Mocking Pad has been on sale for 1 week now and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in the hope that its useful to other enterprising iOS developers. It’s worth noting before reading on that Mocking Pad requires iOS 4.2 and was released on the same day as that update.
I wrote Mocking Pad because it was something I wanted, scratching an itch as the cliche goes, and when I started there was nothing else that did it on the iPad. There are now a handful of competing apps that were released beforehand but none of them quite worked how I wanted to and so I carried on – thats not to say they are bad app’s, they’re not, I just wanted something that was a little different and the great thing about being a developer is that you can go ahead and do it, all it takes is time. Anyway – I had no idea what level of sales to expect from the App Store for a paid app on the iPad and I’d given no serious thought to it’s potential profitability, it was and is a labour of love.
And so its been incredibly pleasing to find myself with around 40 users. That’s 40 people who have found it on the App Store and think its worth their money. Fantastic! If you’ve bought Mocking Pad – thank you.
The only real promotional work I’ve done so far is a promo code giveaway via Tap! magazine’s Twitter feed (@tapmaguk – worth following, thanks for the love!) and a similar giveaway on this blog. The Tap! magazine codes got snaffled up very quickly but I think a couple of this blog’s promo codes are still available.
Looking at my blog and web site logs it would appear most people are coming across the app directly in the app store or searching for it in Google (presumably after seeing it in the App Store). There’s been a notable increase in my blog traffic even though its not linked to directly from the App Store and people are searching through the blog for information on Mocking Pad.
Given the app sells for $9.99 (£5.99) you can figure out roughly how much money I made over this week pretty easily (I’m going to share sales stats but not revenue). I’m pretty happy with that – it might not be quit the day job and head off into the sunset money but it’s certainly in new laptop territory and for what is currently a side project (albeit one I have invested significant time in) I think that’s fantastic. Will it keep up? Time will tell.
And this is where the App Store really scores big for developers like me – in the absence of the App Store chances are I would have developed Mocking Pad anyway. As I said earlier it was something I wanted and was interested in writing. However without the App Store and the sheer convenience of being able to put a product on sale I would have had to distribute it for free and if I’d done that there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have reached the level of polish I think it has and been as useful for other people as I hope it is – knowing you’re going to be charging people really focusses the mind.
Finally, and most importantly, what I’ve loved the most about this past week is the feedback I’ve had from real users. Sure I issued a beta to friends, friends of friends and colleagues but since release I’ve had feedback from actual real life paying for the app users. I made it easy for people to get in touch by building a “Get Support” button prominently into the application and that’s paid off as over 10% of my users have taken the time to get in touch with me, for which I am incredibly grateful.
The feedback has been in the form of questions, opinions on whats good and bad, and ideas for new features. All of which I can use to guide me in making Mocking Pad into a better app. I’ve already been able to take some of this and build it into the update I’m working on at the moment. If you’re a Mocking Pad user then please do get in touch – I can’t guarantee that I will implement specific requests but, well, I’m listening!
I’ve also had feedback in the form of two 4* reviews on the US App Store which were accompanied with thoughtful comments. Again this is incredibly gratifying – particularly as one of the reviews mentioned the “feel” which is something I’ve worked really hard on, I really wanted Mocking Pad to feel like the iPad was its natural home and admittedly used some of the larger Apple apps as a guide.
I think its also worth mentioning two mistakes I made. Firstly I marked the debug build as being 3.2 compatible but not the release app store build. I’d intended that it would function on all iPad’s and not just those that have upgraded to 4.2. Secondly I missed a fairly obvious keyword when submitting the app to the store which means my app doesn’t always get returned along with my competitors and I can’t update the keywords without submitting a new version. There’s one on the way but I’m still kicking myself over that.
I’ll feedback again in a week or two’s time.
If anyone has any questions then feel free to ask.