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Making money with android apps


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A session at Portland Code Camp 2011 about making money with Android Apps. …

A session at Portland Code Camp 2011 about making money with Android Apps.

Published in: Technology, Business
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  • 1. Making Money with Android Apps
    Nathan Mellor
    CritterMap Software
    Signup for links at
  • 2. Agenda
    About you
    About me
    Ways to promote paid apps:
    Android Market
    Paid advertising
    Internet Marketing
    How to get this work done
    Software Tools
    Human Labor
  • 3. Is this you?
    “I heard about some high school kid that wrote an app in a weekend and is now a millionaire”
  • 4. Is this you?(licensed from
  • 5. Is this you?
    “I write Android Apps just for fun”.
    Would it be less fun if you made a profit?
    “I make $50 a month with my app I spend a few hours a week on”
    Is your time worth more than $2/hour?
    “I mostly do apps for the experience”
    Nothing wrong with that.
    Getting some experience with marketing apps is also helpful
    “I have a solid, fulfilling, well-paying day job”
    Will that always be the case?
  • 6. About me
    Worked for a major printer manufacturer for 12 years
    Feb 2009: “routine” meeting with boss
    Downsizing announced
    New house, new mortgage.
    March 27: Last day at work
    March 28th: Third child born
    April 2009: “Outplacement” counseling
  • 7. Outplacement outcome
    My true passion:
    “Become a successful online business owner”.
  • 8. Getting Started – Nov 2009
    Trade ACT reeducation.
    Enrolled in University of San Francisco’s Internet Marketing program
    New phone operating system called Android
    Got a G1 on craigslist.
    Wrote first lines of Android code
  • 9. Can you write an app this weekend and be rich next week?
    June 2010: First released to Market
    I was aiming for 56 sales / day
    I got 5 on a good day
    In 2010, I paid zero taxes AND got a refund
  • 10. Would you rather someone else paid you?
    Fall 2010: some recruiters call.
    My house
    Easy commute
    Nice Android Job
    Columbia River
  • 11. There is always more marketing to do
    400,000 Android activations per day.
    1% might be target customers
    If 100 buy my product, that’s
    .25% of target
    Or .025% of Android users
  • 12. Marketing through Android Market
    You will probably do this.
  • 13. Do you want to be at the top? Factors
    Total number of downloads/sales
    Recent number of downloads/sales
    Active Install Percentage
    Number of ratings
    Average rating
    Number of comments
    Since December 2010,these factors affect search ranking also
  • 14. To Rank High in the Android Market . . .
    Sell a lot of apps (you want to do this anyway, right?)
    Stay installed
    Keep users happy
    Keep users engaged.
  • 15. Why the comment system *is* against you.
    You can’t respond to comments.
    You won’t get enough information to fix the problem or improve the UI
    You will be blamed for:
    Limitations of hardware
    Glitches in the Android Market
    Imperfections in Public domain data
    But you can always make your app free and get more positive comments, right?
  • 16. Which App would you buy?
    Buena Vista
    Mojave Desert
    The maps are outdated.
    Poor quality, drains battery.
    Horrible interface
    Useless after trial period
    UK map is rubbish
    <Hawaii App> is better and free.
    Extremely useful, with many features
    Best app ever!
    Well worth the money!
    Super program
    Saved me from getting lost
    Great for UK maps!
    Better than anything I've found so far
  • 17. To (try to) get good comments . . .
    Avoid confusion
    Increase the price?
    Continually improve User Experience
    Be clear on what your app does
    Get more of the “right” people to comment !
  • 18. How can you engage the right people?
    Have a weekly email newsletter.
    Subscribe users of your app
    Can use autoresponders
  • 19. What can you cover in a weekly newsletter?
    New features you just put out
    Response to comments in the Market
    News and topics of interest for your target customer
    Ask users to take action:
    Leave a comment in the Market
    Respond to an important survey
    See and comment on your YouTube Video
    Like your fan page on Facebook
    It also serves as a reminder to buy.
  • 20. Reaching the top of your category
    Is it everything?
    When you do:
    Take a screen shot – it can fluctuate
    When you don’t
    Be sure and complain about the algorithm!
    Think of it as a lagging indicator of success.
  • 21. Tracking Performance
    Analytics (Google/Flurry) can track your users behavior
    For marketing, two things are important:
    Source of traffic: how the user arrived at installing your app
    Conversions: does the user take action you want them to take. Subscribe, upgrade, buy extras.
  • 22. Google Analytics for Android Apps
    Conversions can be tracked as goals.
    Android Market Referral Tracking – allows you to tag urls that link to the Android Market.
    Tag your urls:
  • 23. Referal data – Google Analytics
    (direct)/(none) is traffic from Android Market
    Tagged urls track through.
    Boring, isn’t it?
  • 24. After some proprietary hacking . . .
    We can see the keywords being used to find the app in the Android Market!
  • 25. That’s not all. . .
    How about. . .
    Referrals from a Market category (ie Travel and Local) with the position number
    Referrals from “Just in”
    Referrals from “Similar Apps” and which competitor they came from!
