App Store Tips: The Road To The Emerald City
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App Store Tips: The Road To The Emerald City



Tips and strategy to help you on the path to success in the App Store.

Tips and strategy to help you on the path to success in the App Store.



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  • Agenda
  • Mike Lee, Tapulous
  • Introduce the idea of using hashed ID’s instead of full user ID’s when working with ad networks.PO
  • With over 10 billion downloads from just Apple’s App Store, it’s clear that people are very willing to try new apps. It’s equally clear that app developers and publishers need to look beyond downloads and focus marketing resources on attracting and retaining the quarter of customers who tend to become loyal users.108 new game apps per day get submitted ( non-game apps647 apps per day get submittedOn top blog Inside Social which puts out the popular AppData reporting for Facebook games, they recently reported that social games had large variance in retention. The variance of users still playing a game after 1 week ranged from 10% to 60% retention, although they found that games converged at 80% week-over-week retention beyond the initial week’s churn.Similar retention rates are being achieved by iOS games.
  • Maximize the use of copy above the fold (before the “more” button). You are limited to three lines; lines are made up of 120 characters and then they word wrap. Watch out so when the line wraps, you don’t lose precious real estate.
  • Apperang: 10 Media Mentions incl. TechCrunch, MobileBeat, Pocketgamer and Tuaw and more than 80 leads.Using Twitter:Perhaps even more telling of the business value in using Twitter, as a part of our launch, was how an unsolicited tweet was able to connect me to a writer at TechCrunch named, GaganBiyani, which ultimately landed us a story in Mobile Crunch. This was no small feat for a company headquartered in central Minnesota, far from Sillicon Valley. Later on, several other tech blogs followed on the TechCrunch coverage and they wrote their own stories. The post Biyani wrote ended up being among the most popular in Mobile Crunch for the entire week – during a week that was competing for coverage against the iPhone 4 launch. Not only was it good industry buzz that resulted in several leads from additional new app developers who wanted to participate in our app promotion service; but it helped provide a big organic boost in early adopters on the consumer side of our service as well, which has provided great feedback while we are in our public beta phase
  • Paul O’Connor, Appy Entertaining, Trucks & Skulls,, FaceFighter, Tune Runner and Zombie Pizza Candy RushCustomer Zero aka AppleStaff Favorite or New & NoteworthyCourting Apple: App that shows off hardwareOriginal titleOver deliver value for userCredibility as AAA developerReviews especially Slide-To-Play and 148Apps
  • Acquisition costs should run approx. $1 or less
  • New iOS app featured dailySimple to implementJust insert one line of codeMore engagement with content that users valueEncourages repeat visitorsAnd REV SHARE!View past featured appsLink to App StoreSort by number of votes and popularityApp detailsDescriptionImagesView commentsSocial sharing: Facebook, Twitter and email
  • NgmocoThe mobile social gaming platform will let players compare their high scores with friends and duel each other in challenges, replicating the features of social networks in a mobile setting. DeNA has combined its Mobage-town social network on Japanese phone networks with Ngmoco’s Plus+ social game platform. The mobile social network represents DeNA’s bid to extend its success in Japan to a global cell phone market.Single Sign-inHere's how single sign on works (video): Just log in to the Facebook application on your mobile phone once.  From then on, you can log in to any other application on your phone that supports single sign on without typing a username or password again. This works on any Android phone or any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch device that supports multitasking (most iOS4 devices). Our goal is to save you time so you can get to what you want to do.   Starting today, you can try this new experience yourself with any of these Android apps: Flixster, Groupon, Loopt, SCVNGR, Yelp and Zynga Poker.  iPhone apps will soon be available with single sign on. Going forward, expect even more apps to launch with this functionalityFlixter"Facebook’s new feature shows how an Internet of many connected devices is quickly converging as one platform," says Flixster co-founder and CEO Joe Greenstein. "Our 23 million mobile users are now just one click away from their friends, whether they are using an Android phone, an iPad or accessing Flixster or Rotten Tomatoes from their desktop."
