How to Choose a Profitable Niche

This is post #2 of my 8 post series on my first year in the App Store.

You can read the full series here

tl;dr We can estimate how profitable an app is using Gross and Paid Rankings. This helps us decide whether it’s a good niche to get into.

A Framework for Evaluating Potential Niches

When I was considering building my Spanish Bible app I wanted to be as sure as possible that people were going to be able to find it & buy it. With that in mind I came up with the idea of the ideal target niche.

The ideal niche:
1. Is profitable 2. Can be found through search 3. Has crappy competitors

Today I’m going to explain how to figure out #1.

Step 1. Find an app that ranks #25 Paid
I found two apps in the Business category that have a history of ranking around #25 Paid. You can see their historical Paid rankings below via AppFigures:

PDF Expert title Documents title Why #25 Paid? See step 2.

Step 2. Calculate the apps’ daily revenue using Distimo
Last year I asked the nice folks at Distimo to analyze how many downloads it takes an app to rank #25 Paid by category.

Gert Jan Spriensma, a Distimo analyst at the time, was nice enough to respond with this post which got picked up by TechCrunch.

You don’t even need to read the whole post, just this one chart: Downloads required to rank Paid #25, by category

This means our two example apps are being downloaded roughly 90 times a day. We can estimate their daily revenue by multiplying their prices by 90. title

Step 3. Look up Gross Ranking
Easy with AppFigures: titletitle Eyeballing the charts it looks like their average Gross Ranks are #13 and #50, respectively.

Step 4. Plot the Data
This is what we’ve collected: title

Plotting it we get this: title

This gives us an estimate on how much apps in the Business category make.

But estimating a niche’s profitability is only part 1 of the ideal niche. We want something that’s profitable and not swamped by competition.

In next Tuesday’s post I’ll write about how to pick a niche where users will find you via the best distribution channel of all – App Store search.

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