The best selling iPhone apps and what they mean to us.

It’s easy to forget that our audiences have lives outside our shows.  They read books.  They go on vacations.  And they download iPhone apps.

And those books, vacations, and yes, even iPhone apps, can tell us a lot about societal trends, and what people are looking for in their spare time.

Today, I decided to look at the Top 10 Selling iPhone Apps of 2011 to see if there was something I could learn from what peeps were downloading.  (And BTW, the sales data of my own app has informed me that more theatergoers have iPhones over the other platforms out there.)

Here are those apps.  How many do you have?

1. Angry Birds
2. Fruit Ninja
3. Angry Birds Seasons
4. Cut the Rope
5. Tiny Wings
6. Angry Birds Rio
7. Words With Friends
8. Camera+
9. Doodle Jump
10. Plants vs. Zombies

So what do 9 of 10 of these apps have in common?

Yep, they’re games.  And one camera.  They are not “to-do” lists or alarm clocks or even melon meters (that’s a real app, by the way – you bang the phone against a melon in a grocery store and the app detects if the melon is ripe or not by the sound it makes).

They are games.  Designed for fun.

And if you don’t think that tells you a lot about what today’s consumers are looking for, well, I’ve got a melon detector app I can sell you.

But that’s not all I get from this list.  There’s a marketing lesson in it as well.

Games are going to play a key part in the promotion of products in the next decade, as explained in books like this.  Want to get your people engaging more with your project?  Learn from foursquare, Groupon, and even old school attempts like Publishers Clearing House and . . . game it up.

Our audiences give us clues as to what they want in their entertainment . . . we just may have to look in other places to find them.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Brian Hajjar says:

    Dear Mr Davenport,
    (I have most of those iPhone apps on my phone right now!)
    The other day, I was in the movie theatre and in the lobby there was this interactive game (by using your feet to stomp on virtual objects) that audience members could play with before going into the theatre. From this, I found that people like to be entertained by just having pure fun. It relieves them of their daily life problems that brings them to these places of entertainment in the first place. I am entertained by reading your blog (in a good way haha) because it lets me create and imagine theatre scenarios in my head (to me, its fun). If you are playing words with friends, you want to create a word that can get you a higher score, hence you are being entertained (to some people its fun).
    Entertaining an audience before a show could be something such as trivia about the time period of the show. Or about the composer. I’m thinking something along those lines. Having some type of prize give away, like what the “Godspell-Girl” did. Giving away prizes, such as in a raffle of some sort, is a great addition to the entertainment factor. I love thinking about stuff like this!
    (would you think the spectacle of a show comes into the entertainment and factor as well?)
    Brian Hajjar

  • Stephen says:

    Very interesting to see that the Royal Opera House have launched their own game app that is actually rather fun – I know, I’ve downloaded it!
    West End musical We Will Rock You also has a game app about putting on a show and budgets that is rather more involved and a lot less fun

  • I,m not by any means surprised that games are the most popular app. Most people that have smart phones don’t actually use the majority of the functions available on them bar the phone music and games.

  • It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our argument made here.

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