  • Riptide Games, Brian RobbinsChristmas is a head spinner. We’ve seen apps outside of the top lists get three times the traffic on Christmas Day and then slowly decline for the next two weeks. Last year we heard some of the top 10 apps saw 50 times the traffic on Christmas Day.Watch out for the big guys like EA. They know the market and know how to capitalize on holidays, making it very difficult to compete against them. You cannot outspend them. It may be better to spend prior to Dec. 23 or after Dec. 27. Flurry reported that big advertisers bought out several publishers’ inventory for several periods during last year’s holiday season.Don’t try to overanalyze the holiday timing. Everything in the App Store gets a boost around the holidays, and with Christmas in particular the effect lingers well beyond Christmas Day.Promoting Four Days Prior to the Holiday Increases Visibility and DemandSince there is a sales peak during the weekend (logically key holiday), strategically running a promotion for four consecutive days prior to the weekend (holiday) takes advantage of the App Store algorithm. “‘The formula for App rankings only accounts for your last four days of sales.’ The formula is 8 times the sales of the current day + 5 times the sales on the 2 proceeding days + 2 times the sales on initial date,” states faberNovel’sBaptiste Benezet.Beware of App Store Holiday LockdownGetting in the top rankings of the App Store will pay off even more this year as Apple announced that it will freeze the Top App listings during the Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas lockdown, so beware of the lockdown timing and work it into your promotional strategy.Holidays Are a Good Time to Launch Entertaining AppsMichel Kripalani, president of Oceanhouse Media, (whom I interviewed at iPhone/iPadDevCon) won the rights to publish Dr. Seuss stories on cell phones. He launched three Grinch apps just before the holiday season last year. Each of the Grinch apps was featured individually in the App Store for a week or so during the holidays. Grinchmas! made it to number eight overall in the rankings. As daily sales rolled in, Michel said that’s when he knew he had a real business on his hands. Michel advises that quality is still the key to a sustainable app business as well as developing multiple apps.
  • Know the users/players: While planning an app, determine the target audience and what features will be sticky for that audience. Pretty basic, but it’s the key to building and marketing an engaging app.Entertainment value: Again basic, but it’s much easier to increase application use with strong entertainment value. Incorporate human triggers: lust, mystique, prestige, alarm, power, vice, and trust. A narrative will increase interest in the app as well as rules, time pressure, ranks and levels, marketplace, different environments, and winning assets.Tips about use (a start to advancing the user through the app): Reveal the rules as necessary, educate the user about app usage, reveal secrets or hints on improving the experience, or add features for additional interest (be sure to inform the user). Continued feedback accelerates mastery and increases application use.In Bookworm, basic rules are presented to the player prior to the start of app play.Creating a community: Not only does it defray distribution costs, creating a social outlet for the audience increases buzz about the app. App promotion could include sending requests to friends or getting friends to work together to win a prize or achieve a goal.Apps like Resident Evil 5, Unreal Tournament III, Guitar Hero/Band Hero, and Mercenaries have features where the user gets a friend to join as they play through the normal game mode. This fosters community by encouraging play with others (regardless of their location or progress within the game). Facebook is a great place to start a community and then promote the app profile in the app to increase friends. Many games, like Bejeweled, have started Facebook pages for passionate app users.Collecting: Most people love to collect; it is innate in our nature. Provide opportunities for players to collect something to gain bragging rights with their friends.Games like LittleBigPlanet encourage players to collect as many items as possible. Some of these items improve the user’s status by changing the way the character looks. Players who have obtained items difficult to acquire will generally flaunt their success by dressing their avatars with these items.Exchanges: Two-player games or teams encourage engagement by adding a social element and increasing competition. Exchanges can include: taking turns, making allies, getting app usage advice, sharing weapons or accessories, etc. Is there a way to add a social element to the app?The best game to demonstrate this is Nintendo’s Pokémon games. Each player is allocated only a certain number of items (in this case, Pokémon). In order to collect them all, the user must trade with other players. Some Pokémon will