Posts Tagged marketing
It’s been about a month since the app marketing gurus at Fiksu first reported their findings on the legitimacy of all those ads we’ve grown accustomed to in the Facebook app. As our own Carter Dotson noted, there was an increase of 14.6 million downloads of the top 200 free apps per day throughout the month of May. That’s a lot of downloads, and it was pretty much all because of those Facebook ads. Now the numbers for June are in, and it doesn’t look like the trend is going away. If anything it seems to be building momentum.
Fiksu’s Cost per Loyal User Index, used for measuring the average cost of earning a loyal user (i.e. opens the app three or more times), shows that values have jumped back up to $1.50 for the month of June. What this means is that it’s costing advertisers more money on average – about $0.17 more when compared to May – to attract customers, which Fisku believes is due to a recent influx of developers and publishers looking to advertise on the social media platform.
On the other hand their App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the average download volume of the top 200 free U.S. apps each day, is showing a decrease of about 9 million total downloads for the month of June as compared to May. A loss of 9 million downloads in one month definitely sounds like one heck of a drop-off, however it’s still a one million download improvement over last year’s numbers; which they attribute to the App Store’s perpetual state of competition.
So those slightly annoying but easily ignored ads we usually gloss over while letting all our friends know what we’re eating for dinner and where, possibly with an accompanying photo, actually serve a purpose. A significant purpose. And it looks like advertisers are going to be fighting over the top spot for some time to come.
Users of the Facebook mobile app may have noticed that the app now features more ads prompting users to download certain apps. Whether they be ads in the news feed itself or placed on the sidebar, these ads are just a new little blip for Facebook users to contend with.
However, these little blips could be actually having a significant impact on the way that marketers try to sell apps to iOS users, according to a company called Fiksu that tracks app downloads and performance in the context of marketing.
What happened is that since Facebook launched these ads in May, there was an increase in the average number of daily downloads among the top 200 free apps (which are among the most-heavily marketed), from 5.61 million per day in April to 5.9 million per day. That might not sound like a lot, but think: plus an extra day in May, that’s going from 168.3 million downloads to 182.9 million downloads. That’s more potential customers to spend money on the in-app purchases that help make these games so profitable. There’s a reason why there’s so many free-to-play titles.
This has all come at a good cost to marketers, too. Despite the increase in downloads, the cost to get a loyal user, defined as someone who opens an app three or more times, dropped from $1.50 per user the month before to $1.33. If Facebook mobile ads and the increased inventory they offer are to thank for this, then expect more of them.
That little sidebar that features sponsored apps? It’s staying, and could expand. Expect to see more apps advertised in the news feed. While Fiksu says that some of the increase could be related to changes in behind-the-scenes tracking, Facebook still likely plays a major role in it. It’s still one of the most-downloaded and most-used apps out there, and it represents a big opportunity for Facebook to start making some actually money from mobile (where they’ve had trouble making money before), and for those developers that want to give you a new way to spend money on virtual coins and gems to break more blocks or build more buildings in their free-to-play games. It’s a potential union that is all strengthened by your desire to keep seeing funny memes and have political arguments with people from high school.
This week at 148Apps.com, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 were never too far out of our collective consciousness, as evidenced by site founder Jeff Scott’s discussion of changes in the iOS App Store: “Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, ‘This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.’”
Meanwhile, back in the GiggleApps.com cave, reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Superhero Comic Book Maker HD: “Comic Maker allows one to choose from 27 backgrounds, a blank page and a chance to access photos from one’s device to work on. I really enjoy these backdrops, each bold and colorful, as there are wonderful choices to stimulate creative thinking and superhero or monster themes, such as the POV from a spaceship, industrial setting with robots and a conveyer belt, as well as other more natural scenes including a farm, saloon, or desert, which allow these characters to visit Earth. It is worth noting that although the theme here includes monsters, every image included within is utterly family-friendly, as is the included classical music based on classic nursery rhymes that Duck Duck Moose is known for.”
Released: 2012-08-01 :: Category: Games
And staying on the ‘Super’ theme, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson solicited some marketing advice from Supercool Creative: “Social media is often an enigma to developers looking to promote their apps. It’s a tool that can be incredibly powerful for getting more downloads and driving revenue, but just how to succeed with it is a mystery to many. Facebook integration, especially with the App Store, has been anticipated by developers as a way to help their games spread through social media, but these features won’t be doing all the work to make an app gain users through social media usage. However, David Murdico has written an interesting blog post for Supercool Creative entitled “5 Ways to Promote Mobile Apps and Games with Social Media” that covers many ways to best utilize social media to developers’ advantage.”
