In my prior life, I ran one of the most highly trafficked mobile destinations for quite a while and we launched one of the most successful apps of all time. It still stands among the Top 10 Android apps within Android Market or Google Play (call it what you will). Even with all that experience, we were one developer, one drop within a larger cloud, buffeted by many of the same winds of change, but untouched by many of them as well.
Since I left and started interacting with literally hundreds of mobile app developers, I’ve learned many new things (surprise!). I had posted something earlier this month on my personal blog about lessons learned from interacting and working with over 287 mobile developers and I wanted to expand on the points that I had made over there.
There were 10 items that I had pointed out (even though there are many more) as indicative of what you’ll experience when working with mobile developers. I’ll elaborate over here on each of those initial points:
- Some care about their brand equity. Some don’t. – A developer that cares about their brand equity doesn’t typically display flashing banner ads, or one-click purchasing where it is unexpected. They care about the message that they convey and may not even run ad networks or affiliate offers if it’s not associated with a positive message-type brand.
- Some care about user experience. Some don’t. – Some developer care about what their users think. Some just do the “pump and dump.” They throw out an app with some great monetary hooks, market the heck out of it, and then take whatever they can get. Once poor user reviews hurt their conversion rates, they move on to the next one. Or they just don’t ultimately care about how great their product works and acts. They have other priorities.
- Some care about the amount of revenue they can drive. Some don’t. – Not every developer cares about how much revenue they earn. Not every developer even cares about driving revenue at all. They have different desires and it’s important to understand who they are when talking with one about advertising inside their app.
- Some care about creating several different revenue sources. Some don’t. – You’ll come across developers that are happy just running advertising. Some want advertising and in-app purchasing. Or some just focus on the total dollar amount. On average, if you can introduce something that decreases the dependency on one type of revenue source, developers will be interested.
- Some care about working with multiple revenue partners. Some don’t. – Similar to the prior point, developers understand the need to decrease risk as much as anyone else and so if they can reduce their dependency on one revenue partner they will.
- Some care about advertising revenue. Some don’t. – With variations on prior themes, you’ll find that not all developers will place advertising in their apps. Some will only use in-app purchasing. Some will use nothing.
- Some care about in-app purchasing. Some don’t. – Some developers try to upsell their users and very often are successful with this type of endeavor. They can be particularly successful if it’s a natural extension of their product such as a premium version or currency for a game.
- Some care about the upsell. Some don’t. – Many apps have a natural upsell. It may be to a premium product that the developer has built or it may lead to another ancillary product that someone else is offering as a product. Those type of partnerships are the most natural. Not all developers focus on it though.
- Some care about paid apps. Some don’t. – There’s been a big shift from paid apps to freemium apps. With that said, you’ll still find many developers that only launch paid apps. Their traffic is usually next to nil when compared to the freemium guys, but sometimes their profit is equally as good. You don’t need many paying users when your users are actually paying. Even still, many of them are realizing that the best strategy around this is either freemium or the upsell to a paid version.
- Some care about money. Some don’t. – This is just a small, but important, sampling of what drives developers. Don’t assume that every developer wants to monetize. Some of them want to make the world a better place. And yes, that’s important as well.
When you talk with developers, it really pays to understand these points. Not because it’ll be an easier sell but because you’ll be better able to understand what they have to say and, as such, be better able to help them with your unique talents and products.