change forms while being traded, while others are simply not available unless traded. This also fosters community by forcing trades between players.Customization: The more a user can customize the app and the interface, the more invested the user is in the app. Tests show that creating a character for the opponent instead of just labeling the opponent as the “computer” will create more player involvement.Customization is a game marketer’s friend. The Sims is a good example; games have slowly integrated the ability to create a custom character or shape experience to preferences. Games like Guitar Hero allow players to create a custom star. Customization gets as detailed as settings for four points on the cheek and three points on the chin for each character. Playing with the customization, players have recreated their favorite heroes/villains as well as creating self portraits to immerse themselves further in gameplay.Points: Can some scoring method be built into the app to challenge the user to increase app usage? Psychologically, redeemable points drive loyalty as users equate earning points (especially to earn something) to not wasting time.PlayStation and Xbox use a trophy/achievement system to encourage users to compete against friends to see who can score higher or complete more objectives.Create competition among friends using visible metrics: People are social beings; the more interaction the user has with the app, the more engaged the user will be. Some additional features could include: Friend wallsCustomizationUser vs. user engagementsInstant messaging interfacesConsole apps use messaging systems for players to keep in touch and send app invites. For example, while playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, the user can send a message to other friends requesting they join them in play. When friends are offline, messages can be sent through the app system similar to e-mail. In many cases, players on the friends’ list are more apt to check their gaming message box over their traditional e-mail box. For example, the app’s messaging box is used as a means to set up times to play apps with friends at a later point.Messaging when inactive: It’s important to build rapport and maintain relationships. Be sure to build a messaging platform into the app. Make messages interesting: new features, promotions, cross-selling opportunities, etc. Don’t drop the connection with the user if at all possible, but beware not to message too much to cause irritation.Fresh content: Continue to perfect the app and use messaging to tell users when there is something new. Many games now utilize downloadable content (aka DLC) to expand the experience for gamers with brand new content, like additional stories, side quests, characters, or costumes. Sony’s Heavy Rain released a brand new side story as downloadable content, allowing the gamer to broaden their experience with the game for a nominal fee.Incentives for returning: Give the user a reason to return – bonuses, additional app usage tips, special privileges, etc. Nintendo’s Animal Crossing is a perfect example, always giving players reasons to return. Depending on the date that the user fires up the app, they experience different events, meet new characters, or find new collectibles, like bugs or fish.
  • 26% of apps downloaded opened onlyonceFixed interval reward scheduling is tied entirely to timing within a freemium game and is popular in games using delay or decay mechanics (think farming, cooking etc). Fixed interval reward schedules strengthen monetization opportunities by offering “hurry” methods. This reward schedule works by providing a gamer the option to bypass the element of time, essentially hurrying an action in exchange for “X”, usually virtual currency. Instead of waiting four hours or two days for a crop to mature or dolphin to grow, you can do it now. Additionally, the fixed interval ties into compulsion loops of advancing game play. A second kind of reward schedule is fixed action.Fixed action reward scheduling basically presents gamers this value: collect/do/find “X” and achieve “Y”. In plain English, clean a tank, get a dolphin buck. The achievements can be tied to both time and/or action within your freemium game.Freemium Game Mechanics, Elements of a Good Reward ScheduleContingency, a user is clearly educated on what the process for reward is. In other words, they know what needs to be done to achieve advancement, rewards etc.Response, when requirements are met, the game must provide clear and consistent messaging of the achievement, this is a great opportunity to build social/share element in your game. Trade Nations is a great example of executing this element well, and allowing an opportunity to share your achievement with your social network.Reinforcement, providing positive reinforcement for users who complete desired actions, pass certain time milestones etc. is the final and third component and ties to the response factor of an effective reward schedule.
