What I Have Learned About Developing and Earning From Android Apps
While my app downloads and sales are chugging along nicely now, I started out in a boat that many Android developers are likely in: perpetual development. I had been working on my grand idea for months but still wasn’t ready to release. What did I do to get on the market? I started a second app. Three days later I had an app on the market and was amazed at the number of downloads. Some things I’ve learned along the way:
- Getting onto the market quickly is good
- Google’s Developer Console has Ac market download great tools that you should use.
- You need to have your apps in the right app markets to maximize your exposure
- People are willing to pay for apps.
- Have multiple streams of income, rather than waiting on one vendor.
Why do I suggest getting to market early? No, it’s not to “beat the competition”. There may be a dozen apps doing something similar to yours but you can still carve out a good space for yourself. I suggest getting to market quickly because having a real app visible to the world can be a great motivator to keep you going. Releasing my first app helped kick me into high gear.
The tools in Google’s Developer Console can greatly help you decide what to do next. I didn’t know that the version of my app specifically made for Android 1.5 was actually being used mostly on Android 2.x devices. Hmm, maybe Android 1.5 isn’t worth as much effort as I thought. In addition, I’ve found several rare bugs due to crash reports in the Developer Console.
At first, my app was just in the main Android Market. I didn’t realize how much exposure I was missing until I started looking into other Android app markets. I branched out, and now about half of my income comes from sources outside of the main Android Market. Some app stores have brought in a lot of downloads and income, and others were a complete waste of time. However, the valuable ones have been really worth it.
I found that people are indeed willing to pay money for a premium app. I waited just two weeks after releasing my free app to get a paid version out, and I immediately saw sales. I think even just having an ad-free version would generate a healthy amount of sales.
As an added benefit, the payment from paid app sales came to me long before my first payment for ad revenue. For that reason, I recommend having several streams of income. All ad vendors take a while to pay up, but some take longer than others. I like Admob and MobFox for getting your income quickly. By having both paid app sales as well as more than one ad vendor, you can help create a more regular flow of income.
How do you share ad time between two different vendors? MobFox has a feature called eCPMControl which ensures that if they don’t have high-paying ads that the ad traffic goes to Admob (through their other feature, “backfill”).
What would I do if I was starting over again? I would release my first app sooner. I would set my ads up from the beginning to go to MobFox, using their backfill feature to send unfilled ad requests to Admob. After that I would do things just as I did, creating an ad-free premium version and releasing to several different Android app markets.
Then sit back and enjoy earning revenue from your Android apps!