Apptamin App demo videos and iOS App Trailers Fri, 28 Mar 2014 03:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How To Find Early Beta Users For Your App Tue, 25 Mar 2014 23:50:06 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> This is a guest post by Bobby Gill, founder of Blue Label Labs.

Are you looking for beta testers to help you facilitate the initial features of your mobile app?

Do you need to find early users to test and find bugs?

Finding beta users who can provide critical feedback is one step to ensure your app is ready for the masses. And while your friends and family are a great place to start, they may not tech-savvy or be in your target market.

In this post, you will discover how a few of the top apps found their early beta users and how you can do the same.

#1: Reddit

Beta users on Reddit

While you may know Reddit as the website for funny animated gifs and viral videos, did you know that there is a sub-Reddit community of game developers?

In fact, within the gamedev sub-Reddit, there is a thread called Screenshot Saturday where every Saturday you can post links to screenshots of games that you are working on.

It’s a great way to get feedback from the Reddit community and drive early interest in your app.

We put our new Word Hack app within the thread and got a few emails just from that one post.

Ninja Tip: Before posting a link of your screenshot to Reddit, first share it on Twitter and then post the Twitter status link to Reddit. It’s an easy way to pick up a few Twitter followers.

Twitter status

Another app that made a great use of Reddit to find beta testers is the Fairshare app, that got their first 1000 users that way.

#2: PreApps

Find beta users with Pre Apps

PreApps coins itself as “your personal preview into the world of mobile apps!”.

PreApps (that just launched its v2) connects eager mobile app users with mobile app developers in hopes of creating a better quality, more successful apps. By implementing user feedback in the development process, apps have a greater chance of success, and users a more enjoyable experience.

It is completely free to post your app on the site, but you can also pay to be a part of the Featured Apps section of the PreApps homepage.

Interested users can vote up your app, be notified when it’s been released, and sign up to become a beta tester of the app. PreApps will feature apps with the highest votes on its homepage.

Craneballs Studios, makers of the popular app Overkill 2, says PreApps played a role in their successful launch which reached over 250,000 downloads day of launch.

#3: Craigslist

Beta users with Craigslist

Need a new couch or looking to sell your old phone, then you should definitely use Craigslist. However, did you know that Craigslist can also be a great source for beta users?

In fact, Level CEO Jake Fuentes said in his interview on Mobile App Chat that he put an ad up on Craigslist promoting a pizza and app party where those who were interested who get free pizza in exchange for feedback on the app.

Not only did he receive some great insight into the key features of the app, but it also allowed him to validate some of the problems he was hoping to solve with the app.

The company has raised $5 million Series A funding and has been covered the NYTimes, Techcrunch, CNN, and other major publications.

#4: Elance / oDesk

Find beta users on Elance

While many of us in the app business are aware that we can find developers on Elance, many of us are NOT aware that we can also find beta testers on the website as well.

Elance has affordable testers who can help you refine the early versions of your app. You can ask them to answer a series of questions, find bugs, or make suggestions on user experience (UX).

While I’m hesitant to completely rely on Elance for UX feedback, it is a great resource for affordable bug testing.

Rather than posting a job, you may consider doing a quick search for “iPhone beta testers” and sifting through the results for those with experience and high average ratings.

#5: UserTesting

User Testing

UserTesting lets you “look over the shoulder” of people in your target audience while they use your mobile app. For $49, you can get a video of a real user testing your mobile site or app in about 1 hour.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You select testers and devices within your target audience specifying gender, age, device, and operating system.
  2. Create a series of tasks users should perform (including installing apps) & follow up with questions they should answer.
  3. A tester speaks her thoughts while a high-resolution webcam captures her entire experience.
  4. Watch, edit, annotate, make clips, and share your videos with your team.

Evernote used UserTesting to understand customer interaction across multiple platforms, improve functionality to increase engagement, and streamline the sign up process.

“On a slow Friday night, I have been able to push a build to UserTesting and receive quality tester videos in 20 minutes,” said Philip Constantinou, VP of Product for Evernote. “It’s addictive to find out almost immediately what people think.”

By using UserTesting, Evernote saw a 15% increase in user retention and dramatic increase in user engagement.


To create a successful mobile app, it is NEVER too early to start marketing and finding early beta testers will help you not only refine your features, but also help you with your sales pitch.

Features that you may have thrown away may end up being your unique selling point. Using the websites above, you will be able to find the beta testers and early users who will kickstart the traction for your app.

Did we miss a website? What was your favorite resource from the list above? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Bobby Gill is the founder of Blue Label Labs, a mobile app development lab based in New York, and the editor of, the premier online resource for news, articles and tips for mobile app design and development.

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App marketing insights from the 2013 App Promotion Summit Mon, 26 Aug 2013 20:56:26 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> On July 11 I was in London for the App Promotion Summit, a 1-day event dedicated to mobile application marketing strategy.

Amongst the audience and speakers, several app marketing experts and successful people from the mobile app industry.

Which, even though the event started crazy early (8am – never seen that!) made for an interesting day, with great insights and advices.

Not really any hidden secret revealed, but good reminders or interesting tips that I believe are worth sharing here.

All presentations were not of the same interest, and below is what grabbed my attention (disclaimer : ad networks tend not to do that – especially after lunch).

Russia #4 in downloads required to be in Top 25

I really like Distimo’s tools and reports. What I got out of this presentation though, is that Russia is definitely a big emerging (and therefore competitive) market.

If you see that you’re starting to get some downloads there, think about ways you could increase them. Like localization for example, or maybe just reaching out to Russian blogs to get reviewed.

No magic behind ASO. Do your homework.

Stefan Bielau did a great presentation on App Store Optimization.

ASO is still very immature, and very limited data is shared by Apple/Google on their search algorithm. Search also gives different results depending on OS, category, countries or languages.

All this makes ASO’s impact hard to measure because other marketing efforts are usually going on at the same time.

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it to get found more easily by users, both on the mobile app stores and in Google’s search result.

Your app store pages give you a chance to rank higher in Google’s results for your keywords. Ideally, you want a search for your app (and/or targeted keywords) in Google to give the following result:

  1. Website
  2. Google Play gage
  3. iTunes App Store page

We’ve talked a lot before on this blog about what you can and should do in terms of App Store Optimization. Stefan gave a good reminder though : ASO doesn’t sell shitty products.

ASO doesn’t sell shitty products” – Stefan Bielau

Clickable links

This one is something I had never really paid attention too : you can have clickable links on the Google Play Store.

Why should you care ?

Because they are dofollow links, and can give juice to your app landing page or website, your support page and your social accounts page. They are also a good way to cross promotes other apps that visitors should like. And of course, well, it’s easier to click or tap somewhere than type a whole address.

At the moment, there are a few rules you need to follow so your links can be clickable as well as some limitations:

  • In your app description text :
    • Use complete links (http & https)
    • This works for web & mobile view
  • In your app update text (What’s new)
    • Use complete links (http & https)
    • Those links are clickable only in mobile view

IAP in Apple App Store

This one I believe we’ve discussed before: the display name for In-App Purchases (IAP) are indexed and takend into account when you search on the Apple App Store.

If you have IAP, this is a great opportunity to

  • Extend your keyword list
  • Increase keyword density

Backlinks & anchor text

We saw that in Google I/O in 2012 and mentioned it in our Google Play Marketing advices, but a reminder can’t hurt: links from review sites, blogs or even your own website will make your app rank higher.

Especially if the anchor text is optimized. It might not be easy to ask a journalist to link to your app store page with specific keywords, but you can at least make sure that YOU do it. Also, that’s another place (besides ASO) where having keywords in your app name proves helpful.

Test your icon and screenshots designs. Use Video.

Stefan also gave a few very practical tips:

  • Test different icon designs in a mobile app banner. Spend a $100 and see which ones performs best by looking at the click-through rate.
  • Test different screenshots designs (here is how to design app screenshots that sell) as well as their order.
  • Display a video for your app on your Google Play page (and soon on the App Store?) – you already know how we feel about that ;)

Here are the slides:

Alternative App Stores and Getting Featured

Alternative App Stores

Meaghan Fitzgerald from 23snaps started her presentation by giving a quick overview of the different mobile App Stores. For them, even though the Windows App Store is a much smaller pool it still generates good downloads.

She emphasized the fact that alternative app stores like the Amazon App Store and the Opera store can good distribution channels to have for your app.

Amazon App Store

We’ve already talked quite a bit about why you should distribute your app on the Amazon App Store and how to market it. Their A/B testing tool lets you test multiple versions of your app at the same time, 1-click downloads for customers with an Amazon account make it frictionless to buy an app and they now have a Game Circle (extended to all Android devices, not just Kindle fire), a game center quite similar to the Apple and Android one.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Opera App Store

Developers shouldn’t neglect Opera neither:

  • It generates 2million downloads per day, mostly in emerging markets.
  • It “hosts” Android, Windows Mobile, Java, Symbian, Blackberry, HTML 5 and iPhone apps (links to the Apple App Store). It’s worth the effort to upload your Android .apk or link to your iOS app to get additional exposure and increase your distribution.
  • Their content-managers are even ready to assist publishing your apps on their store to save you time.

Getting featured

You already know it, getting featured brings big spikes in downloads. Which is good.

However, Meaghan mentioned that retention and engagement of the customers acquired when being featured is often not as good. Some users where just curious and don’t stick around.

Make a good case for your product, and let them know where you want to be featured

That said, it’s still something you want to achieve. Here are a few tips:

  1. Perfect your app. Apple or Google won’t feature you if you don’t have a great app
  2. Get great reviews. Customers need to love your app already. Make sure you do things right and that they have an easy way to give you feedback and rate your app. Especially now that Apple seems to take ratings into their app ranking.
  3. Check & meet requirements. Both the App Store and the Google Play Store have marketing or brand guidelines. For your app to be considered, you want to respect those guidelines as much as possible. Use the right app store badges, and don’t do things like overlapping iPhones or mixing iPhones and Android devices on your website, etc. If you have an app for both iOS and Android, put the iOS platform first if you don’t want to be disqualified.
  4. Make sure you’re a good fit. Don’t ask to be featured everywhere, try to target where it makes the most sense for your app to be featured.
  5. Get in touch with the App Store. If you don’t have the right contacts already, there are a series of different ways to get in touch with the app store staff through the developer console. Make a good case for your product, and let them know where you want to be featured (e.g. Apps for parents)
  6. Wait. 23snapps waited for 3 months.

Here are the slides:

“Hope is not a strategy”

After introducing a few numbers, James Kaye from Dimoso quickly got to the point: it’s a tough industry and the odds of success are against you.

The barrier to entry is rising, consumers move on to other things fast and are hard to retain, and a lot of small developers lacking core skills for app marketing. Worse, marketing is still often an afterthought.

Below are James’ 10 tips for app store success:

  1. Quality & more quality. That’s the number one rule: you need a great app. It also needs to be unique and different. Do a benchmark and some market research.
  2. Have a strategy. Write yourself a checklist. Don’t focus only on the initial launch, you need a long term vision.
  3. App store funnel. You need to retrace your customers’ path: understand and know how they get to your app, what makes them download it, etc.
  4. First impressions count. Video is really important to present your app. You need to select good screenshots and video. James shared a quote from a blog editor:

    It’s unfortunate, but I don’t have time to download and test every app that comes out…. A video takes just seconds to watch and can be the difference in whether an app gets a longer look.” – Barbara Holbrook, Editor in Chief, at Appcraver

    We have a few others too:

    A video provides the quickest way to initially assess your app, letting [bloggers] know if it’s worth downloading and testing further”- Erica Sadun, Pitch Perfect

    Creating a video takes a little more effort, but it can be of tremendous value when you begin pitching your app”- Ken Yarmosh, App Savvy

    OK, enough explaining why we believe in the business we’re in ;)

  5. Understand the app store owners. You can’t expect Google to feature your app if it’s just a lazy iOS port. You need to understand that both Apple and Google want you to use the latest, whether it’s their latest API’s (like the iOS 7 ones!) or hardware features.
  6. Get to grips with ASO. We kinda covered that one already.
  7. Spread the word. Have a media plan, get your timing right. You need to CONTROL YOUR LAUNCH. I’m still amazed at how many developers and startups just submit their app and do not choose to control their release date! You need to know which day you’re launching so you can coordinate your marketing efforts. Plan enough time to create a video and share it: video is essential and YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world.
  8. Get to grips with mobile advertising. It only really works with freemium apps if you want an ROI. Know your ARPU and LTV, and be in it for the long game: test, tweal and test again.
  9. Cross-promote. Do it across all your apps (as long as it’s relevant), and use updates (the “What’s New”) as a cross promotion tool. Although with iOS 7, the latter could become quite useless.
  10. Knowledge is power. Track your app’s performance, how people use it, which app marketing channels work the best, and track your media coverage.

Here are the slides:

How to get media coverage

We’ve talked a lot about how to get press and how to pitch your app on this blog already, and Renate Nyborg had an interesting presentation with good reminders.

The first step is to identify why your app is interesting and useful. Why should people even care?

Why should people even care?

Once you’ve crafted your story and you’re ready to contact bloggers and journalists, do your best to identify that 1 journalist to contact.

If possible, try and find someone that can introduce you. If not, try to engage with them and not ask for something straight away: answer their questions on twitters, post comments on their articles, etc. Don’t stalk.

Pitch them right, and send the right assets.

If you’re a start up, Techcrunch and the likes can be interested in the founders’ background, your funding and your traction (real numbers, not vanity metrics). What makes you different from your competitors (yes, you have some).

Here are the slides:

Don’t forget latin america

Diego Meller’s (from Jampp) presentation was probably my favorite. He talked about a topic I knew little about, the app opportunities in the Latin America market. And he had a great delivery, both effective and fun.

But enough ass-kissing, here’s his point: Latin America is a big market, and it’s closer to the US/European market and easier to understand than markets like China, Russia and Japan.

They are heavy users of mobile devices (almost twice as many mobile phones than in the US) and twitter/facebook. It keeps on growing, and there are still a lot of users to gain. Brazil has already 55 Million smartphone users (the US have 172 Million).

It’s quite an Android world, as Apple devices are still very expensive (much more than in Europe or the US). Android has 53% of the South America smartphones marketshare, while iOS only has 12%.

What’s the most surprising is how much Latina American users are similar to users in Europe and the US: the top games are almost the same!

Latin American top charts comparison

If the same kind of apps have success, that most likely makes it a good additional market for your app. Or a good place to start and evaluate how your app is doing (we often talk about Canada, we know have another alternative).

Latina American users are similar to users in Europe and the US

It’s “only” 2 languages, so localizing your app for the Latin American market seems doable.

Here are the slides:

Those are the reminders, insights and advices that seemed the most relevant during this (very well organized) App Promotion Summit. If there was only one thing to remember it’s the following: it all starts with a great app.

You can check out all the slides on the App Promotion Summit’s slideshare account.

A few other nuggets of wisdom, picked up during panel sessions and other presentations:

  • Ouriel Ohayon
    • App marketing starts way before the app is released, it should be a very early process, and a long term project. Have a video trailer, a website, etc. Improve your product constantly
    • App search is different than web search. Searching for an app is more about searching a need. Apple and Google very far from what app search is.
  • Top games aren’t successful because they went viral, they’re successful because they got good retention
  • Facebook as a target tool is great, but it can burn lots of cash while giving the impression that it’s working great. You need to test it with small cash, tweak it and relaunch it. Don’t blow everything in one go.

