App Rewards Club is an app and service put together by a few iOS developers to help their fellow app devs with user discovery on the App Store. Like the Free App a Day service, App Rewards Club highlights free apps every day, which benefits users because they can grab apps for free, and then benefits developers because they can grab users to monetize off of. App Rewards Club also offers a monetization service, teaming developers up with other promotions that let users earn rewards in apps. The club has been keeping a tally of how it all works when various apps go free, and they've posted a very interesting report over on the official blog, talking about that very subject.
What's perhaps most interesting is just how organic the App Store is: The apps that ARC saw do best with a free period spent exactly zero marketing dollars on their sale, and were instead just propelled by being featured on the App Store or mentioned in the press. As ARC says, "some apps have a natural propensity to get attention and move downloads without getting a big marketer involved." That's a fascinating result, and it's likely one that Apple will be thrilled to hear, given that the App Store was designed to be a relatively open marketplace, where individual developers can compete up alongside much larger companies like EA and Activision. This study finds that a marketing budget doesn't matter so much as just how "sticky" the actual app is.
Elsewhere, the company also found that switching from paid to free, while having an (obvious) negative immediate effect on revenue, will actually raise the average number of purchases after going back to paid. It's not by much, and downloads go very high when flipping over to free, but developers looking for a spike in app interest can definitely consider a temporary free giveaway to do so.
There's a lot of interesting information here, and the company says it still has a lot to learn going forward. But the main takeaway here seems to be that, for now, growth on the App Store is still fairly organic. Some apps can do well when they get attention, regardless of how much money they spent to get it.