June 6, 2014

Exposing more Pocket Lists iOS app sales figures: $71,168

Over a year ago I exposed some sales figures for Pocket Lists iOS app. Today, sales counter hit $71168 — this is a total amount of the app sales after Apple's cut for two and a half years since the app has been initially released.

Here is the updated overall sales chart for today — from December 2011 to May 2014, daily sales shown:

The highest peak in the beginning is when the app was featured by Apple on New & Noteworthy and What’s Hot in US and Russian App Stores. Other peaks are app reviews on popular sites and blogs.

Countries & Localization

Overall sales by country:

Being inspired after a good start and great feedback from the app users, I thought that the time for localization has come. Since Apple featured the app on the App Store in United States, then if I do localization right, getting featured in other countries will follow.

Two months of thorough development, testing, and polishing the app in collaboration with translators (the app is localized into 13 languages now; all translations and testing were made by native speakers), but sadly no featuring followed.

Localization is fun, but it takes too much time to get done right. Ultimately, localization is one of those must-do things for most apps, but if your team is small or if you are limited on resources and time, finish with features and UI first — start localizing only after you've finished everything else planned for your app.

App usage

Here is last 6 months's Pocket Lists usage geography according to Google Analytics:

Usage by device: 83% — iPhone, 16% — iPad, 1% — iPod touch.

iPad version

On November 2012, Pocket Lists for iPad was introduced, and the app became universal. It doubled app daily sales! Becoming a universal app fully complemented app philosophy of being an all-in-one to-do list solution, and helped the app to become more visible on the App Store — and it was also a great free update welcomed by users.

SEO and website

On June 2013, the app homepage was optimised for search engines (mostly for various keywords related to "to-do list app"), plus the app profile on the App Store was slightly optimised. That increased daily sales by 20% on average:

App Store Optimization (ASO) was a pretty simple thing to do, and it helped to make the app more discoverable on the App Store. What I did for Pocket Lists was app name and keywords optimization for search. A brief description (top two keywords) of what the app does was added to the app name (before that to app name on the App Store was just "Pocket Lists"):

Pocket Lists - To-do List & Checklist
Pocket Lists - списки дел и задач
Pocket Lists - To-Do-Liste & Aufgabenliste
Pocket Lists - 할 일 목록

Free giveaways

The app now has 828 524 downloads in total. 97% (!) of all downloads were received during app free giveaways, which I held for four times in total. The app were receiving up to 200 000 downloads per day during free giveaways.

Giveaways allows to get lots of customer reviews pretty quickly, but does not bring lots of new app users. I can roughly estimate that up to 85—90% of users who download Pocket Lists during free giveaways just launched the app only once. After giveaway ends, app sales become slightly higher than average for a day or two, but then are back to the average level.

Paid advertising

I spent $300 on Google Adwords and $400 on Facebook paid advertisement for Pocket Lists. The results were not satisfactory. In fact, there was no effect on sales at all. Spending over a dollar per ad click when your product price is just few dollars simply does not pay back. If you are not packed with someone else's cash, I don't think spending your money and time for pay-per-click advertisement for your app is rational.

iOS 7

On December 2014 a brand new version of Pocket Lists for iOS 7 has been released. It was a free update with totally redrawn user interface and 196 new icons for to-do lists.

Minimal iOS requirement was raised to iOS 7.0. The update was welcomed by users and followers, but did not bring much new sales.

In flat world, re-designing was quick and pretty easy, but it was sad to say goodbye to the warmth of previous version's UI.

Pocket Lists is an all-in-one universal iOS app for working with to-do lists, focusing on important to-dos, gettings notified of everything important, and for collaborating on to-do lists with friends. A superb upgrade for most to-do list apps including iOS’s basic Reminders app. Available on the App Store.