Following up on last week's editorial, I decided it may be interesting to take a look at the other side of the story – that is, what effect has Google's 10 Billion App promotion had on the developers who were invited to participate?

To begin with, I think it would be wise to take a look at just how developers were invited, and how Google ran the promotion overall. We've heard from a handful of developers about this, so we've got a pretty clear picture of how things went.

Google began approaching developers in October, offering few details about the promotion, other than the fact that each developer's chosen app would sell for $0.10 on a predetermined day during the promotion. Revenue for developers would be about $0.07 per download, which sounds low until one considers the impact of skyrocketing publicity and download numbers sure to result from the sale.

It's important to note here that while the proposition sounds too good to pass up, there is still a risk involved with participation. While the offer was certainly alluring, and offered a guaranteed boost in sales during the promotion period, there was a risk that post-sale downloads would fall below pre-sale numbers. That being said, the publicity offered by Google's celebration is certainly worth a momentary lapse in sales immediately following the promotional period.

Alec Shobin, Marketing & PR Manager for the development team behind the popular game Fieldrunners, shared the team's experience with the promotion with us, explaining just how well sales went:

I can't really share numbers, but suffice it to say, it went better than expected.  With a game that normally sells for $2.99 marked down to ten cents, our game's downloads needed to be 30 times what they normally are to justify the discount on our end.  Our downloads during the sale were about 70x our normal, full-priced download rate.  Simply astonishing.

The jump was so drastic, in fact, that the app's sales chart rounded all previous sales to near zero compared to the huge spike Fieldrunners saw during the promotion:


If you think that's wild, let's take a look at the overall downloads chart for Paper Camera (which we covered at its release):

PaperCameraInstalls (2)

As you can see, overall downloads jumped from below 200k to just under 600k as the app was featured in Google's promotion twice in one week. One of the developers behind Paper Camera also informed us that sales rates jumped nearly one thousand-fold - a stunning increase, especially compared to Fieldrunners' already immense success. Further, with revenue for each download pegged at about $0.07, one day of the promotion earned Paper Camera about $14,000 – 10 times the normal daily income.

The next logical point of discussion centers around lasting effects the promotion has had on app sales. While numbers weren't immediately available for Paper Camera, our contact with Fieldrunners indicated that sales are still at about twice the normal rate experienced pre-promotion, due at least in part to publicity and sustained ranking in the Market.

It is unclear what the long term ramifications of this promotion will be, but my guess is that numbers promoted apps will enjoy their new rankings for a while yet, and numbers will take a long while to even out again. The mark left by promoted apps' enhanced rankings will not only set the bar higher for incoming apps hoping to make the top ranking lists, but also make it easier for apps skyrocketed by the promotion to stay there.

At any rate, apps involved in Google's promotion have no doubt experienced greatly enhanced sales, and continue to enjoy boosted numbers. There is no way of knowing when or if numbers will return to their previous state, but it is likely that increased sales and publicity will encourage the continued enhancement of promoted apps, keeping them in the top rankings for a while to come.

Despite the (arguably avoidable) flaws in Google's 10 Billion App promotion that may have hurt those developers who were not invited to participate, I think that events like these have a net positive effect on the Android community, benefiting selected developers by promoting their apps with Google's mighty marketing power, and providing users with high-quality apps at greatly reduced rates.

In an ideal world, we would continue to see promotions similar to this in the Android Market, with some of the less savory kinks worked out, and perhaps even more developers invited to participate.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com andy

    It would appear that app demand is fairly elastic. Somewhere a supply & demand economist is creaming his pants :-)

    • Jon Garrett

      +1 for the Devs

  • inspiron41

    i actually was motivated to say to buy some apps, which i did gladly!

    • Jon Garrett

      I always buy. I just purchased a $5 game (GTA III) and a $7 game (Dead Space) along side all those ten cent goodies.

      Im excited about supporting Android since switching from iOS.

  • Maj

    People tend to forget that this has also encouraged many people to create a google checkout/wallet account and to purchase apps. This means that number of people who are capable of purchasing games have increased.
    Smart move, google

    • itai

      I didn't even think about but your right I am on of them
      I think lots of people crated wallet account
      which will help google against paypal
      very smart move!
      now did thought on it or not?

    • misterc

      And this is exactly why Google is where it is today. Calling them Marketing geniuses is probably and understatement.

    • Rob

      I'm one of them, I'd been wanting to buy apps for a while but couldn't be bothered to set up my debit card on the Marketplace, but I'd be an idiot to miss 10p apps!

  • http://stuffandtech.blogspot.com/ Martin Syvertsen

    First of all I think any promotion will be unfair to some because if you promote everyone then you aren't really promoting anyone either. But that is not the point of this post.

    The best thing about this promotion and the thing that I think we are seing is that with the 10 cents worldwide promotion a lot of users saw great apps at great prices and did something that they had yet to do, add their credit card to Android Market. You se that price and you press buy and then you realize that you haven't yet entered a credit card, but now you have a real and time pressing reason to do so and so you do it.

    The next day you check on the next promotion apps and perhaps even look at other apps that cost money and now that credit card is still there, ready to be used.

    So this promotion will not only benefit the pr. app sales of the specific on sale apps, but also any app that requires a purchase, either up front or in-app, because more people will have bothered to fix their payment options. It is a genius promotion and I wouldn't be surprised if it really pushed the Android Market in a positive direction, wich is more quality apps that cost money up-front.

  • http://carelessmurmur.wordpress.com Aritra Mukherjee

    But, In a way, this is nothing but an injection to boost ranking. Its just an increase of sells for a day, a very good business day. but it has long term affect for sure. Almost everyone(or maximum) peeps bought those apps while promotion, and since its one time buying and life long using policy in android market, those who have once paid for an app, wont pay for it again, So those apps came in promo, while retaining the top most ranking, wont be sold much. There buyer will be only new users, who will think it as a great app for being top in ranking.
    Those apps, who were already in top, it will be a disaster for them. However, the not so popular app will take it as blessing, because they might have projected the figure for an year what they have achieved in that one day sale. But, those good apps, who were not invited, say PowerAMP or Titenium Backup Pro or tapatalk, may be a little looser, because they have lost their top place, and to new users, they wont be sold like before, but, the existing users or non-n00b users will still go for those apps. So, though their sale figure will be little affected, but it wont be much, cause they will retain close to their average sales figure.

    Just my two cents

    • Joshua

      I totally agree, actually - and I wish I'd put this much thought into the comment that I wrote below. Many of the chosen apps already had 10s or 100s of thousands of downloads. The apps that should have been chosen are excellent apps with lower download figures.

      • Kanchi

        my opinion is that theses promotion HAVE provided someting essential for google with the market: people have bougth an app.
        I was not really interested in getting paid apps on the market, because of the hassle to get my Credit card out, maybe have to struggle with payment etc... now, i know it's simple, and bought GTA 3 and another game - full price - since then. I don't think i'm the only one opening his wallet more often because of this promo, and it HAD to be popular apps, to ensure that people get the first 10c out

    • Chris

      Many of those who purchased the app may never have been motivated enough to purchase it at full price, and let's not forget Android's growth rate. Within a week there will be over 3 million more Android users who didn't have the opportunity to purchase any of the 10 cent apps, but they'll be much more likely to see the apps now with the improved rankings provided by the high volume of downloads from the promotional period. I think it's a net win for developers, especially when compared to Amazon's promotional tactics, which clearly don't deliver nearly as much, if any value to developers.

  • Joshua

    It's good to hear that sales jumped that much, so no one took a "loss" on their 10 cent customers. They'll also enjoy tons of attention for months to come as they really boosted their download numbers.

  • Zomby2D

    I bought a few apps during that promotion that I might not have gotten otherwise. I was content with the free version of Paper Camera from Getjar but getting it from the Market guarantees that I'll actually get future updates in a timely manner. I was already using the free version of Soundhound, Tetris and Hyper-Jump and could have kept those without a problem... but it felt right supporting the developers. Plus I got a few games I might not even have tried otherwise.

  • http://thegeniusfiles.com Brent W. Hopkins

    It seems clear that the ten cent promotion benefits developers much more than free app promotions like Amazon does.

