updated 07:25 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Wide gaps exist in mobile app placement, price
Distimo has taken a fresh look at mobile app promos that has shown a sharp contrast in their effects on Android and iOS apps. Being featured in the official store has the most impact on Android, the research found. An Android developer typically jumps 42 spots in the popular rankings in the first three days after it's highlighted in Android Market, where iOS App Store titles jump a relatively small 27 spots on the iPad and just 15 on the iPhone.
The lingering effect of popularity is even higher. Although iPhone and iPad apps still have ranks 75 percent and 145 percent higher after they've left the highlight space, an Android app gets a major 828 percent increase, or enough to keep it one of the most popular apps even if it was near the back before.
Sales favored iOS devices, however. Revenue for an iPhone app went up a typical 41 percent the first day of a discount, and 22 percent over the whole sale. iPad apps were close at 51 percent on day one and 19 percent total. Android, meanwhile, had just a seven-point lift from a common sale's first day and 29 percent over the whole promo.
Some of the discrepancies could be explained by mistakes in pricing discounts. Between 30 to 50 percent of apps ultimately lost potential revenue from a sale, but many of these either weren't cut steeply enough or didn't reach a sweet spot. An $8 app cut by a dollar, for example, wouldn't see many more downloads. The biggest jumps came either from apps that were half off or dropped to $2 or less during the sales period.
Other differences may have stemmed from the discoverability of apps and users' expectations. Even with redesigns, Android Market has been criticized for making it difficult to find apps that aren't already being featured. Any app that gets featured would see a greater leap than on iOS, where the app is more likely to be found through a normal look.
iOS' sale spikes may be fueled more by app habits. App developers make more money on iOS on average and have a higher proportion of customers who are willing to pay. Accordingly, any sale sees a more receptive audience than on Android, where free apps are more common.