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Developer of bestselling iPhone app says just 5% of buyers opt for in-app purchases

post #1 of 33
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TapTapTap, the developer of the popular photography app "Camera+" for iPhone, revealed sales figures for the app on Tuesday, noting that just 5 percent of customers take advantage of the app's in-app purchases, while more than half the installed base updated to free upgrades within just 6 days of the update's release.

Tap Tap Tap head John Casasanta revealed the numbers in a post to the company's blog commemorating 2 million sales of the Camera+ application. Casasanta noted that reaching the second million in sales took just under three months.

"The one thing you learn to count on as an iPhone app developer is not to count on future sales based on past performance," he said, adding that "[the company's] fortune could change in a heartbeat."

Casasanta challenged reports that mobile apps are "quickly discarded" by using data showing that half of the purchasers of Camera+ upgraded to version 2.2 of the app within 6 days of the update's release.



He also cautioned developers from relying too heavily on income from in-app purchases. The $.99 "I (heart) Analog" effects pack included with Camera+ 2 sells to just 5 percent of purchasers on a given day. Casasanta admitted that a total of roughly $70,000 in income from the in-app purchase over a four and a half month period is "absolutely nothing to sneeze at," but also asserted that "it's very unlikely that this can be an effective business model."



Apple pulled the initial version of Camera+ from the App Store last year over violations to the company's developer agreement terms. The app contained a hidden 'easter egg' feature allowed users to remap the volume control buttons as shutter buttons.

TapTapTap had tried to include the feature officially, but Apple rejected it on the grounds that a volume shutter button could result in "user confusion." As a result, the developer included it as a hidden feature and revealing an activation URL via its official Twitter account. Apple promptly responded by removing the app from the App Store.

Four months later, the developer released an updated "Camera+ 2" with more than 50 new features, though the physical shutter button feature was noticeably absent.
post #2 of 33
Of course apps get updated. Whether you actively use the app or not the App store prompts you that there is an update and it is a lot easier to "update all" than to pick and chose when the list is long. I've updated plenty of junky unused apps that I just haven't deleted from my iphone/ipad.
post #3 of 33
The In-App Purchase rate depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, whether the app itself is free or paid, how good the In-App Purchase feature is, and the business model for said app.

Be that as it may, it is both interesting and helpful to see these specific figures and numbers from this well known developer.

Thank you for this article!
post #4 of 33
"just 5%" !!! thats a pretty big percentage in marketing which is often used to 1% or less response rate.

I get about 5% in my apps, and I'm pretty pleased with that.
post #5 of 33
A large number of Camera+ users are still on version 1.2.1, which was the last update before they nuked the backdoor to using the volume control as a "shutter" release.

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post #6 of 33
I guess that depends a lot on the app and the nature of the add-on. The Smurfs game was supposed to be making a killing on in-app purchases.

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post #7 of 33
As a purchaser of Camera+, here are my two cents:
  • For a while, I didn't even know that there was anything to purchase in-app.
  • What the heck is, "I (heart) Analog"??? There's no description. What does it do for me, and why should I even bother to buy it? (Obviously, I don't use very many features of Camera+, as my main interest is the image stabilization.)
  • I'm clueless. No clue == No sale.
Now, it's certainly possible -- maybe even highly likely -- that there is a good description somewhere, and that I'm blind and dumb. However, if the developer isn't going to do any marketing, he can't expect high sales.
post #8 of 33
I hate apps that has 10 thousand little in-app purchases,

but 5% conversion rate is pretty impressive.
post #9 of 33
if an app is free, it is not selling, therefore it is not the bestSELLING app. however, the writer of this article may ask hippstamatic how many people used in app purchase. i am sure it is WAY MORE than buyers of the boring camera+ app.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

if an app is free, it is not selling, therefore it is not the bestSELLING app. however, the writer of this article may ask hippstamatic how many people used in app purchase. i am sure it is WAY MORE than buyers of the boring camera+ app.

i have to agree with bodypainter... i am using hipstamatic and swanko lab and purchased all of the in-apps they have introduced...

