[Journey] Building an iOS & Android App Empire

Update:

I uploaded one more app. It has been online for a few days and it already gave me a profit of $200. Right now another new app is waiting for review.

Here is the total revenue/expenses for February:

Ads: $2400

(Admob Account 1:$1100
Admob Account 2: $1100
Appodeal (Applovin, Unity, other networks): $200-250)

Note: I don't focus on ads at all. They are much more like a byproduct. For example, I don't integrate banner ads at all. I think they are extremely annoying, and don't do anything good. Mostly I use interstitials and rewarded ads. And even rewarded ads bring me twice as much as interstitials.

iOS IAP: $7925

rc.jpg
(the app is called RCKIT and it's all linked with RevenueCat)

You might ask yourself: How many users/installs does he have?
Answer: 13500 new users last month.

Expenses: $1000


Google Ads expenses: $800
Keyword installs: $200

Total Profit: around $9325

I am still testing a lot with Google Ads. For example, I switched the targeting from installs (all users) to app events and users likely to do an IAP. What happened? The IAPs dropped.

So what's next?

I will continue to update my existing apps and publish new apps.

But most importantly: I have to optimize my app store listing, will A/B test different screenshots, etc.
and: I will try Meta and TikTok ads. For this, I need to create and test many different ad sets.

Basically, I need to increase the CR and lower the CPI so that I can scale up a lot. I mean, right now I could already scale more, but I need it to be as best possible to get the best possible performance for the money I spend on ads.
 
How do you handle API's keys ? is there a safe way to store them ?
Well, thats tricky, because it is super easy to find out the API keys if you store them directly in the app or if you make certain requests from your app using a package from Github or something like this.

The problem is that even if you store your API key outside of your app, hackers and so on can still figure out the keys by simply looking at the network requests your app makes.

Here is what I did to store my API keys:

- Do not use packages from Github, etc.
- Do not store the API key in your app directly
- Do not store ur API key on your own hosting and then fetch it from there

Then you have several choices, but I went with this one:

1. Set up Firebase for my app
2. Set up Firebase functions for my app
3. Set up Google Cloud Secret Key Manager
4. Add the API keys to the Secret Key Manager
5. Wrote a script to call the API key from Google Cloud using Firebase functions
6. Wrote a script to DIRECTLY make the API request WITHIN Firebase function

So your API key is NEVER exposed to anyone, it is all within Firebase Functions.

Later on, I can write a full guide on how to do it
 
Sounds like black magic frankly. I know what it means but specifics like what apps, expertise, hidden tricks, thinking patterns - are all unavailable to our eyes.
 
Sounds like black magic frankly. I know what it means but specifics like what apps, expertise, hidden tricks, thinking patterns - are all unavailable to our eyes.
Proper keyword research + smart monetization strategy + high-quality app. Also, please keep in mind I made this thread in October 2020. So I had more than 3 years of trying, failing, trying, etc.

The good thing is that you don't need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to re-engineer what the Top 5 is doing and just add your twist to it. It's not rocket science.

But here is the real black magic: Not having to deal with ridiculous and corrupt companies like Google. So many times in this thread, even 2 years ago, I mentioned how much money I would have made already, if I didn't have to deal with Google all the time.

It was a vicious cycle. I would make an app, rank and earn, then they would terminate my Developer Account for a bullshit reason. I would make a new account, upload an app, rank, earn, get terminated.

I never got any app or developer account terminated with Apple, even tho their guidelines are almost identical. I mean, Google suspended one of my apps, because there was a mistake in the Chinese translation. These guys could have told me "change the description", but they didn't, they just suspended the entire app. They didn't even reinstate the app, when I sent an appeal. It was definitely a hit-piece. For whatever reason. Personally, I believe they outsourced the app review, etc. and these guys who are doing this work are getting paid by someone to remove/suspend apps and whole developer accounts.

