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Is My App Idea Profitable?

by Michael Dowell

If you’re like me, you might hear this every day:
“I’ve got a great idea for an app!”

It seems like everybody has an idea for a new app. But is your app idea going to make you rich? Can you be the next app store millionaire?

Or, will your new app idea lead to failure — leaving you miserable?


What if you could quickly determine if your app idea would be profitable — before you even started?

Since 2012, I’ve published over 100 apps with 2 million downloads. Along the way, I've met a lot of app developers who failed miserably with their app and it was painful to hear their stories.

At a recent networking event, somebody told me his own personal sad story:

"I spent two years and $80,000 to develop an encyclopedia app about the butterflies of California. I really don't know why, but it bombed."


You could see the sadness in his face as he told the story. He launched the app expecting a big win! He probably hoped it would make his family rich. But he simply couldn't understand - why oh why didn't his amazing butterfly app achieve millions of downloads?

Sadly, this story is very common.

I wish I had been able to help. If I could time travel back to when he first started planning the butterfly app, before he had invested $80,000. Ugh! I could have helped him to avoid the pain of losing so much time and money!

Sadly, there's no way to accurately predict whether an app will succeed. Or is there?

I have created an easy system to help app developers avoid this pain. Using my simple 3-step system, you can quickly & easily filter 99% of all unprofitable ideas. And you can identify valuable, profitable app ideas which have a high chance for success!

All you need is an iOS device -- like an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch -- and an internet connection.

Note: What I’m about to say might be counter-intuitive and surprising!


1) Grab your iPhone. Touch the App Store icon. In the search field, type in some words which describe your app idea.

For example, if you have an idea for a new type of private journal app, then type something like: “Private Journal”.

Note: You might have to try several different search terms. If you don't succeed on the first two tries, then keep trying different words to describe your app. Try at least 4-5 different word combinations and hopefully you’ll find something like the app you want to make.

If your search results show other apps which are similar to your idea — you might be onto something!

At this point you might be thinking — wait a minute. If there are other apps out there which are similar to my idea, isn’t that a bad thing? Shouldn’t my idea be completely original?


The answer is: not necessarily.

Here’s why. The app store has been around since 2008. In that time, thousands of profitable apps have been created.

I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but if there’s nothing out there which is similar to your idea, chances are good that the idea is not very profitable.

At this writing, I couldn't locate any hit Butterfly encyclopedia apps on the app store. If my buddy had simply used this information he could have avoided a costly mistake!

On the other hand…

If somebody else has found success with an app idea similar to yours, then you’ve hit gold! This means that your app idea is a proven money-maker!


So how can you tell if your competitor was successful? Read on to step 2…

2) Next we need to find out if your competitor’s app is successful. If the idea can make money, then you’re on the right track!

Here’s the quickest way to check if your competition is successful:
Look at the number of user reviews.


A successful app might have 15-20 reviews. In this case 675 (see image above). Or even 2,000+ reviews!

However, if the app has zero reviews — or maybe just 1 or 2 user reviews — that shows the app is not really engaging the core audience and therefore it might not be a profitable app idea.

The next step is to check the downloads and rank history. Read on to step 3…

3) After you check the user reviews on the app store, the next step is to go to a website called “App Annie” and check the downloads and rank history.


Visit appannie.com and enter the name of the app you found in the app store into the search field. Click the name and App Annie will show you important data to determine whether that app can make money.

Click on "Rank History".

Rank History will show you if the app is currently ranking on the app store in the top charts. It will also show you past history if you change the Date Range.


If Rank History shows the app has been consistently among the top 1000 for the past six months, (like the journal app above) then you’re looking at a winner.

In other words, if your competitor’s app has enjoyed a steady stream of downloads and consistent rankings over time, that’s your golden ticket! Your idea has been well-received in the marketplace.

Now it's time to move forward at speed, because your app could be the next big thing!


Here’s how to find out if your app idea is going to make money:
1) search the app store to see if there are any apps similar to your idea. If yes, that’s good!
2) Check the number of reviews to see if your competition’s app is connecting with users.
3) Visit appannie.com to look at your competitor's downloads and rank history.

Again, if your competitor’s app is successful, that is a good thing! This is proof of concept that your app idea is profitable. In other words, if the app idea you’re looking into has been making money for somebody else, then you can feel confident to create your own app.


Next step:

Okay, now that I know my idea is profitable... How can I make a unique custom app from scratch?

You might be in luck, because I am busy creating a free webinar on how to make an app from scratch.

For more info, enter your email address in the box below. Let's get this party started!


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