    Referrals from AndroLib, AppBrain, BestApps (they tag their urls.)
  • 26. Sources of Downloads- January
  • 27. What can you conclude?
    ‘Top of category’ *isn’t* everything.
    Keyword Search generates up to 100 times more traffic.
    Action items:
    Don’t fret if you are not top in your category yet.
    Concentrate on being found for important keywords
    Make sure the searchers find what they are looking for.
  • 28. What about alternative App Stores
    I get an email every day about a new one.
    Mostly a waste of time.
    Amazon gets about 2% of my sales on Android Market.
    Most are much less than that.
  • 29. Paid Advertising
    If you’ve got money to burn
  • 30. Rule of Thumb
    Don’t spend money if you can’t track the amount of money each customer costs.
    Not meaningful:
    “We spent a $1000 on advertising last month and we increased sales by $2000”
    “Based on our analytics, we are spending $62.67 to acquire each paying customer that buys our app for $1.99 and then spends $4.39. Umm, we better stop.”
  • 31. Avoid: Untargeted Advertising
    Example: Admob
    Don’t push this button.
  • 32. Beware: Supposedly targetted advertising
    Example: Adwords
  • 33. Consider: Pay Per Install
    Much easier to accomplish the money per customer rule of thumb.
    Some Analytics will be needed.
    Consider charging more than .99 for your app.
    Some options:
    Flurry AppCircle
  • 34. Internet Marketing
  • 35. Web page marketing
  • 36. Keyword Research
    A keyword is generally a multi word phrase
    You want keywords that:
    Are RELEVANT to your product
    Have lots of TRAFFIC
  • 37. Example: Traffic
  • 38. Attainable: The Top Ten
    Do any spammers contact you and tell you they can get you into the *second* page of Google?
  • 39. An Optimized Page ..
    Mentions the phrase (ie Android Topo Maps)
    In the url
    In the <title> tag
    In the <meta Description> tag
    In an <h1> tag
    In the first sentence
    In the first sentence of the last paragraph
    2-3 times in between the first and last parag
    Has about 250-750 words (ave 500).
    That’s all!
  • 40. Getting links
    The most creative part of internet marketing
    The best links:
    Have keywords in the link (anchor text)
    Are from “important” websites
    Are from relevant websites
    Have traffic
    How can you get them?
    Article Marketing
    Social Media
    Non hosted blogs
    Guest blogging
  • 41. Getting links
    The most creative part of internet marketing
    The best links:
    Have keywords in the link (anchor text)
    Are from “important” websites
    Are from relevant websites
    Have traffic
    How can you get them?
    Article Marketing
    Social Media
    Guest blogging
    Get app reviews
    Press Release
    Look for what links your competitor has
  • 42. Check Results
  • 43. Rinse and Repeat
    Establish a blog with wordpress
    Add a post every day
    Get some links
    At the end of a year, you will have 200+ keywords in the first page of Google.
  • 44. What is the world’s second biggest Search Engine?
  • 45. What is the world’s second biggest Search Engine?
  • 46. How can you make videos?
    Camcorder pointed at phone
    Emulator Screencast
    Parody of hitler movie – new subtitles
    3D After Effects rendering
    Cartoon from xtramagic
  • 47. How to optimize them
  • 48. Get views and traffic
    YouTube is a social network.
    Get your newsletter subscribers to watch and comment
    Find friends
    Find subscribers
    Consider tools like TubeToolbox.
  • 49. Benefits include:
    Blended search
    Embedding in other websites.
  • 50. What and how often?
    Videos can:
    Be instructional for your product.
    Discuss concepts related to your product
    Be fun
    They should always:
    Target keywords
    How often?
    Once a week would not be overkill.
  • 51. Can you do all this and still have time left to code?
  • 52. Getting things done
    Reduce the amount of human labor
    Increase the number of humans.
    It’s okay to spend money.
  • 53. Tools
    Reduce Human effort
    Wordpress – for blogging
    MailChimp – email newsletter – in app subscription
    SurveyMonkey – for surveys
    Market Samurai – keyword research
    Link building tools
    XtraMagic – cartoon videos
    ScreenCastoMatic – Screencasts
    Animoto – video creation
    BaseCamp – Online Project Management
    Edumobile – online training
    ZenDesk – online/email HelpDesk.
  • 54. People
    For the small businessman, usually means outsourcing
    Is it easier to:
    Get a contract from a spec and get competitive bids? (ieelance,Odesk,etc)
    Hire a part time freelancer? (ieOdesk,etc)
    Hire someone fulltime?
    What would you have them do?
  • 55. Consider hiring someone fulltime.
    Should you do everything yourself?
    Last year, I was just one guy working out of my home office
    I heard that english speaking college educated people were anxious to work for me for as low as $2.50/hour.
    Of course, I was skeptical . . .
    This year, I am still working out of my home office . . .
  • 56. My Team
    Tech support
    Help Guides
    Aspiring Android Developer
    Experienced Android Developer
    Jennifer Joyce
    Beginning Android Developer
    Graphics specialist
    Video production
    Content writer
    Article Marketer
    GIS Specialist
  • 57. Summary
  • 58. Action items for you . . .
    Optimize for keyword search in Android Market
    Start an email newsletter
    Encourage the right people to comment and buy
    Consider Pay Per Install advertising – skip the others
    Write and link up one web page a day
    Create and promote a video every week
    Use some helpful tools
    Gradually hire an offshore team.
    To get links, go to: