Buying and selling mobile app businesses is a relatively new concept compared to buying and selling other digital assets, such as websites and domain names. Since 2014, U.S. mobile users are consuming more of their digital media on their phones. Mobile apps eat up more of our time than desktop usage or mobile web surfing, accounting for 52% of the time spent; however, mobile ad spend still lags behind mobile media consumption. There is a tremendous growth opportunity for the mobile app industry, which in turn indicates a great opportunity for mobile app investors and entrepreneurs.
If you are a website investor, you are already familiar with different aspects of a web business. Most of your knowledge about web businesses can be easily translated into app businesses.
Website Traffic vs. Mobile App Usage
For most types of web businesses, traffic is always the most important aspect to look at when measuring the performance of a website. The quantity and quality of traffic can directly impact the bottom line of a web business.
Most websites have Google Analytics installed so that traffic can be easily monitored. Data such as Page Views, Sessions and Unique Visits can give you a pretty good idea of how well the website business is performing. Similarly, any apps listed in Apple’s App Store will receive usage tracking data from Apple. You can always verify an iOS app’s data by asking for the access to App Store Analytics from the app seller. There are also many other great app analytics tools out there such as Flurry, App Annie, Sensor Tower that provide more in-depth app usage insights. Most analytics platforms allow their users to share analytics data with others. Using Apple’s App Store analytics as an example, types of data sets such as Downloads, User Sessions and Active Devices give you pretty intuitive numbers that can measure the “traffic” an app gets. Average Session Durations and Retention Rate are also very good indicators of the app user’s engagement. Retention Rate tells you how many people are still using this app after a particular amount of time. We usually look at Day 1, Day 7 and Day 30 retention rates. In regards to Android apps, research shows an average 30-day retention rate of 9.55%.
SEO vs. ASO (App Store Optimization)
Most apps get downloads through organic searching of the app store, social media, press release and paid ads. According to Forrester Research, 63% of apps are discovered via app store search. That’s why App Store Optimization (ASO) for apps is as important as SEO for websites.
Different from SEO, ASO is not all about keyword rankings. Once someone finds your app through a keyword search, you also need to make it visually appealing, so they download it. This means having compelling screenshots, a beautiful app icon and other elements that will help convince a person to choose your app over your competitors.
There are some good free ASO tools out there that could help you understand an app’s keyword rankings. App Annie gives you top keywords an app is ranked for in the U.S. store. Sensor Tower’s keyword research tools give you much more in-depth information on an app’s suggested keywords, each keyword’s search volume and difficulties to rank for those keywords.
Mobile Action gives you many more recommended actions on how to improve an app’s visibility in the app store, and it helps you track that app’s visibility score over time. Many apps with good usage data but low downloads have a lot of room for growth with proper ASO effort.
Example of SensorTower’s Keyword Suggestions
Example of Mobile Action’s ASO Recommended Actions
Website Business Models vs. App Business Models
Most websites are monetized with one the following business models: Content/Advertising, Ecommerce, SaaS (software-as-a-service), Digital Product/Service.
Most indie developers’ apps are monetized with advertising, in-app purchase/subscriptions and app download sales. That revenue could easily be verified through App Store/Google Play Store Sales Reports and ad network income reports.
Google AdMob, Apple iAd and RevMob are some of the most popular mobile ad networks. Doing proper ad placement optimization can help increase mobile apps’ ad revenue. In-app purchases allow customers to download the apps for free and pay only for optional premium functions. More and more indie developers start to offer their apps for free for user acquisition purpose and monetize with in-app purchases.
In terms of costs and time required for running a website business, content websites usually require generating new content and doing SEO on a regular basis. Ecommerce sites deal with customer support and sometimes inventory and order fulfilment.
A mobile app business is similar to a SaaS web business. Once the app is up and running in the app store, there isn’t much work you need to do to maintain the app itself. However, sometimes you might want to update your app to fix bugs, to add new features and to adapt to new iOS versions. You can always outsource this work to freelancers for a low rate.
Buying and selling apps is a very new business. Apple just allowed developers to sell their apps in 2013. In general, the mobile app industry has a growing revenue trend compared to websites. The good news is, as a website investor, you can already apply some of your existing knowledge about websites to apps.
Given the emerging resources available, it is more than achievable for one to learn to identify apps with growth potential and to effectively increase their revenue. ASO, mobile ad placement optimization, developing new in-app purchase features, and user acquisition through your existing website resources are all good ways to run and nurture your app business.
