May 20, 2024

It is a visitor publish from fellow software program developer, Simon Kravis.

It’s generally stated that software program improvement is barely 10% of what’s required to earn cash from software program and I can attest to that. Since 2018 I’ve been creating photograph captioning and associated software program, extra as a retirement diversion than a severe supply of revenue (after a profession largely concerned in writing scientific and engineering evaluation software program), within the hope that gross sales revenue would not less than cowl operating prices. My finest advertising and marketing instrument has been writing evaluations of the category of software program that I produce, and the internet hosting website (Hub Pages) offers some helpful analytics on how typically 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 clarify – the article is periodically up to date so the regular decline shouldn’t be as a result of diminishing ‘freshness’ – which for Google might be a file Modified date.

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

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

I supply digital photo captioning software (Caption Pro) on Home windows and Mac platforms, and an iPhone captioning app (CaptionEdit), with the Home windows model courting again to 2017. I additionally supply 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 evaluation accesses, regardless of about 1/3 of website accesses coming from the evaluation. Nonetheless, downloads do present some correlation with Caption Professional website periods, as proven within the graph beneath.

Gross sales don’t correlate with downloads, which maybe explains why most promoting for area of interest merchandise shouldn’t be profitable – it could enhance 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 monthly, 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 pals quite than a industrial analysis. Apple Developer membership (costing ~US$100 per 12 months) is required to forestall software program being blocked from set up by way of being from an unknown writer. Additional prices had been buying a reasonably trendy Mac on which to carry out improvement, because the App Retailer will solely settle for software program developed utilizing current variations of the Xcode improvement atmosphere, which is able to solely run on pretty current {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 could cease working after years for no discernible purpose. The evaluation course of for software program acceptance into the App Retailer is mostly quick, however seemly trivial points can require resubmission. Options which have handed one evaluation could also be rejected in a later one. The evaluation course of is mostly quick, however on one event took 4 weeks.

Caption Professional for Mac has been out there (through the App Retailer) solely since Sep 2021.It seems inside 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’ popularity 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 extremely popular 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 through the Apptimizer marketing campaign between Jan 24 and Feb 2 (as they had been bought) however the change in rating from these downloads didn’t lead to any gross sales, maybe as a result of no installs had 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 enormously have an effect on downloads or gross sales. A Fb advert marketing campaign to indicate 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 fees by impressions quite than clicks. Extra backlinks to the website had been bought in September 2022 from Hyperlinks Administration in an try to enhance the website 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 nations however only a few gross sales.

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

On stability, creating for Apple platforms was not an excellent industrial determination, as some great benefits of a largely captive viewers (utterly captive within the case of the iPhone) don’t appear to lead to increased 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 more likely to apply to Android telephone apps, which anecdotally have a much less rigorous evaluation course of. My expertise is that promoting and backlink buy for any platform will not be 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 numerous software program merchandise. He has primarily developed scientific and engineering applications, beginning within the period of paper tape.