    • http://twitter.com/mrtimms Steve

      Probably because the Amazon store is limited to the US.

      This was world wide.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Especially since they actually got paid.

  • Jacob

    Very good article. Thanks for some great journalistic work instead of regurgitating the same news that seems to be echoed by many other android blogs.

  • itai

    I didn't even think about but your right I am on of them
    I think lots of people crated wallet account
    which will help google against paypal
    very smart move!
    now did thought on it or not?

  • Hotmann

    This is very similar to what Game Newell of Valve said in the recent interview with GeekWire. According to him, whenever they hugely promote a sale they see about a 40x increase in revenue, while if they silently put something on sale the revenue stays about the same. Good read.


  • andreez

    You question the effect inviting an app to be part of the 10billion promo... It's win-win for google and the developer. Especially if the developer has an ad based app that gets paid for advertisements displayed. and as someone elaborated earlier that it would prompt the user to add a payment method to buy an app. And we most likely don't know the details of being an invitee, did google compensate or otherwise make up part of the difference between the app's full cost and the subsidized $0.10?

  • Ross

    Am I in the minority? I bought every single app each day. (well except for a few that I couldn't conceive ever using)

    • gosa

      That would make us (at least) twobelonging to that same minority group...
      - I bought just about everything I could lay my hands on (that I didn't already own) - I even want as far as to tinker with modified build.prop-files to be able to buy the stuff that isn't supported on my Desire thinking that "one of these days I'll have to get a new phone, and then I can use..."

      • Jephri

        Make it 3. I even bought apps that I already had from Amazon. Man, I hope they do this promo again! It was like Christmas morning every day!

  • Sir Robin

    A lot of interesting points in the editorial and comments.
    I really liked the degree of effort put into providing information to support your opinions in the original article.

    I bought I think 22, some for me and several for my toddlers phone (no service just wifi for a gaming device) and tablets.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      We've contacted a lot more developers - unfortunately, only 2 responded.

      • Sir Robin

        I wasn't being sarcastic, I really thought it seemed like you were trying to get their and your message out. Too bad more didn't respond.

  • D.L. Wall

    It worked for me. I owned an iPhone for 2 years and an Android for 6 months and never bought a single paid app for either one until this promotion. I don't like using my credit card on the net, I'm cheap and there are lots of free apps and demos that are "good enough", but 10 cent apps is just too good a deal to pass up.

  • Jaime Lefebvre

    1) I'm interested in seeing the total amount of app downloads from Google and also knowing how much ground they made up on iOS in total downloads.

    2) I think in the future a $.10 a day featured app could do very well for developers also.

    3) Presumably they added new users to the Google Wallet which will also help leverage service carriers to enable NFC payments through wallet too.

    4) I bought almost all the apps they had for sale. Except the ones I already had.

    All in all, I think it was a brilliant move by Google.

  • Falconator

    Personally I wasn't too thrilled with the choices in apps, but, for the developers to make a greater profit, good for them!

  • skitchbeatz

    There's also the psychology of buying applications. I bought 10-15 apps over the course of the sale and it has probably encouraged me to buy more even if they're not on sale.

  • economystic

    The point of promotion was about increasing the money spent by android users on apps, which lagged well behind apple users.
    I don't think that long term effect will be significant. A significant part of the boost was due to new app buyers, like myself. I use android for one and a half year and I have bought only one app before this promo while buying at least 15 apps during the promo. And seeing the difference between a premium app and free versions I probably will decide buying apps much more easier in the future.
    Secondly, you can not live on one app for ever, anyway. The demand for your app will saturate eventually and a successful developer needs to develop new apps. That is actually why android is awesome for consumers: Developers need to introduce new ideas to survive in the long-run. They cannot behave like apple or microsoft, i.e. selling the same software/hardware over and over again by making only minor improvements.

  • OperationHorror

    Everyone seems to be stuck on this dip after the sale or saying there's no one left to buy the app after it's gone on sale for 10 cents.. what about the 550,000 activated devices every day? That's half a million potential new customers each and every day.