Were you there? What did you think of the presentations, and what other insights did you get? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments.

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iOS 7 Wrap Up – Staying Ahead Of The Game Thu, 20 Jun 2013 04:14:44 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> Every WWDC, it’s the same thing: rumors spread ahead of time and then everybody has an opinion on what a failure/success it is for Apple.

For app developers, it’s always interesting to take a look into the future of iOS and how it could impact their lives and businesses.

Because each change on Apple’s side is likely to bring new challenges. And new opportunities. That why we like to take a look at how it impacts app developers and mobile app companies, like we did with iOS 6 and its new App Store.

This time, since we’re a bit late to the party (clients first!), we decided to do a (narrated) wrap up of the best posts on the subject. And hopefully help you cut through the noise if you want to catch up.

If you can’t or don’t want to try the iOS 7 beta just yet (check the end of the post if you do), here are a couple of videos:

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

The new design

Let’s start with the official stuff.

As usual, Apple put together a pretty cool page about its new OS stating that iOS 7 is “The Mobile OS from a new perspective”. We’re glad they’re realizing the interest of video to show the users’ interactions.

I think it was time for a change, and I was pretty excited to see what they would come up with.

And the rumors were true.

This is flat. Really flat. But it’s not 2-Dimensional and there is depth to it.

Some love it, some hate it.

And we’re seeing several posts from designers about how iOS 7 should look like (or its icons).


Design suggestions for the iOS 7 icons by Tristan Edwards (left) and Leo Drapeau (right)

People can say what they want, but iOS 7 is the biggest design change for Apple since the iPhone came out. The changes we had seen before were way smaller (even if some had big impacts): notification center, redesigned music app, new app store design, etc.

Is it possible that they have gone too far in the other direction? Not only completely leaving textures and skeuomorphism, but also gradients, text shadows and box shadows.

It feels pretty good when using it though, and a lot of people are judging before having actually tried it. It might not be art and I do have some doubts about the design of some icons (Safari icon, I’m looking at you), but it makes life easier for users on several levels. At least when it won’t be in beta mode anymore.

As with each iOS update, Apple users get to have a few new welcomed features.

Sure, they’ve not invented them.

It seems that for iOS 7 Apple borrowed ideas from a couple sources (“Metro” from Windows Phone, Google’s apps, etc.). But who cares, as long as it lets you use your iPhone in a better way? It was time that we be able to change our Wifi/bluetooth settings quickly for example, and I’m glad they introduced the Control Center.

What iOS 7 means for app developers and marketers?

But what about you? What about all the app developers, startups and companies that have to deal with this brand new iOS 7?

Whether you like iOS 7 or not, if you develop or market iOS apps then you have to embrace it. And the best way to do that is to consider the opportunities it brings.

Stay ahead of the game

Each time Apple innovates or launches a new product, they like developers and companies that are the first to follow along. This was true for the switch to retina displays and the launch of the iPhone 5.

Each time, Apple featured innovative apps that used the latest technology. Or gave them Apple Design Awards.

Follow the design guidelines

Apple wants you to follow the guidelines they used to build iOS 7, and has already published their iOS 7 UI Transition Guide to make sure they embark app developers with them (here is a recap from TC if you’re in a hurry – or don’t have a developer account).

Two sections there, and two good reasons to check it out: there are the things that every app must do, and the things that every app should do. Pretty clear.

They also quickly made available the videos from the WWDC to help you understand what’s coming up with iOS 7 and how to implement the changes.

Think about it: coming this fall, most iPhone users will have a brand new iOS on their phone and will get used to it and its interface. They’ll get used to the design, to the way they interact with the built-in apps.

And the early adopters will be (already are?) looking for apps that feel the same.

This is fertile ground.

It’s a great opportunity to develop new apps: ones that will have a refreshing look and might just be able to compete with players that won’t be moving fast enough.

Of course, it also means some challenges for apps already on the store, that might now look outdated. It will be interesting to see how each app evolves and who’s left behind.

Want to play around to see what your current or future apps will look like? Here’s a handy iOS 7 GUI PSD.

Use the iOS 7 APIs

1,500 APIs have been added to Apple’s SDK.

From Airdrop to 60-fps Video Capture and Inter-app audio, there’s a lot to explore.

Same here, take a look and try to find how all those APIs could make your app better or help you acquire new customers. For example, Ian from MobileDevHQ has already shared some neat ideas on what you could do with the Airdrop API.

Opportunities for game developers

The game center not looking like a pool table is not the only new thing.

Within all those new APIs it seems that we’re also going to see game controllers, made specifically for iOS, emerge.

And a new game framework, with what should be an easier implementation of turn-based gaming.

Some more opportunities and innovations to come up with!

The iOS 7 App Store

Automatic updates

I love the idea of automatic updates that’s being introduced in iOS 7.

I’ve liked that on Android, and I’m glad it’s coming to iOS too.

This will probably allow developers to update their apps more frequently, and know that most of their customers will be using the latest version of their app.

For users, this means no more delaying all those updates.

I also see some potential problems there though: apps that change too much because devs are basically testing/experimenting, or users not really knowing anymore what’s in the new updates because it just updates automatically (they can go to the app store and check it, but who will really do that?).


Automatic updates in the iOS 7 App Store

For the former, I think that Apple reviewers will keep an eye out for crazy updates/testers.

For the latter, I believe more and more app developers will/should explain at the opening of the app, after an update, what are the changes that have been done and the new features. It can be done with a single screen, several ones, or even a short video. They should also communicate more about their updates outside of the store: mailing-list, blog, social media, etc. Let your users know that you keep on improving your app!

Near me & no more Genius.

I never used Genius anyway. I tried it when it came out, because I was curious about the changes in the iOS 6 App Store. And I wasn’t really happy with the results, as it kept offering apps I didn’t really care about and made for a poor app discovery feature.

It’s been replaced with Near Me, that shows the popular apps near you.

Near Me is not the app discovery feature everybody was waiting to see in iOS 7.

I’m assuming that it will be some kind of “local top chart”, based on users’ locations, where the most downloaded apps will be featured.

It could help app developers and startups that target a specific city or region get some exposure for their apps, though. Which is really difficult right now, whether you’re offering a service (for apps like Maid, TaskRabbit, Ride-share apps, etc.) or content (travel apps, etc.).

Depending on how it is implemented, it could also give interesting opportunities for real life marketing: if you manage to get enough people in a specific city to download and use your app, you could get some exposure in the App Store.

Wish list

With iOS 7, users will be able to add paid apps to their wish list. The button to access it is here on each of the App Store screen, from the Top charts to the app screens.

It might not be a game changer but I like the idea.

If your app is found once (on the web, on the store, from a recommendation), it increases the chances that your app be actually downloaded one day instead of just being forgotten. It’s a good way for users to go back to the apps they selected and make their choice, or just make their selection and download the app once they have Wi-Fi.

iOS 7 wish list

The Wish List in the iOS 7 App Store

It would be nice to be able to share those wish lists.

And it would be great for app developers and marketers to display a button that would let users add apps to their wishlists with a single tap, either within an app or on a website.

Kids category

The curated Kids category of the iOS 7 App Store that Apple introduced with iOS 7 App Store is good if you target a specific age range of users (and their parents).

Search for purchased apps

I like that you can now search for the apps you purchased in the iOS app store. If you downloaded an app once, you can now find it easily or download it on another device.

iOS 7 purchased app screen

iOS 7 introduced search for already downloaded apps

Top charts view

With iOS 6, I was a bit annoyed by how the top results were displayed on iPhones : users had to scroll horizontally and could see fewer results.

Top charts in the iOS 7 App Store

The new top charts in the iOS 7 App Store

In iOS 7, we’re back again to a list of apps with tabs for Paid/Free/Top Grossing apps you can now scroll all the way down to number 300 without having to tap on “load more”. That means more exposure if your apps are somewhere in there.

Small changes in search results

The iOS 7 App Store still has the Card-like search results that were introduced in iOS 6.

Two small changes I noticed is that on the iPhone the number of results is now appearing in the search bar and there is no numbering of each app.

Also, the number of characters displayed for the app title seems to be smaller than in the iOS 6 App Store.

Small changes in app store details screen

The app icon now takes up more screen space on the app, which also means that users see a bit less of the app’s screenshots. Especially on iPhone 4S and under.

iOS 7 App Page

Redesigned app screen on iOS 7


The UDID is no more. And now, apps can no longer retrieve the device’s MAC address neither (which is probably a good thing).

Advertisers don’t really have any choice now: they need to turn to the IDFA (Identifier For Advertising), which can be deactivated or reset by users.

Are some developers being crossed out by Apple and iOS 7?

With the new built-in features, and the redesigned apps, Apple is probably harming several developers.

Because there was a gap in what you were able to do with the built-in features, app developers and startups had come up with innovative ways to do things.

Some of them became pretty successful.

It’s understandable that those companies be a little pissed off when Apple comes in and implement UI/UX changes and features inspired by all their apps straight into iOS 7.

Need a few examples?

  • Bump -> Airdrop
  • Flayvr -> Photos
  • Mailbox -> Mail
  • Pandora -> iTunes Radio
  • Audiobus -> Inter-app audio
  • 1Password -> iCloud Keychain
  • Flashlight apps

Obviously, they did not copy everything and those apps will still have their advantages.

Most of those startups and app developers will know how to innovate and will surely find things to stay ahead of the game by the time iOS 7 comes public. And that’s probably the only way they can stay relevant.

Are some users being left out with iOS 7?

iOS 7 will be compatible with iPhone 4 and above, and iPad 2 and above.

This of course that many iPhone users will be left out. But most likely, the customers that don’t renew their phones are not the ones that use their devices or download apps the most.

So it’s probably better to turn your eyes to the future. Still, it will be interesting to follow the adopting rate of iOS 7 when it comes out, considering how controversial it seems to be.

What’s wrong right now with iOS 7?

OK, so I’ve been talking about opportunities and how it could improve the experience of using your iPhone.

Know let me tell you what’s been wrong since I downloaded the iOS 7 beta on an iPhone 4S. From a user’s perspective.

  • I have 2 iOS accounts, one in the US and one in France. Not sure if that’s the reason why, but some app icons just look like the app is waiting to be updated. The only way I can use them? Open the app store, search for the app and tap on Open.
  • Some apps are just broken. Kik doesn’t open, search in Sparrow is all messed up.
  • Battery seems to run out way faster.
  • It crashes way more, and sometimes I just get the iPhone rebooting screen for a few seconds.
  • The Popular near me feature of the App Store doesn’t show any apps, but I know that will come.
  • It’s kinda slow. iPhone is super hot all the time.

It’s a beta, I know. And I’m hopeful there will be many improvements.

Part of the problems are on iOS 7′s side, and the other part will be the app developer’s responsability. Yes, yours. Whether you want it or not.

What do you think of iOS 7? What are the challenges you’re facing? Have you already started brainstorming on how it could help you improve your app, or market it? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Taking An App From Good to Great: 6 App Pros Critique Share the Fare Tue, 23 Apr 2013 19:38:50 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> Getting your app into people’s hands is never easy. And when you add a chicken-and-egg problem to the mix, creating the right product and managing to build an audience of loyal customers requires a good strategy.

Just like for the Hawaiian Words critique, we’ve gathered up a few app pros so together we can offer feedback to the Share the Fare team and help with their challenges:

“The challenge on our end is that the service needs a baseline of users scattered around a similar area, activating the service at the same time. this is why we are pitching it to bar goers. Look forward to further correspondence and hearing people’s thoughts on how we can improve Share The Fare.”
- Ness, Share the Fare


Download the Share the Fare app, and join the discussion in the comments or on Hacker News!

Here is what the experts have to say about Share the Fare:

Robin Campbell, Tapstream

Fixing the Leaky Bucket
Your users could be spilling out all over the floor. I had to close the app twice and reopen it before it started working. The How To Use screen never loaded, so I’m still pretty clueless as to how the service works – especially on the payment end, since there is talk of “credits” for $1.19. Do I have to pay anytime I’m matched with someone? How do I pay? Since the instructions never loaded I feel like I’ll never know. Credits aren’t mentioned on the website either.

I had to dig into the terms of use to figure out how the app works (no one will do this):

Give the How to Use instructions a permanent home in the “Options” tab, alongside your “Tips” and “Terms of Use” docs, for quick reference. And to be much clearer, the “Options” tab should have a different label, perhaps “How it works,” since there aren’t any actual options there. This simple tweak would probably answer all of my questions and help you retain more users.


  • Partner with or sponsor events – everyone’s already in the same location and needs to get home.
  • Get in on the promotions the clubs are sending their fans – email blasts, social etc.
  • What advertising options exist inside cabs, are they affordable?
  • Have you tried handing out fliers when the clubs close – experiment, hustle, make it fun.
  • Tweet Adder can help you grow your awareness on Twitter. Automatically follow people who are following popular clubs, events and locals in Melbourne. When someone sees that you’re following them they’re likely to check out what you do. Plus, most Twitter users see their new followers directly on their mobiles – kinda handy.

If I was you, Twitter would be a HUGE part of how I started connecting with people. Being local to start out is a huge advantage, assuming Melbourne wants this app. It’s much easier to grow relationships and get the buzz going.

Other Quick Tweaks

  • The image on your website is actually a video (a useful one). Make that clear!
  • Facebook – the link on your site doesn’t send me to your page, and Facebook’s search can’t find it.
  • The referral email to friends – you haven’t included an explanation of what the app does. Make this clear so people have a reason to redeem the referral code.
Share with mates

The ‘Share with your mates’ idea is good, and could be improved by making it clearer to the customer what he gains from it as well as mentioning what the app is for in the message.

  • Choosing departure and destination points – this recommendation that pops up telling me not to choose my exact location or destination is confusing. Later, I read in the tips this could be for safety and privacy reason. This makes sense, but your copy doesn’t make this clear. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, and am not as concerned as many ladies may be.

- Robin Campbell, Tapstream


Robi Ganguly, Apptentive

Full of Potential, Needs Polish
This is exactly the kind of app that requires smartphones and location-based services to be useful. As such, it’s got huge potential, if you can execute and get to critical mass. However, the app as it stands isn’t ready to hit the mainstream – it needs a lot of polish and work in order to demonstrate value, fail gracefully and get people to come back on a regular basis.

Make the First 5 Minutes Awesome
This app, in particular, really requires that you clearly direct people to a successful experience or help them envision how they could be successful. Given that you have a classic supply problem, it’s very important that you design an experience that gracefully “fails” and gives people a reason to invite those around them to join them. It seems to me that the credits idea is a good start, but if you can take it another step to ensure that once someone who has downloaded you tries to invite their friends to join them in sharing a cab, via this app, you will have a faster path to virality. An example could be some messaging along the lines of, “Oh no, looks like there’s no one available to share a ride with right now, if you’re with friends, invite 2 of them and if you all share a cab home we’ll give you each the credits for another ride next time.”

