Mxit is celebrating a “year of apps”, in which the South African social network has opened up its platform to developers, and pushed out over 200 apps to users.
According to Mxit VP of apps and developer relations at Mxit, Andy Volk, in the past year Mxit has shifted its strategy to make the platform better for developers, making it an open platform with an enabling environment that’s fun and unique.
“We wanted an increased focus on apps,” Volk told BusinessTech. “We wanted to make it easier for all types of developers to design for the platform in a vibrant and co-operative environment.”
As a result of this strategy, Volk indicated that in just over a year Mxit has doubled the amount of developers building apps on the platform.
The main draw for developers to the Mxit platform is the ease and accessiblity of the platform, Volk said. The open source API is quick and easy to develop for at minimal cost – while the platform itself provides access to a unique audience and advertising revenue.
Additionaly, Volk pointed out that the Mxit Launch and Preferred Developer Program have also helped to spur and encourage development on the platform to over 120 active developers.
The PDP was established to “recognize and reward” app developers who are already building apps for third parties on the platform.
The question remains, however – how much are developers making?
According to Mxit, the platform has paid out R3.45 million in revenue to developers in the past year.
Volk pointed out, however, that Mxit’s app push is aimed at sustainability – developers who are looking to be committed and make money over time – not “all or nothing” developers who expect a big bang for the apps.
Mxit said that a mid-sized app, which is managed well by the developer, makes an average of R8,500 to R10,000 per month.
However, there are full-time app developers and entire teams who make a multitude of apps which make more than those figures – as well as apps on the other side of the spectrum (such as those which do not monetize) that earn less, or nothing at all.
Thus, how much a developer earns from his or her app depends entirely on how they go about it. A developer who launches a small app in their free time will gain access to a smaller sustainable income – while a team that builds and manages an entire group of apps could see much higher returns.
“The platform allows developers to decide how they want to monetize their apps,” Volk said. “It’s really up to the developer.”
Mxit does not enforce any subscription services for users or developers, instead deriving revenue from the sales of its currency, Moola, and through advertising. However, the Mxit/developer split for earnings through apps is 30/70.
Mxit launched its in-app advertising in June 2012, and since, revenue has stabilised on a 60/40 split between Moola sales and advertising, Mxit said.
What users want
According to Mxit, users spent close to 57.3 million Moola in March – in Rand terms (R3 = 300) this equates to just under R573,000.
“Users like to spend in small increments,” Volk said, pointing out that the most popular spend came through social gaming apps which presented in-app purchases using the virtual currency.
Other apps which have proven popular amongst Mxit users – seeing upwards of 50,000 active users per day – are informational apps (sport, entertainment, etc) and educational apps, as well as pop quizzes and asking apps.
In the latest figures released by the platform, Mxit was shown to have 7 million active users, measured over a 30-day period.