  • What are discounting alerts?Discounting alerts are an outstanding way to drive users back into a game, or entice them while already there. There are a variety of things that can be discounted and potentially trigger an alert, for example:Virtual Currency Discounts ( ex. “Receive half off all bundles of dolphin bucks today only)Virtual Good Discounts ( ex. “Today only build stockpiles for half off”)Time Discounts (ex. “Today only harvest in half the time”)
  • When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others’ farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies. As the French sociologist Marcel Mauss tells us, gifts are never free: they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity. It is rude to refuse a gift, and ruder still to not return the kindness.[11] We play Farmville, then, because we are trying to be good to one another. We play Farmville because we are polite, cultivated peopleEver since Apple opened up in-app purchases for free apps two weeks ago, it’s been catching on. In general, free apps are downloaded 10 to 20 times as much as comparable paid apps. Now, says Young, the payments can be “built into the compulsion loop of the game.” In other words, developers will get consumers to try their apps and then ask them to pay only once they are hooked.This model works particularly well for games. Eliminate Pro easily could have been a paid app for which ngmoco could have charged $7.99 or $9.99. It is the first multiplayer first-person-shooter for the iphone. You play against other people on their iPhones around the world, and can connect to the server-based game via WiFi or the 3G cellular data network.In order to advance or level up, your battle suit needs to be powered, and you need to buy power cells to charge up your suit. Power cells are the currency of the game. The game comes with 30 free power cells, and then you can buy them in increments going from $0.99 to $39.99. You can still play the game without buying power cells, and your suit gets trickle-charged, but some people are really impatient and they’d rather pay to play.It only takes a small percentage of hardcore gamers who opt to pay for their power-ups to exceed the revenues ngmoco could have made with an all-paid app being bought by fewer people. Ngmoco has three more games it is planning to release before Christmas, and they will all follow the same freemium model. “We think at the end of the day this is the best way to build a big business on the iPhone,” says Young.
  • - According to Juniper Research on November 30th, In-Game Purchases to blow mobile game revenues past $11B by 2015- - The research firm also says in-game purchases will overtake the traditional pay-per-download model, with Apple’s in-app billing mechanism leading the way, as the primary source of monetizing mobile games in about two years (by 2013).Between June and December, revenues generated by in-app purchases in free applications more than doubled for both the iPhone and iPad: In-app transactions across free and premium apps now account for 49 percent of iPhone developer revenues and 29 percent of iPad developer Additional established mobile game development studios are now embracing the freemium model.EA, Namco, THQ, and many smaller firmsIncreased competition for all of our new mobile businesses.
  • SkyVu Pictures announced today that the company has reached over 10,000,000 app downloads (paid & free) with their top-selling BATTLE BEARS game franchise reaching over 8,000,000 downloads.

App Store Tips: The Road To The Emerald City App Store Tips: The Road To The Emerald City Presentation Transcript

  • Growing Your iOS App Business“The journey to the Emerald City”
    Ryan Ruud Marketing Communications, W3i
    @ryanruud on Twitter
  • The Emerald City
    App success = Emerald City
  • The Wizard
    The Wizard = Mystery of the App Store
  • The Yellow Brick Road
    We’re off to see the wizard. . .
    There is a path and you’re not alone on your way to the Emerald City
  • Along the way. . .
    Planning (Brain)
    Distributing (Courage)
    Engaging (Heart)
    Cashing in (Ruby Slippers)
  • Planning
  • What Type of App to Build
    Pick a category
    App Store 20 total categories
    Games 19 sub-categories - 15% of App Store
    Highly competitive
  • Creating the Blockbuster
    It is harder to create a hit without a cowboy mentality surrounding you.
    Fail upwards.
    Don’t create a bigger footprint and get trapped in your own wealth.
    It helps to be a little crazy, a little delusional.
    Don’t be afraid to pivot.
    Start with a lot of concepts, then start cutting.
    Understand the human side of business.
    Relentless focus on quality and creating apps that don’t suck
    Stop doing things that piss users’ off
    Hurry up and wait- Eliminate splash screens
    Surprise and delight- Add those little things that impress people. 
    Implementation detail- Never let them see how you made it
    Design for everyone- Bejeweled versus Grand Theft Auto
    Don’t be a jerk- spam
  • Be Transparent
    Make it easy for users to find the answer
    Added “Need to request a refund?” and “How to disable in-app purchasing”
    Direct link in app via a “?”
