Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Importance of Keywords

The Importance of Keywords

Keywords are one of the most important components to your app. They basically determine when and where you show up on App Store searches. Keywords are really important so make sure you pay a lot of attention to them. There are a few tips to make sure you maximize your keywords.

Rank High

One of the best things you can do to help yourself is to rank highly for every keyword you have. As a general rule, I would try to rank in the top 5 places for each keyword on the iPhone, and in the top 15 places on the iPad. While you may be tempted to put the keyword 'doodle' in your game, it's not going to get you anywhere. The sheer competition of the keyword simply makes it a waste of your keyword space. Instead you should put in keywords that you think you can rank highly for.

Competition

There are a few ways to estimate how well you will rank against your competition for a specific keyword. The first thing you should do is see how many ratings/reviews they have. If they have a lot of ratings, that might be an indication of a lot of downloads. Another tactic is to see how often the app is updated. If it's regularly updated, that may suggest that more people using the app, thus the continued developer support.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that you should avoid keywords that are competitive, and use keywords that aren't. Keywords can work miracles for your app, so I would really suggest that you take the time to use them wisely.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

iOS Game Monetization

Monetizing iOS Games
To start, there are a few different ways you can monetize your mobile game. I will go into each one below, but I will also explain which will work best for your game. Just a note, this post is intended for games. Eventually I will get around to a post on monetizing regular apps such as utility or weather apps. But for now, this is just for iOS games.

Paid
Paid games are the most simple and straightforward way to monetize. The paid option is simply having a $.99 or $1.99 fee for downloading the game. Some games, such as Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, and Doodle Jump have done very well with this method. But as the App Store becomes more crowded, this method is becoming a little more ineffective. The strategy with paid games is that if your users will only occasionally use the app, then paid is the way to go.


Free with Ads
Mobile ads are becoming increasingly more important as the app ecosystem evolves. But ads only make money on certain types of games. If your user engagement is high, ads should definitely be within your app. There are also different types of ads ranging from banner ads to video ads, to full screen ads. You will need to choose which ad type is the most effective for your game.

Free with In-App Purchases
In-App Purchases are great if they are used to purchase additional content, and power ups. In-App Purchases are amazing for social games where someone will pay money to get ahead of a friend. I would only use In-App Purchases in a social game or a game that has very high levels of user engagement. Otherwise I would also tie ads into it.

While there are also other types of monetization, these are the major options. Comment below with your questions or thoughts!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Which day to launch?




Which day should I launch my app?
According to a research firm named Mobilewalla, Sunday is the best day to launch your app. The research company studied the Apple and Android App Stores over a 17 week research period. 

Based on this research, there are likely a few reasons why Sunday is the best day to launch an app. 

First, Sunday is generally a day of staying at home and relaxation. People will be using their phones and tablets during this time, so you should take advantage of the opportunity. 

Another reason is that other developers aren't releasing their apps on Sunday. This is a rare instance where it is beneficial to be a smaller developer. You have more flexibility in choosing what time you want to work and you can work on weekends if needed. Larger developers will want to release within the week because all of their staff is on hand during this time. So releasing on a Sunday can give you a little edge over the competition.

A third reason is that people aren't at school or work during the weekend. Many developers including myself know that weekend sales (especially for games) are higher than weekly sales. Although this might not be the case if your app is a business app for example.  

Below I have provided an info graphic that shows more data from the Mobilewalla study. Overall, I would really recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity to launch your app on a Sunday. It can provide you with a leg up on other developers, so take advantage! In iTunes Connect, you can choose which day to launch your app, so make sure you set it for a Sunday. 


Source of image - www.techcrunch.com

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Basics of ASO


The Basics of ASO
ASO stands for App Store Optimization. Your app name, icon keywords, screenshots, and description are part of your App Store Optimization strategy.

Image Source - blog.palominolabs.com


Name
The name of your app is a very important part of your ASO strategy. With iOS 6, less emphasis is put on your name, but it is still very important. It is what people viewing the App Store will see, and it should convey your app in a few words or less. Names are generally split up into two categories. The first is brand names. Think Vine, Twitter, Google, etc. When you first heard the brand word Vine, you wouldn't immediately think about the hit new video app. You would think about something else, likely an actual vine. The second are generic names. Generic names describe your product. Think Gmail. Gmail is pretty self descriptive, and most people would recognize the name as some sort of mail app. It's really up to you which to choose. If you plan on building a brand around your app, go with the brand name. If you are just creating a standalone app with no real branding behind it, then go generic. The choice is yours.

  Icon

Importance of your icon
Your app's icon is the single most important part of your ASO strategy. Your icon is the first thing that people will look at when deciding when to download your app. Chances are, people will not be specifically looking on the store to download your app. You will need to utilize the impulse buy phenomenon to get them to download your app. 

Image Source - fahrenheitmarketing.com 
Your icon plays a huge role in this, so make sure it's good. A good tip for making a killer icon is to make it sleek but simple. Make sure the color themes of the icon match together well. The image above shows several icons that do a good job at being simple, yet explaining a bit about what the app is about. The Clear app shows a checkmark, indicating some sort of checklist. If you can make a good icon yourself, then do so. Otherwise you might want to get in touch with an icon designer.

