Weekly Round Up: 09/28/2014: Freemium and IAPs, Data on User Retention, Rising Marketing Costs

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This is a hand-curated newsletter with the week’s best reading on the mobile app ecosystem — everything on designing, building, distributing and monetizing mobile apps. Please help us spread the word by sharing this newsletter with your friends!


#app

1. App Of The Week: Manual. iOS only, but check it out nevertheless — this is the app everyone is taking about this week. Your iPhone has one of the best cameras out there, but it still functions like an automatic: poorly. Manual gives you full control over the camera and lets you shoot DSLR quality photos from your iPhone.

#design

2. Mobile UI and Game Design: Screens vs. Flows. An excellent explanation of the difference between screens and flows when it comes to UI design, and how you can use a simple tool like Google Drawing for a better flow-based design process than used by even the larger game studios today.

#growth #monetization

3. Whatsapp Used This Pricing Strategy to Win and You Can Too. Why freemium is such a great strategy, especially with mobile apps, and a behind-the-scenes look at how Whatsapp engineered their freemium strategy for success. Great learnings in there.

4. In-app purchases proving lucrative for Spotify and Pandora. In-app purchases, even with the 30% fee to Apple, is clearly a winning strategy. The rise of Spotify and Pandora up the ranks, over the past few months is a clear indication.

5. Beyond the microtransaction: how players spend. If your game has In-App Purchases, don’t be afraid to create larger IAP bundles at higher price points. This article has data to prove that higher price points increases total revenue. There are also some very interesting country-specific trends in there.

#ecosystem

6. Why are mobile marketing costs rising? VC-funded mobile game companies have been blamed for driving up mobile user acquisition costs, but that is not what trends show. This article goes both broad and deep into the app economy to explain why average CPIs have jumped across the board.

7. Apple Shows Love for HTML5 with iOS 8. With WkWebView in iOS8, the html engine that apps can use suddenly got a huge boost, and if you have an HTML5 app, or an HTML5 component in your app, it is going to make a huge difference. Check out the HTML5 features that apps can now use, and performance benchmarks in this article.

#data

8. Mobile retention benchmarks for 2014 vs 2013 show a 50% drop in D1 retention. There is very little data out there on mobile apps, and this is likely the first systematic study of D1/D7/D30 retention in mobile apps. Overall, retention has become harder and harder in the past year. Find data and a few tips on what is actually going on underneath the surface in this post.

9. Developer Economics Q3 2014: State of the Developer Nation (direct pdf link). DeveloperEconomics has some interesting data based on a survey of app developers, the platforms and technologies of choice, and where the next revenue-generating apps lie (hint: enterprise apps). Check it out!