Smart developers understand that selling apps is a serious business. The are exploring their options (developing for several platforms simultaneously), choosing commercially successful distribution channels (apps stores rather than third-party aggregators, for example) and preparing for a multi-screen future where the smartphone is just the entry point to a fluid app experience that flows across set-top boxes, tablets and a wide range of connected devices.
It’s a profound shift that market analysis and strategy firm VisionMobile has expertly identified and documented in Developer Economics 2011, a landmark, must-read report that surveyed some 900+ developers across 75 countries to understand their attitudes and identify the hottest issues in mobile apps. [Click here for free report.]
A special feature this year was the integration of 21 one-to-one interviews with senior execs from a variety of brands and agencies to gauge the level of interest (and motivation) in branded apps. A surprise finding: brands may have thought of apps as a means to increase awareness, but a significant number are marketing apps to generate real revenues. In fact, almost half of all developers surveyed make money through a salary or commission, confirming that commissioned app development is becoming as an important a model as making money directly through apps (via freemium or paid monetization models).
The opportunities are impressive, but the new terrain is tough to navigate since the avalanche of mobile apps has caused an irreversible change in the content distribution landscape. The Developer Economics 2011 report found that “app stores are the primary go-to-market channel” for almost half (45%) of mobile app developers across the eight major platforms.
The report also found that use of other application distribution channels has consistently declined across the board. Specifically, the report shows a significant drop in distribution via third-party aggregators, on-device preloads, and publisher websites. Even more dramatic is the state of mobile operator portals, destinations that once dominated downloadable content distribution.
But figuring out where to offer and how to monetize your app is just half the battle. You also need to work out a strategy to increase your app ranking, cost effectively generate downloads, and identify (and keep) your most loyal users. the bottom-line: The build-and-they-will-come approach that marked the early days of the App Economy has been replaced by the hard truth that apps do not sell themselves.
This is where Fiksu comes in. Fiksu has developed a real-time mobile app user acquisition platform that spans the entire mobile app ecosystem-including an extensive number of ad networks, real-time bidding platforms, and incentivized download programs-to help content companies and marketers identify their best customers.
Editor’s note: How are developers and brands making money in the mobile app economy? Check out Developer Economics 2011, the definitive report from VisionMobile (sponsored by BlueVia) that brings together insights and analysis from across the App Economy. VisionMobile, never one to rest on its laurels (even though this report clearly sets the bar!), is gearing up to start work on Developer Economics 2012, which will focus on the new market opportunities for developers everywhere on the planet. This time YOU can get involved. Suggest topics you would like to see the report and help shape the direction of this landmark (and actionable) research. Reach out on Twitter @visionmobile and share what moves you.
Disclaimer: Peggy Anne Salz is proud to be a VisionMobile Associate. Peggy is also a regular columnist for EContent Magazine, the source of strategic news, trends and tips for the global digital content industry… NOW with an awesome new design to match the path-breaking content!