That’s it for this week, but with fall…um…falling, there’s sure to be a huge amount of new content about to drop before the holidays. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. We’ll make it worth your while! See you next week!
tap tap tap (Convert, Voices) has done quite well in the App Store despite not being a game developer. Continuing this trend, the company has announced today in a lengthy blog post that their newest app, Camera+, has made $250k in its first month. Surprisingly enough, the app did so with no advertising (the company doesn’t advertise for its apps anymore due to costs) and quickly declining sales in the US market.
So how did they do it? Here’s the abridged version.
Since tap tap tap does no advertising anymore, John Casasanta, head of the company and writer of the blog post, says that the key is to start with a HUGE launch. Huge as in contest for $10,000+ worth of camera equipment… but the key is how to get the word out. Fortunately for tap tap tap, John Casasanta is also the head of MacHeist, so the company got a large head start, but now tap tap tap has its own opt-in list with 70,000 subscribers. Says Casasanta, “Granted, not every developer has access to such resources, but there’s no reason that anyone can’t build-up resources of this sort over time… it’s taken us years so patience and persistence is key.”
I guess in any business, you’re only as successful as the people you know, or in this case, the amount of people you know.
The rest of the success lies in the app itself. Since the US App Store is completely dominated by games, it’s imperative to have a flawless, detail oriented app with some fun touches and well done social network integration. The post talks, in detail, about making things feel right, with not too many options, but enough to work correctly. Also, developers need to be completely open to feedback, and update when the app needs to be updated, but only when the updates are necessary.
As a non-game, it’s very important to keep hope even after sales wane in the US. The app market overseas is very different from our game and entertainment app dominated store, with countries like Finland having 14 of the top 25 being non game and entertainment apps. Check out the sales chart on the right to see how foreign app store are supporting Camera+.
The post ends with a warning. “You can spend a year on an app and hardly make a dime on it. It’s not just the nature of the App Store… it’s the nature of practically any business.” Only make an app if it’s something that you love, and be sure to slave over every last detail.
So good luck to all the devs that are out to make your own $250k. If every app turns out to look as well made as any of the tap tap tap apps, the world would be a much better place.
Rocket Racing League is a fast and pretty arcade racer based on the upcoming real-world Rocket Racing League. It keeps its marketing message in check and delivers a competent racing experience.
Read The Full Review »
Most casual games have a limited lifespan. According to Dreamsky, people tend to get bored with many casual games, quickly. “We’ve learned from our experience as mobile game players and game developers, that most mobile games have a player attention span of 3-5 days. Hence it makes much sense to provide iGameDock as a continuing game feature platform for users so that they can keep trying new games without having to compromise on cost and memory space,” said Michael Chan, CEO, Dreamsky Technology.
In an attempt to market games in a short attention span world, Dreamsky has released iGameDock featuring a twice monthly changing game lineup. The first version has been released which features 3 games from the App Store combined into a single app all for $0.99. The first three games are Particle Wars, Doodle Left or Right, and Electron Zero. All full versions of their respective releases. Here’s a quick demo of the current games and the iGameDock app.
In addition to the games, Dreamsky will be presenting in the app links to other promotional games and plans on offering challenges to complete for future special rewards in the app. iGameDock is available now in the App Store for a great $0.99.
Yesterday we reported on a plan by ngmoco:) to remove Rolando from the iTunes App Store once Rolando 2 had been released. Today, I spoke today with Clive Downie, VP of Marketing from ngmoco:) and we’ve got some good news for Rolando fans.
After reading our article and others relating to the proposed plan to pull Rolando from the iTunes App Store and the response from consumers, ngmoco:) have decided to rescind the plan to remove Rolando. Rolondo will remain on the iTunes App Store and Topple, the original, will be coming back as well.
To understand why this all happened and why the plan was hatched in the first place, it’s important to understand the climate that publishers on the iTunes App Store are currently working in.
The App Store is a whole new environment in which to run a software business. Apple has full reigns over what’s allowed and how you can operate. That’s great for Apple, their app store, and their devices. But it’s non-standard in the software world and not so great for publishers. It’s particularly difficult considering that Apple does not publish full guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed and has even been known to change it’s mind without telling anyone.
Then there is the sheer volume of new apps launched every day in the app store. Currently the app store is averaging over 300 new apps in the store every single day. That’s more new titles per day than most platforms see in a year. Just a staggering number.
At this point, the app store is less than a year old and has had over 57,000 apps approved. Some of the standard practices of marketing software just don’t apply to a volatile and chaotic market such as this. Trying new things, finding what works amid the chaos is the key. That’s what ngmoco:) is doing.
