At long last, here is my income report for the month of July. This is a very different story to previous reports, mainly thanks to my Google+ Invites app which made a few hundred dollars in one day. I also released a major update for Tap That! Number, and published a new app (CPU Usage Live Wallpaper) with both free and paid versions. It was a pretty hectic month! Read on for more details, and an overview of the month’s earnings.
A few weeks ago I did something which, in retrospect, was probably rather stupid. But it was surprisingly successful while it lasted. As I wrote earlier, I’ve been using Google+ since the day after it was launched. I myself received an invite from a stranger who was offering invites publicly. For this reason, I’ve been keen to share invites with anyone else who’s looking for one. I put up a post on this blog offering free invites, and got a huge response from the Android community. In fact, there were so many responses that it overwhelmed my email after a few days. There’s no way I could have kept up with the demand.
Rather than stop accepting requests altogether, I wanted to make it easier to handle the load. (NB: At this stage there was no limit to the number of Google+ invites you could send.) My first thought, trying to work out a faster way to do things, was “hey, is there an Android app for this?” A quick search turned up a negative. No Android apps offering Google+ invites. So, why not make one? It seemed a pretty good idea, so I spent that afternoon writing a simple app that accepted an email address, and a description of the request. The data was sent to a PHP script on my server, so I could go through and invite the email addresses stored in a database.
Actually, it’s not that simple to write an Android app that POSTs data asynchronously to a server, checks the response, and handles errors gracefully. I re-used some classes from another unreleased project, but it was still a bigger job than I expected. But the actual coding is an issue for another day. The most interesting part came when I released the app on the Android Market.
Here’s an interesting stat for you – this month, I made more money writing about Android than I did from Android apps themselves! How does that work? Well, this blog has seen a pretty steady increase in traffic since I wrote the first article at the beginning of April. A couple of weeks ago, that same article made it to the front page of Hacker News, which was a catalyst for this website – over 20,000 new visitors in one day. Thanks in part to the dramatic increase in traffic, my Google AdSense earnings were high enough this month to justify including them in this report. In fact, they exceeded my AdMob earnings by a significant margin.
Also, you’ll probably notice I’m no longer using the title “xx month on the Android Market”. That’s simply because from now on, I’ll be expanding beyond Google’s distribution channel, and trying out alternative app stores such as Amazon, GetJar and SlideME. The Android Market is still my first and primary focus though.
This post is a little late, but I’ll summarise the monthly stats here in order to present the full picture. My second month (9th May – 8th June) has been pretty straightforward, with Tap That! Number seeing regular growth in much the same pattern as the first month. I’ve now diversified a bit, releasing two new apps which has helped bump up the advertising revenue. Work and study commitments prevented me from spending a lot of time in actual development, but I did manage to push a major update to Tap That! Number – a new “memory mode” with hidden tiles. Read on for the full details from this month’s development, and a look at how the Flurry tracking service compares to Google Analytics.
Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to submit one of my articles to Hacker News. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, due to my previous experience with sites like Digg and Reddit. Well, I was wrong. The article hit the front page of HN within minutes, and stayed there for over 10 hours. By the end of the day (Australian time), this website had handled over 7,000 visitors – which is about 6,500 more than a normal day.
Today, the same article has been featured on Reddit, Twitter and The Next Web, resulting in another 20,000 visits so far. All that exposure has resulting in some very interesting comments from Android and iOS developers alike. I’ve previously been writing for a fairly small audience, it’s a bit of a different experience to get critical review from all over the web. So what have I learned? Two things – that WordPress scales well with caching, and that there’s always someone with a different point of view.
The developer of ProPassword (for iOS devices) has posted an interesting testimony on his blog. He released the app for free, relying on Apple’s advertising platform, iAd as the sole source of revenue. Over 15,000 downloads later, this developer decides that ad-supported free apps just aren’t a reliable revenue source.
Yet another success story from Apple’s App Store. The Heist is a new game for the iPhone from the creators of Camera+. I wrote about these guys previously – they certainly know how to make good apps. Until recently, Angry Birds was the uncontested best seller on the App Store. However, for the past 3 days it has been ousted by The Heist, which now occupies the #1 position for daily downloads. In just half a day, the app was downloaded 25,233 times. How much revenue is that?
It’s been one month now since I published my first app on the Android market. I thought this would be a great time to share some stats from the first few weeks – how many downloads, how much revenue from AdMob, user engagement figures – all that stuff. Hopefully this will give you some idea of how far I’ve come with this first app in one month, and what opportunity there is for further growth. There are plenty of screenshots, so you’ll get to see exactly what has been happening in detail.