August 5, 2023
Indie Dev Diaries #10: Reaching new heights in July

July was supposed to be about me getting my head down and working on preparing my apps for iOS 17. While that did happen, there were a few surprises along the way that turned July in to a month to remember.

Before diving in to the factors that made it such a successful month, I wanted to highlight some of the numbers to really show why the month of July was so good:

  • CA$775 in total proceeds (up from CA$432 in June)
  • CA$172 in MRR (up from CA$149 in June)
  • 216 active subscribers (up from 186 in June)
  • 1700 new installs

Discounting my apps, to make more money?

Things didn’t really kick off until Söka and Classifier took part in an organised “Indie Dev Sale”, an event put together by Matt Corey to coincide with Amazon’s Prime Day. Approximately 100 apps took part, and the event was a great way to discover many fellow indie developers and apps that I was previously not aware of. As a bonus, multiple websites featured the sale, bringing the sale to a whole swathe of potential users.

Classifier had a 50% off its lifetime deal, whereas Söka had 50% off the first year subscription. For this event, Classifier was much more successful than Söka, which seemed to be an indicator that those who were shopping the sale preferred one-time purchase deals over a subscription. I made just short of CA$150 during the course of the two-day sale, a number that to me was a small success.

Organised indie dev sales seem like a really good way to get your app some additional exposure. This was the first time I had taken part in something like this, and I’m already looking forward to the next!

On a related note, Matt (the organiser of the event) recently made the switch to full-time indie dev! He recently started a newsletter all about his journey and what’s he’s getting up to. I highly recommend subscribing below if you’re interested in hearing the perspective of another indie developer.

Let the influencers do the influencing

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again - I suck at marketing my apps.

It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time, whether it’s storytelling, creating social media content, putting together ads and videos. I don’t really enjoy it, and it’s time I could be spending on creating new features for my app. But if you want to get your app on more devices, it’s necessary!

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to begin reaching out to social media influencers. Finding the right kind of influencers has been difficult; it’s important to strike the right balance between number of followers, how much engagement there’s been on previous posts, affordability, and whether their style works for you.

Even after identifying a shortlist of candidates, you also need to get them interested in trying out your app and spreading the word. In July, I reached out to 25 travel bloggers, Instagrammers, TikTokers, and Youtubers to create content that would bring more users to Söka, and I received just 3 responses. Two were asking for way to much money for the engagement they advertise on their media kit, but the other one seemed reasonable.

I paid €90 to an influencer on TikTok with nearly 80k followers, and with videos that have reached as many as 7.8m views. Looking through their feed, the number of views varied wildly - a handful in the millions, but the majority in the thousands. I decided that the fee being asked was reasonable so I took the risk. And it was definitely worth it!

After just 2 weeks, the video the influencer shared had amassed over 40k views. This was a huge driver in July’s increase in proceeds and MRR - 40 free trials were started, which then turned in to 25 paying users at an average of $10 each. After currency conversions and Apple’s cut, I pretty much doubled my money.

For those interested, the TikTok video is linked here.

Making a splash on the App Store

So this was completely unexpected.

Late in July, I received a message from fellow indie developer Justin Bianco with a screenshot from the US iPad App Store. It showed Classifier, not only featured, but with its icon used to in the cover image for Apple’s “Best in Apps This Week” feature!

As far as I’m aware, this was the first time one of my apps had been featured on the App Store (Apple don’t notify you if you’re featured, you have to rely on somebody noticing and telling you, or a third party tool).

Looking at Classifier’s analytics, being featured did not provide a noticeable boost in downloads or purchases. With the feature only being on the iPad App Store - which features different apps to the iPhone App Store - it’s not all-too surprising that there weren’t many downloads, but it’s still a nice feeling to be on Apple’s radar and get some recognition.

What’s left to do this summer?

As has been the case for the last few weeks, I’ll be focusing on feature development for Söka and Classifier, with an aim to release updates on the same day that iOS 17 is made available.

Next week I’ll also be attending my second iOS conference of the year, SwiftTO! If you’ll be in attendance, feel free to say hi and ask for stickers. I’ll have stickers for all 3 of my apps!

That wraps up another month of Roddy’s Indie Dev Diaries. How’s your summer going? Are you planning on launching a new app or a major update soon? Let me know by sending me a message on Mastodon!

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