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App Re-Launch Part 1 – Reviving an Old App Whose Sales Have Flatlined

 

Is your once thriving app barely clinging to life in the App Store?

Or is it just my apps…? ;)

In this article I’m going to take y’all through a good old-fashioned “App Revival” to see if it is possible to breathe life into “old” but quality apps.

I’ve been putting off this experiment because there’s a 50/50 chance the money I spend “reviving” this sucker will be wasted. We shall see.

One of the best apps I ever launched is Popper!, a really fun breaker game that is crazily addictive. When it first launched it was on iTunes “What’s Hot” for about 15 minutes until it mysteriously disappeared…? Seriously that’ is not a joke. (Insert vomit here.)

The stats on the original launch of Popper!:

  • Launched in 2009
  • Free (lite) version with 5 levels and ads via AdMob
  • Paid version with 15 levels + OpenFeint scoreboard – 99¢
  • On App Store What’s Hot for 15 minutes (vomit)
  • About 6 reviews from good app blogs (before they became overrun with requests and paid for their opinions)
  • Development cost: $5 – 7,000 created using OpenGL
  • Revenue for 12 months: around $5 – 8,000 (for app sales + ad revenue)

Popper! is a great example of a quality app that has a lot of fans but never hit it big in the app store. Profitable, but not a ringer. See the TouchArcade review here.

So, is it possible to wring a few more dollars out of an app that has a strong foundation but needs a few upgrades? We’re gonna find out. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where I will dive into the details of the re-launch strategy!

Have you relaunched an app with great results? Tell us your story in the comments below!


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Discussion

6 Comments / Leave a comment
  1. Hi Jen, I have an app that is just poking along and would like to invigorate it and am keen to see your tips.

    My app is a problem solving app called Force Field Analysis which applicable in business and personal issues. In an effort to lift sales, I’ve just had the app translated into French, Spanish and German and its in final Beta testing and due for release soon. I’d be interested in feedback on whether this strategy has been successful for others as well.

    • I don’t think so.. I made a similar move for “Ultimate Password Manager”. You will grow your market yes. But sales will pretty much stay the same.

      • hey JF it sounds like your app was still making money when you relaunched. This post is focused on apps that are making practically zero money.

        Can you comment on the tactics you used on your second relaunch of UPM from a marketing standpoint?

  2. Hi jen, I developed a Quiz application which is ready to release in app store for free.
    I would like to know how to market the app so that it will have more downloads on the release day.

  3. I had a nice success with Tete a Tete (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/letter-writing-love-letters/id440988265?mt=8) – the previous version (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id417204758?mt=8) had no sales – whether free, or paid. After the relaunch I average $10-$15 a day with it.

    Originally my app contained a set of a couple of love letter guides, with optional additional sets for $1.99 (in-app purchase). That was a fiasco – almost nobody download the app.

    So I changed my approach & released an update that contained all the letter guides (so I removed in-app purchase option), and raised the app price to $.99. That was a fiasco as well.

    Apple was still displaying an in-app purchase information alongside the description even though the app didn’t use it any more. My guess was that nobody bought the app because people don’t like paid apps with in-app purchases.

    So, one evening, I released the app again, with better keywords & more descriptive name. I dropped the in-app purchase, added iPad version & changed the app icon. Oh – and I rised the price from $.99 to $3.99

    I don’t know which one of these things helped, but since that time my sales are quite steady @ $10 a day.

    But perhaps the most important lesson is – be extremely careful with adding in-app purchases to your app. Once you add them they will influence your sales (for sure), and will stay with your app forever (for sure).

    • (continued)

      Another app I recently “relaunched” was http://www.motivapps.com/gsw/ – Goal-Setting Workshop. In this case by “relaunched” I mean – after a couple of months of basically ignoring the app I began to work on it again.

      I started by addressing one of the main issues my customers had, that got me a couple of one-star reviews. I also added an iPad version and fixed the keywords. Oh – and I rose the price from $.99 to $3.99 (just as with Tete a Tete)

      It worked as well. Thanks to the fixes I started getting 4-5 star reviews and without any additional PR my app shot from $2-$4 a day to $10-$20 a day.

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