The “How to Use” section, on its face, seems like it should help with this, however it’s too complicated and actually has multiple paths (when you use “or” you’re telling me, the consumer that I have multiple routes, which is complex). I also found it to be redundant that an app with a location-based premise needs me to specify a meeting point.

Connect with Facebook

The connect with Facebook screen right of the bat might be too soon. It could come when value has been demonstrated, for example when the ‘find a match’ request is sent.

Also, requiring me to connect with Facebook, right away, before you’ve demonstrated any value, makes me close the app. I understand wanting to connect with Facebook, but given your challenge in getting to critical mass, you should really think about if this has to be the first step in the process. Educate them and demonstrate value before putting a huge barrier in front of the consumer’s face. It also didn’t help that I had a lot of authentication issues here and couldn’t login for a while.

The app store description
I would say that the first line, about going home alone, has other connotations than you intend. It made me think you were intending me to meet people for a different kind of adventure. You might swap the messaging around here or change the language, to make it clear that this is about ride sharing.

Also, it’s unclear what the “credits” you talk about in the description are for. Tell us what credits are, why they matter and how worthwhile it is to earn more of them.

Learn from your customers and engage with them
Finally, in going through the app there are no clear methods to ask questions of you, the app developer, or to solicit feedback from the end consumer. You’re early into solving this problem and turning a deaf ear to your earliest potential customers. I would invest in getting customer feedback inside your app and even using in-app surveys to reach out and learn as fast as possible. Importantly, you need to connect with your customers on a deeper level with this kind of app, so that they will get over the early hurdles and help you grow the network. By avoiding the connection, making it difficult to give feedback and failing to reach out and offer assistance, you’re passing up your biggest opportunity to jumpstart the community. Take the time to listen to your customers actively so that they’ll ignore the pain of being first to join and instead feel like they have a direct line to the app makers. Make them feel special.

- Robi Ganguly, Apptentive


Tope Abayomi, App Design Vault

Good app store description
Your App store description starts out well. It empathises with the reader. It explains that you understand their pain with the first two questions.

  • Don’t want to go home alone?
  • The cost of getting to the airport too high?

This is a basic requirement of good copywriting so well done. I would add more social proof by including good reviews both from the App store and out of it.

Starting up
When I started the app, I had to connect to Facebook to start using it. I understand you need a login mechanism as a way to get users to engage with the app but it is too early in the process.

People guard their Facebook credentials closely now and may not want to give you access immediately when they don’t understand what your app does yet.

A good place to ask for the Facebook login is after the search for a match. You can then say.. “To get you a match we need some details from you, an easy way to do that is connecting via Facebook”.

Getting critical mass
You have a chicken and egg problem. You need two people to be at around the same location at the same time for the app to have value.

Targeting people at bars and clubs is a very good idea. An even better idea is to get in touch with the bars and clubs and explain your business to them and get them to partner up.

Read this post on How To Target a Two-Sided Market. It kind of applies to you if you see the bars/clubs as your supply side.

- Tope Abayomi, App Design Vault


Jason Shah, HeatData

Overall thoughts
The app seems useful in the obvious ways, but it’s no better than existing apps unless there are zero existing apps for the Australian market. I would look for ways to make your app more uniquely useful, so it can actually be 10x better than alternatives. Maybe I can see a map of cabs right away and just tap on one close to me to request them. Maybe I can see which of my friends are nearby, so we can share a cab (probably too complex to build for this purpose). Maybe I can develop a relationship with a cab I have used in the past to help make the app drive a more personal experience with an otherwise impersonal driver and cab company. Think about how to be 10x better.

How to solve your main challenge: virality in a concentrated geographic area
You mentioned your main challenge is getting a critical mass of users in a concentrated geographic area. This can be addressed with virality. But right now, I see very little virality built into the app. You have a ‘Free Credits’ option from the menu. While I like that this may entice some people, I may also want to just tell people about the app but have no easy way to do this. I would test this with either calling that area ‘Share’ or something else that confirms “Free Credits” actually works better. Once I am on that page though, the instructional copy and the share code takes up SO much space, and I have no idea what the “Redeem” area does. This MUST be simplified.

Also…why did I authenticate with Facebook and yet there’s no push to invite my Facebook friends from this screen or elsewhere? If there is, it is buried and would explain low usage. Why not even give me some type of credit for signing up with Facebook in the first place? This would drive brand affinity, make me more likely to use the app (“I have credit I need to use!”), and introduce me to the idea that using Facebook can get me more credits …for when you want me to invite my friends.

When I hit ‘Share with Mates’…I get a text message screen, and I have to pick people to share this app with. While that’s good, why not do it in context? You have a Passengers section in the request view. While you don’t want to slow someone down and have them list out their friends during that step, after the trip is completed, there should be some flow around getting those friends who were passengers to use the app as well. And they may have just had a positive experience with it, so there is already some pull toward the app that you can then harvest and leverage into them downloading the app and becoming their own evangelist.

UX Tips
I don’t like the “Australia’s Cab…” part of the app name. This shows up noticeably during app search. It makes ‘Share the Fare’ less catchy and for better or worse, would discourage everyone outside of Australia from downloading the app. Also, unfortunately with a name like Share the Fare — as catchy as it is — until you have traction, you won’t get much serendipitous discovery from people searching for taxi or cab apps.

You have no ratings yet, so there is little social proof — which tends to be a major red flag.

The main app store screenshot is a boring form. Use the map screenshot or something else that makes your app look more exciting and useful.

I appreciate the value of social signup, but you may lose a lot of people not willing to signup with Facebook. Assuming you’re committed to that, the “Tap here to connect with Facebook” is far too small. It’s basically a line of text. I would make the touch target much larger and attractive than it currently is.

I am not sure how you got the Facebook auth to work without having to briefly switch views. This was slick, but also made me question how legit the app is.

How to use

This how to could be simplified, and also make a couple things clearer (credits, etc.)

The How to Use screen has too many steps. Not 1. Not 3. Not 5. BUT SIX. No one wants to read that much. You will lose people here if you hadn’t already with the Facebook signup requirement or the painfully small call to action. Also, on this screen, the ‘Done’ button is in the worst place: top left. Many cultures are different, but left->right motion for English-speaking countries makes sense. So, I’d expect the done button in the top right, or even in the bottom center of the screen where it is easy for a user to reach without having to use a second hand or otherwise struggle. And actually after all that, the app froze for me on this screen / possibly after I hit the ‘Done’ button — not sure what triggered it. Closing and opening the app “solved the problem”.

Prefilling Departure Points (but maybe not Destination) seems good. The large ‘Find Match’ button is good. While the ‘Passengers’ field seems overkill, it’s good that it’s prefilled so people don’t have to do it. And I’m sure it also helps ensure the best experience for drivers on the other side of the platform.

I made a request, and that worked pretty smoothly but a more delightful confirmation the way Lyft does it. You feel *good* about the request, trust the system, and are less likely to cancel the request if this is done well by the app.

Deleting a request takes you to a different view and then switches back upon success. Ideally you keep the user on the same screen, show a spinner or something, and then change it a checkmark when the deletion is done.

- Jason Shah, HeatData


Ian Sefferman, MobileDevHQ

Unfortunately, the How to Use simply spun for a while with a blank screen and the “Done” button was disabled, so onboarding was very tough. The idea is certainly interesting, but you’re right, you need a critical mass of users in a physical area in order to make this work. You’re making a market, and as in any marketplace, the biggest challenge is to ensure the market clears.

Starting small then expanding
Local businesses built around mobile are fascinating and complex. But they can be incredibly valuable as well. My tips for this business are to start small and prove the model every step of the way. The smaller you start, the easier it will be to make it work.

Perhaps you can start with a single bar or club. Team up with the bar and offer a free drink for anyone who downloads, installs, and sets up a shared ride. Make sure it works in that single situation — you could even run it a few times over the course of a couple weeks or a month. While you’re doing so, perhaps you want to focus your app store presence on this bar alone. Be explicit, using the bar name in your app’s title, and in the description be sure to mention the promotion dates and times and how to use it.

After proving it at a single bar, start expanding slowly. While expanding, work on the messaging in the app store. Your description currently lacks any social proof and also does not tell where Share the Fare works (“Australia” in the title, but nothing further in the comments). While forcing Facebook makes it easy to get set up, it’s actually probably more useful from a trust perspective: it’s easier to verify the person you’re sharing with won’t follow you and hurt you. I’d play up this factor.

Screenshots are promotional graphics

Photo Apr 22, 8 05 36 PM

Screenshots (and especially the 1st one) have to be considered like promotional graphics.

Your screenshots also don’t tell much about the app. They are static shots of the app with no context. It might be helpful to think of your screenshots as promotional graphics instead — they are an opportunity to talk about your app in a visual way, so use it!

- Ian Sefferman, MobileDevHQ


Sylvain Gauchet, Apptamin

I like the concept of your app, and think I could be a potential user if in Melbourne. You identified getting your baseline of users as your main challenge, but I believe you should also fix several things before getting crazy on marketing. You don’t want only downloads, you want people actually using the app and sharing cab fares.

Improving the app
I like the idea of FB login because it gives “security”, but there probably should be an alternative way of doing it and I see some user reviews mentioning that. Why not twitter, too? I’d suggest email but I suppose you want to avoid people being too anonymous.
I don’t get that “Share the fare” button on your homescreen
It might just complicate the app, but having some kind of social proof displaying who recently took advantage of the app could have some users try it a couple times. Something like “Last cab shared: John and Amy, 11:13PM”.
You don’t say what the credits are for in the app, even if you encourage to refer friends to get credits. That’s how I understood people have to pay at one point (not from the webpage, not from the app store page). You have to assume that your users don’t know anything before they open your app, and make it real easy for them to understand how it works and its value.

Improving your app store page
There’s a lack of social proof on your app store page. It’s a tough one to deal with in the beginning, but you have to show potential users that they won’t be alone using it. Have you had any local press coverage? Any happy users? Add it to the page.
You need to optimize your app for iPhone 5 (before May 1st!), and create new and better screenshots. Try to add explanations on them, because non-users don’t know what a “Match” is.

A more convincing website
Believe it or not, it took me a while to figure out the concept on the website. Granted, English isn’t my first language but I initially thought it was a car-sharing app. Maybe put the word Cab/Taxi here and there?

Share the fare landing page

Make it clear what the benefit of the app is, before getting into a detailed How-to. Change the video thumbnail so it is clear it is not just a picture.

I don’t think the How it works part has to be that high on the website, especially since it’s text only. I feel the process could be simplified in 3 steps (at least on the website, maybe in the How To Use section), at least above the fold. You can still detail things further down.

Here’s an example:
1. Enter your trip info 2. Find a match for your trip 3. Save money on your taxi fare!

Why not throw in a couple of use cases too: sharing the fare for a cab to the airport (I’d definitely use that), going home from a club, etc. Try explaining a bit more of the “why” before getting to the “how”.

After going to your website a couple times, I just realized that the picture of the phone is actually a video. You have to change that thumbnail, which is really easy to do with Vimeo. The video could definitely be improved but still adds value, and maybe you could let people access it from within the app too.

There are a few typos on your website, which never looks good.

Considering other ways to monetize
The Credit thing is hidden in the Terms of Use, and I’m assuming this can (or will) make users kinda angry. If that’s how you decide to do things, you shouldn’t hide the fact that users will have to pay. Better to get less downloads from people that understand the concept fully and are happy to use their 2 free matches than users suddenly realizing that the service is not free.

Now if you want to spread the word, maybe charging per fare is not the best solution. You’re trying to change behaviors here, and will already find some resistance.

Could you find other ways to monetize, like watching ads within the app while waiting the cab or your match? If you get to the point where users are waiting for their match to join them, you have their attention and might be able to use that.
Could you maybe have people pay only on weekend nights ? Or go with a freemium subscription model and have a number of free trips per month?

Solving your marketing challenge
I understand this is your main challenge. Pitching it to bar goers is a good start, but you probably need to find ways to spread the word faster.

Why not work with a few events (sports event, music events), that would let you put posters/online ads encouraging to take a cab and use your app to share the fare. Go all in on one event, and see the results. You could offer to pay for their flyers in exchange for mentioning your app, distribute alcohol testers w/ the info about your app, interact on Twitter with people using the event hashtag, distribute beers with a share the cab label and info on it, etc. These might not be the right ideas, but I’d give those kind of non-scalable things a try.

Try to meet a few club promoters, maybe you can find an agreement with them so they mention your app in their SMS or emails. Again, I’d try to really target a place or two to maximize the chance that people find matches.

Have you tried reaching out to local bloggers and journalists? In my experience, it’s fairly easy to get local press if you have a good story/angle. Don’t just pitch your app, talk about the number of accidents from drunk driving in Melbourne, how being a designated driver is not fun or how people just can’t afford full cab fares.

- Sylvain Gauchet, Apptamin


Common themes:

  • Work towards a better (first) user experience
  • Be clear on how the service benefits people, how it works and how much it costs
  • Improve marketing assets on app store and website
  • Partner up with specific venue/event; worry about scaling later

So here is what we believe the Share the Fare team can do to improve the app and get more users. What would you do to make it better? Have you faced similar challenges? Leave us a comment or join the discussion on Hacker News!

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App Marketing Tools For Developers Sat, 23 Feb 2013 20:07:14 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> Over the last few years, a lot of tools and services have been created for app developers.

We can try and compare some of them, but obviously not all.

Here is a list of a lot of them (inspired by Steve Blank’s Startup Tools), that we will update as we learn about new ones. Don’t hesitate to contact us at contact[at] to help us make that list better!

Market Research

Google’s Keywords Tools

Google Trends

App Annie – App Ranking, Analytics, Market Intelligence

Distimo - App Analytics, Download Estimations and Insights

Xyologic – A New Approach To Mobile App Search

Apptrace – App Store Intelligence

AppMonsta - App Market Data

Vision Mobile - Ecosystems analyst firm

MetricsCat -Analyze mobile apps data

Also: Apple’s App Store, Google Play Store


POP (Prototyping on paper) – iPhone App Prototyping Made Easy

Mockabilly – App for creating mockups on iPhone

Interface – Advanced mockup and prototyping for iOS

Blueprint – Mockup iPad app for iPhone and iPad applications

Proptotypes – Turn static designs intro a tappable iPhone prototype

FieldTest – Create mobile interactive prototypes

Dotted Paper

Keynotopia – Use PowePoint/Keynote to Prototype Like a Pro

Justinmind – Rich interactive wireframes to define web and mobile applications

Fluid UI – Mobile Prototypes for iOS, Android and Windows Apps

UI Stencils - Stencils, sketch pads and accessories for UI design

App Cooker - Advanced iOS mockup generator for mobile applications - Mobile prototyping

UXPin – UX design tools built by UX designers

AppGyver’s Prototyper – Turn wireframes into an interactive mobile app prototype

App Mockup Tools

WireKit – An iPhone app wireframe kit

DevRocket – Photoshop panel plugin for iOS developers

Flinto – Quickly create iOS prototypes

App Icon Template - App icon template for iOS 7

PortKit – UX Metaphor Equivalents for iOS & Android

iOS 7 Wireframe Kit

SketchMirror - Preview your mobile apps directly on your devices

Invision – Free Web & Mobile Mockup and UI Prototyping Tool

Framer – Prototyping tool for animation and interaction

Marvel – Free prototyping tool

Demo Tools - Interactive previews for your app or game

UI Galleries

Mobile Patterns


Lovely ui

Mobile Mozaic

Crowdfunding (app specific)

AppStori - Crowdsourcing and founding platform for apps

Appbacker – App wholesale marketplace

Appsfunder - Funding platform for apps

AppSplit – Crowdfunding platform for apps

SellanApp – Fund app ideas you love

Kraudmob – Mobile apps crowdfunding

Dandy - App creation in community


iCanLocalize – Expert translation

Applingua – iOS, OSX & Android App Localization Service

OneSky – Get your apps & websites translated

PO Editor - Free online software localization tool

Acclaro – Mobile application translation

Babble-on – App localization

LocalEyes – App localization

LocTeam – Localize iOS and Mac OS X apps

Gengo – People-powered translation at any scale

Tethras – App translation service

Wordcrafts – Mac OS and iOS localization

LingoTip – Apps translation

Mentez – app localization for Latin America market

Smooth Localize – Localize your iOS app cheaply and quickly

Transfluent – Easily translate your app by using Transfluent’s API


Scoreloop - Cross-platform SDK for gaming ecosystem (virtual currency, social gaming, etc.)

