CouchQuiz — Side Project Story, Sales Figures & Thoughts from 100 Days in the Apple TV App Store

It’s now over 100 days since CouchQuiz hit the Apple TV App Store in it’s super lean form. I was fortunate to get one of the developer kits, allowing for CouchQuiz to hit the store on November 2nd, just a few days after the 4th Generation Apple TV launched.

I thought I’d take a few moments to write about how things have gone so far including sales, promoting and thoughts for anyone who is thinking about publishing an app on Apple TV.

Keeping it lean for v1.0

The initial plan for CouchQuiz was to be a multiplayer quiz that would allow people to connect from their iOS devices to compete against one another to answer as many questions correctly per round.

To get the app out as soon as possible I decided to focus on and get a single player mode out before working out the trickier networking code to enable multiplayer play. That way I could get the word out and also get a gauge of the brand new Apple TV App Store.

CouchQuiz makes use of Parse for storing all of the topics and questions, allowing for content to be added remotely. Brand new questions can be added without any additional review from Apple, also topical or seasonal topics can be included for short periods. For instance we have a Chinese New Year topic available currently. For v1.0 there wasn’t tvOS support in the Official Parse iOS SDK so I built out a basic client to fetch questions and swapped it out for the official SDK once available. I’ll soon be thinking about a migration plan after Parse’s announcement.

Launching & Early Sales

Once on the App Store I promoted it through my Twitter, Facebook, Product Hunt and a few forum/reddit posts. I also went ahead and created CouchQuiz Profiles/Pages on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook ahead of pushing CouchQuiz via those avenues.

Within its first month CouchQuiz sold a total of 119 units, making the proceeds around $80 after Apple’s 30%. While not huge numbers, it seemed quite comparable to the early figures of the iOS App Store when that first launched.

November 2015

Within that period CouchQuiz was priced at various different tiers in the Store ranging from $0.79 to $2.99. Trying out different pricing tiers to see if any would stick.

Launching Multiplayer ready for Christmas

With Christmas & New Year approaching, I finished up building out the multiplayer mode. 6 players could connect from any iOS device with iOS 8+ using a CouchQuiz Companion app.

Multiplayer mode

An approach taken with various Buffer products is to release frequently, so CouchQuiz soon hit version 2.0. I built out a new website using Squarespace, as it was the quickest way to get something online. Up until this point the CouchQuiz website was a basic landing page with “Search for CouchQuiz on the Apple TV App Store”.

Sales throughout December remained steady and not too dissimilar from November. On the 25th and 31st I decided to make CouchQuiz free, which bumped up proceeds during the proceeding few days. With 262 units downloaded, CouchQuiz hit $91 proceeds for the month with $24 of that made between the 25th and 27th.

December 2015

Early 2016 Sales

In January like the previous 2 months, sales of CouchQuiz remained pretty steady hitting $94 in proceeds with 121 units.

January 2015

February looks to be quite alot slower for sales of CouchQuiz. Currently at 39 units and just under $30 proceeds. Partly down to a few days off the App Store due to an expired contract, less updates to the app through the start of the month and being made free for Chinese New Year.

Apple TV Tech Talk Advice

I was lucky enough to get to head to Infinite Loop for the Apple TV Tech Talks. There I took advantage of the various Apple staff on hand to ask them a bunch of questions and to get their thoughts on CouchQuiz so far. Even taking along my Dev Kit to plug in and show off to their designers.

If you get the chance to head to a Tech Talk or chat to anyone involved with Apple TV and tvOS then I totally recommend asking them their thoughts about your app/project.

It was super useful and got some great pointers to improve the App Store listing by making use of the 5 screenshots limit, ensuring everything is correct in the screenshots (no spelling mistakes!) and picking out keywords and adjustments to the App Store title.

On the design side I walked away with a few sketches to think about to improve the layout and readability of the app from a distance. Along with some improvements to the topic selection screen, which was great timing ahead of more topics being introduced throughout December and January. The initial version would only show 5 topics on the screen at once, switching it out for a grid layout allows for all current topics on one screen.

Listen out and ask for feedback

I’ve been proactively asking for suggestions and feedback from people I know who have downloaded CouchQuiz along with asking for it from Twitter and Facebook. While it’s sometimes tough to hear it’s super useful to help you improve your app.

A few people reported having issues with connecting older devices to CouchQuiz. They would show connected and quickly disconnect within a few seconds. I had only ever come across this once and wasn’t able to replicate it 100% of the time. I have been working on switching out the networking code to make the Companion app behave like an MFi hardware controller, which seems to be more robust and also has extra benefits like increasing the player limit. This is currently my main focus to get out in the coming week or two to solve the issues with disconnects on older hardware.

Testing CouchQuiz out with ALL the devices!

Promoting

As I mentioned earlier I posted CouchQuiz on Product Hunt, I also posted it on various forums and subreddits with some Promo Codes to get some early feedback.

Along with that, I have posted to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook since launching. On Twitter and Instagram I have kept up to date with various search terms to like, mention and follow people who mention Apple TV. Unfortunately I’m not too sure how effective it is however I’d like to thing it’s triggered a few downloads, especially through my liking spree of “Got a new Apple TV” posts on Christmas Day.

Apple have recently announced that the Apple TV App Store now supports App Preview videos. I’ve put one together this week and submitted it with the latest update to CouchQuiz.

Closing

As with every side project I’ve started, it’s always about learning and trying something new. CouchQuiz is my project to learn more about tvOS and it’s been a blast so far and I can’t wait to get v3.0 out in the next week or two.

If you’re interested in future CouchQuiz updates, you can follow me on Medium or Twitter. Of course check out CouchQuiz if you have an Apple TV, would love to hear any feedback!