Strategic Guidelines 2015 to Create a Mega-Hit App with Monthly Sales of $10 Million in Japan

The App Store and Google Play Japan markets have continued to grow in 2015, and games make up around 90% of the apps ranked on the Top Grossing charts.      

The trend of games as platforms is continuing. App development and user acquisition costs are increasing along with the expansion of the app market, raising the bar for the return needed by developers to produce satisfactory ROI. The level of sales for apps at the very top of the Top Grossing charts have continued to increase as a rapid pace.

Upon looking at the trends of the App Store and Google Play, we can see some differences in the apps trending in both markets. For example, we can see that World Cup Collection S (Konami) is stronger on Google Play than it is on the App Store.

On the other hand, some apps like Schoolgirl Strikers are stronger on the App Store.

We conducted an analysis on apps such as these that have become mega-hits in Japan, and broken down patterns of how they came about increasing sales as well as they have.


Correlation between sales and DAU

There is a clear correspondence between Top Grossing ranking and DAU.
Almost all of the best grossing apps advertise on television, but in order to maintain this high level of DAU it requires a balance of user acquisition, increasing user retention and reengaging inactive users.

For example Puzzle & Dragons (GungHo) holds in-app events in conjunction with their TV commercial campaigns, not only for new user acquisition, but also to draw back inactive users that have strayed away from the app.

If you look at the fluctuation of DAU amongst top ranking apps on the Top Grossing chart, there is a steady rate of increase. 





Our data reveals that TV commercials are particularly effective with increasing DAU for titles of certain genres over others.

For the purpose of this analysis we divided all titles into four categories: Apps on the immensely popular LINE Platform, well established IP titles, Global hits like Clash of Clans, and original game titles. 

A look at DAU fluctuations for "original" titles reveals a very strong relationship between TV commercials and increase in DAU. "IP titles" are apt to increase DAU quickly but plateau off at a given level, whcih is where we calculate as the popularity limit for a given IP. So given the type of app title you are dealing with, you will need to adjust your TV ad campaign accordingly.


Shifts in the market and smartphone users

The market is continuing its rapid shift from the web to apps. A total of 86% of a user's time on their smartphones is taken up by app usage, eating away even further to browser use share. 

Despite the increase of app usage, there is a long tail trend towards a large majority of app usage being taken up by a very select few apps. Apps that users identify as an app they are "very familiar with" make up less than 0.0008% of all apps. 

There is also a shift in the makeup of game users, as a growing percentage of gamers only play games on their smartphones. For a new generation of players devoid of console dependency, games = smartphones. 


What you need to succeed in the app business

Due to the growth of the smartphone game market and the volume of users playing them, there is a great deal of in-app and out-of-app data being generated for big data analysis. This data is particularly valuable for companies with top grossing apps and companies with multiple ranked titles.

In the hands of a talented producer, data analysis revealing what is going on with your an-app contents and who is performing what actions can provide the strategic advantage needed to provide an advantage in an increasingly competitive app market.


Full report

You can download this free report in its entirety on SlideShare.

Through metaps Analytics, Metaps provide actionable app, data, TV commercial, and online data analysis solutions to empower app developers to optimize their total app marketing. Please contact us for a free consultation if interested.
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