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First app popularity problem
Started by kizzwiz Nov 04 2013 09:15 PM

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#1

kizzwiz

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Since this is my first application, it's really hard to me to gain at least one part of the audience. Currently I have 9 reviews and all of them gave me 5 stars. Anyone who installs the application says it is a great game.
So, problem is not in the game, problem is in that this is my first app and noone ever heard about me before.

I would like to know what is the best way to promote own app that is FREE and what is the best way to get audience and app users?
For now i have 40-50 downloads even I think this app deserves more.

Here's a link to the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gmail.bartolicluka1.EA

 

Thanks.



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#2

AlanPlantPot

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This is the biggest problem for all developers, and you'll struggle to get a definitive answer, but here are my thoughts.

 

Have you been in touch with games journalists? Email every website, blog etc that reviews games, give them a free copy off the game and ask them to review it. Even if you send it to 50 people and only 5 review it, that's better than 0 reviews out there. Also, I would just mention that most people will probably ignore your 5 star reviews on Goggle Play for now, because there aren't very many of them in total. I don't know of any app where the first 10 or so reviews weren't made by the dev team, or their friends and family (I can see that one of the people that reviewed the game is also listed in the special thanks  :)  ).

 

Have you asked Google / Apple etc if they would consider showcasing your game on the store's front page? The worst that can happen is they'll say no, but if they do feature your game then it's immediately right there for people to see when they open the store.

 

Do you have any means for users to share the game with their friends (e.g. posting on Facebook)? There can be no denying that a major part of Candy Crush Saga's success was due to the fact that there were constant posts showing up on people's Facebook walls - even if 99% ignored them the sheer volume to begin with meant there would be a lot of installs. A lot of people will disapprove of it (personally I hate having spam show up on FB), but it's one way to spread the word about the game.

 

Other than that, just spread the word everywhere you can - forums, networking events etc.



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#3

RJ5

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I'm in a similar position. I have little or no budget for marketing, have emailed 60+ websites giving out promo codes for reviews (only 1 of which has been used)

 

I'm not expecting to be raking in the cash but it would be nice to be able to get over 100 sales, my apps been out for 2 weeks now and its not been downloaded for the last 5 days

 

I'm on a 'massive' 71 downloads and becoming very dishearten by the whole thing!



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#4

kizzwiz

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AlanPlantPot 

thank you for your detailed answer.

RJ5, I've done everything like you and I'm sure that in the near future there will be more and more downloads and installations ;)

 



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#5

AlanPlantPot

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Happy to help  :)

 

One thing to keep in mind is to try and build some interest well before the app is released:

 

Are you able to provide details to journalists during development?

Are there forums you could post to?

Do you have a Facebook/Twitter page for the company or the game?

 

I realise this doesn't help you with your current game, but it's worth remembering for next time. 



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#6

RJ5

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@AlanPlantPot

 

fair enough I didnt try any of those things prior to releasing my app, but I've done all of those post release with zero success



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#7

develephant

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I think it's important for new developers to realize that the market has taken a dramatic swing from what it was even a year ago.  The volume of daily new apps has made it nearly impossible to cut through the pack without other investments in marketing.

 

My app based income has been cut by about 90% of what it was last time this year.  Though I am still able to bring in enough income from apps to support a family of three, that will not be the case within a few months.  My successes have been built on volume of apps, not any big sellers.  It's trickle income, and it worked for the most part.

 

It's the news that nobody wants to hear, especially on a site dedicated to making games and apps an easy reality.  I'd be surprised if Corona wasn't aware of this as well, hence the new pricing models.

 

The app market has become very similar to the music business.  Pretty much anyone inclined can create music with an iPad at this point, but only a tiny minority will make it to the top.  And rarely, if ever, without a publisher.  There is actually quite a bit of difference between an "independent" musician and "hobbyist," though they may use the same creative tools.  The app developer seems to be facing a similar crisis.

 

Even the big players are not immune.  For example the games Amazing Alex and Pudding Monsters are the follow-ups to Angry Birds and Cut The Rope.  Neither one of those follow-up games has been able to get anywhere near the traction of the first games, and it isn't for lack of capital.

 

So what does that mean for us who love developing, and find vast creative energy in the building of apps?

 

To me it means we will need to reach out more and start team building so we can mitigate the cost of time. It means we do it for the love of it first, and the money second. It means that we consider support roles in the industry.  If we can't be the big game maker, then at least try to help others do so.  Sell templates, start building apps for hire, etc.

 

I'm generally an optimistic person, but the last 3 apps I released have brought in basically nothing.  It's the first time that has happened, and my optimism faded a bit.  It reminded me of the quote; "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different."  I was doing what I did before, but it wasn't working anymore.  Time to step back and reevaluate.

