How $50 got me 10 times more downloads

make money selling apps

When I started out developing apps, I didn’t want to spend too much money on things that I thought were non-essential. The app is all around the content, right? and graphics are like sex – only losers pay money for what they can get for free (or make themselves if you want to take that metaphor a bit further).

This worked well for me since I do have some design skills, and I got some decent downloads on most of my apps but one app in particular was long due for an update and I was stuck with the icon design (the app was doing $1-2 in revenue, so not much, but not 0 either).

The app icon was so outdated, that I finally broke down and searched the stock photo sites and found an image I liked.

A note about stock photo licensing: Many sites have different license agreements, so make sure you contact the site and tell them specifically what you want to do with the file. There’s a big difference between “I want to use it in an app” and “I want to use it as an app icon”.

The image I liked was $50 for the extended license.
At this point, spending $50 on an image would have wiped out 2 months of earnings from that app so I was really concerned about doing it, but I ended up taking a leap of faith and upgraded the icon.

Once the updated app with the new icon launched, I was shocked!
Downloads went up 10 times what they were before the icon was changed and profits went up accordingly.

Lesson: An icon is a critical part of your app’s marketing strategy, there are so many good apps with crappy icons in the app store, so if you want to stand out, make sure your icon matches the quality level you are providing with your app.

here are some good stock photo sites that you may want to get started with:

Dreamstime Photos


(disclosure: I sell photos on these stock sites and am a member of their affiliate program

Iā€™d love to hear your experiences in this area as well, have you had a single change make a big difference in your app sales/downloads?

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