research
You can have the greatest idea in the world, but until you run it through the gauntlet of marketing research filters that idea can amount to nothing.
My problem is that once an idea is in my head it’s hard to convince me otherwise. No one wants to be told your baby is ugly, that your idea will not work or even constructive criticism. In my head, the idea is the coolest thing since sliced bread.
Doing proper research can be difficult but needs to be done. Almost like administrating your own shots. It hurts but for good reason and will save you from pain down the road.
With all that said I did do some marketing research. I had a plan that would elevate my scorekeeping app above the masses. This included:
- Innovating. Come up with new ideas and features none of the other apps had or did badly.
- Comment Research. I listed the top 10 scorekeeping apps in both IOS and Android markets and read as many comments as I could. I made a list of the top requests and complaints people had with the current popular scorekeeping apps. My plan was to include all those features into my app along with own unique ideas.
I couldn’t lose with this strategy ><
So once I have created this amazing app, how was I going to sell it in the market places?
I had many choices when it comes to monetizing this app:
- Make it free, but supported with ads. <ick>
- Make it free, but supported with in app purchases. Better known as “Freemium”
- Up front cost for initial app. The traditional “purchase for full” use method.
- Subscription Based. This is where you charge a recurring fee.
- And many other Pricing Strategies
The most lucrative of all the business models is the freemium or “free to play” monetization method. This involves acquiring the app or game for free but having additional functions/services inside that app cost money. I loathe this myself and would rather pay for the full use of an app up front, unfortunately freemium is the most popular of the app monetization methods.
Can your app support in app purchases? Is there anything valuable enough in your app to justify this? Those were the questions I was facing.
My idea initially was to create a scorekeeper app that started off with a simple scoreboard template that allowed in app purchases to unlock other popular scorecard templates. After all this was going to be the jack of all trades score keeper. But after a little more consideration and some initial development time, I decided to just start off with the basic templates and see how the app performs.
I was now down to two choices of how I was going to monetize this app. Either Paid or Free supported with Ads.
At first I was dead against making this app a paid for app. People buying apps are a bit harsher in reviews than people who are getting the app for free. But after reading an interesting post on how we should never give our apps away for free I decided on a paid monetization method.
Later after a couple of months of being live I changed the apps monetize method to free with ads and had some interesting results, but more on that later.
It’s not always easy turning greate app ideas into reality, but I hope my brief outline above can help get you started. In the next part of this case study I will be walking through the steps I took to fully build out this score keeper app for both Android and IOS in addition to a support niche webs site.