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How Do I Pick A Profitable App Niche?

brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
So I've been teaching myself Objective-C and iOS development for a few months now and I think I'm ready to dive in and make a real app and put it on the app store. But before I decide on an idea, plan it out, decide on my monetization strategy, and get to work, I figured that if I wanted to make any amount of money at all I'd have to pick a profitable app category or niche to start with. To me it would make sense to pick a small niche where there isn't much competition but if there isn't much competition maybe there isn't much money in that niche. So my question is: How do you guys (that make money with your apps) pick a profitable niche to build an app for?

Replies

  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,547New Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited January 2014
    There are only two methods that are common to the app store.

    Build the better mousetrap or copy the better mousetrap.

    Copying seems to be the prevailing trend. At least in games. Whatever is trending in games, gets copied until the app store is choked with the sheer numbers. The trick is to catch the trend early.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @dev666999 Now that you said it I do see that almost all apps are "build the better mousetrap" or copy it. But if you "copy the better mousetrap" without having a competitive edge then you'd have to do it early on before the other apps take hold of that market, am I right?
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,547New Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited January 2014
    The earlier you catch the trend, the more likely your app will stick on the charts. The later ones still make money, but tend to drift down quickly.

    An advertising and marketing budget though will trump all that. But then, it also eats into your profits.

    It's tough game... balancing expenses vs potential revenue.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @dev666999 I see what you mean. So catch the trend early. Unfortunately I don't have an advertising and marketing budget to help, so I'll have to find free or cheap ways to get the word out before I release my app. Thanks for the help!
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,547New Users @ @ @ @ @
    To give you some trends... a few years ago, the trend was virtual food apps. The recent trend is Dental/Doctor apps... in all its perverse permutations. The early ones that got in last summer, made a ton of money on them. Never mind that they are basically horrible apps, but kids love them.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @dev666999 Dental/Doctor apps as in apps for doctors and dentists or doctor and dentist games?
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,547New Users @ @ @ @ @
    Games... Go to Games > Educational or Games > Family... and see them there.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @dev666999 Yeah thanks, I'm looking now and there are a ton of doctor type games. I counted at least 15 of basically the same game in the Top 50.
  • mediaspreemediaspree FloridaPosts: 901Registered Users @ @ @
    I would think about something you are passionate about and Identify a niche within that for which an app does not exist. Not only will you more likely to follow through with creating the best app you possibly can, you never know...it might just be a hit :) Sure its an idealized view but do you really want to be making "Angry Avian Space Pigs Saga" or some other knockoff that is already flooding the app store.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @mediaspree That's a good point...picking something I'm interested in. I guess I would be a whole lot less likely to follow through on an app that's boring in my eyes then one I'm interested in.
  • maurrubiomaurrubio Posts: 41New Users @
    edited January 2014
    Build something unique, to be innovative you need to find something you are passionate about or that you have a lot of knowledge and bring that to the app world. In my opinion "trying to find an idea based on a category" don't work well.

    I have only one app, and it was the first app I built ever and it's really successful, great part of that was because I really loved what I was bringing to the table.

    Now I'm almost releasing my second one and I'm sure it will be a success too. I never went to the app store to look for other apps to copy or to "try to find an idea", it just came to my mind and I was sure that it would work if I did it right.
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,547New Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited January 2014
    "I don't think that "trying to find an idea based on a category" works well."

    You're so wrong. It works very well. It is what the majority of money making successful developers have done. Just cruise the charts and see. If you want to make money, that is the most direct way.

    However, I am familiar with your app, and it is very good. To tell someone that they should follow their dream and expertise is correct. They should. But don't expect it to pay the rent. Just because it worked for you, doesn't mean there are not 100 more like yours that are laying at the bottom of the app store. You had a bit of luck with your app. So Yes, follow your dream, but pay attention to what your landlord says... Do you have the rent money?

    If you can afford it, follow maurrubio's advice... but if you want to monetize as soon as possible, follow the crowd and prevailing trends.

  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @dev666999 @maurrubio Ok if I'm understanding everyone's advice correctly finding an idea that lines up with current trends is really important and if possible I should find the trends related to something I'm passionate about (so I'll stick with it like mediaspree said) and maybe find an innovative way to bring it to the App Store.
  • ShariqShariq Posts: 3New Users Noob
    @dev666999
    dev666999 wrote: »
    To give you some trends... a few years ago, the trend was virtual food apps. The recent trend is Dental/Doctor apps...

    Great spotting!

    You've good observational skills :)

    Have you noticed any upcoming trends?

    Thanks
  • panzeritipanzeriti United StatesPosts: 769Registered Users @ @ @
    Shariq wrote: »
    @dev666999
    dev666999 wrote: »
    To give you some trends... a few years ago, the trend was virtual food apps. The recent trend is Dental/Doctor apps...

    Great spotting!

    You've good observational skills :)

    Have you noticed any upcoming trends?

    Thanks

    Hand warmer ;)
  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 814Registered Users @ @ @
    Market research is very useful as well as writing a framework that you can create similar apps/games off of to reduce time spent building apps.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @Touchmint Making a somewhat reusable framework does makes sense, I never thought about that. And what sources would you recommend for market research?
  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 814Registered Users @ @ @
    I keep an eye on the top 200 apps on the charts and do research and what not on the competition etc. if theres something shooting up there and I have a framework for or wont be too bad to build then ill usually give it a go. I guess ive only done it a few times but its a good strat if you know what you are doing and can build fast quality apps.
  • brod1brod1 VirginiaPosts: 26New Users @
    @Touchmint I've been looking at this website called Top App Charts and have been looking at which types of apps are going up and are obviously not incredibly difficult to make. Then I'm looking at the reviews to see what people like and dislike about these apps to see what I could do better. But I'm still searching
  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 814Registered Users @ @ @
    Yea I forgot to mention checking reviews for likes and dislikes is very important as well.
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