Playhaven – Mobile game LTV maximization platform

MobInLife - Apps monetization and promotion consulting

Avocarrot – Mobile rewards

Kiip – Real rewards for virtual achievements

Appxperience - Monetize your app by recommending the right apps, to the right user, at the right time, through the right format

Smaato - Real Time Bidding Exchange for mobile ads.

Mobile App Testing

TestFlight – iOS Beta Testing on the fly

HockeyApp – Collect crash reports, get feedback and distribute your betas

Elusivestars – Mobile Application Testing For Developers

Testin – Cross Platform Automated App Testing Solutions

uTestapphance – Crash/Bug reporting and user feedback

Crashlytics – Crash reporting solution

Errbit - Open source error catcher (Airbrake compliant)

StartUpLift - Get feedback from users

Bugsense – BigData analysis to support apps

Pieceable – Make iOS apps work in the browser

Acra – Open source android crash reports

Crittercism – Error monitoring

UserMetrix – Application analytics combined with traditional error reporting

Zubhium – Android beta distribution and real time crash analytics

AppThwack – Test your app on 100s of real devices

BugCliper - Plug n play library designed to report bugs

Joppar - Update your app without code

AppTestNow – Get your app tested by experts

Ubertesters – mobile beta testing solution

User Feedback/CRM SDKs

Apptentive - In-app feedback for iPhone & Android developers

Appboy – Customer Engagement Platform  for mobile apps

Appsfire’s AppBooster – Apps engagement and feedback SDK

AskingPoint – Mobile Apps Analytics with a rating widget

HelpShift – The customer support helpdesk for native apps

LivePerson – Mobile chat solution

Jira - Open-source library for collecting feedback

UserEcho for iOS - Collect and manage feedback for your iPhone or iPad application

Appsee – Understand your mobile app users with recordings, heatmaps and in-app analytics reports

TestFairy – Easy Android app testing

Testbirds – Crowdtesting for mobile apps

In-app Analytics SDK

Flurry Analytics – App Analytics for free

Google Analytics – Google Analytics for Mobile

Apsalar – Mobile App Analytics & Advertising

MixPanel – Mobile Analytics

Localytics – Mobile Marketing and Analytics for Apps

Countly – Mobile Analytics

Playtomatic – Open source game Analytics for every Platform – HeatMaps for your iOS app

HeatData – Heatmaps for Mobile Websites

TestFlight Live – Analytics with TestFlight

Placed – Location Analytics – Analytics Platform

Capptain – Pilot your apps

Kontagent – Mobile Customer Intelligence

Claritics – Intelligent Analytics

Followapps - Mobile Engagement Platforms

Applicasa – Mobile game management platform

Bango – Web and app analytics

Appsee – Visual Mobile App Analytics

Marketing Analytics

Tapstream – Marketing Analytics for apps

Yozio – Campaign tracking for mobile apps

Distimo’s AppLink – Cross-platform app distribution and conversion tracking

Trademob - Mobile Marketing Analytics

Swrve – In-app marketing platform – Universal URL and Custom URL (sharing app content)

Adxtracking – Analyze and optimize mobile app advertising

AppsFlyer – Mobile app measurement and tracking

MobileAppTracking by HasOffers – Attribution analytics

Push Notifications

Urban Airship -

PushWoosh – New approach to push notifications

Parse – The complete mobile app platform

Appsfire’s Appbooster – Boost your app’s engagement – Push Notifications

mobDB – Mobile backend service, push notifications

Xtify – Push notifications for iOS, Android, Windows and Mobile Web

mBlox – Smart Mobile Engagement

Quick Blox – Cloud backend API

MixPanel – Mobile Analytics

Appscend - All-In-One Mobile Platform (analytics, push, etc.)

Appoxee – Push Notification Services

Xtify – Push notifications for iOS, Android, Windows and Mobile

Pushwizard – Push notification service & Remote event management

Affiliate Programs

TradeDoubler – Affiliate Marketing for Europe & Brazil

LinkShare – Affiliate Marketing for US, Canada & Mexico

DGM Pro – Affiliate Marketing for Australia & New-Zealand

GeoRiot – Globalize your affiliate marketing

App Websites & Landing Pages

Unbounce - Build, publish and test landing pages (w/ Mobile App Templates)

ThemeForest (Grizzly Theme) – Site Templates and Themes

Appify WP – WordPress Theme for iOS and Mac Apps

Launchrock – Set up a “launching soon” page in minutes

Dasapp – Website hosting for mobile apps

Mobtizer – Create landing pages for mobile advertising

PlaceIt – Generate Product Screenshots in Realistic Environments

Scorch – Share your mobile apps online (via text message)

Pre-launch platforms

PreApps - Pre-release buzz and exposure

App Store Optimization

MobileDevHQ - SEO for Mobile Apps

Search Man SEO – Mobile SEO for iOS Apps – App Store SEO

SensorTower – Mobile SEO and Keyword Optimization for iOS Apps

Appnique – Improve your search ranking in the mobile app stores

AppRankCorner – App Store Optimization

AppSnippetPreview – App Store Listing Optimization Tool

App Downloads & Revenue Tracking

App Annie – App Ranking, Analytics, Market Intelligence

Distimo – App Analytics and App Data

AppFigures – App Store Analytics for Mobile Apps

Mopapp – App Store Analytics

AppBot - App Store Reviews & Features delivered daily

FULLER App Analytics – App Data for Japan

Getting Press

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) – Connecting Reporters and News Sources

Appromoter – Brings developers and the media together

Ad Networks

iAd – Apple’s advertising network

TapForTap – Mobile Ad Network / Free Tap Exchange

Flurry App Circle – Targeted ads for mobile apps

Chartboost – Technology platform for mobile games

Admob – Monetize and promote your mobile apps with ads

Vungle – Mobile app advertising through Video



loopMe – mobile advertising

Millenial Media – Mobile advertising & monetization

Inneractive – App monetization

Burstly – App monetization platform

Airpush – Mobile ad network

Medialets – Mobile rich media advertising

xAd – Mobile-local advertising & marketing

Pontiflex – Advertising platform

PayPal Media Network

Jumptap – Target mobile advertising

Tapgage – Mobile interstitial ad network

Appia – Ad network

Buzzdoes – App distribution and discovery SDK

Apptap – App advertising network

Pollfish – Survey platform to target users

Mobclix – Real-time bidding mobile ad exchange

Location@scale – Mobile-local advertising

NativeX – targeted advertising

AppFlood – Cross-promotion platform for buying, selling and exchanging mobile traffic

Jampp - Drive installs to your app

Promo Campaigns

AppGratis – 1 free app a day

Appsfire – App Discovery

Free App A Day – The best paid apps for free daily

Surikate - Generate traffic onto mobile apps

AppBounty - Play & Get Paid

Promodispenser – Users get free Gift cards by downloading and reviewing your app

Expert Advices

Clarity – Get great advice

Buy & Sell apps

Apptopia – Buy and sell app ownership

]]> 5
The iOS App Marketing Strategy Guide Thu, 07 Feb 2013 14:53:41 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> After a few app launches, observing many more, talking with several app developers and testing cool services, we’re starting to get a pretty really good feeling about what can be done to make an app a success.

We’ve been sharing some of it on our blog and great content from others on our Twitter account. And it’s time for more.

How would I go about launching a new iOS app?

What would I do to make sure it gets into people’s hands?

This post is meant to describe all we can think of when it comes to iPad or iPhone app marketing and launching an app.

[Upvote via submission and discuss on Hacker News]

It’s not a “secret recipe”, and probably not exhaustive. Each app is different, and so should be the marketing strategy. But it’s a good starting point to make sure you consider most of the options.

It’s not a step-by-step: some of these things have to be done simultaneously. Here is what’s covered:

Build Your Personal Online Presence

Most of your app promotion, if not all, will occur on the web and mobile.

No matter how you feel about social media, you have to get started on it. Create a twitter account if you don’t have one already, and consider creating a “pro” Facebook account.

Once that’s done, start using it. Follow/Like people and pages that talk about iPhone app development, app marketing (like us!), great apps, etc. Get to know who is who, who has influence and who shares interesting content you can learn from.

Twitter Chat for app developers

Learn. Share the good stuff, so others start following you too. Interact with others and engage in discussions whenever you feel you can bring value. Join #appdevchat, organized by TapForTap every Thursday at 10 AM PST.

On Facebook, you can join groups like Indy App & Game Developers or App Entrepreneurs and Marketers where you’ll meet other indie devs and companies and share learned lessons.

And keep at it. We’ll get back to social media for your app later.

Validate Your Idea

Your must think your iPhone app idea is great. But it couldn’t hurt to make sure of that right?

You’re going to invest a lot of time, efforts and money into building your app. There will be moments where you don’t feel like doing the work, moments of doubts, moments where you’re thinking about giving up.

You want to be certain that there is a market for your app, a demand. You want to know what kind of download volumes and revenue you can get from that app.

App download estimates

App downloads estimates and other market info for 2 apps on

You also want to build the app the right way. Do a thorough market research to validate your idea, and you’ll have a much better idea of how to position and market your iOS app.

It doesn’t matter if you’re building a seasonal app, surfing on a trend or targeting a niche market. Analyze what your competition is doing (yes, you have competitors) and read their users reviews on the App Store. Find out what can be improved, what features are useless and cluttering the app and what’s missing.

 app reviews

Your app has to have something different, a unique approach. And you have to (do your best to) know that people will want it.

Your market research can (should?) also be done by directly communicating about your app idea and creating a landing page. Check out the Kissmetrics example in the “Online presence” part of this article.

Choose Your Revenue Model

Figure out how you can make money.

I see two situations where you don’t necessarily need a revenue model:

  • You’re building an iPhone or iPad app just as a hobby
  • You want to acquire users to later on cross promote with other apps (already built or not)

Other than that, you should find out where you can get revenue from: paid app, in-app purchases, subscriptions, ads, selling a service or product. Or a combination of those. This monetization/pricing “guide” or this report (if you have a game) might help you.

Choose Your App Price

This goes along with the previous point.

You can decide that your app is free, and get revenue from in-app purchases. You still have to decide how much to charge for these in-app purchases.

If you have a paid app, you’ll be able to experiment with it  but be careful of the image you give to your potential users. It’s easier to start at a higher price and do price drops than to suddenly charge twice the price.

The price you can charge people depends on your target audience and your app. Some people can happily drop $9.99 for an app (take a look at Audiobus for example), others (or the same ones!) will be reluctant to give you more than $0.99 for another.

Here are two interesting posts on the subject:

Choose the Right Name

Choosing the right name for a product is never easy, and apps are no different.

My suggestion would be to find a name that not only sounds good, but is also relatively explicit and contains a major keyword. If you have a camera app, you need a name that suggests photography and cameras.

When submitting your iOS app, you’ll also need an “extended name”: your app name and a few keywords (like a condensed tagline) to make it clear what your app is about. This is important so users check out your app page, but also so they can find it. Our article on App Store Optimization (ASO) and choosing the right app name should be helpful.

Start Marketing Within Your App

App marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought.

It’s useless to market a weak app, and there are certain aspects that have to be thought off from the very beginning.


It’s not 2009 anymore.

The user experience of your app is critical if you want its sucess. Your app should be easy to use from the very first seconds (you won’t get much more attention than that).  Some argue that if your app needs a walkthrough, you blew it. It’s probably not totally true, but you get the point.

People might not use your app like you’re anticipating (more on that a little further), but you have to do your best to make it easy for them to use the core features.

Create mock-ups, try different things and ask the right people for feedback. For your mock-ups, you can use tools like Balsamiq, Evolus’ Pencil or the really handy POP iPhone app (and some dotted paper).

Once you have the first draft, spend a few dollars and ask UX/UI experts for their advice. If you don’t know any, try reaching out to some through Clarity. Don’t expect them to do all the work for you (unless you have the money), but you’ll be surprise how much insight a 30 minutes call can give you. Here are a couple of experts profiles on Clarity:


You need a stunning design. If you’re not a designer, hire a good one. This, in my opinion, is one of the best investments.

If your iOS app is relatively basic and you’re short on money, check out if one of the cool templates at the App Design Vault could be a good fit.

Your design needs to be coherent. This means that the different parts of your app should have the same feel, and also that any visual asset you’re creating (including your app icon) should be consistent with your app design.

Details matter. Small things like sounds and how things move give a general good feeling to users and can make a difference.

Here’s an interesting article on the SPUN app design that talks about a few important points.

Whether it’s in terms of user experience, design or your code, Apple appreciates it when you use the latest. Being the firsts to optimize for iPhone 5 or use Passbook gave several apps additional exposure. So keep an eye out for Apple’s announcements.

Users retention

This is the hardest part to get right.

If your iPad or iPhone app is great and you market it right, you should get some attention. You should be able to get it reviewed, get some downloads and put it in people’s hands.

App reviews and high downloads volumes are nice. Congratulations, you got people interested enough to download your app.

Now what?

Do they use it 30 seconds and leave? Do they go back to it twice and then never open it again? Or worse, do they just uninstall it?

App user lifecycle

You want your users to come back and stay engaged (image source: AppLift)

You can’t rely only on push notifications. The concept of your app and the user experience have to be such that people keep coming back to your app.

Want to know how your app is doing compared to others in the same category? Check out this post.

Share mechanisms / Virality aspect

And here comes another hardest part (yes, there are several of them).

All downloads spike eventually wear off.


A lot of app download charts look like this. You need organic growth, too.

Getting in the top charts is hard but doable. It’s much harder to stay there.

In all cases, you’ll have to keep on marketing your app and giving it the attention it deserves. But it can not be the only way it spreads.

You need users to become your marketers.

You need users to talk to their friends about it.

You need users to share content by themselves.

That means you have to figure what can be “viral” about your app, allow people to share content, make good use of social media via Facebook Open Graph, etc.

Those “shareable” aspects will depend on your app, and are key to its success.

