I wish I knew for sure
But to be honest, after just day one of release from ben 10 mouthoff, the new iphone app we have created in partnership with turner/Cartoon network, I think I am starting to get an idea…
“lots of luck, or a huge marketing budget”
Ok, broad statement, so lets break it down. When I say lots of luck, it’s a bit unfair. Luck is part of it, but mostly it will come down to a really great app idea, and the fact that someone has picked it up and tried it out, that can influence others to buy it (itunes apple recommended section manager for instance). This is a typical example of a way a single developer can have a huge success story. Also, if it is a single developer that has created this, it is very probable that they have created it in their own time, while still holding down another job or have some other source of income. Out of the however many tens of thousands apps on the appstore, realistically I would say there are only a handful of individuals that have got seriously rich. But then that ‘seriously rich’ is only relative to the amount of ‘investment’ they have made.
The other part of my statement refers to others, like myself, who work for digital studios or development companies that create apps, which invest serious man (or women) hours and capital. All of a sudden, after a couple of weeks work on an app, with a couple of developers and designers working on it, you can already equate that to a fair amount of billable hours which would have been charged for on a normal service client contract. So basically, after two weeks or so, tens of thousands of sales to get a decent return on investment.
This is where the huge marketing budget comes in. How can you make sure you get tens of thousands of people to download your app and make sure you make your money back? The best bet is to make sure at least a hundred thousand people know it exists at a bare minimum. There are numerous ways you can do this ‘cheaply’, such as social marketing, viral videos and great concepts, hooks or news coverage. But the way to get real exposure, is to be included on TV adds, advertised in national newspapers, or be included in national competitions. And this is where you start to drop serious marketing £££s. Even with this type of exposure, your key to selling huge numbers of downloads will be attaining the holy grail of the top 25 apps, or at least be featured in the staff favorites or recommended sections.
So, it will be interesting to see what happens with ben 10. Already, due to turners PR company, the application has been featured on a large number of high exposure blogs and publications, a competition is being run in the daily mail featuring it, and hopefully we will be seeing it featured on the CN website (and if we are really lucky, on the channel). It will be even more interesting to directly correlate the difference between running our own social media/viral campaign with mouthoff (original). Although the best part of me wants to believe that major success can be achieved without paying a huge amount to promote your app, I have a sneaky suspicion that the money and major clout of a huge brand and marketing budget will win..
so good luck, or happy spending