Experiences selling area of interest software program | Profitable Software program

This can be a visitor put up from fellow software program developer, Simon Kravis.

It’s typically mentioned that software program improvement is just 10% of what’s required to earn cash from software program and I can attest to that. Since 2018 I’ve been creating picture captioning and associated software program, extra as a retirement diversion than a critical supply of earnings (after a profession largely concerned in writing scientific and engineering evaluation software program), within the hope that gross sales earnings would no less than cowl working prices. My greatest advertising instrument has been writing evaluations of the category of software program that I produce, and the internet hosting web site (Hub Pages) offers some helpful analytics on how usually these are accessed and for a way lengthy. Beneath is the graph for an article on tagging.

The decline since early 2022 is difficult to elucidate – the article is periodically up to date so the regular decline is just not as a result of diminishing ‘freshness’ – which for Google might be a file Modified date.

Right here is one other evaluate article profile (Scanning A number of Photographs) exhibiting an identical decline:

However one other (Finest Picture Captioning Software program) has held up, although at a low stage.

I provide digital photo captioning software (Caption Pro) on Home windows and Mac platforms, and an iPhone captioning app (CaptionEdit), with the Home windows model relationship again to 2017. I additionally provide a part of the performance of Caption Professional on Home windows for auto-cropping scans of multiple paper photos (ImageSplit). On Home windows neither Caption Professional software program downloads or gross sales appear to correlate with evaluate accesses, regardless of about 1/3 of web page accesses coming from the evaluate. Nonetheless, downloads do present some correlation with Caption Professional web page classes, as proven within the graph under.

Gross sales don’t correlate with downloads, which maybe explains why most promoting for area of interest merchandise is just not profitable – it could improve downloads however this doesn’t seem to extend gross sales. The noticed proportion of downloads leading to gross sales for ImageSplit and Caption Professional are 6% and 9% respectively. The shortage of correlation between gross sales and downloads could also be as a result of small variety of gross sales per 30 days, which leads to random fluctuation dominating the outcomes.

The choice to enter the Apple “Walled Backyard” of software program was partly on the prompting of mates somewhat than a business analysis. Apple Developer membership (costing ~US$100 per yr) is required to forestall software program being blocked from set up by means of being from an unknown writer. Additional prices have been buying a reasonably trendy Mac on which to carry out improvement, because the App Retailer will solely settle for software program developed utilizing latest variations of the Xcode improvement surroundings, which is able to solely run on pretty latest {hardware}. The App Retailer takes a fee of 15% on gross sales, which is sort of cheap when in comparison with the problem of implementing e-commerce on Home windows, the place a PayPal account eases the issue of low-value foreign-currency transactions, however e-commerce plug-ins might cease working after years for no discernible motive. The evaluate course of for software program acceptance into the App Retailer is usually quick, however seemly trivial points can require resubmission. Options which have handed one evaluate could also be rejected in a later one. The evaluate course of is usually quick, however on one event took 4 weeks.

Caption Professional for Mac has been accessible (through the App Retailer) solely since Sep 2021.It seems throughout the high 6 outcomes for a search utilizing “Caption Photographs”, which is the supply for many downloads. About 3.5% of downloads lead to gross sales. This determine is far lower than the Home windows model of the identical app, regardless of Mac customers’ repute for being extra keen to pay for software program. The iPhone app didn’t seem in any respect initially when looking for “Caption Photographs” within the App Retailer. After 6 months it started showing as end result quantity 140, after it had 360 downloads. This poor rating efficiency might be as a result of “Caption Photographs” is a very talked-about key phrase utilized by many apps, together with those who solely caption movies. It has had only a few downloads and gross sales, regardless of Apple Search Adverts and Apptimizer campaigns. The variety of downloads elevated dramatically in the course of the Apptimizer marketing campaign between Jan 24 and Feb 2 (as they have been bought) however the change in rating from these downloads didn’t lead to any gross sales, maybe as a result of no installs have been bought. The Apple search advertisements marketing campaign (which resulted within the app being proven as an advert 1 in 50 instances when the search phrase “Caption Photographs” was used) didn’t tremendously have an effect on downloads or gross sales. A Fb advert marketing campaign to point out a hyperlink to the app at any time when “Family tree” or “Family tree Software program” was looked for was additionally unsuccessful, and really costly, as Fb prices by impressions somewhat than clicks. Extra backlinks to the web page have been bought in September 2022 from Hyperlinks Administration in an try to enhance the web page Google rating, however this didn’t seem to have any impact on internet visitors.

Mac and Home windows customers contacting me with issues have had a variety of expertise stage – from utterly naïve to former programmers. Most have been from the US, which displays the geographic distribution of gross sales. There have many downloads to non-English talking international locations however only a few gross sales.

Some outcomes from the Mac and iPhone Apps are proven under:

On steadiness, creating for Apple platforms was not a great business determination, as some great benefits of a largely captive viewers (utterly captive within the case of the iPhone) don’t appear to lead to greater charges of downloads or gross sales. Competitors for iPhone apps is so intense that area of interest merchandise with out large promoting budgets are unlikely to succeed. The identical is prone to apply to Android cellphone apps, which anecdotally have a much less rigorous evaluate course of. My expertise is that promoting and backlink buy for any platform are usually not efficient in rising gross sales for area of interest software program.

Simon Kravis runs Aleka Consulting, a small software program and consultancy firm in Canberra, Australia specializing in data administration and providing quite a lot of software program merchandise. He has primarily developed scientific and engineering packages, beginning within the period of paper tape.