Feedback and Customer Engagement

Having happy users is critical to your app success.

Having great app ratings (4.5+) and user reviews increases the conversion on your app page. The more people see that others like your app and are satisfied with it, the more chances you have that they will try it.

So it happens, you need 2 things:

  1. A great app
  2. A way to handle any issue users can have with your app so you can make it better

To identify any problems people encounter with your app you need to be easily reachable. DO NOT wait until negative app reviews appear to learn about a bug, a needed feature or app crashes.

App reviews and feedback

Be easy to reach (and have a great app).

Allow users to contact you.

Let them contact you from within the app.

Let them contact you from the App Store page (the support URL).

Let them contact from your website or through social media.

Once they contact you, you need to listen to them. Answer them. Act on what they’re suggesting (or consider it). Do your best to turn an unhappy or unsatisfied users into someone that understands there is a person behind the app that can be reached and cares about its users.

Once you’ve dealt successfully with a request or problem, those users will usually be happy to leave you a great review.
So people can contact you directly from the app, you can let them send you an email or a tweet. Or you can use an in-app feedback SDK like Apptentive, Appsfire’s Appbooster or Appboy.

app feedback or review

An example of Feedback/Ratings SDK, here with Apptentive

Like we detailed in our post on app ratings, those tools let you do more than just receiving feedback. They usually invite happy users to rate your app and allow you to send in-app messages for cross promotion.
Some of them let you identify user segments and reach out to these users through push notifications or other methods. It’s a good way to have people know about your major app news (content, features, etc.) and have them come back to your app. Don’t abuse it though, keep your notifications relevant.

Measuring user retention and learning how people use your app

Downloads are important, and a key metric of your app success.

But like we said, it’s not only about downloads. So you get good revenue from your iPhone or iPad app, you need people to come back to it.

You’ve done your best to create a great user experience and have a beautiful design. You listen to feedback when people give it to you, either online or in real life.

But people might not be using your iOS app like expected. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how much time they use it, how many times they come back, if they share it, what features they use (and which ones you could remove)?

The good news is, there are many great tools/SDK (some of them free) that let you do just that. Check out our app analytics tools roundup to learn more about them and choose the one that’s best for your app.

Measuring your marketing channels’ effectiveness

To market your app, you’re going to try all kinds of things.

You’re going to get people to know about it through many channels. Wouldn’t it be nice to know which ones are the most effective?

By knowing that, you could decide what’s worth it and what’s not. You could focus on what brings the most downloads, or even better on what brings the highest revenue.

app marketing

Measure your app marketing channels’ effectiveness with Tapstream’s SDK

Tools like Tapstream, Yozio or Distimo’s AppLink let you do just that. For Android apps, Google Mobile App Analytics can let you know the same thing too.

Ad exchange

If you’re an indie developer or a startup, chances are you have a limited budget.

You probably can’t afford to advertise on mobile applications where users are likely to be interested in your app too.

app cross promotionA service like TapForTap will let you do free tap exchange: you simply trade clicks with other app developers. You show ads for other apps, earn credits and spend those credits for your own app.

If you don’t mind the ad banner (you could have an in-app purchase that includes its removal) then it can be a good way to spread the word about your app.

Build Your App’s Online Presence

You can’t rely only on the App Store page. You need people to find out about your iPad or iPhone app on the web. You need a place to refer people to (bloggers, journalists, strangers). And you need to build a community around your application.

That means having at least a website (and probably a blog) and using the main social media platforms.

Inbound marketing

Your app needs more than a page on the App Store (image source: SEOMoz/Tapstream)

Website and blog

When? Now!

Not only do you need a website (or at least a page) for your app, but you need to create it as soon as possible.

You’ll need one eventually for support and branding, so you might as well use it pre-launch.

Your app website should evolve. You can start with a landing page and a mailing list subscription form, then add a blog, then add download links and eventually add testimonials and great user reviews.

Kissmetrics Analytics

Kissmetrics gets potential users’ emails, learns about them and their needs (MyAnalytics).

So as soon as you have your app name, its concept and a few screenshots designs you should go ahead and create your app website.

Key elements for your app website

Your app website is the place where you can show your app in its best light and pitch it to visitors, and where you can really explain the problem(s) you’re solving.

You want it to be sexy, easy to scan and read.

App Sites

Build a sexy app website. Need some inspiration? Check out

There are several elements you need to include (or at least consider):

  • App name and app icon
  • Devices on which the app is available (with app screenshots inside or a video capture of the app)
  • App pitch: a short sentence explaining what your app is and why it’s a must have
  • Badges of the mobile app stores where the app can be downloaded (the latest ones)
  • Call To Action: mailing-list subscription form before app launch; download button(s) after
  • App promotional video: the quickest way for someone to initially assess your app
  • Social proof elements (once app is released): testimonials, user reviews, awards won, Apple features, etc.
  • Key benefits and screenshots: should explain in more details what value your app brings and show its main screenshots
  • Contact/Support info: make yourself easily reachable to both bloggers and users
  • Social Media info: links to your social media accounts, Facebook Like button (to your page or your app), Tweet button.
  • Press Kit: you might think it’s outdated, but you still need one
  • Links to your other apps (if you have others, and if relevant to your app audience)

To blog or not to blog?

Some believe a blog for an app is not that useful.

Some believe a blog for a business is not useful either.

We built our business around content marketing and sharing things on our blog (and cool app videos!). So you already know what we think.

For your app, a blog is a great way to:

  • Engage (future) users by sharing your app’s building process, designs.
  • Keep them in the loop about what’s happening: launch, app updates and new features.
  • Share great content about the niche your app is in, your mission, or teach people something: a productivity app could have a blog with tips on being more productive (like Buffer does incredibly well) and a football app about major football news, players, etc.

The more content you share, the more visibility your app can get. If you do it right.


It’s a good thing to have a website and a blog for your app.

But if your copy sucks, then it won’t help much.

If your app pitch is 10 sentences long, people won’t bother reading it. If your blog posts are full of typos and boring, you won’t engage people, and you probably won’t turn visitors into customers.

In the same fashion, if the copy of the description on your app store page turn people away then you won’t make your app a success.

You need to make people want your app.

You might be awesome at coding and designing an app. You also have to get better at marketing and copywriting.

Luckily there are several great websites to help you get better at it, like Copyblogger. When it comes to conversion optimization, I really enjoy reading The Crazy Egg Blog.

Here again, you can benefit from some experts’ advices on your copy.

Inbound Marketing / Content Marketing

Yes, you need to do some App Store Optimization.

But you also need people to find you on the web. You can’t depend only on the App Store as your sole marketing channel.

And forget about web directories and paying people for links. You need to start building and sharing interesting content so people get to know and find you.

I know, it’s easier said than done. And sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s working (it does take time) or what’s working. Remember what I said earlier about measuring your marketing’s effectiveness? That’s what it’s for.

Give it some time, it won’t happen overnight.

If you plan on building several apps for the same niche, content marketing is a great way to go. All the content you create can potentially benefit any of those apps! And when Apple changes its App Store again, you won’t suffer as much even if things don’t go your way.

By creating and sharing great content you’re also showing there’s a person/team behind the app, as well as building trust.

The right call to action

Once your app is released, you want your app website’s visitors to download it.

Don’t make them look for those download buttons!

Display a visible call to action.

Insert the app store badges (they got better with time), and consider adding another one. If it makes sense, why not using new services available like app distribution via SMS or sending download links directly to people’s phone?

If your app is not ready yet, then your call to action is the subscription button to your app email list.

The money is in the list

App developers still don’t use mailing lists enough.

Someone signing up for your email newsletter is someone you’re going to be able to reach easily, and engage. As long as they remain subscribed they give you the right to reach them directly in their inbox.

Tweets, Facebook statuses, or any other social media platforms can be useful. But the best way to make sure someone receives an information is still using an email. It’s your job to choose the right subject lines and tell the right thing so they keep opening them.

Although your email list is still useful post-launch (put a form on your website and blog), it’s pre-launch that it will have the more interest.

Before launch, put a subscription form on your app website and make it the most obvious thing on the page (see call to action above).

Here are a couple ways you can use your email newsletter:

  • Gauging the interest people have in your app (no sign ups at all? Maybe something is wrong)
  • Keep people informed about when your app is launching. Don’t forget to mention again what your app does, so they can remember you.
  • Asking people for feedback
  • Letting people know about a crowdfunding campaign
  • Asking people to vote for your app for an award or a contest
  • Letting people know about great news and milestones

Once you got your newsletter going, keep sending email regularly (but not too often) so people don’t forget about you. Use services like Mailchimp and Aweber to send it.

App Store Affiliation

You know it, Apple (and Google) takes its share (30%) on each app you sell or in-app purchase you generate.

It kinda sucks, but you can’t do anything about it. And they also let you distribute your product on their store.

No matter how you feel about this, I’m sure you don’t want to pass on the opportunity to get an additional 5%. And not only when someone buys your app, but also when they buy anything during the following 72 hours on the iTunes store (as long as they don’t click on another affiliate link).

Now the thing is, you don’t contract directly with Apple but with affiliates, the major ones being LinkShare (US, Canada and Mexico), Tradedoubler (Europe & Brazil) and DGM Pro (Australia & New-Zealand).

That means you have to contract with all of these affiliate companies if you don’t want to miss out on your 5%. Fortunately, Georiot has a solution for you (in exchange for 15% of your 5%).

Once you’re affiliated with all 3 companies, you create an account on Georiot. They give you a Georiot link for each app, which automatically redirect users to the right App Store so you can get your money. That way, you don’t have to ask yourself which link you should be using.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post and the Georiot website. The only thing you want to consider is if you’re going to be able to combine this with the way you track the sources of your downloads.


I mentioned Twitter earlier when talking about building your online presence.

A Twitter account for your app can also make a lot of sense. A lot of early adopters use Twitter, and it’s a great platform to interact with them.

You can use Twitter to share great content on your niche (whether yours or others’), your app news, or even for support (check out how Just Landed does it).

You can also use Twitter to reach out to journalists and bloggers. It won’t always work (especially if they don’t know you) and sometimes it’s better to do it with your personal account, but a tweet with a promo video can be pretty powerful.

A Twitter group like IDRTG (Indie Developers Re-Tweet Group) can help you reach even more people when you have content other developers should be interested in and major news to announce.

To optimize the time you spend sharing content on Twitter (or Facebook), use Buffer to queue up your outgoing tweets and automatically post them at optimized times. It even gives you useful analytics.

You can also use a tool like HootSuite to create lists corresponding to search queries: that way you can find discussions you can jump into by knowing when others are talking about your app or mentioning important keywords. Or Re-tweet what’s worth it.

Bring value and thank people for their comments and shares.


Depending on your app and your target audience, a Facebook page can make a lot of sense too.

If you plan to share videos, photos, or longer texts then Facebook is to consider. In all cases, you should create it and save the name.

A Facebook page can be a great way to engage your users and potential users. You can ask them what they think of your designs, questions about what they’d like to see in your app, you can share the good news, etc. Pretty much the same things you can do through your email list but status by status.

Don’t make it only about your app, though. Not promotional only. Chances are people will get annoyed and stop following you if your Facebook page is one giant ad.

Google +

Ok, I sense some eye rolling…

But seriously, if content marketing is part of your strategy to acquire users then you should link your blog to your Google+ account. It’s worth it, even if it’s just for that great picture of you it displays in search results.

Get Feedback

You have a great idea, you’ve done your research and you know you’re building the app your target audience wants and need.

That’s good.

But wouldn’t your app get better if you also asked your potential users for feedback? Don’t you think that you’ll create a better app if you ask your developer peers for their opinion about what you’re building?

Ideas are not worth much. It’s the execution that counts.

Stop thinking that everyone is going to steal your idea. Most people don’t really care, and if they do like your idea (or had it before) most chances are that since you’re building it they won’t. Anyone will be able to steal your idea anyway once your app is released (and they’ll even know what people like or don’t like about your execution).

So here is my advice: talk about your idea. To everyone willing to listen to you. Hear what they have to say, and keep an open mind when it comes to their ideas (I know, it’s hard).

If you need people to test your app before it’s released, use a service like TestFlight or HockeyApp (or promo codes if your app has been approved).

App Feedback Inputs

Feedback through your blog and social media

I mentioned it in the previous section, you can use your blog and social media accounts to engage people and start conversations.

If you have a “personal” online presence, ask your followers on Twitter what they think about your app idea. You might discover competitors you hadn’t really thought of (or found), and get interesting ideas.

Early on (once you’re committed to building the app), you should ask your blogs visitors, fans and followers what they think about your app designs: your icon, your home screen, etc. You have 4 different concepts for your icon? Share them with people and let them help you with that choice.

Feedback through a crowdsourcing / crowdfunding campaign

A crowdfunding campaign can help you with several things.

It’s of course a way to get some money for your development or marketing.

But it’s also a way to get early feedback, gauge and generate interest around your app.

Absolutely no one cares about your project? Well, something is probably wrong. Maybe your pitch is not good, maybe your approach is not the right one.

You’re able to get people to follow you, they are excited about your app and suggest you ideas? You’re on the right track, and your funders are most likely future users that will share your app with others when it’s ready.

Don’t get me wrong, a crowdfunding campaign is hard. Especially for an app since there are so many of them. You need a good online network and a great pitch (and video). And a good dose of hustle, as well.

Pre-launch feedback thanks to third-party sites

With the growing difficulty for developers to get their apps in users’ hands, some “pre-launch” platforms have been created.

The goal for these websites is to generate some interest/following in coming soon apps, and let app developers get feedback on their ideas, designs and the market they’re getting into.

We talked about Ooomf before, and you can also take a look at LaunchSky and Preapps.

Feedback from other developers and people in the mobile industry

You obviously want feedback from your target audience.

But getting other developers’ opinions about your app is important too.

They’re building or have been building several apps, they try a lot of applications and know what they like and don’t like. They can share what worked for them and what didn’t, and what they think could work for you. They can point out flaws in your design, your pitch or your marketing strategy. They can help you discover a great blog that can help you get started or improve (like ours!).

Share your project with them, offline or online:

Don’t spend ALL your time doing that, but do it. And remember, sometimes you have to give before you receive so don’t hesitate to help others and try to bring value. Thank the ones helping you, too.

Feedback from your target audience and influencers in your niche

If you’ve identified a specific niche for your app, you need to reach out to people that are likely to be interested in it.

If you’re building an app around something you’re passionate about (great idea), then you probably know the forums and other online places where people discuss about your hobby. If you’re new to that niche, start looking and interacting where your target audience is.

Don’t spam people with your app idea. Start building a “relationship” with them early on, then introduce what you’re working on (with your signature, with a post asking for feedback, etc.).

Identify influencers. Know who is really knowledgeable in your app niche, who wrote books or who has a strong following on your topic. Then reach out to them.

Same here, don’t make it spammy. Don’t ask them to talk about your app to everyone they know.

You need to have a humble approach and ask for feedback and ideas on how to improve your app. Don’t make your email too long, and be respectful of their time. Offer them to test an early version, etc.

Feedback from contests and awards

Submit your app to every contest or awards you can apply to.