For ngmoco:) the question was become how do they best launch a sequel in the iTunes App Store. There’s very little history on how to do that. One method they wanted to test was to remove the prequel to see what impact that would have on the launch of Rolando 2. What happens if you launch an episodic title into the app store without the predecessor there. It was learning they thought was worth doing.
That was the plan, until they started hearing from consumers. Consumers didn’t like the idea of it. It can be a big concern to a user who has purchased a copy protected digital file when they discover they may not be able to download it again if something happens to their copy. Since all that was really purchased was a bunch of bits, if it’s no longer available, it can seem to the consumer like you’ve lost your purchase.
What the consumers said was the they didn’t care about the test, they want their Rolando and Topple to remain safe. That’s what ngmoco:) have decided to do.
So due to the consumer feedback, Rolando will stay in the store and we will see Topple return soon as well. Since Apple provides no way for customers of the apps, people who have already paid for the app, to get it any other way than for the app to be live in the store, this is what’s required.
I think we can call that a lesson learned. But maybe not the lesson they were looking for.
Mr. Downie made it clear that ngmoco:) will continue to test the market, figure out ways to best navigate the turbulent seas of the app store. In addition, they will continue to innovate, as they remain laser focused on developing the best games for the iPhone OS platform.
As a closing thought, Mr. Downie wanted to remind us all that after the dust has settled over this Rolando issue to remember that Rolando 2 is coming out really soon and it looks fantastic. He’s right about that — we got a chance to see it recently in it’s nearly complete form. It’s looking very impressive.
When we asked if the release date was still July 1st, his response was “let’s hope so.”
When the release date of Rolando 2 was announced, ngmoco:) also indicated that Rolando, the original, was going to be pulled from the app store when the sequel goes live. It’s an odd move, very smart, and yet wrong at the same time.
I recently asked Neil Young, CEO of ngmoco:), why the original Topple was no longer in the App Store, his comment was “We pulled it, trying something.” Short response and at the time I didn’t think much of it. I assumed they were planning on trying some new marketing technique with it. Turns out they were testing a fundamental business idea in preparation for the Rolando 2 release. Something new, something that really may change the way we think of games in the app store. Apps aren’t forever anymore.
According to our App Store database, Rolando was released originally on December 8, 2008. That effectively puts the lifespan of the original Rolando at 7 months. Is that really all the life Rolando has left in it? I doubt it. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be pulled from the app store when Rolando 2 is released.
While Rolando is their product and they have the absolute right to do with it what they choose, pulling it just doesn’t feel right. Something about the spirit seems wrong. They aren’t doing anything odd with the price to rise up the charts and increase the price to ride the higher exposure as many high profile developers have been doing lately. But they are sacrificing a product and it’s customers for increased expose for the next episode. Maybe I’m just being too sentimental, but I want to see the game stick around.
Back to the original test that ngmoco:) did, removing Topple from the app store. I’m not sure that it relates directly, removing Topple, a free app, to see what it does to sales of Topple 2 at $0.99. But there is something obvious to it. By removing Topple, they see if that increases sales of Topple 2, the more recent game.
By removing Rolando when the sequel comes out, they don’t lose any sales to the original, cheaper version. When users search for Rolando, they will get just 1 result, and 1 price. That makes sense as a certain percentage people would probably choose the cheaper one, and it removes any confusion of their marketing message for the new game.
What doesn’t make sense is why remove one of the best games on the App Store? Rolando may not have been a runaway commercial success, but it is a great game, very well reviewed, and still has some life in it. You know, what about the long tail? What about all those articles that point to Rolando on the app store. They won’t point to Rolando 2 automatically — you’ll just get the error on the app store that the app is not available.
This decision is also bad for people who have purchased the original Rolando. The app store is a digital delivery system. The only way to get Rolando is to download it from iTunes either on the desktop or on the device. If you don’t have a backup, and you lose it, you’ll never get it back if it’s no longer in the store. In addition, there have been weekly updates for a while from Rolando, building up to the release of Rolando 2. If you haven’t updated in a while, and you wait until July 1, you’ll never see those updates.
And what about the people that try Rolando 2 and want more? They know it’s a sequel, why can’t they get the original. Perhaps the original Rolando levels will be available as in-app purchases in Rolando 2.
It seems as though ngmoco:) is willing to live with a little bit of bad customer experience to try to increase the sales of a new game. Not a great thing, but considering the constraints of the App Store and the very limited ways that developers can operate, it might be the best decision. If nothing else, you have to hand it to them for trying something different and thinking about how to best build a business in the maddening chaos known as the iTunes App Store. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit and do the same. Let’s hope not.
