I don’t have solid data going all the way back to 2008 when I
launched my first app, but I do from 2012. In the last 4.5 years
the split of where my revenue comes from has followed a clear,
inexorable march from being paid-based to advertising-based.
Starting in 2012 advertising in my apps made up around 10% of
sales whereas now it is nearly 80%. That increase has come almost
entirely from a near collapse of my paid upfront sales (with my
in-app purchase income largely unchanged). […]
As I have looked back on these last few years I’ve come to the
conclusion that the change is mostly been in the App Store market,
rather than in my own attitudes. In many cases adding advertising
to my apps has been something I’ve fought and resisted as long as
possible. But in the end the pragmatic answer has been to not swim
upstream and instead follow where my customers have moved to.
The market has been pulling me along towards advertising based
apps, and I’ve found that the less I fight back with anachronistic
ideas about how software “should” be sold, the more sustainable a
business I have.