The entire enterprise of App Fridays or "giving away" seems to minimize all the hard work, research, time, money, and integrity that it takes to develop a quality app. The concept of setting apps free, or reducing the price, on Friday's has been around for quite a while, it now appears to have taken on a life of its own. Last count there were dozens of sites and thousands of developers who partake in this weekly ritual. Who is benefiting? The consumer is the big winner - I hear many in our EdAppTalk community remark they are holding off until Friday to make their app purchases. The other contingency to benefit from Free Fridays are the various sites offering these free or reduced apps. Inevitably, theses SALES drives traffic to their sites. But, is there any benefit for the actual developer? Let's explore this question.
The developer's number of app downloads may rise in the iTunes Store, and they may rise exponentially - only to drastically drop the very next day. All that adrenaline rush for what? The apps placement may also have risen, but rarely has your status in the iTunes Store moved up enough to matter, and it will ultimately plummet after Free Friday.
Distimo offered some insight in an article back in January 2013 about temporary price drops in apps, called The Impact Of Price Changes. They are referring to lowering the price of an app and keeping it low for a time. The article posed questions and had all kinds of charts to back up the data: Does a price drop always increase download volumes? What is the effect on revenue? Does the higher download volume compensate for the lower selling price? On the other hand, what happens to download numbers and revenue after a price increase? This site was very informative but did not answer any questions about one-day reductions in prices.
Teachers With Apps previously wrote about the dilemma of how much work is involved in producing an app and the public's preconceived notion that apps are too expensive. We compared the price tag of an app .99 - $1.99, which most people expect apps to cost, to the purchase of a cup of coffee. The average consumer hasn't the foggiest idea of the scope and spectrum or what is involved in the production of developing a quality educational app. Here, Nick Neblosky outlines the elaborate procedure of making an app:
- writing, rewriting, editing, rewriting,
- artwork creation (100-150 separate pieces of art),
- animation and special effect thought process,
- art direction,
- then there’s the coding, a lot of coding. Thousands and thousands of lines of code; many of which is developed specifically for our needs.
- Then there’s testing, testing, and more testing.
- Then we have a week of beta testing where we send out our apps so that real people other than us can look at them.
We recently had a very busy LinkedIn discussion enumerating this very concept.
This list is also missing a key point: marketing! An app could be the best, it could be sweller than swell, it could be downright brilliant - but without proper marketing and total engagement with the social media, an app can literally go unnoticed. Oh my! Am I wrong? Is that it, are App Fridays a form of promotion? Is it a way to get your name out there and get noticed? We ponder this question often, should Teachers With Apps get involved in the App Friday thing? Or should we continue to do what we do best - find the best apps out there (by field testing them with real live children/students) and letting children show us the MAGIC of an app.
The verdict in is - it’s a WIN-WIN! Consumers Celebrate! Developers Promote!