I hope we’ll see Rolando and Topple back in the store, re-released as classic versions maybe, at some point in the future. For now, I think I’ll make sure I have the latest version, do a back-up, and play a little Classic Rolando while I wait for Rolando 2.
Released: 2008-12-17 :: Category: Games
At 148Apps, we pride ourselves at providing the best coverage of the App Store through our reviews, news, and editorial pieces. We’re here to give you the information you need about an app before you make a purchase and to keep you up to date on the latest happenings in the iPhone community. But there are two sides to the iPhone community that we could be assisting instead of just treating it as one single entity.
There are over 11,700 iPhone app publishers in the market right now, all vying for the chance to make their app the next big success. Each publisher could represent one individual making their own app, or a full team working on a string of applications. Beyond development, there’s also the marketing, financing, and customer support aspects that all need to be addressed by the developers. And that’s the beauty of the App Store, anyone can wear those hats as long as they’ve got the drive to do so.
But where do they get their information? Who do they learn from? What resources are made available to those willing to enter into the App Store? For $99 Apple will give you the tools and access to make an app, we want to give you the tools to make a business out of it. After all, everyone benefits from a stronger community.
Where 148Apps.com is more tailored toward consumers looking for apps for their own device, 148Apps.biz is a resource for everyone connected with the creation of iPhone apps. And to truly make 148Apps.biz a community resource, we’ve invited all reaches of the iPhone community to contribute to our site, to make it the strongest and most robust iPhone business resource available. 148Apps.biz is for the community, by the community.
On top of providing that outlet for those well versed in their area of the iPhone app process to speak their mind and provide valuable insight, we’ll also be providing the most accurate App Store Metrics available anywhere on the web. In depth info on what is in the app store, invaluable intelligence for iPhone app development.
If you’re involved in iPhone app development and interested in sharing your knowledge and resources with the rest of the community, we invite you to check out our Submit An Article page over at 148Apps.biz. We’re looking to you to help make the community a stronger, better place, where those new to the scene and those already experienced have access to the tools and knowledge that will help them make the best apps possible.
So take a look at 148Apps.biz and let us know what you think. After all, it is your site!
David from AppCubby sent us a note about his latest blog post today. This entry gives the results of his pricing experiment that we wrote about last month where he set all of his apps to be $0.99 and provided the ability for people to donate if they thought they were worth more. This update doesn’t look to good for that pricing model. Unfortunately he doesn’t give any real sales numbers, just aggregated results, but there are still some nuggets of good info in here:
- During the 7 days of the experiment they only got $75 in donations
- Initially, volume made up for the lost revenue from the reduced prices (probably due to the increased press, he notes)
- After that started to wain, volume still stayed way up over the previous week, but revenue started to fall below the previous weeks numbers.
- There was an increase the last day or so, as is typical, people rush to buy before the end of a sale.
It’s hard to call this experiment a failure when it was so short. I’m not sure enough time was given for the donation aspect to gain a foothold. But, the result for AppCubby is that they have redoubled their efforts make the best software available and sell it at a price that is fair. All of the AppCubby apps have raised back up to $9.99 and will stay there. And we wish them all the luck in the world!
“To have people say that my products are an absolute steal at $0.99 and that I SHOULD be charging more was a wake up call. As the saying goes, if no one is complaining about your price you’re charging too little.”
If you’re interested in the circle of hell that is app store pricing, check out the blog post, it’s a good read for any developer or potential developer.
[ via The Experiment - AppCubby Blog ]
David Frampton, the developer behind Chopper (iTunes Link) which had reached as high as #2 on the top paid games list and #3 paid app overall as recently as Christmas, and Duck Duck Duck (iTunes Link) has posted a great article on his blog about what sales numbers he has seen as he has changed the price of his apps. He’s got some great insight in this post.
Some of the findings he shares include info on what pricing your app at 99 cents does to the sales, and the reviews. What giving away your app for short periods can do. Here’s an excerpt about pricing your app at 99 cents:
Many apps have dropped to $0.99 permanently, and my own DuckDuckDuck also dropped to $0.99.
I regret it.
One of the problems with hitting this price point is in the long term income. A month after the price drop, 6 months, 2 years… People who like an app, and then recommend it, are the best form of advertising. These wonderful, loyal customers perhaps unknowingly convince their friends to pay well for the recommendation. But not just yet. The tail of 1000 sales today lasts a hell of a long time. When their friends do happen to buy an iPhone, and then try out the App Store, and then buy an app or two, your app might be it. Hopefully it’s not $0.99.
Head on over and read the post, it’s worth the time if you are interested in what developers experiences are with the pricing of their app.