As with any investment, there are risks – but there are certainly more rewards to be had with being an app investor.
If you have questions about buying and selling mobile apps or you have insights about growing app businesses that you want to share with me, please drop an email at [email protected].
Here at Flippa we’re constantly chatting with you, our customers, and one question that has been coming up recently is, what info should I include on my App listing?
Apps are an emerging market and there’s a lot of potential for buyers if they know what to look for.
While there’s no doubt that the more details you include the better, there’s one thing above all that our buyers want to see and that’s verified performance and revenue data.
There are a number of tools out there which will help you track your Apps performance, to get started here are a few of the more commonly used and a bit about them;
- Flurry, free at any scale and widely used internationally
- App Annie, free and subscription model with a wide range of analytic options available
- Google Analytics for Mobile, free and includes Google Play Integration which will show you what brought users to your Android app
- iOS App Analytics, free and requires zero technical integration on iOS apps. New features include daily app crash data
Once you have your performance analytics in place, the information that will be of most interest to buyers include;
- Usage and downloads; monthly download data and app ranking
- Revenue; including app sales and in-app purchases where applicable
- Retention; how often users are coming back to your app
- Locality of users; most tools will be able to break out data use by country so buyers can see where your app is most popular
- App health if available i.e daily crashes
By including this data it shows buyer’s exactly what kind of opportunity they’re purchasing and saves time for both buyer and seller by including it upfront.
We’ll be working on getting verified app analytics included in the sell process, but to get this information in front of potential buyers right now there are two options we recommend;
- Do a video walkthrough for your prospective buyers and either upload as an attachment or show them the details in real time. We’ve got more information on how to do this in our support page here
- Include PDFs/screenshots or other documentation from your analytics tool and upload these as attachments to the listing. You can attach screenshots once your listing has launched from within the listing detail page
If you are sitting on an app and thinking of selling you’re in the right place, Flippa has more apps for sale and interested buyers than anywhere else, and even better they’re free to list!
If you are thinking about purchasing an App, ask the seller to take you for a video walkthrough or upload documentation from their analytics tool so you have the numbers to purchase with confidence.
Another tip; whether you are buying or selling we recommend jumping on a quick skype call with any interested parties, it’s important to find someone you’re happy to work with during the course of the sale and after!
Entrepreneurs make up one segment of the population that has benefitted greatly from the mobile app revolution. Specifically, apps provide a multitude of tools entrepreneurs can use to be more efficient and productive. Furthermore, apps can also help entrepreneurs make money. Because we pride ourselves here at Flippa as being a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, we thought it would only be fitting to put together this list detailing the top 10 best apps for entrepreneurs in 2015!
Top 10 List: The Best Apps for Entrepreneurs in 2015
Okay, we’re obviously a little bit biased here, but as The Entrepreneurs Marketplace we think Flippa deserves a spot on the list of best apps for entrepreneurs! Interested in buying and selling web businesses, domain names, and smartphone apps? Download the Flippa marketplace app and get access to thousands of auction listings at the touch of a finger. The app uses a simple scroll feature and allows you to view details, watch a listing, and bid right from your phone. Join a community of over 600,000 entrepreneurs on Flippa and start making money online today!
Download the Flippa App for iOS Devices
Download the Flippa App for Android Devices
Say goodbye to payment processing. Venmo is a completely free money-transfer app that allows users to send payments from one person to another. It links to your phone’s contacts and Facebook network, making it easy to search and send money to coworkers, employees, clients, partners, family and friends. Venmo has no limit on the amount you can transfer and unlike PayPal, has no transfer fees or long forms to fill out.
Download the Venmo App for iOS Devices
Download the Venmo App for Android Devices
It’s no secret that Entrepreneurs know how to manage their money and track their finances, but Mint makes the task so much easier. Mint is a free app, designed to allow users to report expenses, create budgets, and implement a savings plan, all from your phone.
Download the Mint.com App for iOS Devices
Download the Mint.com App for Android Devices
True entrepreneurs are always on the hunt for new ideas, reading anything and everything they can get their hands on. Pocket is a great bookmarking app that can save a variety of content—-from lengthy articles to work-related documents. Pocket can even the latest viral cat video if you so choose. Anything saved can be accessed offline, across all your electronic devices.
