App Bundles of Joy

Tue, Sep. 30 2014

If you’ve been to the App Store lately, you may have noticed some new bells and whistles (iOS 8 app preview videos!) and some search enhancements that should contribute to improved app discovery. Perhaps the biggest visible change for developers is the introduction of an entirely new product category - the app bundle. App bundles allow us to construct app collections to sell at a discount. We just have to name the bundle, drag and drop apps to appear in the bundle, and write a description - the rest (screenshots, keywords, etc) is automated. We were one of a handful of lucky developers to get picked for an App Store bundle feature. Our Family Math Pack includes 6 of our apps and it appears in two splashy features, “Introducing App Bundles” and “Kids App Bundles,” in the U.S.

Obviously, app bundles have the potential to significantly increase revenue. Thanks to bundles, some of our developer friends have reported doubling sales overnight. That has not been the case for us. When bundles appeared in the App Store nearly two weeks ago, our featured Family Math Pack was priced at $12.99. But after analyzing the first week of lukewarm sales and taking a look at what others were charging for similar bundles, we adjusted our price down to $10.99 (nearly 40% savings). We also went back and revised our bundle descriptions to include terms like “award-winning” and “discounted.” In hindsight, I think it’s most likely that our customers need more space - as in, iPad hard drive space. The 6 apps in our Family Math Pack require over 1GB to install and if you don’t have the space, you don’t get the apps. It’s also possible that our kitchen sink app collection for a range of ages (3-12) is not specific enough to trigger the “got to have it” impulse.

This isn’t to say bundles have disappointed. We are selling enough bundles to equal sales of an average single app. The very existence of bundles raises the likelihood that your apps will be seen. Even if a customer doesn’t purchase your bundle they may discover an app they wouldn’t have seen otherwise and that could lead to a sale (I have a hunch that this is happening with our apps) - and that’s the point, isn’t it? And if they really like that single purchase, they can always come back later to “complete” the bundle, at a discount.