[via Majic Jungle Blog]
Todd Bernhard from No Tie Software wrote us to let us know about an interesting contest they are running to promote their app 100sounds. We’re always interested in new methods app developers use to help raise awareness of their apps. With $10 prizes to 100 video producers, this one should help raise the hype behind the app.
The contest works like this — the first 100 people to produce and send in a video of how they use 100sounds will get a $10 iTunes Gift Certificate. This offer is good for 100 days or until 100 videos are received. In addition, particularly creative video producer can also win additional prizes such as cases and headphones.
It’s an interesting promotion, and we wish them all the best! For more information on the contest and info on how to enter, head on over to http://www.notiesoftware.com/
Released: 2008-12-12 :: Category: Lifestyle
A group of independent iPhone app developers have gotten together to try another method for increasing their app sales. They are, as a group, putting their apps on sale and promoting them together. It’s the latest in a series of inventive ways that small application developers have tried in the increasingly packed iTunes App Store to get some attention for their apps.
Starting 12/31, some apps and games from some great indie developers will all go on sale for 48 hours. The promotion, titled New Year’s App Blowout will see apps discounted from 50% – 80%.
Some of the apps that will be on sale include:
* Pinch n’ Pop ($0.99 price drop from $3.99 – iTunes Link)
* BurnBall ($0.99 price drop from $1.99 – iTunes Link)
* ScribBall ($0.99 price drop from $3.99 – iTunes Link)
* Mouse House ($0.99 price drop from $4.99 – iTunes Link)
* DuckDuckDuck (FREE price drop from $0.99 – iTunes Link)
* Blackbeard’s Assault ($0.99 price drop from $1.99 – iTunes Link)
Currently there are 16 apps listed on the page, but more are expected to be added before the new year. I suggest you bookmark the site and return on 12/31 to see the updated list.
It’s great to see independent developers teaming up to try to solve one of the greatest downsides to the app store — getting some attention in a sea of 13,000 apps.
[Source: New Year's App Blowout]
Correction: the app Chopper was on sale during the holidays, and continues to be on sale. The app is regularly priced at $4.99 but is on sale for $0.99. Sales figures updated below.
Many developers are seeing their iTunes sales reports for the first time after iTunes Connect opened back up after Apple closed it for the Christmas rush, and those sales numbers are amazing. With many apps showing 2-4x normal sales of their paid apps on Christmas day and increased sales continuing in the days following. Free app download number showing up to 5x normal rate as well. Could this be all the new iPhone and iPod Touch owners looking for apps to fill up their devices or most likely people with newly gifted iTunes gift cards to burn.
David Frampton of Majic Software, the developer of Chopper (iTunes Link), the number 2 paid game and number 3 paid app overall, reported sales 3x normal on 12/25 with sales in the days following still much higher than normal, but dropping off by about 30% on the 26th and another 10%/day on the 27th. The Chopper developer pulled in sales of over 50,000 copies of his $4.99 app (on sale for $0.99 during the holidays) for the 4 day period of 12/24 – 12/27 with around half of those sales coming on Christmas day. That’s nearly $25,000 in sales in one day, 12/25, alone.
Another developer we talked with, Mark Johnson, reported sales of over four times normal on Christmas day. Hit Tennis (iTunes Link) the $1.99 tennis game, currently number 55 in the top 100 paid iPhone Sports games, had sales of nearly 200 on 12/25 with normal daily sales in the 40s.
Gabriel Pasqualini from Portengo, developers of Cartoonize Me (iTunes Link), the top 15 app on the Entertainment paid app list showed sales 3x normal on the 25th with sales on the 26th being about 90% of what they were on the 25th.
Other stories are similar in nature with most developers of apps on iTunes top 100 lists showing sales 2-4 times normal. Other developers of apps not in any of the top 100 lists also reported much higher than normal sales, though not 4x.
Tim Haines, developer of Burn Ball (iTunes Link) which is not currently in the top 100 paid games reported a similar 3x normal sales on 12/25. He also reported that the free version of his game, Burn Ball Lite (iTunes Link), had download numbers 5x normal on 12/25.
No one knows how long the increased sales will continue, but this is a much deserved present for these independent developers.
In these tough economic times it’s always good to get something free, right? We’ve been contacting some of our favorite app developers and convincing them to give us some of their promo codes so that we can give them to you! It’s pretty easy, no need to register, no need to fill out a form, no need to post a comment, you just have to have mad copy-paste skills. To get notified of the promo codes, just follow our Twitter stream.
We’ve already sent out a few to our followers and will be sending out some more in about an hour. So follow us now or just check that web page. More information about the promo codes available on our about page.
And if any developers out there want to get in on the fun, check out our about page for more info.