A few months ago, I released BabyGrow Lite, a free version of my app BabyGrow. In terms of downloads, it did relatively well, reaching the top charts in its category in many countries. In the few months it was available, it was downloaded nearly as many times as its pay counterpart has over its nearly four year lifespan (excluding a two week period where BabyGrow was featured by Apple in 2009). Unfortunately, those great numbers did not turn in to revenue for me. I attempted to monetize BabyGrow Lite via ads and a handful of in-app purchases, plus pointing users to the full version in hopes of some conversions. None of these were successful. Ad revenue is negligible and few users have felt compelled to buy any of the in-app purchases. As far as I can tell, fewer than 30 users of BabyGrow Lite has gone on to buy BabyGrow. As a result, I pulled BabyGrow Lite from the App Store a few weeks ago.
I still see potential in the free app market, though. For a few weeks I mulled over further restricting what can be done for free in BabyGrow Lite. But then there would be the development and support challenge of reducing functionality for people who have already downloaded the app. I considered a number of options for keeping existing users of the free app happy. I even implemented a key part of making that work in a recent update. In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it, that any new attempt to use the free app market to expand my customer base would need to be a new app.
To anyone who has used BabyGrow, BabyCalc may look familiar. It is essentially the Instant Read feature of BabyGrow extracted and turned into its own app. Unlike BabyGrow, which supports kids up to 36 months out of the box and older kids with an in-app purchase, BabyCalc is restricted to three months. I considered expanding that via an in-app purchase, but decided to keep this app as simple as possible. It is designed to do exactly two things: calculate percentiles and direct users to BabyGrow.
Note the BabyGrow icon in the top left corner. Tapping this will bring up my simple pitch for BabyGrow, and a button that will take you to the App Store to (I hope!) buy it.
Like BabyGrow Lite, BabyCalc is an experiment. It required relatively little new effort and so is, I think, low risk. Even if it fails to bring the conversions to BabyGrow that I am hoping for, at least it won’t be giving away the bulk of BabyGrow’s functionality for free, like BabyGrow Lite did.
BabyCalc is available now — please go check it out! (BabyCalc is no longer available – yeah, it didn’t work out, either!)