Screenshots

Screenshots are what people look at when determining to download or not download your app. Many people don't even bother to read your description, and instead just go look at the screenshots. With iOS 6, screenshots are displayed when searching for apps. So you might need to put a greater emphasis on creating get screenshots. There are a few things you can do to make sure you have the best screenshots possible. The first is to place the screenshot in an iPhone format like the image above. This let's the buyer see what the app will look like on their phone. Another tip is to make sure that the first screenshot is the most inviting. In the example picture, the first screenshot is the one that draws you to the app, and the rest explain what the app does. Making sure you have a sleek looking screenshot is essential.

Keywords

Image source - appstorerankings.net
Keywords essential to getting your app discovered in the first place. All of the other parts of ASO are mainly to convert the download, but keywords are the source of people searching for your app. What is a keyword? A keyword is a word or phrase that people search for. For example, when someone searches "language" on the App Store, chances are that languages apps will appear in your search results. A good goal for developers is to be within the top 10 searches for a popular keyword. The better keyword rankings you can get, the more likely your app will be downloaded. There are various services available to help you optimize your keywords, but it's really up to you if you want to use them. 

Description

With iOS 6, descriptions really aren't as important as they used to be. That is because users need to scroll to the bottom of your app's details to view the description. Nevertheless, it won't hurt to make sure you have a good description. You want your description to intrigue the user and invite them to play the game. Take the Angry Birds description for example. "The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake" is the first line of the description. It pulls you in and encourages you to read more. Optimize your description to convert more downloads to your app. There are services that write descriptions for you, but honestly they aren't worth the money. Save your money, and just write the iTunes description yourself!







Monday, May 27, 2013

Myth of App Review Sites


The Myth of App Review Sites
App Review sites are very popular with app developers. Many developers consider them the lifeblood of making your app popular. But in truth, they aren't. People don't really look at app review sites. In this post, I'll explain all of this and help debunk the myth of app review sites.




Myth 1: A review will make your app a hit
This myth is partly true. If your app get's reviewed in the New York Times, or on CNN, then you will get a massive boost of downloads. But a majority of app review sites really won't help you. In fact, most visitors to app review sites are anxious developers that want to submit their app. 

Myth 2: Spending time writing to review sites pays big dividends
This one really isn't true either. The odds of a developer creating a review-worthy app is small. The odds of actually getting a review is smaller. While writing and submitting your apps to app review sites doesn't hurt, there are some better ways to spend your time. Develop a new update, work on a new design, or do other types of marketing.

Myth 3: Paying for expedited reviews is worth it
Frankly, it's not. Unless you get some sort of extra low-cost deal, then don't pay for expedited reviews. If you really want to get a review, see if the owners are willing to do a revenue split for a week. For one week, give them half the revenue from the app. Any site that charges for reviews, definitely won't give you a good ROI. 

Tip
If you are going to submit your app, only submit it to the top 10 most popular review sites. Any other site will only give you a few downloads. Check out the blog to see new updated content. Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Creating A Great App: Stage 4

Testing
Testing your mobile app is a very important step in the process of making a great app. Larger companies spend millions of dollars on QA, and there is a good reason for it. Nobody likes stuff that doesn't work. Faulty programming, crashes, random errors, etc. will only turn off your users. There is nothing that can kill an app faster than glitches. So at this stage, spend an extensive amount of time working to test your app. It's a recommended practice to use something like TestFlight to get a beta product out to testers. The more people that are testing your app, the better. Many people will test for free, just so it can go on the resume, so take advantage of that.

Work out any bugs you have in the app, and then retest after that. Make sure every button, textfield, scrolling feature, etc. works properly. This stage should take a minimum of 5 hours for every app, even the simple ones. If your app is more complex, then you should obviously increase your testing time.

3 Things To Test For:
- Does my app work on multiple devices. iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and earlier?
- Does my app work with the most common OS?
- Does my app display an error message when no internet is available?
After you have tested for all of these things, then you should be good to go. Check out the blog for more of my follow up post on marketing tips, tricks, and strategies. Good luck!

Photo from inside Apple's testing lab. Source: geektyrant.com

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creating A Great App: Stage 3

Development
The development of your mobile application or game is where the real magic starts to happen. At this stage, you have to tap into your inner programming self and execute the actual programming. Luckily, by now you will have a complete 100% complete design which has laid out the specifics of the programming. Every button, text field, and label should be accounted for in your design, and now you must just execute the code. Trust me, having a completed design makes things much easier during programming. Xcode should be open, and you should be cranking out that Objective C!

Tips for programming:
- Get in the zone. Remove any distractions around you and focus on coding.
- Have a glass of water near you. You don't want to have to go get a drink during a furious coding session.
- If you play music, make sure it's classical at a low volume.

Additional Tip for hiring freelancers - 
Freelancers often won't know what you have in mind, so be specific when making your design plan. Even if you aren't familiar with programming, playing around with xcode can help you understand some of the tools available to the developer.

Here's a motivational video for you. It's about 7 minutes long, worth the watch.