Our new Developer Economics survey shows that developer interest in Windows Phone remains high but slightly subdued as a result of poor handset sales. The 55% intentshare from the last survey has not resulted in a single percentage point increase in mindshare (still at 21%). Windows Phone is facing a bootstrapping problem as Microsoft’s huge investment in Windows Phone has yet to pay off. Adoption by developers is not the main issue, as highlighted by the high levels of developer interest in Windows Phone: developers seem to be on standby, waiting for the market signals that justify an investment on the platform.
Ahead of the release of our latest Developer Economics survey, we look back the biggest challenges developers reported in our 2012 survey. Here we discuss six of them, with some basic tips on what to do about them. The challenges are split between marketing and post-launch app and user management. The three biggest marketing challenges were: keeping users engaged, targeting the right users and identifying the right revenue model. The three biggest post-launch challenges were: Tracking bugs and errors, getting users to review your app and updating applications in the field.
Ahead of the release of our latest Developer Economics report, we look back at some important results from our last survey. In our 2012 Developer Economics report we included a developer sentiment barometer for the various mobile platforms. As we move into 2013 several new platforms are on their way but all of them look very similar to existing platforms from a developer perspective. We can use this existing data to predict how developers will perceive the new platforms.
Backend-as-a-Service (Baas) provider Kinvey published an interesting infographic on the average time taken to build an iOS or Android app (with a backend service) this week. The data comes from a survey of 100 developers with their estimates averaged. For apps with relatively complex backend requirements as featured in the survey, our simple analysis suggests developers could save 45% of the effort required to ship a Minimum Viable Product by using a BaaS.
Elliot Schmukler from LinkedIn spoke at a recent Growth Hacker conference about the strategies they’d used to grow the site since he joined in 2008. His advice was very helpfully summarised by Sandi MacPherson, Founder at Quibb and is general enough to be applied to mobile apps. Read our take on his main points.
With some types of mobile app, getting a user to download it is just the beginning of the problem. If the application is going to be personalised to a user’s preferences, or allow them to interact with others via some online service, then they’ll need to provide some data before they can start using it. Typically the more information a user provides about themselves, the better job an app or service can do of tailoring the experience to them. Unfortunately, the more steps a user has to go through before they can start using an app, the less likely they are to complete the signup process. Getting this wrong can catastrophically alter the economics of user acquisition.
Andreas Pappas takes another look at the results of VisionMobile’s Developer Economics 2012 survey and comes up with interesting new insights on app monetisation: how does app revenue vary by app-category and by country? Is there a correlation between time spent developing an app and they money it makes?
A recent report from Canalys highlighted the extreme concentration of income distribution across the iOS and Android stores in the US. The top 25 publishers make 50% of the revenues. 24 out of 25 of those are games publishers (the 1 exception is the Pandora music streaming service). During the first 20 days of November these 25 publishers made $60m from paid downloads and in-app purchases in the US alone. Is there still room left for smaller publishers? How can smaller companies succeed?
Currently the vast majority of mobile app advertising is used to generate new installs. At the same time, for some of the most successful revenue models, a small fraction of the most active users generate the bulk of the revenue. Free-to-play games are a good example of this model but there are similar in-app purchase driven schemes in other categories. Whilst a user is still very engaged with an app it’s likely that the most cost effective way to increase their spend is within the app. However, if an existing user stops regularly using an app then might there be more value in tempting them back in than acquiring a new user?
The latest trend in app development is targeting companion screens, as a way to bridge a multi-screen experience. Guest author Peggy Allbright investigates the future of app development on companion screens -and TV apps in particular – and discusses how TV advertising has found a whole new screen to engage users on.