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.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.