 

Anyway, I'm still extremely optimistic because there is a huge industry around game and app development that will continue to expand, so opportunity is out there, but I might not be the next Lady Gaga of apps.  Which is probably for the best at the end of the day.

 

Cheers.



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#8

coolromin

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damn @develephant you are scaring new comers like me :S



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#9

jonjonsson

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Well that was sobering. Thanks for sharing though :)



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#10

RJ5

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yeap just a bit!

Not going to jump off a bridge just yet... but I'll start scouting for locations! :)



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#11

develephant

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@coolromin I don't mean to scare anyone, but I've heard multiple stories now of developers putting months of work in to end up with little to no traction.  It's not a fun place to be, especially if you're approaching app dev as a money maker. I think it's important to tamper expectation with reality. Oddly, the possibility for your app to become the next big thing is probably just as likely as the next person, so keep hacking away.  But if you're looking to make a living, don't put your eggs all in one basket.  It's the standard cautionary tale.

 

In the long term this "shakedown" will be good for everyone, developers and consumers alike.  In the short term it's a little dicey to be making any large investments of time or money without taking on a huge risk.

 

Like I said previously, if you love developing, don't stop.  The industry is still growing, and we will need to grow and change along with it.  Those who can ride it out will reap the rewards.  At least that's my feeling on it.

 

Have a great weekend, coding I hope. ;)  



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#12

ingemar

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I've had exactly the same experience as @develephant. The last year has been more difficult to generate income and for the first time, advertising has become the major source of income as app sales continue to drop.

I'm not a fan of re-skinable templates though. These might be a good way to generate extra income for the developer, but it's not good for the app stores. I think it further dilutes the app stores with hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of identical apps with the same game play, same logic, same everything... just re-skinned, making it even more difficult for unique one-of-a-kind apps to be discovered.

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#13

RJ5

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@develephant, I went into this with my eyes fully open, didnt expect at all to make a living out of this but you can even get over 100 downloads it does make you pretty dishearten

 

@ingemar, what would kind of ratio is your income from advertising 60%-40%, 70%-30%?? I've always wanted to stick to advert free app, but I might give it a try on my next one



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#14

develephant

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I would have to agree with ingemar on the ad revenue.  I have started that as well with a recent app, and though it's nothing like the previous app revenue, it's better than a kick in the pants.  That was based on a holiday app, so the traffic was higher than usual.  But I'll keep pursuing that path as well.

 

@ingemar have you integrated any in-app purchases?  I have yet to find a compelling game idea to warrant IAP, but was curious if you've had any experience with them.  In regards to templates, the only reason I mention it is because when I first picked up Corona I purchased a few to get started.  I'll tell you this, the person who made the template made a heck of a lot more money than I did.  But I see your point.

 

Cheers.



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#15

LairdGames

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100% agree with both develephant and ingemar. The app market is changing. Making apps is a risky business and having all your eggs in one basket is even more risky. I learned that lesson the hard way. I have been trying to improve my DL for my first app for months now and very little to show for it. Still I decided to see that period as a learning experience since it allowed me to learn about integrating different ad networks in my first app. That will be very valuable when I launch my next app which is in developement right now.


In term of DL, I do not think you can expect much if it a paid app (at least until you get discovered) but for a free app, you should be able to get at the very minimum 10-20 (iOS ) per day. It may not seems much but that's 300-600 a month. Of course these are low number by any means but if you have multiple apps then can add up. Anyway I think I wrote a guest blog earlier this year about app dev risks.

My final thought is that I believe that we are all blessed by the fact we discovered something (app dev) that we enjoy and that give us a way to be creative like those who paint or make music. The fact we can also sometimes make money with it is a bonus :)

Happy coding!

Mo.

Ps1: for the people above who had very little DL, could you post your game links here. I would love to take a look! It cannot hurt to have couple more eye balls on them :)

Ps2: For new people here, do not choose your app name or keywords while your loading your app to the App Store! Take your time to deal with the ASO aspect of your app (app name, keywords and screenshots..)

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#16

ingemar

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@RJ5
The ratio is about 60/40 in favor of advertising revenue.

@develephant
I don't have anything against templates per-se. They're a good learning experience.
However I've seen a trend of all-inclusive templates being sold, where developers give away everything and the buyer just needs to replace the graphics/sound (sometimes not even that) and submit to the app store.

