In the spirit of public information, I have blogged regarding the sales figures from the original launch of Terminology, both for the iPad and the iPhone (which came out several months later). So, I thought I would do the same for the launch of the Terminology 2.0 upgrade.
Terminology has done extremely well in the App store, but it has done well in the Reference category — which doesn’t translate to Angry Birds money. One of the ongoing issues for small developers and the App store is how to sustain over time since there is no direct way to generate revenue from upgrades. As a result of this problem, I think we are seeing a lot of apps with great potential get abandoned rather than improved. A sad thing.
Going into the development of Terminology 2.0, I considered a number of options including but not limited to going free with in-app upgrade, or just abandoning Terminology and moving on to other new projects.
The strategy I decided to pursue was to create a platform around Terminology that could help drive app sales and add value in other ways. This involved two pieces: building term.ly, an online companion for Terminology and trying to cross-promote other apps from within Terminology by providing built-in links to apps that supported URL scheme-based lookups. It is my hope that I can draw attention to some other excellent apps and provide a small amount of additional income through affiliate links. I’ve posted general thoughts on the update, so I won’t go into too much detail. It’s too early to tell whether term.ly and/or affliate links will pay off over time, but I’m confident that term.ly is a good product that will find a user-base in the crowded online dictionary space outside of the context of Terminology.
So, back to the sales figures. To be clear, I am not a marketing guy. My launch strategy for the update consisted primarily of sending out a press release (via PRMac, great service), contacting sites/blogs that had been kind to Terminology in past reviews and spreading the word about the update on Twitter/Facebook, etc.
I was lucky enough to get a very kind endorsement from an influential iOS developer (Thanks, Marco!), coverage from one of my favorite “Mac-enthusiast” sites, MacStories and iPad Insight — all of which drove a lot of traffic in those first couple of days of release.
The update release was in the evening on Monday, June 20th. I got enough buzz to be noticed by Apple and the iPad version of Terminology was featured in the first spot of the Staff Favorites section of the App store for a week starting on Thursday, June 23rd. That positioning sustained the sales during that week.
Figure 1, Terminology 2.0 (iPad) Rank June 19-July 3
NOTES: Peak ranks were #3 Reference, #172 Overall Paid iPad.
Figure 2, Terminology Ph 2.0 (iPhone) Rank June 19-July 3
NOTES: Peak ranks was about #18 Reference. Didn’t make the overall charts.
Figure 3, Terminology 2.0 Unit Sales (iPad/iPhone) June 19-July 3
NOTES: Peak unit sales combined were 337 units on launch day.
Since that first week, ranks and sales have dropped off to roughly the same level as before the 2.0 update with slight jumps due to specific mentions on the web.
PS: This is the indie-insider, embarrassing postscript where I reward you for getting this far in the post by admitting that the release of Terminology 2.0 was somewhat accidental.
I had submitted the apps to Apple just before leaving on vacation, with them set to hold release in the App store after approval. I had planned to return from vacation and spend about a week getting the website updated, press release written, etc., then pull the trigger.
The night I got back from vacation, I was checking on the apps at iTunes Connect and quite accidently https://itunes.apple.com/app/drafts/id502385074?mt=8&uo=4&at=11l4Cf&ct=websiteed the “release to App Store” link. Oops. Really no way to fix that without pulling the app from the store, so I spent that evening and the next day getting things in order and getting the word out. Worked out fine, but it wasn’t the evening I had in mind after two full days on the road.