A cheat sheet for App Store pricing

Eddie Smith on App Store prices:

It might sound weird coming from a non-seller of apps, but I like seeing higher prices in the App Store. If the market will support higher prices, that’s a really good sign that the App Store is becoming a quality marketplace, not just a snack machine.

I use both free and paid apps that are probably worth hundreds of dollars to me based on what they do for me. Value is worth paying for, and the more profit potential the App Store offers, the better development we’ll see in it.

iPhone Dollars

I agree. I’ve put myself on an app budget lately, so I’m spending less overall. As a result, I find myself saving up for the $10+ apps rather than trying every ninety-nine cent app out there. A realistic price for excellent apps makes them more valuable to me, increasing both perceived value and my likelihood to continue using an app. They become less discardable.

This could backfire if all of the crappy apps out there start upping their price just to increase their perceived value. It only takes getting burned once on a $15 app to make you think you should just stick with the cheap stuff. The fact that some really valuable apps are made available for less than three dollars only makes this pitfall worse. If only there were a better try-before-you-buy system in place, and prices weren’t set so arbitrarily. I know that setting a price for your own app is a difficult decision. Maybe we need a cheat sheet for developers to determine the sweet spot for their app pricing.

My app:

  • Farts: go to jail, do not pass go. Do not collect 99 cents.
  • Is a less-useful mimic of an existing app: Divide the superior app’s price by 3. Stop here.
  • Provides rudimentary entertainment: Add $.99
  • Provides unique entertainment with a refined experience: Add $2.99
  • Provides an experience that makes full use of iOS features: Add $2.99
  • Provides a valuable portable experience that rivals or beats a similar desktop experience: Add $10.00
  • Is a tool that syncs with a valuable desktop experience: Add $5.00
    • Syncs with a valuable desktop experience and adds utility appropriate to the mobile platform: Add another $10.00
  • Blows the mind of your target demo: Add $20.00

There, your starter pricing cheat sheet. It needs some refinement and a more complete handling of edge cases, but the basic rule of thumb is: “Create good apps with intrinsic value and refined experiences, then value your app appropriately.” Your customers — at least most of us — will truly appreciate it.

Brett Terpstra

Brett is a writer and developer living in Minnesota, USA. You can follow him as ttscoff on Twitter, GitHub, and Mastodon. Keep up with this blog by subscribing in your favorite news reader.

This content is supported by readers like you.

Join the conversation