Camera+ on the other hand would not be a good candidate for in-app purchases... though if they were able to have the "volume button shutter" approved and have it as an in-app they might be over the 5%..
post #11 of 33
150-200 million potentials (not breaking out cam/no cam)

1% buy rate = 1.5 million
5% in app buy = 75k

These are not awful figures

I have bought in app and I haven't. It depends on the percieved value / rudeness. Adobe asking "big" dollars for a noise filter in PSE or layers in Ideas for example no chance, no value to me (considering limited draw options in ideas or already containing what I want PSE) and rude, bit expensive.

It may be that only 5% of camera+ users are aware of the option and want to make their photos look "cute"
you only have freedom in choice when you know you have no choice
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you only have freedom in choice when you know you have no choice
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post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

TapTapTap, the developer of the popular photography app "Camera+" for iPhone, revealed sales figures for the app on Tuesday, noting that just 5 percent of customers take advantage of the app's in-app purchases[...]

I guess all depends on the in-app purchase you make. I for one have purchased the Mighty Eagle in Angry Birds and I doubt that only 5% of the AB users have purchased the ME. So it all boils down to what the purchase delivers you. An I 'heart' analogue feature, adding extra noise to your already noisy pictures might just simply not have the appeal...
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTheH View Post

As a purchaser of Camera+, here are my two cents:
  • For a while, I didn't even know that there was anything to purchase in-app.
  • What the heck is, "I (heart) Analog"??? There's no description. What does it do for me, and why should I even bother to buy it? (Obviously, I don't use very many features of Camera+, as my main interest is the image stabilization.)
  • I'm clueless. No clue == No sale.
Now, it's certainly possible -- maybe even highly likely -- that there is a good description somewhere, and that I'm blind and dumb. However, if the developer isn't going to do any marketing, he can't expect high sales.

Well there's an interesting thing, I had no idea there were any in-app purchases until I saw this.

I've just checked it to see where they are, and I cannot even find them.

I'm on the latest version, and I upgraded recently after seeing the info on that clever non-HDR HDR thing with the fancy name the put out recently. I can't find that either. Perhaps it's an in-app purchase?

I think that these guys might not want to jump to too many conclusions about purchasers habits, when there is every chance that only a small percentage of people are even aware of the options.

Seriously, where do I find these things?
post #14 of 33
5% of 2 million is ALOT of money.

It's really not that bad. Better than NOT having that 5%.

And I must admit, I am one of the people that owns this app and I bought the extra "I <3 Analog" filter pack. It's not really that good, and it's the only thing they are offering as an in-app purchase. Maybe if they added better filters and more options they would have more in-app purchases.

But on the flip side, you don't want to nickel and dime your user base to death by making them pay for everything. It's a tough balance.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTheH View Post

As a purchaser of Camera+, here are my two cents:
  • For a while, I didn't even know that there was anything to purchase in-app.
  • What the heck is, "I (heart) Analog"??? There's no description. What does it do for me, and why should I even bother to buy it? (Obviously, I don't use very many features of Camera+, as my main interest is the image stabilization.)
  • I'm clueless. No clue == No sale.
Now, it's certainly possible -- maybe even highly likely -- that there is a good description somewhere, and that I'm blind and dumb. However, if the developer isn't going to do any marketing, he can't expect high sales.

Agreed. I don't think 5% is typical for all apps. That rate would be lower for some apps and much higher for others. The in-app purchase is for 9 new filters, all of which aren't THAT different from the ones already included or that can be created in other photo apps. The perceived value for the nine new filters isn't high enough for most people to warrant the purchase. If it included more filters and more borders then I could see more people purchasing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

if an app is free, it is not selling, therefore it is not the bestSELLING app. however, the writer of this article may ask hippstamatic how many people used in app purchase. i am sure it is WAY MORE than buyers of the boring camera+ app.

Camera+ isn't a free app. It costs 99 cents to download. The in-app purchase costs another 99 cents.

