Let us share what we did in 2011 in the Android development field. Not that it is extraordinary in any way, but it may be interesting for some folks out there working on side projects, for you to see an example of what you can get done in a year of evenings and weekends. We’ll write follow-up posts on the topics that you guys want to know more about. Let us know in the comments!
During 2011, we had over 1.6 million downloads of our applications. These new users, together with the existing ones, generated 24 million interaction sessions with our applications. We worked on six new projects, and launched four of them. Here’s an screenshot from our Flurry stats:
For our Spell Checker and Spell Checker PRO, we tried out different monetization alternatives, and also experimented with the prices. Every week or two (depending on how significant the amount of collected data was), we’d perform a single change, either in the price, or the way we link from the Free to the Pro versions, the name, etc. Then, we measure the relevant metrics (conversion rate, number of purchases, or number of new downloads, typically) to evaluate if the change was positive or not. We also implemented some user-requested features on the graphical user interface (e.g., character count, most-used actions always visible).
All this paid off, as the revenue doubled from the initial to the optimised configuration. For the free version, we’ve been consistently getting over 100 thousand new users per month. It’s quite impressive, considering how simple the application is, and how little time it takes from us now: it has run on auto-pilot for the better part of its life, almost two years now.
Also, we did some minor enhancements on our TFLN widget, a widget based on our AnyRSS news reader that reads from the public RSS feed of the TFLN website. Our Admob and Mobclix ad campaigns were remarkably effective there, yielding pretty high eCPM (see our post on this: Admob vs Mobclix comparison). The TFLN site owners argued it was against their Terms of Service to have this application in the market, so we unpublished TFLN.
A couple of weeks before Saint Valentine’s day, we thought, would it be profitable to launch an event-specific application? For instance, a $1 application that provides a curated, categorized, collection of gift tips for Saint Valentine’s day. To answer this question, we thought we just had to go ahead and try. We decided two days is the maximum amount of time we’d put into it. Indeed, in a weekend we hacked out and published an application named Valentine Ideas. The conlusion? No, it’s not that easy. We only had 15 purchases. Well, it was fun, anyway.
Together with Juny Crespo, we started a new project, named Deals To Me. It is an Android application that provides coupons that are active near the user, filtering the results from several coupon providers. We hired Hugo Doménech to help us with the development of the client side. In this wiki space, you can find an early draft, the code of the running prototipe we built, and some more internal documentation.
Three months into the development, we decided to cancel the project. The niche of coupons had changed a lot since we first conceived the idea somewhere in mid 2010. The main reason behind this decision was, fundamentally, that we were late in the game, where many strong players were already so well positioned.
During those weeks, we had a idea based on a common use case of ours: we’re at some friend’s place, and want to show them the pictures from the trip last weekend. We thought, wouldn’t it be cool to just press a button in your phone, and then have the photos from my phone displayed in the computer in some way that’s comfortable to watch?
Two months of work after this, we published Remote Gallery 3D in the Android market, that targets this exact use case. During 2011, we had 230k downloads of the free version, and a bit over 1k purchases of the full-featured 3.95 USD Remote Gallery 3D+ version that we launched in the end of November. We were happy with the launch, and thrilled to get so many nice comments and high ratings from users, but still feel it could rank much higher on the Android market. There’s a lot of room for improvement there, especially in terms of marketing and positioning.
To be continued …
This is a summary of what we got done in the first half of 2011. Within a couple of weeks, we’ll talk about the second half of the year, and share our thoughts on where we could’ve done better.
Would you want us to go into more detail in anything in particular? Let us know!