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Adwhirl: Free Ad-Supported iPhone Apps Can Be Very Lucrative

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Mobile advertising company Adwhirl issued a report (PDF) that details the success of some of the top ad-supported iPhone apps. AdWhirl serves 250 million ad impressions monthly to over 10% of the top 50 Apps in the App Store.




According to their data, developers who break into the top 100 Free iPhone Apps can make as much as $400-$5000 a day. These seem to represent "peak" revenues at the height of an app's success but revenue for this application depicted does appear to reach a consistent level over time.

The findings are somewhat contradictory to previously published reports from Pinch Media who believes that the majority of apps would do better as paid applications as usage drops precipitously over time. Adwhirl's examples, however, appear to represent some of the highest earners rather than necessarily a broad cross sample.

Still, it provides some hope for an alternative revenue streams for developers.

Article Link: Adwhirl: Free Ad-Supported iPhone Apps Can Be Very Lucrative
 

Toe

macrumors 65816
Mar 25, 2002
1,101
2
sweet 5k a day isn't bad!

That's kind of an absolute maximum: for a totally kickass app for a day or two. I would bet most ad-sponsored apps garner well under $50 per day.

Not that I would turn down someone handing me a $20 bill every day...
 
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johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,959
119
London, UK
This is interesting. I certainly might start releasing free ad-supported versions of my paid apps after a time (once the paid-for version price comes down to $0.99, i.e. the cheapest price point) and have the two on sale concurrently to give customers a choice.

It could be a new way to breathe life into an app that has passed its peak.
 
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psonice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2005
968
0
Great - for the lucky few

These stories make writing iphone apps sound like a quick route to riches.. but bear in mind that there's 35,000 + apps out there, and these figures are only for the most successful.

What happens to most iphone apps: it gets released, sells fairly well for a week (while it's near the top of the 'latest released' list), then it fails to make the chart and slowly slides out of sight. Sales fall away to a few copies per day.

If you're lucky, you release something fairly popular, and it gets into the chart.. then your sales 'spike' tends to last a lot longer. If you're more lucky, your app has lasting appeal and it sits there in the chart earning a stable income. If you're super lucky (and you have a great idea of course), it takes off and hits the top of the charts, but there's probably only 100 or so super popular apps so far.. out of 35,000.
 
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Diode

macrumors 68020
Apr 15, 2004
2,424
94
Washington DC
That's kind of an absolute maximum: for a totally kickass app for a day or two. I would bet most ad-sponsored apps garner well under $50 per day.

Not that I would turn down someone handing me a $20 bill every day...

Yea that would make a lot of sense ... probably less. Lot's of apps don't receive the hoopla that a few get.
 
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wonza

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2008
65
0
My ad-support free app generated $50 a day for the first few days and quickly went down to <$2 a day
 
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sruttva

macrumors newbie
May 6, 2009
1
0
Am I the only one who noticed that the $5k spike occurred on Christmas Day? I'd call that a little skewed. Let's see a similar graph on any other day of the year (not counting iphone 3.0 launch day) and see if we get similar results.

I agree with the comments that most apps likely make far less than the #1 free app in the app store. I know I've never clicked on an ad, have you?
 
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MrAwax

macrumors newbie
May 6, 2009
12
0
Wrong conclusion

The findings are somewhat contradictory to previously published reports from Pinch Media who believes that the majority of apps would do better as paid applications as usage drops precipitously over time.
This conclusion is wrong.

Pinch Media said that a single user will quickly drop its usage of the app.
But a constant stream of new users would provide a constant flow of usage and cash.
 
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psonice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2005
968
0
I wonder if there are any Apps that have not sold ever.

I came not far off.. made a pretty decent app, but just totally misjudged the market it seems, and it sold about 5 copies :( (my other apps are doing fine, it's just that one. Guess that's just the way it goes, you get a bunch of average sellers, and an occasional hit or miss)
 
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psonice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2005
968
0
This conclusion is wrong.

Pinch Media said that a single user will quickly drop its usage of the app.
But a constant stream of new users would provide a constant flow of usage and cash.

Yeah, but almost no apps get a constant flow of new users. The sales spike initially and then fall off. Best case, you get a spike and then it sells at a lower but stable level. Pinch media are basing their opinions on pretty solid data.
 
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haravikk

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2005
1,494
21
How do these ads present themselves in the apps?
I just shudder at the thought of ads on such a tiny-screen, they take up like 90% of a desktop-screen these-days as it is! Loading-screens may be acceptable I suppose.
 
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coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,773
4,991
Vancouver, BC
How do these ads present themselves in the apps?
I just shudder at the thought of ads on such a tiny-screen, they take up like 90% of a desktop-screen these-days as it is! Loading-screens may be acceptable I suppose.

The ones I've seen present a full-screen ad at different stages of using an app, such as launch, moving up to a new level, etc.
 
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psonice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2005
968
0
Pinch vs. Adwhirl

Adwhirl have a pretty big incentive to present a biased case here. If they present it as "put ads in your apps, you'll be rich!", they'll get more clients, and more income.

Pinch (from what I can remember at least) just offer a service where you add their code to your app, and it reports back how many sales you're getting and how people are using your app (i.e. for how long, how often etc.). So pinch can report what their data says, and developers will be interested whether it's good or bad. Well, so long as it's not boring perhaps..

That said, I'd still do a free / ad supported app, in the right situation. If the app will be used once or twice and forgotten, it has to be a paid app. If people will use it repeatedly for a long time, adverts could be more profitable. And pinch media's service would tell you which it is I guess :)
 
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