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Hitting 80,000 Downloads For His Price-Tracking App

How this software developer built an app that has 80k downloads just by promoting on Reddit

Hello! Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

Hi! I am Shervin, a 24 year old indie developer from Norway.

My business is Anytracker; an app that lets you track any number on any website, so you can track the price of a product and make a purchase when the price drops, or a stock you are interested in.

This summer I started working for a drone company, but I continue working on the app in the evenings and weekends. Users of the app see this: There have been numerous updates to both versions of the app in the last months, and I am always quick to answer any questions that arrive in my inbox.

How did you start this business? Take us through the process.

Two and a half years ago, I was stuck inside with the Covid restrictions like everyone else. I figured I would learn something useful in this time, and I chose app development. Since I had an Android phone, I decided to create an Android app. Of course, the first app I created was not very good, but it landed me a summer job.

I quickly went on to the next app. This one turned out to be great, not because the first version was great, but because the idea was (in my own words) genius.

My reason for creating it was actually to get a graph and some statistics about the downloads my smartwatch apps had gotten. The developer dashboard of Garmin was pretty trash, and I had to log in to view the charts, so it was more convenient to have it all in my app.

I added some other features as well, like crypto/stock tracking and text tracking. I quickly realized that most people got the app due to its ability to track prices (on any website). This made sense of course.

Now, two and a half years later, the app has 80,000 downloads on Google Play, and this summer it was launched on the Apple App Store as well. The journey has been amazing so far. I created most of the app while studying for my master's degree in Cybernetics and Robotics at NTNU here in Trondheim.

My goal was just to make content on the web more accessible for “normal” people. That's why I have focused so much on making the UI simple and easy to use. The first version cost me exactly $25 to make, as this was the signup fee on Google Play. There was an additional $100 bucks needed to get the anytracker.org domain, but overall the app has been cheap to run.

The main cost is actually all the hours I put into the app. I am not exaggerating when I say that I work on it every day. But I mostly enjoy the work, so I don't mind the time it takes. Though some tasks are more boring than others (accounting...).

I made a big investment this year though. I bought an M2 Max MacBook Pro to facilitate the development of the iOS app. It has totally been worth it, as the faster build times has made me so much more productive when it comes to the Android app as well.

How did you get your first initial customers?

Like everyone else, I shared the app with friends and family. This did not lead to many downloads, partly because Android phones are not very common in Norway.

What had great success was posting on Reddit. I posted in r/androidapps and the app got a lot of love. I think I reached 1000 downloads within the first week, which was a big milestone at that point.

I have indeed had negative experiences with Reddit as well. But if you don't come off as too "aggressive" in your promotion, it often works out. At least if you follow the rules of the subreddit in terms of when and where self-promotion is allowed.

Take for example this post on Apple's subreddit, which got 58 upvotes, and is just text:

Honestly, there is very little to lose by promoting on Reddit. Worst case scenario you get a few downvotes. Best case you reach thousands of people who are interested in the problem your app is solving. It is of course essential to find the right communities.

After the initial surge, the app got few downloads in the following weeks. Luckily, out of nowhere, the famous App Reviewer and YouTuber "HowToMen" shared my app on his channel, and this led to 10,000 new downloads after the release of his video. This had a snowball effect, as other tech YouTubers tend to copy the big guys. For a few months I rolled on this wave, getting around 1000 new downloads per week.

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Since launch, what are your marketing strategies or channels to get new customers?

I have tried a few different things: Google Ads, Apple Search Ads and creating a brand on Twitter/TikTok.

Google Ads led to a substantial amount of new downloads, but they were not as focused as I had wanted. E.g. a lot of users wanted to use the app to track phone numbers, this is not a service the app supports (frankly I don't even know what it means to track a phone number).

Apple Search Ads did not lead to many new downloads in the first days, so I decided to ramp up the budget, and by doing so my whole $100 complementary budget was gone. The result was only a few more downloads. I certainly lack the knowledge/skill to use these marketing tools properly.

What I do now (which works fairly well) is to pop into Reddit every now and then, and suggest it in threads (where appropriate).

There is definitely a lot to be gained on the marketing side, especially considering that the cost of having users in the app is virtually zero.

How does your business make money?

The app has a Premium tier which lets users track from an unlimited number of websites (versus one on the free tier).

I offer a monthly subscription for $3, a yearly subscription for $29.99 and a lifetime license for $49.99.

Most users opt for the monthly subscription or the lifetime license. Almost no one has signed up for the yearly subscription. Probably a lot to gain by doing a price experiment!

I tested ads at one point, but let me tell you this: Ads are good for one thing only: Bothering people so much that they buy Premium just to get rid of the ads.

You need a ton of downloads before ads will make any meaningful amount of money. I also prefer the app without ads, as ads just make the whole app look cheap.

My monthly recurring revenue is currently $140 according to RevenueCat.

That does not account for the lifetime purchases though, which I make a considerable amount from as well (users hate subscriptions!).

During this year's Black Friday sale, I made more than $1000 in one weekend. It was honestly surreal refreshing my dashboard in RevenueCat and seeing new orders being placed just minutes apart from each other!

Where can we go to lean more about you and your business?

Please stop by my Twitter account and say hi! https://twitter.com/KoushanShervin

I am also always happy when new users join the AnyTracker Discord channel. We are slowly creating a wholesome community there! https://discord.com/invite/DGFV4tstCG

And of course, the app itself can be downloaded from https://anytracker.org/