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The life of an app developer isn't nearly as cool and glamorous as popular success stories like Instagram, Angry Birds and Words With Friends make it out to be. According to one survey, in fact, nearly 60% of app entrepreneurs don't even break even on the cost of developing their project.
68% of respondents to a survey by the marketing company App Promo said their most successful app earned $5,000 or less. 63% said their most successful creation couldn't break 50,000 downloads. Just 20% said they made enough money to keep a standalone business afloat. On the other side of the success line, 12% of App Promo respondents created products that earned them $50,000 or more, while 11% reported at least 500,000 downloads.
What separates the fortunate from the failed? According App Promo, the amount of time and money spent on marketing products is one key difference between the two groups. Developers whose apps earned at least $50,000 spent an average of 14% of their total work time on publicity and had average marketing budgets of $30,000. More than half the overall group, meanwhile, earmarked nothing for marketing and used less then 5% of their time on that aspect of the business.
App Promo is in the business of getting clients to pay for app marketing so its motivations aren't hard to surmise, and its study looked at a small sample size of just over 100 respondents. But the results do reflect a often overlooked truth — creating a successful and sustainable app is not nearly as easy as it looks from the outside. Check out the infographic below for the report's full findings and a look at just how hard it can be to make an app successful.
How hard do you think it is to truly make it as an app developer? How important is marketing for an app's success? Let us know in the comments.