Kamal Shah is Senior Sales Support and Blog Writer at Waypedia. He has been with the company since it was open and focused on helping developers to find reliable ways to promote their apps. Kamal is also in sales training and has been representing Waypedia in growing Asian markets like India, Pakistan and China. Today he shares with us insights on why the Apple App Store has become a graveyard for millions of apps.
In 2009 people only needed apps for basic functions such as calculations, minimal games, contact management and maybe audio editing. Today, the whole scenario has changed. Apps are being developed for almost everything—medicines, travel, food, clothing and henceforth. The whole app ecosystem on the Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store has become dense.
Developers do not have the same zeal like they used to. The App Store as well as Google Play is not witnessing any major growth in terms of innovative apps. People who first published their apps on App Store would time and again check the number of installs.
The year 2016 is different. No longer do you get too many downloads. And with a low number of downloads your user base becomes smaller and smaller. The reason being is that the number of apps has grown tremendously, and app discoverability has become poor.
Many developers raised their concerns and issues with the App Store. They suggested that the app visibility had become poor, which forced new developers to stay away from publishing their apps. However, this suggestion was limited only to the odds of an app becoming successful.
The average number of apps released every year has changed dramatically. In the year 2009, the average number of apps released every month on App Store was around 3000, but today the figure has gone up to 50,000!
Despite so many apps releasing every month, nothing specific has been done to make them discoverable. This means that app entrepreneurs are finding it very hard to make their app discoverable, resulting into very few downloads. One can calculate this by comparing the average number of ratings an app used to get back in 2009. In the App Store, the average ratings have come down 10 times since the year 2009. This means people downloaded an app 10 times more than they do today.
Impact on the Developer
The impact of poor app visibility on the developer is quite clear. If a user is not able to find an app, then that particular app will not get installs. Lower number of installs are going to result in overall poor development of the app. A developer will not get the minimum required revenue to sustain the app. A cascading effect starts on the apps future. Low number of installs, poor generation of revenue and improper development will lead to the abandonment of the app.
It’s not that making an app is easier today as compared to the initial days. It’s the fact that the rewards do not look lucrative anymore, resulting in app abandonment by many developers. If there has not been a single app update in the last six months, chances are that it has been abandoned. One can check the activity graph by comparing the first release of the app and the last time it had received an update.
The developers who released their app in 2009-2010 gave them around two to three years of tweaks and updates. Even after nurturing them for so long, apps failed to work. Modern developers aren’t that patient. They give their apps a maximum of four to six months, and if the app sustains the minimum benchmarks then it gets a fresh lease of life. If not, then it gets abandoned. Developers are walking out of the App Store faster than ever and are leaving their abandoned apps behind.
The App Store graveyard is filling up at a much faster rate than expected. To top it all, the number of app being released is increasing every single day.
Current Status of the App Store
The App Store has accumulated more than 1.5 million abandoned apps at the end of 2015. This has been a massive setback for each and every upcoming app developer. The average number of daily app submissions is more than 1,000, and many of these apps will be abandoned in a few months.
The whole blame game can be diversified to the developer as well as App Store. App Store’s search engine and app discoverability has become poor. A snippy three-four months of app turnover topped up with the rate of app launch has made the App Store a graveyard of dreams and hopes for millions of developers out there.
Well, this post has not been a very positive one. But, I would definitely not want you to get nervous or disheartened. I did some extensive research and checked out all the nuts and bolts of the App Store to find out what is next.
Apple is fully aware of what is happening and they are trying their level best to help all the developers out there. They are willing to provide all sorts of aid so that developers can rise up. I am hoping that they improve the App Store search system and the rumored App Store promoted search results.
As a word of advice for all the developers, here are some of the key points to consider:
• Make your app stand out: Blaming App Store as a graveyard is not the end. You must give your app some extra time and make it stand out from the rest.
• Simplicity of usage: Your app must be easily understood by the users, therefore, you have got to make it simple and practical.
• Regular updates: Give your apps regular updates so as to suit the upcoming needs of the users.
• Proper Meta data, screenshots and reviews: Give a solid description about your app, provide adequate screenshots to show your users what your app is all about, and get as many positive reviews as you can. But do not buy them ever, as this can get your app suspended from the App Store.
• Stay updated: Read the news and stay updated with what is going to happen in the App Store. Apple always stands by its words—they will do something helpful for app developers soon.
I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that things become better as soon as possible.