    This was a great, smart promotion that served the big G very well (positive pr, Gwallet signups, "artificially" boosting app dl's/purchases to gain on Apple, probably other stuff I'm not thinking of) and also helped some very lucky developers as a byproduct.

  • fp

    There was one victim here (well, not much of a victim, really), Sentinel 3: Homeworld, that really great Tower Defense game developed by ORIGIN8 TECHNOLOGIES LTD., had almost a full point decrease on user reviews, because when it came up for $0.10, people downloaded it like crazy but couldn't download the 19MB of content required to play the game (once you open the app you're requested to do so) and A LOT of people reviewed on this subject.

    • sriracha

      and after those users actually download the content, how many do you think will take the time and apply an appropriate rating? maybe half?
      i wish people would actually put something useful in there besides; "sux", "dev u r dum", or even "great game/app", etc. this also a pet peeve of mine; it's a rating system, not a message board. stop with the p2p insults and silly questions.

  • http://genesischess.com/ Micah

    I think the bigger thing is that it will help developers in general because now google has motivated a lot of people that haven't made a purchase so far to do so. They have now provided their CC info or paid through carrier billing.

  • Jephri

    What are your top 3 favorite games you downloaded during the week?

    Mine are

    1) GLWG
    2) Spirit
    3) Where's My Water

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Where's My Water was surprisingly good, I didn't expect the level of polish at all. Train Simulator or whatever it's called was great too.

  • Tyler Chappell

    I thought this was such an excellent move on Google's part. Had it not been for this promotion, I wouldn't have discovered some excellent new apps. The apps being only 10ยข is ultimately what caused me to buy the, I likely would not have bought them at their original prices so in the end it was a win-win situation for both the consumers and the developers.

  • http://N/A Chuck

    DoubleTwist AirSync was a great move, good thing I got it. Wireless syncing? Best thing to happen!

  • http://AndroidActivist.org Scotty Brown

    Very well written. Good work.

  • Jeremy

    I thought the promotion was great. I found apps I would have never bought otherwise that I love. And I downloaded the same apps for my sons tablet he is getting for xmas. I had to delete the receipts from his email. Some of these apps I will be recommending to friends for sure. My wife was mad that I didn't get her one app(not sure how its my fault) so I had to pay full price yesterday because she wanted it.

  • Codexx

    I don't understand why people are so upset about some developers not being included. I wish they expanded it to more deals and less repeat entries, but aside from that I don't see the problem. Steam runs sales multiple times per year and nobody complains about Steam not putting their game on sale. Someone has to be left out. Hopefully they can be included next time.

  • m1n3cr4ftsux

    Doesn't help Google Market support image in any way. The devs are treating the $0.10 purchases like non-support worthy. I had problems, some apps I bought, and they still show up as "Purchased" btw, keep asking me to buy them full price. A lot of apps I really wanted didn't process on time and now I missed out, while most of the stuffing(apps I bought just because) got through.
    And the kicker is: The ones that got canceled because google couldn't process them on "a timely fashion", was taken away again. I had three including Minecraft.
    They worked after I received the google email telling me they're giving those apps for free, found them on my "Not Downloaded" list and installed them. But the following day, after my ROM upgrade that included a wipe, Minecraft is asking me for $6. I emailed them and nothing! Even ezPDF(in fucking Korea) replied to my problem in the first fucking minute after I sent it. I could understand companies like Gameloft needing a day because of their extensive catalog, but fucking Mojang dipshit indian giver hasn't replied in 3 days.
    This only happens with fucking Minecraft. I was more than willing to buy it, @10 cents, that's what every version of this game is worth! If it wasn't such a shit game I would make a bigger deal of this.

  • Force

    Hey, insideyourmom.com isn't a real...

    o wait i get it

    9.8, an almost perfect troll.


  • Aeires

    Time is a great equalizer.

    Be interesting to see something like this with the Amazon market and their free app of the day. After I heard the devs don't make any money from that promo, I stopped downloading apps because they were that days featured free apps.


    i still can't believe google took a 30% cut after asking the developers to take that big of a price cut. Especially, when google was going to profit just as much in the long haul.

  • vb

    I am a new young developer with my first App on Amazon today!

    Please visit and support me, thank you.