Download the Pocket App for iOS Devices
Download the Pocket App for Android Devices
Productivity is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. WinStreak is a great, free productivity app that makes you create three “wins” you want to achieve everyday and three more wins for the next day. A win, of course, is just a goal that you want to accomplish. It makes goal setting extremely easy and keeps your goals within reach.
Download the WinStreak App for iOS Devices
Download the WinStreak App for Android Devices
6. Google Drive
Google Drive is a great file sharing/hosting app. It allows you to save all your important files in one place and is easily accessible through any electronic device. You never have to worry about losing your files as it is cloud-based and saves documents as you go, when working from within the app. Entrepreneurs can easily share files to co-workers, employees, partners, or clients.
Download the Google Drive App for iOS Devices
Download the Google Drive App for Android Devices
No entrepreneur has the time to print, sign, scan, and re-send documents on a daily basis. The SignEasy app removes that daunting task altogether by allowing you to sign and resend documents right from your phone making it a lock for the top ten list of best apps for entrepreneurs. All you have to do is open the document within the app, click “sign,” and you’re able to sign with you finger. SignEasy helps get the documents that need signing back to where it needs to go, in a much more efficient and timely manner.
Download the free SignEasy App for iOS Devices
Download the free SignEasy App for Android Devices
Prismatic is a real gem for entrepreneurs who are active readers. This app creates a custom feed based off your interests. Sounds normal, right? Think again. Prismatic crawls everything you link it to, including your social networks. The app analyzes your posts, your network’s interests, your bookmarks, and then aggregates all the data into one specifically designed interest culminating in the presentation of all of the content you may be interested in, in one central place – at your fingertips.
Download the free Prismatic App for iOS Devices
Download the free Prismatic App for Android Devices
Fleksy is great for entrepreneurs who are so busy, that they can’t even spare the time to look at their phone while texting. Literally. Fleksy is a keyboard extension that allows users to customize their phone keyboard, including text size and color. It uses gesture-based movements with word suggestions and keyboard shortcuts to allow users to type and swipe without ever having to look down at their phone. They even have a scoring system that tells you how well you can text without looking.
Download the Fleksy App for iOS Devices
Download the Fleksy App for Android Devices
10. Pocket Analytics
Pocket Analytics consolidates all your website(s) analytical data into one easy to view and read app. This is ideal for on-the-go web entrepreneurs because it allows you to quickly access your sales and traffic data from third party analytics, right from your phone. It is fully customizable, allowing you to select easy-to-read graphs and view the information you want through a drag and drop feature.
Download the Pocket Analytics App for iOS Devices
The Pocket Analytics App is not available for Android Devices
So there you have it, the top ten best apps for entrepreneurs in 2015! Did your favorite apps make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
At the heart of every business transaction are people. If you want to derive the most value from your Flippa auctions, keep that in mind. People—more than technology, or platform, or strategy—power auctions.
The following is a guest post by Austin L. Church, of Bright Newt Apps and seller of Complete Apps Business (21 Apps)!
I’m now using Flippa myself to sell my entire app business, and I’d like to share an insight gained from two recent Flippa experiments. I listed one game called Copycat Echo with a starting price of $1 and hidden Reserve price of $383. That was my breakeven price because I had paid $349 for a premium listing with extra promotion. I also listed Ugly Selfie Booth, a photo booth app, at $1, but the second auction had no Reserve Price.
Both auctions had a successful conclusion with prompt payment from reasonable, honest buyers. Here are the exact numbers:
- Copycat Echo – $1650 // 9 bidders // 18 comments // 63 watchers // 1,880 views // 11 discussions
- Ugly Selfie Booth – $3050 // 15 bidders // 12 comments // 85 watchers // 3,456 views // 8 discussions
Ugly Selfie Booth brought in $1400 more than Copycat Echo. Why is that? Is there more demand for photo apps than games? Recent revenues for both apps weren’t all that impressive, but both are well-designed. This isn’t a true, apples-to-apples comparison, but I can tease out one important insight valuable to other Flippa sellers.
Setting a Reserve Price can hurt your auction.
I’ve done over 100 eBay auctions over the past decade, and with auctions powerful emotional drivers comes into play. Anyone who bids on a No Reserve auction knows that he or she can in fact win the auction and get the stuff. In the opposite Reserve Price scenario, a person can place the highest and still not win the stuff.