With Apple, I can just scale, publish new apps, and earn more money, a positive and uplifting cycle...and this is happening right now. Right now I focus on Apple. Later, I will focus on Android again.
 
I FUCKING love this journey ;). one more question i have which minimum ios version are you targetting ? 15 or 17 ?

i am learning swiftUI from 17 and its way easier than 15 lol
 
I FUCKING love this journey ;). one more question i have which minimum ios version are you targetting ? 15 or 17 ?

i am learning swiftUI from 17 and its way easier than 15 lol
I am targeting iOS 15. But sooner or later will switch to iOS 17.
 
I've followed your journey for a few years now and it's still amazed me!

I've tried to do something similar. It's definitely easier to make money on iOS than Android.
iOS boosts the apps at the beginning when Android doesn't give a damn. In general, the ads make more money too

The only issue with iOS is the need of a Mac to develop the apps. I'm only using linux and flutter so it's hard to set the special permissions like the in app purchases.

I'm certain that your choice to only target iOS is the good one.
 
The only issue with iOS is the need of a Mac to develop the apps. I'm only using linux and flutter so it's hard to set the special permissions like the in app purchases.
@nakamura is my biggest motivation.
Im happy to have such person here on forums.

And yes, for iOS we need iPhone and Mac.
I got iPhone already, now looking for good MacBook.

Planning to buy one this month.
Not new but good used one. We have few good offers locally.
 
Well, thats tricky, because it is super easy to find out the API keys if you store them directly in the app or if you make certain requests from your app using a package from Github or something like this.

The problem is that even if you store your API key outside of your app, hackers and so on can still figure out the keys by simply looking at the network requests your app makes.

Here is what I did to store my API keys:

- Do not use packages from Github, etc.
- Do not store the API key in your app directly
- Do not store ur API key on your own hosting and then fetch it from there

Then you have several choices, but I went with this one:

1. Set up Firebase for my app
2. Set up Firebase functions for my app
3. Set up Google Cloud Secret Key Manager
4. Add the API keys to the Secret Key Manager
5. Wrote a script to call the API key from Google Cloud using Firebase functions
6. Wrote a script to DIRECTLY make the API request WITHIN Firebase function

So your API key is NEVER exposed to anyone, it is all within Firebase Functions.

Later on, I can write a full guide on how to do it
Yeah that's what i did exactly while I'm developing my current app i spent some days and found that this is the best way to do it i implemented everything already. Thank you for the time. I just finished setting up RevenueCat Sdk and all its logic and i have a few question if you could guide me on them.

1. Do you do the same with RevenueCat API key ? (Storing it in Firebase etc) or its not that important ?
2. From you're experience a more depth Onboarding converts better? mine have 3 screens then IAP view shows.
3. Upon you're testing do you find Google ads way more better then Apple search ads ?

Thank you for your time and good luck on you're journey it inspired me to switch from Google Play to Apple since there is a lot of issues updates there lately.
 
Yeah that's what i did exactly while I'm developing my current app i spent some days and found that this is the best way to do it i implemented everything already. Thank you for the time. I just finished setting up RevenueCat Sdk and all its logic and i have a few question if you could guide me on them.

1. Do you do the same with RevenueCat API key ? (Storing it in Firebase etc) or its not that important ?
2. From you're experience a more depth Onboarding converts better? mine have 3 screens then IAP view shows.
3. Upon you're testing do you find Google ads way more better then Apple search ads ?

Thank you for your time and good luck on you're journey it inspired me to switch from Google Play to Apple since there is a lot of issues updates there lately.
1. No, the RevenueCat API Key is in my app. Basically, it is just to fetch the products/offers/paywall.
2. It really depends on your niche. Some niches, for example, anything that has something to do with mental health, weight loss, etc. the more screens you got the better. This is something I constantly test.

