Patrick Larsson

Tuesday 30th October 2012

How Teachers Find and Buy Apps

As you might already know, Happi Papi runs a free App Evaluation Program for Schools with almost 3000 teachers from all over the world participating. Normally, we use the program to let educators test our own and our partners’ iPad apps for free and provide us with valuable feedback on how to improve the apps.

About a month ago we deviated a little from our normal format and took the opportunity to ask “our” teachers some questions about their app purchase process such as how they discover apps, what type of apps they prefer (free, freemium or paid) and how they pay for apps. When you read the below conclusions, please keep in mind that the teachers surveyed here are teachers who have signed up to receive iPad apps for free. In survey lingo this means there is a selection bias present.


General Conclusion

If you want to know how to get teachers to choose your app in one sentence it would sound something like this: Create a free app that work on iPad 2 and market it on Facebook. For most of us developers that wasn’t really newsworthy. It would most likely have been everybody’s educated guess.

However, when we look at the answer breakdown a little bit more closely we find that what to sell to teachers, where to market it and how to charge for it, is not as clear as it was stated above. Let me try to break it down for you:


Teachers and IAP's

While most teachers (52%) have a negative or very negative opinion of In App Purchases (IAP’s) and even more teachers (80%) finds it not ok or questionable for developers to use IAP’s for content expansion in educational apps, they still buy these type of apps.

In fact, only free apps are more common (41%) in classrooms than apps with IAP’s (36%). Paid apps are a distant third at 23% and other business models, for example subscription based, are hardly even on the map.



The best way to sum it all up is to say that teachers don’t seem to know for sure how they prefer to purchase their apps. This is even more clear when the question is asked a little differently. While only 22% of teachers are positive to IAP’s, 68% still thought the freemium model to be a good way to test an app before committing.


Where To Market Your Apps

If there is no clear answer to how teachers prefer to buy their apps, it is a lot more clear where they go to find the apps they use in their classrooms. Forums and Social Networks (like Parents with Apps, FB and Pinterest) are the most common places for teacher app discovery (33%). In shared second place come review sites and browsing the App Store (23%). An interesting point here is that if you want to make it easy for teachers to find your apps you should not fall for any of the very frequent SEO offers you receive in your inbox. Only 2% of teachers say they find the apps they like through search engines.


Paying Their Own Way

Another interesting, but not very shocking, statistic is who pays for the apps teachers use in the classroom. 48% of all teachers say they have to pay for apps themselves as their school has no budget for this purpose. Related to this point is the fact that a third of all teachers are not allowed by their school to pay for app content through In App Purchases.


Teachers and Android Don't Mix

Before looking at what conclusions to draw from all this, let us look at what type of hardware teachers are sporting. A whopping 74% of all teachers have iPad 2’s in their classroom compared to only 3% who have an Android tablet. Interesting to know is also that more classrooms have iPod Touches (25%) than iPad 1 (24%) and iPad 3 (22%).

What conclusions then can we draw from our little study?
The only clear answers we got were that there are almost no Android devices in classrooms and teachers don’t like In App Purchases. The latter piece of information is however somewhat negated by the fact that teachers seem to use a lot of apps with IAP’s even though they say that they don’t care for them.

There was another clear choice among teachers as well; forums and social networks are the places they go to most for advice on what apps to use. But even though this answer choice was the clear winner, only a third of teachers use FB, Pinterest etc as there favorite app discovery method. For us developers that unfortunately means that we still have to cover a lot of bases to make sure our apps are noticed – Just as our gut feeling has told us all along…

Patrick Larsson Patrick is co-founder of Happi Papi.
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