By protecting yourself with a Reserve Price, you actually transfer the risk to the bidders. Bidders can put time into an auction, and walk away with nothing. They can beat their competitors and still not win the game. Where’s the fun in that?
On the other hand, by opting out of a Reserve Price and by taking on the risk myself, I can minimize risk, and convert more visitors into watchers, and more watchers into bidders.
Bids; not Reserve Prices, drive up final auction value. Bids allow the market to determine the price, and my experience with over 100 eBay auctions has taught me that the market usually sets a higher price than the seller. Why? Because people get emotionally attached to auctions. After placing the highest bid on an auction, buyers begin to feel like the auctions is now “theirs.” They form an emotional attachment.
When an interloper subsequently outbids the former highest bidder, his or her competitive instinct (and a tinge of anxiety) set in: “I now have to get back what is rightfully mine.” More bids push the price higher and higher.
That’s why I made the choices I did with this Flippa auction. Auctions with no Reserve Price and a low starting bid tap into all those emotional drivers: competition, fear of missing out, protecting one’s property. Without a Reserve Price as a barrier to entry, an auction can attract more page views, convert more viewers into watchers, and gain a much larger pool of potential bidders.
Sure, auctions have inherent risk. Someone *could* win your stuff for a rock-bottom price. But no matter what you decide, remember this: People power auctions.
We launched the Flippa iOS apps marketplace in 2013, and since then over $700k in app sales have taken place on our platform. This is about to expand even further because:
Now it’s possible to sell Android apps on Flippa too!
Wondering how to get started? Simply follow the steps below.
1. Start an App auction
It’s super easy – and free – to create an Android app listing for sale. Simply go to flippa.com/sell and follow the step-by-step instructions. If you need a bit of help, get in touch with our helpful support team.
2. Sell your iOS/Android app package
When you create an iOS or an Android app listing, you can now identify whether you are selling both together, as a bundle.
Want to buy your first Android app?
Great! We have heaps of Android apps already. To start shopping, simply check out our Apps marketplace now and filter by the type of App you’re looking for. There’s already some amazing opportunities.
While we’re talking about Android Apps, we’ve just released the Flippa Android App. Download it now here.
Flippa 101 is a series of articles on how to get the most out of Flippa. Check out the previous article on pre-sale preparation.
Conducting an auction properly gives you the opportunity to improve the final auction price and set up a smooth transition of the business to the buyer.
Buyers are more likely to bid and bid higher if they trust the seller.
- Be honest and transparent. Provide clear, factual answers to questions.
- Monitor messages and comments closely so that you can answer as quickly as possible. If you provide fast responses during the auction buyers will trust you to be timely and helpful after the auction.
- Be completely professional. Always respond graciously even when questions are repeated, uninformed or rude.
- Responding to private messages is an opportunity to build relationship with potential buyers. This personal messaging can increase a buyer’s desire to do business with you.
- Keep all communication on Flippa. While users may ask to talk on email or services like Skype, this means Flippa’s support team won’t be able to monitor communication or check back if something happens during the auction or the transfer of ownership.
The first time a person makes a bid, you will have an opportunity to approve the bidder. It is a good idea to look at the profile of each bidder before you accept or reject them. Their profile reveals their history on Flippa.
Note, you will not be able to see the amount of a new bidder’s bid until you’ve accepted them. After you accept them, they can make future bids on the auction without any action on your part.
You may send a private message to anyone who has bid on your auction. It is good practice to send an initial message thanking them for the bid and offering to answer any specific questions they may have.
Keeping Buyers Engaged
Sellers that stay active during the auction attract more bidders and come away with a higher price.
Tips for engaging in the auction:
- Add attachments showing updated sales and traffic information.
- Comment on the auction providing additional information or clarification.
- Via private message, ask the more serious buyers what they are concerned about and what they like about the website you are selling. Respond to their concerns and address the potential objections in public comments if appropriate.
- Purchase a promotion like a homepage listing or twitter blast to attract more bidders.
- Contact bidders who have not been actively communicating.
You or the buyer may want to use a sales contract to make sure all of the conditions of the transaction are clearly communicated and enforceable. Flippa provides a sample contract of sale or you may use your own. If you use Flippa’s document, make sure and read it first, and add any specific items that are included in your website. This may be inventory, post-sale assistance, documentation, or anything else you have agreed to provide to the buyer or the buyer has agreed to provide to you.
Content supplied by Jeff Hunt.