The iTunes App Store is a highly competitive environment with hundreds of thousands of competing apps for customer purchase dollars. No one has found the “secret sauce” to get an app charting (selling) in the top 200 with repeated success. Some bigger developers are able to realize charting success by shear numbers and quality of their highly developed app, However, for the regular mom and pop developer outfits getting their iPhone app to chart well is a monster challenge. One technique certain websites use like http://www.freeappaday.com/ and http://www.freeappcalendar.com/ are to help developers change their app price to free for a set period of time, then the app price is switched back to paid in hopes to increase paid app sales. A look at the last 14 days of FAAD’s featured free apps reveals only 2 apps that have charted into the top 200 paid overall and both apps rode the coattails of apps by those developers. (see the charts below via www.appshopper.com)
The charts are not very easy to read, but show each app is flat, or out of the top 200 paid overall or paid category (app specific category) while free. Once the app goes back paid, in the case of both these apps they charted well, for a short period of time and then dropped. The reason Backbreaker Football and Stenches did so well when dropped free, then put back to paid is there are additional/newer apps by the developers of these apps that are charting better than these apps. Stenches was the Halloween version of Trenches and Backbreaker Football has a newer second version called Backbreaker 2: Vengeance. A look at the last 30 days of FAAD featured apps show no other apps that have made it in the top 200 paid. There are numerous apps in the top 200 free, but unless you are working an advertising revenue model this is of little consequence. As far as Free App Calendar, of their last 30 days featured free apps not one shows up in the top 200 paid at the time of this blog post.
Cutting your app price to free or reducing your app price has benefit, but only if you are leveraging that price cut with another strategy. Another strategy like a new app rollout, an update to the app, or a giveaway. There are other strategies that may help your app chart (sell) well when cutting the price, but remember one thing. Your apps best chance at charting (selling) is the initial launch, which is why it is so very important to plan a thoughtful strategy around each and every app you launch.