I also never understood the appeal of Hipstamatic. For many pictures, you have but one shot at getting a good photo -- I'd rather take a normal picture and add the effects afterwards rather than having a funky picture that can't be "undone" so that other effects can be applied (at least that's how it worked last time I checked, if I could add the effects afterwards and to older pictures I'd totally give Hipstamatic a shot).
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

"just 5%" !!! thats a pretty big percentage in marketing which is often used to 1% or less response rate.

I get about 5% in my apps, and I'm pretty pleased with that.

I am getting about the same percent for my app. The interesting thing is that I have developed app "A" then few months later I developed app "B" with the ability to add the exact features of app "A" to app "B" using IAP for the same price as app "A". The reason I did that is because I didn't want to charge "A"+"B" for app "B" this way those who already have "A" don't have to pay for something they already paid for. I have noticed that app "A" & "B" are selling almost the same numbers. I have also noticed that in most cases people buy the app instead of adding the feature using IAP. I tried making the IAP more visible but that didn't help. It is interesting.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rothgarr View Post

I also never understood the appeal of Hipstamatic. For many pictures, you have but one shot at getting a good photo -- I'd rather take a normal picture and add the effects afterwards rather than having a funky picture that can't be "undone" so that other effects can be applied (at least that's how it worked last time I checked, if I could add the effects afterwards and to older pictures I'd totally give Hipstamatic a shot).

Agree completely. Someone must be crazy, uncaring or just ignorant to alter (I would say damage) their original digital photo just to add an effect. Your digital photo files are just like negatives. Lose, damage or alter the negative (or digital file) and the ability to make a reproduction of the original scene is forever gone.
post #18 of 33
Camera+ is a great program with lots of functionality. For most users, the effects add-on is like buying an extra 5% of functionality for an additional 100% of cost. It's just not worth buying for most people, especially when the effects are difficult to discern on the small screen...
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

"just 5%" !!! thats a pretty big percentage in marketing which is often used to 1% or less response rate.

I get about 5% in my apps, and I'm pretty pleased with that.

Yeah I know right? And besides, what were they including in that $0.99 purchase? A few features? Why would a developer expect people to pay for a few features at a price that other developers sell entire apps at? I say if you want to sell in-app purchases, since the lowest price they can be is $0.99, make them substantial. If the user can see they're going to get as much content as a typical $0.99 app then they'll buy.
post #20 of 33
Even apps that I have deleted from my iPhone are still in iTunes. I typically update that list in iTunes about once a week. Some of those apps have been on my iPhone all of 10 minutes before I deleted them. I just have not been very good about cleaning out junk-apps from my iTunes folders. Many people would not even know HOW to get rid of them!

I would not put much stock in any update statistics.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I am getting about the same percent for my app. The interesting thing is that I have developed app "A" then few months later I developed app "B" with the ability to add the exact features of app "A" to app "B" using IAP for the same price as app "A". The reason I did that is because I didn't want to charge "A"+"B" for app "B" this way those who already have "A" don't have to pay for something they already paid for. I have noticed that app "A" & "B" are selling almost the same numbers. I have also noticed that in most cases people buy the app instead of adding the feature using IAP. I tried making the IAP more visible but that didn't help. It is interesting.

Did you try having the in app purchase available for a time while app B was not? Maybe it's cannibalizing?
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeGroupApps View Post

The In-App Purchase rate depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, whether the app itself is free or paid, how good the In-App Purchase feature is, and the business model for said app.

Be that as it may, it is both interesting and helpful to see these specific figures and numbers from this well known developer.

Thank you for this article!

+1

But keep in mind, that the article offered in-app purchase for Camera+ is pretty weak. They offer picture effects like those in Hippstamatic while they already offer a lot of picture effects for free. I would rather get a seperate free app or Hippstamatic if I wanted such a functionality.
post #23 of 33
I have Camera+ and I had not realised that there are in app purchases available. I just found an item called 'Restore purchases' in the Menu. Is this it? When I tapped on it it asked for my iTunes password so I didn't go any further in case it cost money. I didn't see "I (heart) Analog".

This leaves me confused. What does I (heart) Analogue do??
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post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

Did you try having the in app purchase available for a time while app B was not? Maybe it's cannibalizing?

