Last night I attended an Appside event about Publishing Apps, organised by Stuart Dredge. The event had an amazing line up of speakers including Random House, Dimoso, Flurry and my favourite – Madeinme.
Stuart Dredge gave an intro of some of the latest trends in Publishing apps.
- The move from apps to iBooks.
- Story-telling without the page turn. (Although James from Madeinmade made a good comment about this later on)
- Active reading and developing creative and story expression
- The use of companion apps to support existing printed or web content
- The place of apps in eduction or appducation
- Different platform systems being implemented
- Partnerships between different types of companies and how the whole area is a melting pot of creativity
Finally he hoped that the evening would help enlighten who was making money from publishing apps, and what business models were actually working.
Howard Davies from Deloitte introduced some interesting data
- In 2008 there was no app industry
- It is estimated to be worth $25Bn annually now, and expected to grow to $75Bn by 2015
- It is a rapidly growing area, with 700 million smartphone units globally next year
- Less than 1% of apps get downloaded more than 1million times
- Around 80% of Android users have never downloaded an App
- Cost of developing apps is increasingly rapidly. Top-notch gaming apps can cost $1-2m to develop.
His bottom line was that with that many devices and downloads someone was making money. But, if you’re not very careful you can spend a lot of money on apps and not make much back
Next up Simon Podd from Flurry gave their experience of the market from their app analytic service.
- 1/3 of apps in AppStore use Flurry, they track 6 times more data than twitter, which has almost doubled in 6 months
- Flurry tracks 190,000 apps on 530m devices for 70,000 developers and they track 350bn events per month
- 70m smart devices in July 2010; now 530m, two years later.
- About 20% of those devices are tablets
- The current trend is towards freemium – why monetize once when you can do it repeatedly?
- 80% of apps in the App Store are free
- Usage is 49% games; 30% social networks; 7% entertainment; 6% news; 8% other.
- US mobile usage comes second only to watching TV in terms of spending their free time
- China is the fastest growing mobile market (870%), outstripping even the USA now.
- Less than 5% of apps on the AppStore are book apps – the book category has grown 163% in users
- The Top 2 grossing apps on the App store are free
So it seems if you can get your strategy and product right, then with this data clearly there is a way to make money in this market.
John Ozimek from Dimoso took to the podium to talk about marketing an app.
- Hope is not a strategy – should be following the minimum 10% spend on marketing
- Retention is the main problem. It’s very easy not to go back to an app when it’s cost you nothing or 69p to download.
- The quality of app is more important than brand, the better reviewed an app the higher up the rankings you can go.
- App icon, name, screenshots, keywords etc are all vital.
- Traditional marketing channels are unsure how to deal with apps. Blogs and social marketing are key.
- It costs 10K per WEEK in marking spend to stay in the top 10 on the App Store.
Overall this is good news for me, perhaps Timmy can break through organically if I get enough support from social and blogging marketing routes. However, I will never have the marketing spend to be amongst the big players.
The next section of the evening was a show and tell quickfire.
James Huggins started off talking about the amazing Madeinme. One of the most interesting points of the evening for me, was his thoughts on the page turn. I have always been against the skeuomorph or squeezing one medium into another, but he made the excellent point that children react differently with games than books. Games are manic and expressive, books are calm and introspective. By keeping the page turn a child focussed on the story much more. Such an interesting point, and something I really hadn’t considered before. One of the main reasons I moved away from the story aspect was that I found kids were ignoring it – would the page turn have helped focus?
Fiona Barclay from TouchPress spoke about which of their apps did well, and which didn’t. She was very candid and clearly embraced the fact that we are all still experimenting. Their apps include the Elements, Solar System and more recently apps about Leonardo Da Vinci and Shakespeare. She cited their success being based on apps which were about subjects which will never change, which have global appeal and which enlightening a user. Partnerships and quality were the key. They had also done some interesting social marketing things, where users could send sonnets by email, and they have made all the content available online. They saw their apps as curation exercises which people bought because they were beautiful and engaging.
Barry O’Neil showed off their latest 3D-esque story book, which was aimed at 2 – 3. It has a more game-like interface than any of their previous apps which interested me. The app was created in 2- 3 man months and got editors choice in the UK. The app got 42000 downloads in 25 days (40% paid) .
Dave Addey spoke next about an amazing app they are developing to bring comic stories to life. I liked his chat about this being an opportunity to invent. John Salt from Random House spoke next about their new app for the Great British Bake-off, which has an interesting marketing angle, connecting with the TV show live. Matt Walton showed off their Glide Publisher, which was incredibly beautiful (and reminiscent of PushPopPress). I wondered how it will survive Apples push for publishing to move to iAuthor. Finally Richard Loucraine from Heuristic Media showed off the London Compedium Timeline – which looks staggeringly comprehensive. Everyone was wondering what the development costs were…
The final section of the evening was a panel discussion with Kate Wilson from NosyCrow, Nathan Hull from Penguin, Alex Gatrell from Harper Collins and Michael Bhaskar from Profile.
- Gattrell – wonders of the universe – cost over £50k to build and has paid off recouped cost in 3 days due to strong us marketing. Sustaining sales on Wonders has been more of a problem.
- Bhaskar – sold about 10,000 Frankenstein apps and haven’t yet broken even but are getting there – bigger sales than typical hb but price low. New and noteworthy in the US not as valuable as hoped for Frankenstein app
- Wilson – Nosy Crow’s print business is currently more successful than digital. nosy crow has built an audience that looks our for their next title. A real brand.
- Hull – 55 million kids world wide subscribe to Moshi Monsters. When 50% 7-11 year olds are subscribed to moshi monsters it leads to very successful app! Penguin do not make marketing apps; all apps are commercial products
Overall it was a fascinating evening. I got to chat to James from Madeinme afterwards, and Eric Huang & Nathan Hull from Penguin who all agreed to check out my App. Kate Wilson gave me her critical appraisal of Timmy Tickle (she didn’t like the visuals : ( but it was great to see her in action in the event and see her passion for this new market.
Stuart Dredge was as kind as ever and deserves special thanks for organising the event.