I do have IAP in some of my apps, but only to remove advertising. I don't have any apps yet where IAP makes more sense (like buying characters or other in-app consumables). I usually have a paid and a free version of an app. The ratio of Paid/IAP revenue in that case is around 80/20 in favor of paid for the same app title.
But like I said in my previous post, the advertising revenue of the free apps make up for the lesser IAP revenue.

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#17

RJ5

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@ingemar

thanks a lot for sharing that... think I will possibly give advertising a go see what I can get from it

 

@kizzwiz

things have changed a bit for me now.

I had listed my game at $0.99 to start off with and got a tiny amount of downloads. Then at the weekend I dropped the price down to free so I could get people from the Corona Indie Devs group on facebook to download it and leave reviews and ratings for me.

Because I now had a rating I got picked up by App Gone Free who featured me, then over the next 2 days I got over 13,000 downloads and jumped up to number 5 in the word game iOS charts (unfortunately I didnt make a single cent from it - but I would rather people were playing my game at the minute). I'm planning on leaving it free for the time being and possibly adding some more game modes which people can then buy through an IAP. When I set out making my game I had set myself the goal of getting a couple of hundred users, so I'm more than happy with the number I've got!



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#18

jen.looper

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The sobering reality as expressed above leads me to press CL to really ramp up its business apps support. I really think that this is the area where contracting money can be made. And to compete with Titanium we need something rock solid and serious. My apps tend to be educational, fitness, or utility, and having very solid widgets is critical.



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#19

ingemar

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@jen.looper

I agree.

I'd like to see native widgets instead of the now simulated widgets we have. Simulated widgets will never behave 100% the same way as native especially with regards to mulitplatform support.

It hurts to say this but Titanium is better for business apps at the moment.

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#20

develephant

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#21

Alex@PaNc

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Not to bump an old thread, but I also found the below article from Indiegames very interesting. Not necessarily an one-man studio like many folks here, but still an interesting look back at a development process of a successful indie game:

 

http://indiegames.com/2013/08/bringing_100_rogues_to_ouya_a_.html



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#22

develephant

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I wouldn't consider this topic old, I think its "evolving" and these articles are great for balancing expectation and learning from others mistakes, though it is sometimes a little painful to read some of these.  :unsure:

 

Thanks for sharing.  Cheers.



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#23

Alex@PaNc

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Noted! I'd suggest everyone go through the Indiegames postmortems to see exactly where they went wrong (and more importantly, right!)

 

I think one of the more important concepts that has been brought up recently is survivorship bias. It's kind of like confirmation bias, as it's the phenomenon of people only paying attention to successful development processes instead of analyzing the failures/shortcomings of others, to allow them to sidestep their issues.

 

I agree with Alan and Develephant, in that marketing is SO SO SO important. My first free app has been DLed over 1k times but that has translated to ~60 bucks over the course of its life in sales for the paid version. What was the problem with my app? It's not very fun, and it doesn't look fantastic. I have to face that reality. It's too easy and too hard, in the wrong ways, I personally made the GFX so they aren't fantastic, and the framerate is killed on all but the most recent Android devices.

 

I agree with the tenor of this thread: I thought it would be easier to get a higher download number. That was my own naivete and I have no one to blame but myself. One has to take a step back and look at your app critically. Would you download it? Would you pay for it? Would you play your own game more than once? Would you see your friend texting and immediately tell them to download it, because it's going to blow their minds? I couldn't say that about my first game. It was fine, but it was nothing to set the world on fire. 

 

To wrap this stream-of-consciousness post up, I'd also suggest getting beta testers involved early and often. TestFlight and Android forums are the best ways to get eyes on your game, and there are always willing participants on TouchArcade and DroidGamers forums, looking to help out the little guy. Their feeling is, you never know when you're going to get to test the next Mikey Shorts. It's helped me immensely in development of my next couple of projects, and has allowed me to pull my game back from the brink of release into obscurity, and to add parts that make it much better.



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#24

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The above post by Panc hit a chord with me, I have concentrated heavily on UI and usability in my more recent work as well as marketing, and it's paying off to a certain extent.

 

One thing that Gabriel Machuret said on Corona Geek a few episodes ago is very true: "Don't fall in love with your app". Don't fall in love with anything about it, but rather get feedback as you get through the process. Ask for advice, show your work, get feedback. Change, pivot, iterate. I put the BellyApp on PreApps and once I get a prelim app trailer teaser video shot, will post that and ask for feedback from the people who sign up as beta testers. Otherwise, you're running the risk of a disappointment with downloads, it seems to me.

 

My motivation for today! :D

 

best,

Jen



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#25

develephant

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Another high-production game having a hard time getting traction.  Good read,

 

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DanielVavra/20131218/207388/The_Art_of_Waiting.php




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