For me it doesn't really matters whether they buy the standalone app or the in app part. I priced them both the same and the IAP part was basically the standalone app added to app "B". So either way I am still making money. I just find it interesting that IAP is not that attractive. I am glad I know this because this will keep me away from depending too much on this feature for revenues.
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyL View Post

I have Camera+ and I had not realised that there are in app purchases available. I just found an item called 'Restore purchases' in the Menu. Is this it? When I tapped on it it asked for my iTunes password so I didn't go any further in case it cost money. I didn't see "I (heart) Analog".

This leaves me confused. What does I (heart) Analogue do??

1) Make sure you are using the latest version
2) Take a picture or Edit an existing picture in your camera roll
3) On the BOTTOM toolbar, click on "FX Effects"
4) You'll see a few groups of effects, like Color, Retro, Special, and then one called "I (heart) Analog". It's the nine effects under I (heart) Analog that cost an additional 99 cents to use (you are allowed to try them before buying them)
post #26 of 33
shocker! people like free.
post #27 of 33
For me, in-app purchases are like aggressive panhandlers. They really get on my nerves. I'd rather buy the app in its entirety.
post #28 of 33
One annecdote is not much info: one app will perform very differently from another.

That said, 1-in-20 sounds amazingly high! Especially once a free app gets in a Top list, a ton of people will try it who have little real interest and didn’t think too hard about clicking that Free button. If 1 in 20 of them really do want to pay, that sounds pretty decent to me.

EDIT: another instance of this effect is the phenomenon where making an app free apparently causes ratings to drop! Because with a paid app, you get more users who have thought about the app and made sure they know what it is. With a free app, you get a larger slice of impulse downloaders who probably shouldn’t have bothered. (This problem was worse, supposedly, when Apple asked for ratings upon deleting apps!) Ugh—I hope (no, plan!) to release my iOS game some day, and the app market is anything but simple! I’m steeled for whatever good or bad luck I may have...

As for the large number of people who get the free upgrade, well, that’s automatic.
post #29 of 33
This article is FUD. I've been sitting here hunting for the in-app purchases in Camera+ and can not find them. It's no wonder they are complaining about lack of purchases. And 5% is very high considering I can't even figure out where the hell they are.
post #30 of 33
I guarantee that Hipstamatic gets far better than 5% in-app purchases.

Did TapTapTap ever consider that their in-app purchases aren't worth the money? Or that the user interface of the editing half of their app is annoying? The camera half of their Camera+ app is excellent. I think it's currently the best camera app available, but the editing UI is dumb.

Developers underestimate the importance of a good UI.
post #31 of 33
"Casasanta challenged reports that mobile apps are "quickly discarded" by using data showing that half of the purchasers of Camera+ upgraded to version 2.2 of the app within 6 days of the update's release."

That's bogus. It just means users updated their iphones within six days, but it doesn't mean they still have the app on their iPhones. I see 159 apps in my iTunes library, but less than a third of them are on my iPhone. I wish iTunes had a way to sort apps that are and aren't on my iPhone. It would make it easier to delete stuff I don't want.
post #32 of 33
For me it's a value perception. I would rather pay $2 for the complete app than $1 + a $1 in-app purchase that only adds a little functionality. Photogene is a perfect example of wacky pricing. On the iPad it's $2.99 with a $7.99 PRO pack in-app purchase. I emailed the Dev and he wouldn't tell me specifically what the PRO pack included. Why would I pay any $ for an app when the desrciption mixes included and in-app purchase features? I want to know upfront what I'm paying for and what costs extra.
post #33 of 33
In-app purchases for CONTENT makes me happy.
In-app purchases for FUNCTIONS makes me feel ripped off.
These two factors I think are the most fundamental as to what kinds of in-app purchases will work. Paying for functions is a bit like paying for QuickTime pro to be able to play videos in full screen back in the days, remember? It's all there just waiting to be used, and it makes me feel ripped off.
Better to make a standard version, and a pro version that differs enough to be considered good enough to spend the extra money.
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