Not only these are great opportunities to get more exposure (and downloads) and perfect your pitch, it’s also a good way to get expert’s thoughts (from the jury) about your app.

If it’s a “real-life” contest where you have to present your app in person, it’s an occasion for you to meet with other contestants and people in the industry and get their opinion.


If English is not your native language, localization is pretty much a no brainer.

You can start with releasing an app in a language almost no one in the world speaks (like…French), but eventually if you want your app to be a success you have to consider localizing it.

If your app is built in English first, then localization can make sense too.

app session growth

If your app starts to get some traction in its native language markets, keep an eye on how it’s doing in other countries that speak a different language. Especially the ones with high growth (like China, Argentina, Russia, Israel, etc.).

impact app language

A 128% increased in download volumes during the next week following the introduction of the native language (source: Distimo)

Translating your app name and app store page in another language can bring you some more downloads in the targeted market. This might bring you some unhappy users too, that thought they’d be able to use your app in their language.

So that doesn’t happen, you need to translate the app itself as well (and the screenshots on your app store page).

Localization is more than translation, though.

You might need to go even further and truly localize your app so it fits the targeted market’s culture and be well understood by these users.

Mark Johnson, maker of Hit Tennis 3, listed a couple potential benefits you can get from localizing on his blog:

iOS app localization

Tempting, right? So how do you go about it?

First option is doing it yourself and creating a strings file per language.

Second option, as often…Is paying someone to do it. Companies like iCanLocalize, Applingua, OneSky and others can do that for you, from $0.09/word to more.

Apple recommends a few things in terms of internationalization, you can check it out here.

Do App Store Optimization

Ok, so you can’t count on just your app store page and Apple to bring you downloads.

But does that mean that you shouldn’t do everything you can to give your app as much visibility as possible on the App Store itself? And make all you can to convert visitors into users?


App Store Optimization (ASO) is maybe a bit overrated, but there are things you need to do and choices you need to make to get the most downloads possible. Some of them are common sense, but it never hurts to check.

iOS 6 Screenshots

With iOS 6, you need to get the first screenshot right. Like these apps did.

You want to make sure you’re not forgetting any aspect of App Store Optimization? Check out our handy App Developer’s App Store Optimization Cheat Sheet.

App Store Optimization Cheat Sheet

Get Your App Reviewed

If you don’t have tons of money to invest in advertising, then your app success will depend a lot on the coverage you manage to get.

You need people to learn about your app. And a great way for that to happen is a blog post or an article on a well-known website.

It’s not easy though, as bloggers and journalists are highly solicited everyday, and don’t have time to try every single app. That means you need to pitch it right, and to the right persons.

A word on paid reviews

Some blogs will ask you for money in exchange for a blog post or to move you up the review queue.

If you decide to pay, makes sure its worth it and that it will actually bring you (loyal) users. Make sure that your targeted audience reads that blog. Because maybe your money would be better spent elsewhere.

Identify your press and blog contacts

Don’t loose your time and other people’s time: pitch your app to people that have a chance to be interested in it.

As much as possible, contact individuals and avoid mass emails. It takes more time, but increases your chances.

Identify who writes about your kind of apps and who are the best blogs to be covered on.

But don’t hesitate to target smaller blogs at the beginning, as well as non-US blogs. Guess what? There are tons of people with iPhones and iPads outside of the US. And it keeps on growing.

Try to find out about newspapers that could cover your app, too. Check out the most famous ones and find the journalists that write about mobile apps (tip: use the search field). When you contact “traditional” journalists, a press release is a good thing to have. Take a look at Muck Rack to know which journalist is talking about what and find some (US) contacts.

Check out who talked and talks (set up Google Alerts) about the type of app you’re launching. Contact them and ask them for feedback.

Find out if there are any specialized magazines in your app niche that could care about your app and that you could contact.

Pitch Perfect

Knowing who to contact is the first step.

Pitch PeferctNow you have to make these people interested enough to read your email, try your app and write about it (some write before trying).

Bloggers and journalists receive tons of emails, but they can’t review everything. However, they are always looking for cool new apps and stories to talk about (it’s their job).

To do that, you need the right pitch.

Not only do you need the perfect sentence to explain what your app is all about and why their audience should care, you also need to make sure to include some key elements in your email:

  • Your app name as it is on the App Store
  • Who your audience is, what your app does and why its approach is unique
  • Your app price
  • A link to your product page (website) and to the App Store product page
  • One or two of your best screenshots
  • A short promo or demo video
  • Contact info and Skype/Twitter IDs

Also, it doesn’t hurt to greet the person by her name, and to show that you do know what they’ve been writing about (or other things they’re doing).

When (if) they do answer you and are interested in trying your app, then send them some promo codes.

Check out our blog post on how to pitch your app and get it reviewed for some more information and an email template. And read the excellent book Pitch Perfect from Erica Sadun and Steven Sande. They are bloggers at TUAW, so you should probably read what they’re saying.

Don’t only sell the app, also sell the story

Some apps have some pretty cool stories behind them.

Take the example of the 1 Second Every Day app and its Kickstarter Campaign. It’s an app with a cool concept, but Cesar did more than just say “I’m building this”. He actually recorded 1 second every day for a year, and that’s the story he’s been selling (and why he got so much coverage).

If you have an interesting story behind your app, don’t hesitate to tell it. Write it down, and use it when you’re contacting bloggers and journalists.

More than just your app concept, an interesting blog post about your app story and your experience can give you some good visibility in the tech community when you submit it to Hacker News.

A website like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) sends directly to your inbox topics on which journalists and bloggers want to write. Check out if your story and experience are a good fit, and reach out to them!

Don’t turn down opportunities

If your app has some kind of success and people like it, there are chances you’ll be contacted by others.

As much as you can, send them the promo codes they are requesting, and accept to answer their questions and do interviews. You never know who will read or listen to it.

Marketing Your App With Video

Video is one of the most powerful ways to get your message across about your app. You might think we’re biased, but we’re definitely not the only ones saying it.

Done right, a demo video for your app can bring you several marketing benefits.

It can help you boost your app visibility, increase user engagement and retention, and get more (qualified) downloads. And that’s without mentioning branding and SEO benefits.

People are highly solicited nowadays, and they don’t have time to download each app they hear or read about. This is true for smartphone users and bloggers/journalists alike.

A demo video allows you to show in a very short time what your app is all about. It sounds cliché but it’s true: if a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a video can achieve. Here are a few tips to produce an efficient demo video:

  • Consider your audience. Keep your app target audience in mind at all times when creating your script and video.
  • Write a script. This will save you tons of time and will allow you to make sure the message you convey is the right one. Just like for your website, don’t hesitate to get feedback on your script (before getting started on your video). If you can, try to bring him some emotion and story telling.
  • Make it short (between 20 seconds and 1 minute). You might be tempted to show every feature of your app, but the truth is people won’t take the time to watch your 3mn video.
  • Focus on the benefits and and added value of your app. Focus on what makes your app unique and worth downloading. Avoid boring and keep things dynamic.
  • Make it efficient. Your goal is to show what your app is all about, but you also want people to remember it and be able to download it. Make sure you display your app name, icon and a call to action inviting viewers to download the app on the mobile app stores. Displaying your website address helps, too.
  • Keep it simple. If you’re not a video expert, it’s safer to keep it simple so don’t use crazy cheap-looking effects or complicated scenario. A simple structure like intro -> core feature(s) -> outro is most likely enough.

You made (or hired someone to make) a cool and efficient video, now use it everywhere you can to promote your app.

Some mobile app stores (Google Play, Amazon) allow you to add a video to your app page. Hopefully that will come soon for the App Store as well.

You can (and should) also use your video on your app website, in your public relations efforts, when marketing on social media or even at events and tradeshows.

After actually trying your app, people watching your app video is the next best thing that can happen. Make the most out of it.

Do “Real-life” Marketing

To be honest, I haven’t had much experience with that.

I did try flyers and things of this kind, but with not much success. It doesn’t mean it won’t work for yours: some out of the box thinking might do wonders.

If you do try it, make sure you measure it (check out what we said above about marketing channels) so you know if it works or not.

Now like I said, you should go and meet other people at conferences, exhibitions and meetups. But at these events, getting feedback is more important than selling people on your app.

Exhibition booths can be worth it, if you know your target audience will be there.

Cross-Promote Your App

This is huge.

If you’re serious about building an app business, then you should create more than one app. If your target audience is similar in all these different apps, then you have a huge opportunity for cross-promotion.

This means that even a free app, with no revenue model whatsoever (doesn’t mean it hurts to have one), can be a great first step to a second and third apps that generate revenue.

You can cross-promote on your app website (or the app page on your app dev company website), on your blog, on your email list, within your apps, by sending push notifications, on social media, etc. As long as the message you’re sending is relevant to people receiving it.

If you’re just starting and you only have one app, you can reach out to other developers with apps targeting the same niche (but not direct competitors) and offer them to do a partnership. You can start really small (tweets, in-app messages, etc.), and see where that goes.

Kill It On Launch Day!

Launch Day for your app should be the peak of your “marketing crescendo” .

All we talked about leads to this. Except if you went for a soft launch (or released your app in another country first – like Canada – to test the waters), this is the time you have to make as much noise as possible.

That’s when you should get bloggers and journalists to write about your app (if they post a link to the App Store directly, then make sure your app is actually on there – it takes time for it to become available worldwide).

You need to let everyone that showed an interest, gave you feedback and helped you that your app is ready: email list, Facebook fans and friends, Twitter followers, forum buddies, readers of your blog, real-life friends and developers…Everyone!

With iOS 6 and its new App Store, categories are kind of hidden. So unfortunately, even if you’ve done a good job and get pretty high in your category charts it won’t give you as much visibility as it used to do.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to try to generate as much “buzz” as you can and generate as many downloads as possible.

Get your app in people’s hands, get great ratings and build momentum.

Improve Engagement With Push Notifications

Push notifications can be a great tool to send important info to your users and have them come back to your app: new content available that they care about, a special offer, some cross promotion, etc.

Your users don’t necessarily check out your app often, but if they still have it on their phone it probably means that they decided it brings enough value. And you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to them.

Don’t abuse it, though, or they will soon consider you spam them and won’t want to hear about your app anymore.

You can build your own push notification service. Or you can use third party services like Urban Airship, PushWoosh, Parse or other alternatives. Some in-app analytics tools like Localytics or Mixpanel also let you do that, as does Appboy (mentioned earlier).

Take a look at their offers, and find the right fit for your app and budget.

Choose The Right Promotion Campaigns

Playing with your app price and making promotions is a good way to boost your app downloads and hopefully increase your revenue.

There are a couple things you can do by yourself so that people notice the price change of your app (and some robots pick it up), but the more effective way to boost downloads is by far using a third party who specializes in app download boosts.

This will rarely be free (although it can happen). And sometimes it will be (crazy) expensive.

But many of these app discovery apps have millions of users, and being featured (a push to their users) can give a great visibility boost to your app.

If your app has all we talked about here, then you might not only make it to the top charts (in some countries at least) but also stay in there for a while. Enough to build a solid user base you can build on.

A few services you might want to take a look at: Appgratis, Appsfire, Free App A Day, FreeMyApps, etc. More on this page.

Measure, Improve & Keep On Marketing

There’s plenty of things you have to do pre-launch, but marketing doesn’t stop a few days after your app is released.

You need to measure what works and keep doing it.

You need to improve your app so your users are both happy and engaged.

And you need to keep finding ways to get people talking about your app and sharing it.

Final Words

Marketing your app can’t be an afterthought. It is not a one-time effort either.

It’s about:

  • Building the right app and building it right, with your target audience and user experience in mind,
  • Finding what makes users come back to your app, and what makes them share it,
  • Listening to users and other developers’ feedback, learning how people use your app so you can improve it,
  • Building an online presence, presenting your app in its best light,
  • Engaging people and generating interest,
  • Optimizing your app store page so as many people as possible can find you there,
  • Reaching out the right way to people who can be interested in your app so they talk about it,
  • Doing cross promotion with your other apps or other developers’ apps,
  • Choosing the right promo campaigns to give your apps a boost when it needs it,
  • Keeping on measuring to know what works and what doesn’t, improving your app and marketing it.

It’s really not easy.

But it can be rewarding, and you’ll learn plenty along the way.

All the best for your apps in 2013 and the years to come!

[Liked it? Upvote via submission and discuss on Hacker News]

Your turn now. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what works and what doesn’t in the comments. You got at least one good idea from those 8000+ words? Share the post!

]]> 9
How To Validate Your App Ideas Thu, 13 Dec 2012 22:25:41 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> This is a guest post by David Janner, editor of the MAKE APP Magazine. Find out more about him at the end of this post.

Having a “cool app idea” isn’t enough. If you want to succeed in the app business then one thing you really need to do is market research before you launch into any app that you’re doing. Taking the time to really check that people will actually want your app will save you wasted time and money. Let’s examine that aims of market research in relation to app development.

Targeting a broad niche vs. a micro-niche

First of all you need to target and identify a certain group and audience, what people would call a “niche”. Within this niche you need to identify a need, or a “pain point” that they have. Your app will ultimately be designed to fill this pain point.

There are two types of ways that you can target a market. You can either go after a micro-niche market or you can go after a broader market segment. In any case, even if you’re going after a broad market, you’re still targeting a certain niche, although it may be a very wide niche (for example, boys between the ages of 14-16 who like roleplaying games).

Targeting a micro-niche market

If we look at targeting a micro-niche market, this can still be highly profitable. Although you’re not likely to get much traffic, the fact that the traffic is highly targeted to meet a particular need can lead to a high conversion rate and a high price tag. In this case you’re looking for a very well defined market with a very well defined need. This might be an app that caters for professional doctors, dentists or perhaps lawyers, for example. An advantage of having such a well-defined audience is that you can actually pre-validate your idea quite well. There are a couple of experts out there who do a really good job of this, for example Dane Maxwell of “The Foundation”.

I’m a real fan of Dane Maxwell’s methods, because he doesn’t start out with a particular idea or concept, but rather he goes about it in a very smart and entrepreneurial way. First off he speaks to business owners to find out what their pain points are and which of these problems they would be willing to pay money for in order to make that problem go away. Using this method, you’re already identifying your customer from the beginning and developing software which you know answers their needs.

Another way to go about pre-validation is to come up with the concept yourself first. Early on in the process, reach out to opinion leaders and bloggers in the niche and ask them “hey, what do you think about this app idea, would you be interested to test it out?” Using this method, you’ll have people from within the niche who are able to help refine and optimize the idea so that it meets their needs. Beyond that, by reaching out to the opinion leaders within a particular niche, you already have a direct marketing avenue to your potential end users once the app is launched.

So the advantage of targeting a micro-niche market is that you can relatively easily involve your end user in the creation process and have laser-focussed marketing channels.

Targeting a broad niche market

If you’re targeting a broader market then you’re going to be looking more at the overall app ecosystem. People like Chad Mureta are masters of this method of finding market segments that are popular and trending within the App Store. Let’s see more details about this in the following section.

Identify Hot Trends Within The App Store

How do you find out what’s popular on the App Store?

Your first port of call is the App Charts, which you should be glued to in order to see what’s going on. There are two main ways to do this.

