Long time ago I created GeoCorder to have an app to record GPX tracks. These tracks can be mailed to an e-mail address in your address book and get attached to the mails. Something that was not possible before iPhone OS 3.0.
When I put it on the store for free the downloads skyrocketed only to crack on 0 as soon as I set the price to tier 1. That’s where sales stayed for many months, mostly 0, on some days as high as $2 in revenue. MyAppSales tells me that the daily average was around $1.50 in royalties from GeoCorder.
Enter AdMob. Andreas Heck of Super Trumps fame told me about his positive experience with integrating AdMob ads in his products, so I felt compelled (or shall I say envious) if his earnings. I made a couple of improvements of the GeoCorder codebase and added a new target that would display one AdMob cell in the table that shows the recorded tracks. As usual Apple wanted to play ball, so it went back and forth until finally GeoCorder [FREE] hit the store on June 7th.
To clarify: GeoCorder and GeoCorder [FREE] are identical in terms of code and functionality. GeoCorder is tier 1, [FREE] is free and has one ad.
I’ve been watching closely what the effect on income from the GeoCorder asset would be and here is my analysis after 2 weeks. The purple line shows the daily income from paid GeoCorder. In blue you see the AdMob revenue. The black dashed line is the total.
There are a couple of interesting observations that can made from the above chart. Judging from the red line which shows free units you can see that after an initial peak unit downloads are constantly degressing. Already on the third day ads surpassed downloads. This probably means that some previous customers stick around and use the app and this adds to the new users of the day. So far this mades out to be 100 ads more shown than there are downloads on one day.
For the first week of having both apps in the race Ad revenue surpassed the income from the paid version easily. But in the second week something unexpected happend. Suddenly unit sales of the 1$-variant began to shoot up in turn overtaking the ad revenue.
The dotted line is the one that gives me the most pleasure. It’s the total income from both GeoCorders and it trippled the income that I had before this AdMob experiment going from $2 max to hitting $6 yesterday.
These numbers refute the theory that an Ad-sponsored free version of your app might canibalize your paid variant. The opposite is true. Not only can your customers try out your app without risk, additionally the iPhone ad platform has increadible click-through rates of 30% and more. As a rule of thumb you get one dollar per hundred downloads.
Courtesy of Applyzer we can also see how this exercise affected sales. I like to use United States as it is by far the largest market and thus gives us a more significant statistical sample.
After a strong entrance up to rank 45 in the photography category GeoCorder [FREE] shows the typical slow downward slide. But way more inportant is the effect this had on paid GeoCorder’s rank. Starting around rank 600 GeoCorder shows a faster upward trend knocking on 200 in the navigation category.
If you’re asking yourself why one is in the navigation and one is the photography category … I asked myself the same question. So I went into iTunes Connect and fixed it. Not being amongst the top 1000 in the travel or utilities category anywhere means I can axe them.
Those $100 a month that I am now making with the GeoCorders will not make me rich. But with an increase in income like this I am three times more likely to add a couple of features every once in a while. If you are using it I am happy to hear any feature suggestions you might have.
In summary I can say that AdMob has trippled my income from an app that had lackluster sales at best to a level where it makes sense to spend a few hours each month to make further improvements.