App Store income January 2017

Apple sent out its “Financial Report” mails last week. I hadn’t really checked iTunes Connect during the last month because I’ve been doing some work for customers. Winter months are usually slow for my apps anyway.

But the number looked high so I checked the sheet where I keep the monthly numbers for the last years and there it was: best January *ever* by quite some margin.


I have no idea why though. Could be nothing more than coincidence. Maybe New Year has triggered some people to buy activity/fitness apps to lose some weight? Could be that we’ve had some decent weekends weather-wise. I *did* do some work on my AppStore screenshots to put more emphasis on some of my app’s features which are otherwise lost in the app description, but more on that below.

Let’s start with

The app description problem

The only “bad” support mails I get these days are from people who buy one of my walkings apps. The problem with these apps is that a walking network doesn’t cover the entire country like a cycling network does. Walking networks tend to be smaller and more local and are more like “patches” on the map. Plenty of cities and towns don’t have any nodes.

Walking networks don’t cover the entire country

My app description clearly indicates that the network doesn’t cover the entire country. It also lists the regions which *are* covered, but I still get the odd e-mail from disappointed walkers saying there’s no nodes where they live.

My response to such mails usually involves carefully pointing out that the app description *does* explain that - I usually send a screenshot of the app description as a mail attachment - and I include details on how they can get their money back if this lack of nearby nodes makes the app useless for them.

Pretty much all of them admit they hadn’t even read the app description and most of them are still cool about the purchase. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I had a negative sales number in iTunes Connect.


With the problem of app description in mind I began thinking about my screenshots. Up until December of last year they had been cold screenshots from either a simulator or an actual device. Mid-December, I decided to give them some love.

I put my screenshots inside a device image placeholder. I used Promotee to do that. I bought it some years ago as it’s from a fellow Belgian developer but there are other solutions out there. I gave the image a blurry background and I picked 5 features of my apps that I wanted to emphasize, and used them as the title for each screenshot.

My screenshots now look like this:

The way I figured is if some people don’t read the app description then I might as well move some of the must-know features to something they *may* look at: the screenshots.

What I didn’t do in the screenshots is mention the coverage issue mentioned before. I wanted the titles to be positive, to separate my app from the rest and to act as an incentive to buy the app.

So that’s screenshots done. I have no clue how much they contributed to a good month and I have no idea if similar changes will do the same for you, but I decided to let you know anyway.

Price increase

I also increased the price of my apps. I increased them because I stumbled upon a very similar app last week which was free (to start) and then charged €7.99 per year through a subscription model.

I thought that was quite a nice number.

I’m not sure if they’re selling many subscriptions at those numbers but it certainly made me wonder about my one-time €3.99 fee. So I’ve decided to ignore all horror stories about deserted-App-Store-goldmines and app-fatigue’d-users and I’ve gone one tier up instead of down.

Take that, world!

Quick math shows that I’m allowed to lose 20% in sales volume and still end up with the same income. I’m going to run with this tier until the summer and evaluate. I’m tempted to move up another tier right before the summer months. Madness!

The price increase was done mid-February by the way, so it’s irrelevant in the numbers for January. I’m going to come back to the results of the price increase in future blog posts.

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