You can browse the Charts on your own device or on iTunes. If you use these methods, you should just be aware that both the App Store on your device and in iTunes is locked on to a particular country App Store. Each country’s App Store show different patterns. For example, if your device is associated with the Australian App Store, you will see what apps are popular in Australia, which might be very different to the apps that are popular in France, Germany or South Korea.

It’s important to browse the charts on a regular basis so that you can spot new, rising trends. Trey Smith mentions in a talk that he gave that he looks at the App Charts at least once per hour! While this may be a bit excessive, you do want to monitor the Charts on a regular basis.

The Top Grossing Charts is a good place to look, since this clearly indicates the apps and genres that people are willing to spend money on. This also indicates which apps have the highest engagement, since normally the Top Grossing Chart leaders generate their revenue through in-app purchases.

The Top Paid Charts is also important to look at because this indicates what types of apps people are willing to pay for outright. The Top Free Charts, while not necessarily indicating anything related to monetization, do indicate which apps are getting the most downloads, since free apps get normally at least 10 times the downloads of paid apps.

Top Free Charts

A tool that I personally like to use is Apptrace. They have developed a global app ranking system. Whereas normally when you’re browsing the App Charts you see the results for a particular country, they’ve developed an algorithm which ranks all the apps (both paid and free), across all the various country App Stores. This is a great way to get a snapshot of what apps are popular world-wide. This is a great, time-saving way, to do research and spot trends. You can use Apptrace to either look at the overall global rankings, or you can niche down into particular categories.

Identify Worldwide Trends To Import Into The App Store

A third way to do market research is to identify popular topics and trends in general, outside of the App Store. There are a couple of really good tools for this. One is Google Trends, where you can see what are the most popular search terms overall and also the rising search terms. There is often a good correlation between what is popular on Google and the App Store.

When using Google Trends, there are lots of different parameters that you can set. You should normally set the timeframe to look at trends over the last 12 months (or more recently) and you can also either choose to look at the trends for a particular country or globally. As a helpful hint, normally when you’re browsing Google Trends, you can only see the top 10 results. If you download the CSV file you can get access to a larger list. Another good way to browse Google Trends is to select particular categories and this tool will automatically generate the most popular search terms related to this category.

The next awesome tool is the Google Keyword Tool (GKT). Usually this will be the next stage after you’ve identified interesting topics within Google Trends. When you plug in a search term into the GKT it will give you the exact volume of searches per month as well as suggest a list of related searches, which might give you some further ideas. As another advanced tip, under “Advanced Options and Filters”, you should set the GKT to bring up results related to “mobile devices with full internet browsers” and set the match type to “exact match”. These settings will help bring up the most accurate results as they relate to mobile based search patterns.

The sky is the limit when it comes to finding popular topics upon which to base apps. Another interesting idea is to browse the Amazon Bestseller lists in order to find topics that many people are interested in.

Validate Demand

Once you’ve identified a potential topic, you still want to validate whether there is demands for it on the App Store. A nice place to start is For example, if you found that “blue widgets” is a popular and trending topic, you can type this into It will spit out a list of all the apps containing “blue widgets” in the app name and it will rank them according to where they are ranked within the US App Store. Continuing on the “blue widgets” example, if on there are lots of results but none of them are actually ranked on the App Store, this probably means that it is not an organically popular topic.

Another important tool to validate demands is Xyologic, since it can actually estimate how many downloads an app is getting on both a monthly basis and overall. You can search the App Store for “blue widgets” to come up with a number of related apps and then plug the top few results into Xyologic. If these apps are getting lots of downloads it strengthens your hypothesis that it is a good market to focus on.

Lastly, AppAnnie is useful to see where existing apps are ranked and if they are featured in the App Store. You can see the rankings for particular apps both on a daily basis and as a historical chart. These are all tools that can help give an indication as to demand, although none of these methods are fool proof. Whenever possible, you want to validate your app ideas to the greatest extent possible before you actually start working on it.

Predict The Future

An alternate method of doing market research is to plan your apps ahead of time in relation to topics that are likely to become popular on the App Store. We know that world-wide trends are definitely reflected in the App Store. For example, if you look at the Chomp monthly reports, which they had put out in the past until they were acquired by Apple, you can see in the November 2011 report that around Thanksgiving and Black Friday the terms “shopping” and “discount” had massive spikes in search volume. This pattern occurs around other events as well.

You might try to take advantage of these seasonal trends. For example, around Black Friday you might put out a shopping related app and around Halloween you might put out a horror-related app. Other avenues to look at include planning apps around upcoming sporting events and movies. Just imagine that you would have put out an Olympic themed app prior to the Summer Games – this could have generated massive downloads, as some savvy app developers experienced. is a good site for browsing upcoming sporting events. In relation to movies, and list upcoming movie releases, although you should always take care not to infringe any existing copyrights or trademarks.

That’s your basic workflow for researching apps and pre-validating your ideas as much as possible. The next phase would be to plan which category your app should be placed in. Distimo has put out a very useful report showing how many downloads you need in order to rank in the 25th spot for various categories. You can use this information to estimate how easy it will be to rank within a particular category. Of course, you should also take into consideration the fit of your app for that category.

Lastly, you should create a plan for your App Store SEO in order to maximize the traffic you will get from search. This is beyond the scope of this article since it’s a very expansive topic. Be sure to read Issue 4 of MAKE APP Magazine to learn about App Store Optimization from the leading experts in the field.

David Janner is the Editor of MAKE APP Magazine, the premium iPad-only digital magazine for indie app developers. MAKE APP Magazine cuts through the fluff to bring you accurate information from the leaders in the app industry. You can also follow David on Twitter and Facebook.

]]> 2
Learn How People Use Your App – An App Analytics Tools Round-Up Thu, 29 Nov 2012 16:46:40 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> Knowing how many people download your app, how much money you’re making or what users think of your app is important. But it’s definitely not the only thing you should be tracking.

It’s not all about the number of downloads. You also need to learn how, when, where and by what kind of audience your app is used.

Of course you can get a sense of that when you have people trying your app in front of you…But if you really want to know how well your app is doing, you need some more data. And believe it or not, your users are probably not using your app exactly like you think they are.

What to track and why

An interesting post from Dave McLure explains the key metrics startups should use. I tend to believe that a lot of things that are true for startups are true for mobile apps too. For example, I think that app developers should copy more what entrepreneurs do for marketing before their launch. But I digress…Here are the “Pirate” metrics Dave talks about:

Key Startup Metrics to Monitor

You can measure some of the acquisition/revenue metrics using app downloads and revenue tracking tools, but if you use only that you will still be missing some important data.

By monitoring the right things, you’ll be able to learn a lot about your users and improve your app or your game.

A couple of other things before jumping to our thoughts on the different tools:

  • Start monitoring things before you publish your app on the mobiles stores: even if you got only a few beta testers (try having as many as possible!), the data can still be used as an indicator
  • Different tools for different apps: what might be a perfect tool for a kind of app might bring much less value for another
  • Track what makes sense for your app and for your audience: not every app has the same objectives
  • Know where your app is going: do your best to pick a tool that you can still use (or afford) when you get more users, add platforms or countries

In-App Usage Analytics

Luckily, there are several tools for in-app analytics and some are free or have free versions. Some provide other features than in-app usage analytics (cross-promotion, ads etc.). This can be important to make your choice but it’s not the topic of this post so that part is not detailed.

All the solutions mentioned will require you to use an SDK as well as some level of customization.

A couple folks working at these companies have interesting things to say about their products and in-app usage analytics on Quora, you should check it out.

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are only ours, and some of the tools we couldn’t test extensively. We did our best not to make any mistake when talking about these tools, and if by any chance we did please let us know and we’ll happily correct them.

Flurry Analytics

Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Java ME

Flurry is a pretty complete tool for your mobile app analytics. For each app, you can either use the “classic” dashboard or create up to 10 custom dashboards. That compensates for the fact that to get some analytics, you sometimes need several clicks which can get frustrating.

Flurry Analytics Dashboard

Here the kind of info you can find or use in the dashboards:

  • Usage: active users, sessions, session lengths, frequency, retention, etc.
  • Audience: interest of users(your other apps + category), personas (type of your users – defined by Flurry), demographic
  • Events: define events, see user paths, create funnels
  • Technical: devices, carriers, firmware versions, errorr
Depending on the data/charts you’re looking at, you can filter via segments (age, first session, usage, country, etc), app versions and dates.
Probably because Flurry offers lots of other services (like ads), this tool is free yet provides a lot of analytics.
If you’re using Flurry, below is a video explaining how to create events and why:
Click here to view the video on YouTube.

We like:
thorough yet free, multiple dashboards, user paths and funnels
Not so much: lots of click required to get info, errors/crashes hard to identify

Google Mobile App Analytics

Price: Free
Platform: iOS, Android

It might seem suprising, but Google didn’t launch this mobile app analytics tool before the end of June 2012. Mobile is (getting) huge, and I think Google will play a key role in analytics. For many users they already have for web and mobile web analytics, it makes total sense to keep using the same tool they’re used to for in-app usage analytics.

The program is still in beta, and you can apply here.

I couldn’t give it a try, but here is what I got from the Google Analytics Support. Just like you would expect, Google Mobile App Analytics provides metrics to analyze your app performance. Your app overview gives you reports organized in four categories

  • Acquisitions: find out about who are your new users. For Android apps on the Google Play Store, you can also track where your users are coming from and for example know how many sessions they’ve used or in-app revenue they’ve generated.
  • Users: just like for the web, you can know about new vs. returning users, their country/language, the app version, etc.
  • Engagement: you can use event tracking like you do on your website, get reports on speed, crashes and exceptions.
  • Outcomes: you can set up goal, track the conversion of your objectives and see the goal flow (Google’s equivalent to the funnel/user path).
It seems as complete as it can get, but I have no idea how hard it is to get access to the beta.

We like:
lots of the needed features, easier to learn if you already use GA, integration with Google Play for conversion tracking (and more to come)
Not so much: still in beta, no integration with iTunes for conversion (I don’t see that happening)

Apsalar – ApScience

Price: Free
Platform: iOS, Android

Apsalar seems like a real complete mobile app analytics tool.

The customizable dashboard lets you choose the data you want to see at first glance.

Apsalar Dashboard

You can create:

  • Events
  • Funnels, including across multiple apps.
  • Real-time cohorts, to measure engagement of users across time
Apsalar Funnel
You can also segment your users based on these events, funnels and cohorts.
In addition, Apsalar has a free tool to measure performance and ROI/LTV of acquisition campaigns. Another tool, still in private beta, allows developers to target specific users when advertising.

We like:
 analytics across multiple apps, real-time cohorts
Not so much: they don’t answer our emails


Price: Freemium (see prices here)
Stores: iOS, Android

Mixpanel is an event-based analytics tools: account creation, sharing, upgrade, purchase, etc. You have to define events and event properties for your app.

You can:

  • Track these events separately or create series of events (funnels).
  • Use cohort analysis to see exactly how often users come back and engage with your application.
  • Build complex queries based on events and demographics
  • Tie mobile to web and vice versa
  • If you have users’ info
    • Tie data to a person
    • “Explore” user segments and engage users via email/SMS/push notifications

Mixpanel-Mobile Analytics

Below is a video made by the MixPanel team to explain the tool:

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

In the free version, you’re limited to 25,000 data points / month. A data point is counted every time you track an event with Mixpanel. So, for a music app and if you track only songs played, that could be 2,500 users playing 10 songs each.

Mixpanel also recently introduced “Activity Feed”, that let you see a timeline of every action a user (when identified by a profile) takes in your app from day 1.

We like: event-based and easy to create funnels, nice UI and allows in-depth analysis, can tie web to mobile
Not so much: limited in data points in free version


Price: Freemium (see prices here)
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, HTML5

On the first screen, once you’ve added your apps, Localytics presents you an overview of each one with the number of sessions or users. In the premium/entreprise versions you can compare your apps with various criterias (new vs. returning, sessions, users, etc.) and also build your own queries to get a .csv file.

In the free version of Localytics, you can get the following analytics info for each app:

  • App usage and reports (by location, device, carrier, app version, unique users)
  • Users and sessions (time periods and new vs. returning)
  • Day-Part Analysis (time of day where your users are most active)
  • Events and attributes
  • Annotations (leaving notes on graphs)
Localytics Dashboard
It’s fairly easy to use and the premium/entreprise versions are full of features, unfortunately in the free version it’s clearly missing the funnel creation, sessions length, filters, etc. But they have to make money somewhere, right? Still, you might want to check out their blog to read some interesting case studies.
Localytics also has a pretty neat tool for premium/entreprise versions that let you send in-app messages using advanced segmentation: you can target only users that do specific actions.

You can try a live demo with all the features here.

We like: help bubbles at the beginning, easy to use, unlimited apps in free version
Not so much: no funnels/sessions length/filters in free version


Price: Free if self hosted (open source)
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry

Countly might not be one of the leading analytic tools but it has a unique positioning, a great UI and a stunning design. It is a real-time, open source mobile analytics application that you can host on your own server. The team is also about to launch Countly Cloud, to track and monitor your mobile app analytics in a hosted environment.

The dashboard is really easy to use, with pretty much every info at a glance or at a click: sessions, new users, time spent, events served, etc.

Countly Analytics Dashboard

For each app, you can get info on:

  • Users and Users Loyalty
  • Sessions and Session Frequency
  • Countries
  • Devices and App Versions
  • Carriers and Platforms
You can also track events (and use segmentation) and sets of events (i.e funnels) that you define from the app. If you want to segment (country, app version, platform), that means you have to think about it before hand (in your app code).

We like:
awesome UI/design, open source (cloud version coming),
Not so much: segment from within the app (but that’s also for performance reasons)


Price: Free
Platform: iOS, Android

AskingPoint is a less complete tool, but is worth mentionning because of its unique concept: it provides both mobile app analytics and a review/polls system.

The Analytics part gives you data on usage, devices, versions and demographic. You can also create custom events to get basic info on how people user your app.

This post is not about improving your ratings. That said, what’s great about AskingPoint is that it allows you to ask specific segments of users (based on various criterias like how they use your app, version, country) to rate your app or to send them a survey/poll.

As shown above, you can then compare what kind of response you get depending on the version you use.

We like: ask your best users for review
Not so much: basic analytics, no funnel

Other tools (iOS)

It’s like Crazy Egg for iOS apps, and it looks pretty cool: you can know which buttons users press, what is the first thing they touch,  see what kind of gestures they use, if they are using your app in landscape or portrait mode and even do some A/B testing.

Check out their video below to learn more:

HeatData (Mobile Websites)

Mobile is not all about native apps. If you have a mobile website, HeatData is the perfect tool to get Heatmaps for mobile gestures. In addition to the heatmaps, you can track up to 10 Events for free.

TestFlight Live (iOS)
By leaving the SDK you use to have people test your app over-the-air, you can get free access to 90 days of real-time analytics of revenue, audience and engagement.

This tool is quite different, as it is for Location Analytics. Placed is made to “measure, aggregate, and analyze the paths and places people visit in the physical world”.

So here are most of your options in order to know how, when, where and by what kind of audience your app is used. Based on the data you’ll get and the tracking of your downloads and revenues, you can adjust your app marketing and improve your app/game.

