Four reasons why your app wont be successful

Many developers produce tons of apps but still don’t earn much money. Others publish one or two apps and earn thousands of dollars every month. Why is that? Why are so many apps unsuccessful? Here are four reasons:

1. Your idea sucks

    That’s obvious. If there is no need for your app, why should it be downloaded.

    2. Your implementation sucks

    That’s a common error and its characteristics vary widely. I did that many times so I know what I’m talking about. Implementation means everything the user notizes (user experience, UX). This includes visual design and technical realization. Or in other words: If your app looks like the Android Market in it’s first iteration, it’s going to be hard.

    The good news is: When your idea doesn’t suck but your implementation does, you can still change that.

    The first release of the Android Market looked terrible

    The first release of the Android Market looked terrible. If your app does too, you should change that.


    3. You are not promoting

    Many developers develop and after that, they develop again. That’s not enough. Someone has to do the marketing and promotion stuff and if there is no one else, you are that someone. Twitter, blog, facebook and talk in forums. There are 1035 blogs found on Technorati when searching for ‘Android’. E-mail all of them. Seriously? Seriously.

    4. You don’t keep trying

    You like your idea, your friends do and maybe even your girlfriend (or boyfriend) does. You are excited and can’t wait to get the first update on the developer console. There it comes: 200 downloads on the first day… not to bad, but it wont bring you the expected millions. The next day will sure be better. 20 downloads. Hm.. Next day: 18. One week later: Total of 300 downloads has been reached, $o,45 has been made. Well, you’ll better focus on an other promising project.

    While some apps are successful from the very beginning, most apps are not. Also Angry Birds was not. Once again: I’m totally serious on writing each of the 1035 blogs. Write 30-40 of them every day and you’ll be done in one month. You invested weeks on building your app, why stop when it’s finally done. I know, programming is fun, but getting great feedback of and contact to your users and future users is too.


    In order to have a really successful app you must

    • Have a good idea
    • Make a beautiful app that runs smooth and free of error
    • Promote and communicate a lot
    • Keep trying and have some discipline


    1. Daniel online

      2011/07/13 at 12:08

      Once again, very interesting!
      I guess that my implementation sucks, but can’t figure out how I should solve this problem.
      I am not good at designing and couldn’t afford a designer.
      Do you have any tips?

      • Hi Daniel,
        then you have to get one for free, for example a friend or a friend of a friend or some nice guy in a forum.
        Or you have to do it on your own by try-and-error. Try something out, when it looks good, try to make the next thing look good too and fitting to the UI concept of the whole app. If you are not sure whether it’s truly good, ask someone else if she/he likes it (women seem to have a better sense for beauty).

    2. Hi I just stumbled on this post.

      Just wondering how much effort do you put into marketing with your apps?

      • Hello Huy,

        it depends on how your definition of marketing. If you mean promotion: I think about a day or two each, but, looking back, that was definitely not enough. For my next app, I will probably invest way more time and way more money. But I’ll let you know in a blogpost then.

        Best regards

    3. What you mean by “email all them”? Send mails saying something like “Hello please promote somehow my app”? They accept this kind of request?


      • Hi Daniel,

        more or less. Most bigger sites provide a feature to give them tips, when this feature is not available it doesn’t cost any more than your time to write an e-mail. A unique and polished app helps a lot of course.

        Best regards

    4. Konstantin & Julia

      2012/06/30 at 21:06

      Hello Johannes!

      I came over your blog recently and I really like it! It is cool to do something you are passion about and make money on it. I just started this “game”, and uploaded on my first app. Your post gives a good advice what to do when you just started and this information is very important for “us” beginners!
      Now when I have launched my first app I have plenty of questions and I am happy to find answers on your blog. Still I have many questions and I keep digging around it.
      I wish to get one answer from you about – what NORMAL percent of downloads stay active users? For example, my app has been downloaded 7500 times and there are 3330 active users, so my approximate percent is 45%.

      • Hi Konstantin & Julia,

        usually the percentage of active installs declines with the time. For a relatively new app, 45% is an average value. The AL Voice Recorder, which has been published for two years now, has about 18% active users which is not too good but still acceptable.

        Best regards

    5. Konstantin & Julia

      2012/07/04 at 08:27

      Hello Johannes,

      Thanks for your reply, we appreciate it!

    6. Hi Johannes,

      Firstly,Believe me dude you write some awesome content and surely thats helpfull….U Rock …..!!!!.

      Coming to my question i along with my associate have started developing. We have published an app which is more of a tutorial in Mysql named MySQL Guru( and really has some good stuff for beginners and advanced users with examples. We had given a soothing UI and done best of some development but coiming to marketting i need some guidance. I have followed the following steps:

      1. Made people write best reviews about the app…(15-20)

      2.Targetted my audience (students) and circulated to many of them.

      3.Have gone to numerous mysql blogs which are relevant of course and emphasized on its pros.

      4.Posted links on various FB pages of computer science students.

      Its been 4 days and there has been 50 downloads so my concern is that should i promote it some other way or i shall repeat the above mentioned steps again.

      Thanks in advance

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