Mac App Store observations

Just doing my sales figures and I noticed that something very interesting, that I’d like to discuss to see if others are seeing something similar or help me to consider that I’m doing something wrong.

In 2016, towards the end of the year we started pulling in more through our own site than the App Store, and ended the year with a tie. Since 2011 the App Store has always generated more revenue for us than our own site (upto 4x the revenue), but I can see how time has gone, that ratio has declined. Part of that is because of the increase we’ve seen in our development tools, which the most popular ones can’t be sold on the Mac App Store.

So far this year, our site is doing 2x than the Mac App Store, I attribute a huge chunk of that to the continued growth of App Wrapper. However for the last week we’ve been selling our latest Photography application “HDRtist NX” on both the Mac App Store and our own site.

We’re selling 4x the units through our own site than the Mac App Store. I’m not complaining, but I’m truly shocked by this. I know that it’s only been a week, but to be honest this is the first time we’ve launched a new Photography application on the Mac App Store and had such a luke warm reception.

We’re running a 30% off promotion on both the Mac App Store and our site (RRP is $29.99), the only other differences is that we offer a 30-Day FREE trial on our site and upgrade pricing for our existing customers.

Are others seeing a general slowdown on the App Store? Is the Photography section dead on the App Store? Any ideas?

That experience parallels what I’m seeing myself and what I’m reading about others experiences. When I first started submitting to the MAS, it was not unusual to wait 2 weeks for approval. My last 2 submissions (before my certificates blew up) went from submission to ready for sale in < 24 hours. I suspect we will not see the MAS in its current implementation for much longer.

The App Store is indeed slowing down somewhat. Not as drastically as what you see, through, but as you say, App Wrapper is probably the cause of the big difference.

I believe this is due to the inept search feature of the App Store that buries older titles under the mud. Also, bad reports tend to accumulate and increase friction.

Since I changed Check Writer to Check Writer+, I see about 4 times the number of sales. Sure, older customers won’t have the update, but I am not in the App Store for charity. I need that business.

I have also explored banner advertisement on OS X Daily, and that may account for the boost.

I just uploaded the same titles to Amazon, after seeing sales for the Windows version. Maybe time to consider other venues…

What about Check Writer+ caused a 4x increase in sales?

Oh, yes shorter review times are greatly appreciated. HDRtist NX took 5 days to review, but it was released on the day I had asked them to hold it until. Albeit I’d made a boo boo at build time and it was missing the 1-Click Styles, so I had to submit and update and requested expedited, which was processed and available within 12 hours.

Even if I take revenue out of the equation and just consider HDRtist NX; we’re selling 4 times the units of HDRtist NX through our own site. Its kind of worrying to be honest, since we’ve been on the App Store, apps sold on both channels always sell more on the App Store. Its worrying because I don’t know why. We also used to get the Mac media contact us and ask for review copies, within a couple of days of release on the App Store, so far not a peep from anyone.

Interesting, comparison. With HDRtist NX it’s a brand new release, but doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction.

I do wonder if the price and lack of trial ability is a significant factor here. HDRtist NX is currently $19.99, how much is CheckWriter+?

Oh cool… We’ve had mixed results with banner advertising in the past and tend to generally avoid it nowadays. However at this point I’ll reconsider it.

Yeah I’m really eager to see the fruits of your hard labour here. If it works out for Mac apps, then we’ll certainly take another shot.

Same price.

Banner advertisement is tricky apparently. CultOfMac had a ridiculously low click rate, whereas ASX Daily was much better.

I also did a big push for the evaluation version, by having it placed for me by on a list of 1000 sites. Since I have both Mac and Windows, about 80% of them took it in their catalog.

Yeah we got screwed with COM, managed to wriggle out of a 3 month contract due to them not actually providing us with the fulfillment rates they advertised, but that was an expensive lesson we learned and painful too in wriggling out, thankfully we paid via Credit card and the CC company backed us up.

Ooh… very interesting. Do you mind me asking you a bit of info on which package you chose? Was it the $100 a month package, they say 6 cycles a year, does that mean you can only use their service to submit 6 times a year, I’ve done some quick digging, but it’s not 100% clear to me.

I went for the 80$ a year, with 6 submissions, and plan on cancelling if it does not perform as expected.

How’d you wangle that one? I just checked their prices and they want $100 a month for 1000 sites and 6 cycles a year. Dang, it happens when companies get successful or don’t make enough. Unless I’m missing something?

I actually order from within the Pad editor, and there the 1000+ sites and 6 submissions is $80 only. Indeed the link you posted prices are higher.

It is in the Pad certification and promotion of the Pad editor, last item.

Maybe my point of view is not representative - I am more focused on B2B software+services - and using the MAS just as easy distribution channel for two spin-off apps of bigger projects without NDAs. It’s nice to get some extra pocket-money and it helps to reduce hosting, certs, developer id and licenses fees. That’s it. I never could live with the earnings of MAS.

So I second your observations Sam. The revenues are declining continously with my personal climax around end of 2014, beginning of 2015.

A big explanation for the decline of the MAS could also be the growing number of iOS devices, and the very real shift towards them. I see that at home, where my son does most of his work on a 6+.

That is why I am working to post CW as fast as I can under iOS and Android.