Did we forget any major free or affordable tools for mobile app analytics? Have you tried any of these and would like to share your experience? What do you track? Let us know in the comments!

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How To Track Your App Downloads and Revenue Mon, 19 Nov 2012 23:22:13 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> You want your app to succeed, right?

But how are you going to measure that success? From your market research, you should already have a good idea of your objectives before your app hits the mobile app stores.

No matter what your goals are for your app, you need some key metrics to evaluate how you are doing: downloads, revenue, ranks, reviews, etc. Don’t get me wrong though, it doesn’t stop there and you want to use in-app analytics too.

The good news is, there are many good tools that let you track all these. The bad news is that it’s not that easy to pick one. Here are our favorites and what we like or don’t like about them.

These tools don’t require the installation of an SDK, so don’t hesitate to try them by yourself to find the right fit.

App Downloads, Revenue & Rankings Tracking Tools

Given the fact that most of our readers (yes, I’m talking about you) are indie developers, we decided to focus on free or very affordable solutions. For freemium tools, we sometimes mentioned some features of the paid versions but without detailing.

Here is a quick comparison table of the tools we took a look at (don’t hurt your eyes and click on the snapshot or here to see the pdf version):

App Tracking Tools Comparison

If there are any mistakes in this App Downloads Tracking Tools comparison table,
please contact us and we’ll update it

App Annie

Price: Free
Stores: App Store, Google Play Store

App Annie is not only a great tool to do market research and validate your app idea, it’s also very useful to track your app downloads and revenues.

The dashboard view lets you analyze the iOS or Android revenue of your app with a stacked chart and a table view provides you with the last 7 days downloads and revenue (and their evolution). You can also see your app US ranking and number of reviews over that period.

In the Detailed view (per app), you get a chart with:

  • Revenue and downloads during the date range of your choice
  • Break-down per country (pretty useful to evaluate the need for localization)
  • Tables with your app daily ranks
  • Chart for your rank history
  • Reviews written on your app.

App Annie - App Detail

Another neat feature is the possiblity to add events: a review of your app on a blog, a price dropping promotion, an app update, etc. It makes it easier later on to evaluate the impact of your marketing efforts.

We like: easy to use and nice ux, email recaps, hourly ranking
Not so much: can’t choose date range on dashboard


Price: Freemium (see details here)
Stores: Appstore, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore

The free version of AppFigures (up to 5 apps), won’t really let you have more than what App Annie offers. However, in its $4.99 (+ $1.49 per app after 2 apps)/month version, it has some pretty nice features.

The sales and downloads page has a chart that lets you:

  • Analyze data for one or several apps
  • See units downloaded, profit and app updates for a a specific date range
  • See the break-down per country
  • See the events you defined to analyze marketing efforts impacts
  • Overlay the app ranks (nice-to-have, but probably better to watch separately)
Appfigures - Sales-Updates

The Ranks section of Appfigures allow you to get charts with hourly rankings per country for any app (yours or others’). Besides the fact that you shouldn’t spend hours watching your app rank, it’s pretty useful on launch day or when doing marketing experiments if you want to “immediately” analyze the impact.

As on App Annie, you can read the reviews written about your apps around the world.

They have a developer API allowing to interact with reports and account data.

We like: fairly easy to use, hourly rank and app updates tracking, integrates iAd
Not so much: not free if you want email recap and hourly rank tracking


Price: Freemium (with several features included in free version)
Stores: App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, GetJar, Handago, Mobihand, Nook Apps, RIM App World, WP7 MarketPlace

Mopapp, like App Annie, offers App Store rankings that can be useful for your market research.

The Mopapp dashboard is quite different from the others, as it offers a combined downloads or revenue charts for a given date range as well as pie charts to compare how you are doing by:

  • Applications
  • Countries
  • Stores
  • Platforms
  • Ad networks
  • Banners

You can easily apply filters for any of the above criterias: removing an app or a store from the charts/comparison for example.

Mopapp Dashboard

More details are available for each criteria, with the same concept of applying filters to see exactly the data you want and need.

If you’re using iAd, AdMob, InMobi or Smaato you can track your earnings directly within Mopapp which can be a nice time saver.

Finally, if you (or most likely your company) can afford it, the entreprise version lets you integrate with your flurry account to track in-app usage analytics and compare them with your downloads. Entreprise version comes with more features like translated reviews, ranking history and competitors comparison.

We like: data import, helps you compare easily platforms and apps, integrates some ad networks data, upgrades info, link flurry account (entreprise version)
Not so much: no ranking data in free version, events hard to find, entreprise version at $199/mo, category was wrong for some apps when testing

Distimo App Analytics

Price: Free
Stores: App Store, Google Play Store, BlackBerry App World, GetJar, Nokia Ovi Store, Samsung Apps, Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

If you follow us on Twitter, you most likely have seen us sharing some of Distimo’s excellent reports on mobile markets data.

Distimo also offers a free app analytics and sales tracking tool to app developers. I like the customizable dashboard where you can add/remove widgets to monitor what matters to you.

Design is different (better in my opinion) than Mopapp, but it works in the same way in the sense that you apply filters (stores, apps, countries, metrics – downlaods or updates) to the following data:

  • Downloads
  • Ads (Adfonic, AdMob, iAd, InMobi or Smaato)
  • Revenues
  • Rankings (for your apps and competitors apps)
  • Reviews
  • Funnels (using AppLinks for cross-platform app distribution)
  • Benchmarks
  • Events (manual or automatically detected – e.g. new release, app entered the top 100)
  • Datagrid (total download and revenue data over a given timespan, that you can sort)

Distimo Downloads screen

A great tool with some level of customization, that gives you the possibility to find and visualize pretty much any data you can need when it comes to tracking downloads and revenues.

You can try a live demo here.

We like: thorough, integrates ad networks data, app rankings comparison with competitors, funnels, events, email reports
Not so much: level of complexity (but still simple to use given all the features)

Some other tools

We can’t possibly review all existing tools. We decided on the ones above because they are free or affordable, and because they provide the most needed features while supporting at least the App Store and the Google Play Store. Here are some other tools that might be of interest:

AppViz (Mac – iTunes Connect) – Analyze your iTunes connect data (reviews, rankings, events) with charts and tables. Starts at $49, free trial available.

Appstatics (iOS) – Acquired by Appsfire, this free (with premium features coming soon) app lets you track the rankings of your apps.

With this round-up you should be able to save some time in choosing the app downloads tracking tool that is right for you. Define your objectives before launching your app, and track your success! Don’t think that’s all you have to do though, it’s not all about downloads.

If you believe we forgot a great tool or if you want to share your own experience, we’d love to hear it in the comments!

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Call To Action: Make Sure Your App Actually Gets Downloaded Mon, 29 Oct 2012 17:00:00 +0000 Click to continue reading >]]> Some users find your app on the App Store (or Google Play Store), and some find about it on the web. No matter how many visitors you manage to bring to your app website or landing page, if they don’t end up downloading your app then it’s useless. You can have an awesome app, the most compelling copywriting, the best design and screenshots…It’s not worth much if visitors don’t know (i.e. if you don’t tell them) how to download it.

A prominent call-to-action

There are several key elements you need to have on your app website: your app name and icon, a video, screenshots, showing the device, etc. They’re all important, but most of them lose a lot of that importance if there is no clear call-to-action that invites visitors to actually download the app.

It really seems like common sense, but it’s not that rare to see an app landing page where the download button is hard to find.

What you need to do is to make that button the first thing people see when they get to your page. If they see it first, they know where to click when they actually decide to download your app. They can then take a look at the rest of your website and get convinced by all the great stuff you put on it.

If your app is not available yet, give users a way to enter their email address to get notified when the app launches (using MailChimp for example). If it’s already live, take a look at the following options to get your download call-to-action right.

The Mobile App Stores Badges

This is the way most app developers do it, and what users have been pretty used to seeing. Both Apple and Google provide developers with badges. These badges have changed quite a lot since the beginning, and they are now pretty explicit and make good call to actions.

Apple recently added the more inviting “Download on the App Store” for online usage to the previous “Available on the App Store” official badge (now for offline usage), most likely to prevent developers from creating their own customized buttons (which you’re not suppposed to do if you follow the – quite strict – marketing guidelines).

App Store Badges

In the same way, Google went from the “Available in Android Market” badge to the actual “Get it on Google Play”.

Get it on google play

These badges are pretty important for both companies, since getting them right can increase conversion and their bottom lines. And it’s the exact same thing for you.

The other aspect of it is branding: because these buttons were initially not clear call-to-actions and people were not all the time aware it was actually buttons they could click to download the app, several app developers/designers decided to create their own “download” or “get the app” buttons. You can still do it, but it’s become less necessary.

If you go with using only the official badges make sure you alway use the latest versions, which you can find here for Apple and here for Google.

Mobile App Distribution Via SMS

A “trend” that has been appearing lately on several website is a call-to-action where visitors enter their phone number and click on a “Text me”, “Get link” or “Get the app” button. They then receive a text message on their phone with a direct link to download the app.

Why does it make sense?

There are a couple reasons why this approach makes sense.

  1. The most obvious one is that it can increase conversion rates quite significantly. Users get a link to your app directly on their device, and don’t have to look for it on the App Store or Google Play. I don’t know about you but sometimes I was just unable to find an app I wanted to download by using search on the App Store.
    I don’t like downloading them on my computer first, and there was times where I ended up looking for the developer’s name to finally download the app. Also, what are the chances they get distracted by a “featured app” or start looking at other apps (your competition for instance)?
  2. Using app distribution via SMS, you make sure that not only they get directly to your app details page and can download the app straight away but also that they will have the link in their messages if they decide to come back to it later.
  3. You can have a single call-to-action, no matter if the user on the other hand is using an Android or iOS device. You can then either give 2 different links in the text message or just one that will automatically detect what phone your user is on. Using links allows you to get statistics, too.

Here you go for the advantages. It’s not perfect though, and I see a couple ways you could lose users if you give them only this possibility:

  • What about apps for devices that can’t receive SMS (iPod, iPad, tablets) ?
  • What about users that are scared (or don’t want) to give their phone numbers?
Fortunately, you can use both the mobile app distribution via SMS and the app store badges to make sure you don’t loose any potential users along the way.

Implementing distribution via SMS with Twilio

You might be thinking “this all sounds good, but how do I implement this?”. Well that’s where Twilio and my exceptional technical skills can help you. Ok, not really my skills: I kind of struggled understanding enough of it to explain that here, and was lucky to get some help from my friend Gwendal Mahe and also from the great team at GetMaid.

Start by signing up for free on Twilio and downloading their library here. We tried with php, but it’s really your choice. If you do use php, they are more likely to explain that stuff better than me and therefore I’d advise you to first follow their Twilio SMS PHP Quickstart.

Here is the code for the form (mobile number field and “Get link” button):

<form id="frm" name="frm">
 <input type="hidden" name="ajax" value="1"/>
 <h4>Text your phone a download link for our iPhone and Android apps</h4>
 <input type="phone" name="phone" placeholder="Enter Your Mobile Number"/>
 <button type="submit">Get Link</button>
 <div style="display: none; " class="error"/>

And here is the code we used in the <head></head> part, so we don’t have to send users to a confirmation page:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
 $.post("sendnotifications.php", $("#frm").serialize(),
 if(data.sms_sent == 'OK'){
 alert("Message Sent");
 } else {
 alert("Message Not Sent");
 }, "json");



Here’s the modified sendnotifications.php file we used for testing (you’ll need to use your own Twilio AccountSid and AuthToken):

 /* Send an SMS using Twilio. You can run this file 3 different ways:
 * - Save it as sendnotifications.php and at the command line, run
 * php sendnotifications.php
 * - Upload it to a web host and load
 * in a web browser.
 * - Download a local server like WAMP, MAMP or XAMPP. Point the web root
 * directory to the folder containing this file, and load
 * localhost:8888/sendnotifications.php in a web browser.

// Step 1: Download the Twilio-PHP library from,
 // and move it into the folder containing this file.
 require "twilio-php/Services/Twilio.php";

// Step 2: set our AccountSid and AuthToken from
 $AccountSid = "AC26c69507d7566c01f664f065b5cb3886";
 $AuthToken = "c8ec4e90c56f9069fa9b8d324217b3c6";

// Step 3: instantiate a new Twilio Rest Client
 $client = new Services_Twilio($AccountSid, $AuthToken);

// Step 4: Get phone number from the test-sms form

// Step 5: Create SMS
 $sms = $client->account->sms_messages->create(

// Change the 'From' number below to be a valid Twilio number
 // that you've purchased, or the (deprecated) Sandbox number

// the number we are sending to - Any phone number

// the sms body
 "Get our app now:"

// Display a confirmation message on the screen
 $sms_check='OK'; //Use Twilio's callback here
 $return_json = '{"sms_sent":"' . $email_check . '"}';

echo $return_json;

We haven’t really been further (yet), and if you need to check the status of your SMS (to display a confirmation/error) Twilio also allows you to get a callback.

Mobile App Distribution via SMS

How much is it going to cost you? It seems that Twilio can be used to send texts to users in most places of the world, and pricing differs from country to country. It’s 1cent to users in the US and Canada, and 7cents to users in France for example. You can check out their prices here. If your users generate revenues (paid app, in-app purchases, etc.), it can definitely be interesting and is worth a try.

Mobile Detect

What exactly should you send to your future users? Like I said above, either one link per store (App Store, Google Play) or a single link where the device used will be detected and the user automatically directed to the right store. For that last option, you can use the Mobile Detect php class (really easy to implement).

A couple examples


What I really like on the Path website (besides the fact that they integrated an actual video of the app being used and their website is responsive) is that they give some instructions: users can either download the app through their browser, or receive the text message with the link. They also included both the App Store and Google Play badges, just in case.

Path app website

“Get the free app” button with distribution via SMS + Badges

And when users receive the text, they thought about putting a brief “pitch”, too.

Path Mobile App Distribution


Belly decided to put the mobile number field and “Text me!” button, with an explanation/call-to-action right above “Download the Belly app for iPhone or Android”.

Belly app website

Download sentence + distribution via SMS

Belly Mobile App Distribution via SMS

Get Maid

Like Belly, Get Maid put both a sentence “Text your phone a download link for our iPhone and Android apps”, the Mobile phone number field and the prominent “Get Link” button. I like it better though, since it’s more clear to visitor what they should do and what is going to happen.

Get Maid App Website

Descriptive download sentence + distribution via SMS

Get Maid Mobile App Distribution via SMS

You might also want to check out the following video presentation on mobile app distribution, made by Rob Spectre from Twilio. There are other ways you could use their service for your app marketing (offline marketing, sharing within the app, etc.).

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

No matter how great your app is, or how good your copywriting or design are…Without a clear call-to-action to get visitors to download your app (or get notified of its launch), your app website or landing page loses all its interest. Make sure you make it easy for potential users to find and download your app, and consider giving a try to mobile app distribution via SMS to see if it increases downloads.

Have you noticed significant a significant download increase (or decrease) by changing your call-to-action? Have you tried mobile app distribution with Twilio yet, or know of any good services that allow the same thing? Share your experience in the comments!

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