For example: Right now, I added a new screen to my onboarding process (it is being shown right after the sliders). On this screen, users can choose their interests and why they want to use this app. It tells the users "Customize your experience" to personalize the feed in the app. After they press the button, there is a loading screen for around 6 seconds. But actually, it does nothing. Its just an illusion. It is solely to make the users think they are customizing the app. After this, I send them straight to the Paywall. Of course, I log all the options with Firebase, etc. for analytic purposes and research. Lets see if the conversion rate will improve.

3. I am not sure why, but Apple Search Ads is quite expensive for me, way more expensive than Google Ads. But the advantage using ASA is you get absolute accurate data, because it all belongs to Apple.


@nakamura is my biggest motivation.
Im happy to have such person here on forums.

And yes, for iOS we need iPhone and Mac.
I got iPhone already, now looking for good MacBook.

Planning to buy one this month.
Not new but good used one. We have few good offers locally.

Thank you for the nice words! This journey has been a real rollercoaster, especially because of Google.

It's just important to remember one thing: if you really try your best, you can never fail, because you will never give up.

Right now I am using a Macbook Pro "14 with M1 Pro chip and 16GB ram. It is working perfectly fine. My younger brother also wants to start developing apps and he got himself a Macbook Air M1 with 16GB which I think is also a great option. SwiftUI usually doesn't require a high-end device.
 
@nakamura is my biggest motivation.
Im happy to have such person here on forums.

And yes, for iOS we need iPhone and Mac.
I got iPhone already, now looking for good MacBook.

Planning to buy one this month.
Not new but good used one. We have few good offers locally.
just dont buy intel chips ones , coz apple loves there own chip and intel ones have heating issues etc these m1 , 2, 3 are way too good than intel ones atleast for mac, if you are super broke then you can run hackintosh also
 
just dont buy intel chips ones , coz apple loves there own chip and intel ones have heating issues etc these m1 , 2, 3 are way too good than intel ones atleast for mac, if you are super broke then you can run hackintosh also
OK, I almost bought i7 Mac. Thanks for info.

I guess im gonna buy brand new Pro M1 or M2 then. Because prices of used ones are 80% of new ones.
No point to buy used then
Hackintosh is not a good for Apple ID. I have read that they can destroy and ban you to hell with your ID.

I dont want that.

Thank You for your Mac specs Nakamura. Now I know what to look.
No experience with Mac
 
Update:

I uploaded one more app. It has been online for a few days and it already gave me a profit of $200. Right now another new app is waiting for review.

Here is the total revenue/expenses for February:

Ads: $2400

(Admob Account 1:$1100
Admob Account 2: $1100
Appodeal (Applovin, Unity, other networks): $200-250)

Note: I don't focus on ads at all. They are much more like a byproduct. For example, I don't integrate banner ads at all. I think they are extremely annoying, and don't do anything good. Mostly I use interstitials and rewarded ads. And even rewarded ads bring me twice as much as interstitials.

iOS IAP: $7925

View attachment 326406
(the app is called RCKIT and it's all linked with RevenueCat)

You might ask yourself: How many users/installs does he have?
Answer: 13500 new users last month.

Expenses: $1000


Google Ads expenses: $800
Keyword installs: $200

Total Profit: around $9325

I am still testing a lot with Google Ads. For example, I switched the targeting from installs (all users) to app events and users likely to do an IAP. What happened? The IAPs dropped.

So what's next?

I will continue to update my existing apps and publish new apps.

But most importantly: I have to optimize my app store listing, will A/B test different screenshots, etc.
and: I will try Meta and TikTok ads. For this, I need to create and test many different ad sets.

Basically, I need to increase the CR and lower the CPI so that I can scale up a lot. I mean, right now I could already scale more, but I need it to be as best possible to get the best possible performance for the money I spend on ads.

In IOS case how much average impressions from admob you need to reach 100$ ?
 
What a journey. I read all pages and they are full of value. It's really amazing to see someone going from 0 to 10k$ per month with apps. Keep it up! I have a quick question, I think i will use unity and c# instead of SwiftUI . Do you think this is a bad move if I want to begin with IOS games? Thanks
 
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