    Additional disclosures in App Store Description
  • Build in engagement
  • App Store Optimization-ASO
    Easy to recognize and tie to app
    Consistent use (small and large icon)
    Avoid trademark violations
    Vector based
    Describe utility of the game
    Avoid special characters
    Don’t use the device in name
  • App Store Optimization-ASO
    Take the time to make quality images
    Capture images that best depict app
    Don’t use device imagery (automatic rejection)
    First two lines most important
    Simple, concise words
    Match tone to game
    Use copy to enhance credibility
    Don’t include price
    Maximize copy above the fold
  • Distributing
  • Predictable Distribution
  • Dolphin Play Ranking
  • How to Influence Rating
    Apply viral hooks in your app to encourage sharing
    Use in-app messaging
    Develop a plan
  • Driving Installs
    Public Relations
    10 Media Mentions
    80+ In-coming Leads
  • Elusive Apple Feature
    Credibility & Awareness
    Demo at mobile shows
    Nag, ask questions
  • Advertising
    Game App Advertising US
    *Seasonal price sensitivity
  • Discounting
    Discounting can get you noticed
    App price trackers will promote
    Make sure price drop is ridiculous enough to get PR
    Never say never. Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games-creator of Infinity Blade,
    "Folks we are NOT going to screw the folks who bought Infinity Blade at $5.99 by dropping the [price] only a few weeks after we ship!"
    Just discounted price by 50%.
  • AppAllStar – iOS App Calendar
    Calendar Widget
    Single-day Widget
    iOS App Calendar
    Promotional Site
  • Viral
    Getting more social
    Ngmoco – launching worldwide social gaming network
    Samsung’s Android phones
    Facebook’s single sign-in
  • Capitalize on Holiday Demand
    Christmas is a head spinner— over 3X the traffic
    Watch out for the big guys like EA
    Don’t over analyze
    Promote 4 days prior
    App Store holiday lockdown
    Demand for holiday themes
  • Engaging
  • Increase App Usage
    Plan. Who’s the audience? What is sticky for them?
    Plan for strong entertainment value
    Give tips about use
    Create a community
    Allow customization
    Create competition among friends using visible metrics
    Add fresh content
    Give incentives for returning
  • Reward Users for Coming Back
    Strategic reward schedules
    Fixed interval reward scheduling
    Fixed action reward scheduling
    Elements of Good Reward Schedules
    Fixed interval reward
    Trade Nations
    Fixed action reward
    Dolphin Play
    Trade Nations
  • Alerts Are a Must.
    Push Notifications
    Maximum 3 times a day
    Tied to events or actions
    Decay thresholds
    Time thresholds
    Maximum thresholds
    Drive action and game progression
    New Content/features
  • Compulsion Loops
    Tangle of social obligations
    Eliminate Pro
    Gets users hooked and then asks them to pay
    Dolphin Play
    Dolphins need feeding
    Bejeweled Blitz
    Challenge friends
    Buy tractor, plow faster
  • Constant Updates
    Push notification keeps game top of mind
    Improve game play
    Add fresh content
    Add social elements
    Fix bugs
    Pocket God
    37 updates were released for the iOS version of the game as of February 23, 2011,
  • Cashing in
  • Game Balancing
    Having multiple options or routes to victory
    User can buy a quicker route
    Smurf’s Village
    “…blatant attempt to push user into buying massive amounts of in-app currency.”
  • 16 out of 25 top grossing iPhone game apps are using in-app purchases
    iTunes Top Grossing 03/31/2011
  • 10 out of 25 top grossing iPhone game apps are using the free-to-play model
    iTunes Top Grossing 03/15/2011
  • Free vs Paid
    Revenue Share By Monetization Type (United States)
  • With W3i’s Ad-funded Payment Platform
    Fully Branded
    Recommend apps for virtual currency
    Easy for user to participate—no cash outlay required
    Higher conversion rates
    Increased life-time value
    Fully brand for your app
    Your virtual goods
    Customized interface
    User install history
    Easy to integrate
  • 3rd Party Developer Simulation Game
    raiX Fish Farm
    Ad Funded Payment Platform
  • Sold Millions, Now What?
  • Licensing
  • Questions
    Twitter: W3i
    Blogs: W3i
    SmartAppMarketing AppMarketingTips