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How Pico Brothers Hit 20 Million App Downloads and What We Can Learn

13 April 20111 comment Android, inneractive, iPhone, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Industry, Nokia

With the new world that mobile technology has created, there are always fun stories about developers achieving overnight success. To be fair, a vast majority of app developers do not achieve what Rovio has achieved, but that does not change the fact that it is always fun hearing success stories. The latest story circulating the Web is the success of a small development company that makes cross platform mobile apps called Pico Brothers.

At inneractive, we have been fortunate enough to work with Pico Brothers on their in-app advertising for some of their leading apps. If you are a mobile developer who is looking for more revenue from your apps, you can sign up now.

The founders of the company were interviewed on the Nokia blog and you can read the entire interview here. Among the questions and answers in the interview, we found some great insights that every developer should learn and implement.

  • Keep it Simple: In the interview, Nick Karlström explains that the company’s philosophy is to keep their apps simple. “We make apps that have very few features, but then we try to perfect those things so the user experience is spot-on.” We  have said this many times before and we believe this is the key to success. It is easy to get caught up in including as many features as possible in your mobile app. What this will ultimately cause among your users, is confusion. You are better off creating an app that does one thing, but does it perfectly.
  • Go Cross Platform: The Pico Brothers have over 80 apps on Ovi and 40 on Android and iPhone. While many developers now believe all the hype about Android and iPhone being the only mobile platforms, the fact is there are many others that still have a majority of market share. Those platforms should not be ignored and The Pico Brothers realized that years ago.
  • Mix it Up: While we believe that in-app advertising has proven to be an effective model, we are all for keeping your options open. There are many monetization models and you need to check what works best for you. Using the Pico Brothers as an example, in regard to their most successful apps, they say “The most profitable have been the pro versions of Big Sound Buttons and Flashight Extreme. That’s followed by the free version of Revolver, which is monetised through in-app advertising.”
  • Usability First: Just like their apps, the Pico Brothers’ answers are simple and straight forward. When asked what they have learned about how apps work, they answered “They have to be fun. They have to make sense.” It is all about the experience. With so much competition, you have approximately ten seconds from the time the user opens the app, to leave your mark. If it is confusing or overwhelming, you lost them immediately.
  • Virality: In addition to the simplicity of apps, the Pico Brothers explain that the hard part is coming up with an idea that will spread. They said they have apps that they did not necessarily expect to succeed they way they did, but they spread like wildfire. About these apps, they say “They were crazy ideas that we just had to try. When we came up with idea for Cracked Screen trick, to be honest, I didn’t think it would be particularly successful. It’s just silly, right? But it became a bit of a word-of-mouth hit – people saw it on their friend’s phones and just had to have it. For that one, in particular, making a YouTube video to show people what it looked like, was also really useful. That video’s had over 362,000 views now.”
  • Motivation: While this is a great story of success, it is important to realize it did not happen by itself. In the interview, The Pico brothers explain “Well, I’m not a trained programmer. I taught myself during the evenings to the point where I was able to take it full time. My advice is the only way is to sit at your computer and just do it. There’s no other shortcuts.” Developing an app, promoting it, maintaining it, and updating it, is not an easy process. It requires time, patience, skills, and consistency. The Pico Brothers show us once again, that this hard work does eventually pay off.

In conclusion, while we all like hearing these fairy tale stories that just happen to be true, the intelligent ones will learn from this story and implement some of the great tips the Pico Brothers shared with us… It is an honor for inneractive to work with the Pico Brothers on their in-app advertising, and we look forward to a long lasting productive relationship. Congratulations!

What other lessons did you take away from the Pico Brothers interview?

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
In addition, to sign up with inneractive and start monetizing your free apps now, click here.

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  1. popo May 17, 2011

    Am I missing something? I just went to the Pico Brothers website, and I've never seen a collection of more amateur apps. What year is this?


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