Writing Wrongs: An Indie Tale (Part 2)

Welcome to a long overdue followup to Part 1 of this series.

My intention was to follow up with some analysis days and weeks after the launch of Relate, but here we are. Six months later; time to finally get into it.

I will say that what I have to look at is a lot more interesting at this point. There are some clear causal indicators that I can point to and it's much easier to point out the tiny degree of growth I experience at this time scale.


First, some graphs, from launch (7/7/20) to writing (1/4/21):

A series of graphs indicating Relate's metrics for impressions (249k), product page views (12k), conversion rate (.88%), app units (1.9k), sales ($1.3k), sales per paying user ($11.47), and sessions per active device (2.89)

A lot has happened in the last six months:

  • 11 updates (Relate just saw its first update of the year: 2021.1)
  • Removal of localization (unusual, huh?)
  • Title rework (Relationship Assistant -> Relationship Manager)
  • App Store screenshot overhaul
  • Addition of an App Preview
  • Price increase
  • Introduction of free trials
  • 2 promotional giveaways
  • Addition of widgets (late, because SwiftUI)
  • 13 major features added and over 60 bugs fixed
  • 18 support requests
  • 33 feedback emails
  • Basic search ads used
  • Advanced search ads used
  • No search ads used
  • Attempted to use Twitter Ads
  • Posted and re-posted on Product Hunt
  • Posted in r/apple
  • Mentioned in MacStories newsletter

I'm thrilled with the (very) modest degree of success I've had, as well as the many things I've tried that have resoundingly failed. It's worth mentioning that I, generally, have no idea what I'm doing so feeling my way through each step and misstep can be both painful and rewarding.

Growth Summary

Here's the one thing I feel best about. The thing that seems to make all of this worth talking about now:

A graph showing the sharp decrease of revenue after launch and then the gradual, consistent increase every month since

With the exception of a dip after launch (expected), sales have grown reliably each month since.

A graph showing the general upward trend of in-app purchases

I see a general correlation between sales and the number of in-app purchases-- both trending up.

There are just a couple of interesting notes here:

  • August was a low point in sales, but higher than the surrounding months in IAP's due to a higher number of monthly subscriptions and fewer yearly/lifetime purchases.
  • I introduced free trials and a significant price-increase in October, which has generated a critical improvement in revenue and growth trajectory.

This high-level is cementing in me the knowledge of the power of persistence, small changes, and slowly making that graph trend upward. To me, this small growth is much more exciting than any explosive peak.

It occurs to me that month-over-month growth is not a great indicator for overall growth, but it's the best I've seen and I'm hopeful.

This gives me the confidence of a seed that I can see has taken root and begun to sprout.

I'm going to start taking some time to address and write about the effectual details of the experiments and changes I've made since launch and the ones I'm looking at going forward.

You can look forward to frequent bite-sized insights I've gleaned (whether wrong or right) rather than another 6-month hiatus.