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App Marketing Techniques I use and my results

varcharvarchar NYCPosts: 138Registered Users @ @
Hey fellow developers,

I am so puzzled with the entire app marketing world. Its extremely hard and getting harder to get any type of ROI. Maybe I am not doing things correctly.

Let me share with everyone what I am doing. I am sure almost everyone is doing the same thing, and if not, well I hope this helps you, cuz it is not doing much for me :(

Lets first start with the app. I have lots of them, happens to be all of them are games (yes yes i know super competitive market). I also want to disclose that I am part of a team of about 4-5 developers and 2-3 artists, so I guess you can say we are a very small startup :)

Before I release an app, I focus on making it high quality so users would love it. In fact, average my games have 4 star reviews (no no, i do not buy the reviews on fiverr or any other site. these are REAL reviews). One specific app I have a bit over than 500 reviews for all versions, most of them are 4 star, and about 3% are 2 star, so overall its pretty good.

Below are my marketing efforts I have done:

Basics

* YouTube Video - DONE - Hired a pro to do it for me!
* Facebook/Twitter - DONE - constantly on it and promoting as much as I can
* Submit to review sites (complete waste in my opinion) - DONE - even hired several services to do it (i will not name them since I hate * bashing companies, i am sure they did the best they code).

App Search Optimization (ASO)

* Constantly reviewing my keywords and optimizing them. Even using services such as sensortower which is pretty cool. It helps a lot.
* My experiences with ASO is that you have to always be on top of it. I literarily do updates almost every week to see the impact of the keywords. And I do have to say, out of all the efforts, this increases my app traffic a lot!


Advertising


I tried it all. TapJoy, Facebook Ads, FeaturePoints, RevMob, Chartboost, etc... all are great services. But the ROI i received didn't compensate the advertising dollars I spent.


Some statistics I would like to share:

Monetization of the app: IAPs, RevMob, Chartboost
Advertising budget I had about $1,000 a day

During my advertising campaign (i.e. FB, and others), I got about 1,400 downloads per day. When I stopped the campaign it dropped to 800 a day, and then 1 week later, averaged about 400 a day. When I continue to optimize the keywords I can get a steady download stream of 250-300 a day

Now my app gets around 250-300 a day, sometimes goes down to 150 a day. That is nothing. it SUCKS!!

In all my experiments, it seems when I don't do advertising and stick with ASO, i can get the 200-300 a day (approx and average). But when i do advertising then i get more depending on my budget.

I even tried many cross promoting within my apps.. I have about 20 or so... and it helps, but still i can't get past the 400 mark at most and even that is rare.


What am I doing wrong? So far we didn't make back the cost of the app, and it has been over 6 months.

Please anyone help. Anyone share their experiences. Enlighten me. PLEASE....


Also while I am at it, I am so curious, on the appempire.com how the heck can that be true? I know all of us are app developers here and we work very hard, and I don't know about you, but I am like the starving app developer.... How does appempire students make all this money?

PLEASE enlighten me!

Replies

  • varcharvarchar NYCPosts: 138Registered Users @ @
    @dev666999 good analogy bro! :)

    So what do we as app developers do? How do we make $? Do we just abandon ship???
  • Jake28Jake28 Posts: 71New Users @
    How do you make money from your app, is it just from advertisements in the app? What is your user retention rate like? Do you send out push notifications to get people back playing it? What mechanisms within your app allow your users to share it to their friends (apart from a simple "share this app" button), have you tried guest blog posting to promote your app? Does your app successfully differentiate itself in the market? What is the "hook" - what is so good about the game which gets people coming back?
  • varcharvarchar NYCPosts: 138Registered Users @ @
    @Jake26

    1) Money made from IAPS and Ads.. IAPs yield less than 2% of the downloads
    2) User retention is actually pretty high. about 20%, which is pretty cool.
    3) Yes I send out pushes once a month or so. However, there are also local notifications which are fired up every 2-3 days to gives the user "free coins" for returning back to the app. This actually works pretty well.
    4) Share score, interactive with friends, etc.... all very well social integrated, even game center and all the standard stuff.
    5) Guest blog posting. That is something i haven't tried
    6) App is an addictive game, similar to bejeweled but with a very good twist. Actually as mentioned it has over 500+ reviews most of which are very positive.
  • Jake28Jake28 Posts: 71New Users @
    edited September 2013
    Sorry read it wrong missed the IAP part, whats your strategy there?
    varchar wrote: »
    @Jake26

    1) Money made from IAPS and Ads.. IAPs yield less than 2% of the downloads
    2) User retention is actually pretty high. about 20%, which is pretty cool.
    3) Yes I send out pushes once a month or so. However, there are also local notifications which are fired up every 2-3 days to gives the user "free coins" for returning back to the app. This actually works pretty well.
    4) Share score, interactive with friends, etc.... all very well social integrated, even game center and all the standard stuff.
    5) Guest blog posting. That is something i haven't tried
    6) App is an addictive game, similar to bejeweled but with a very good twist. Actually as mentioned it has over 500+ reviews most of which are very positive.
  • Jake28Jake28 Posts: 71New Users @
    edited September 2013
    It personally see things as a 3 step process (in this order),

    1. Add as many revenue streams as you can/is good, e.g. mix advertisments + in-app purchases
    2. Optimise app to increase conversions of in app purchases, retention rate etc. <<< i think this part needs work on
    3. only when you have added multiple revenue streams and optimised conversions using the organic "Traffic" you get then should you pay for advertising, promote it or you're losing out on $$$

    :)
  • felipewatanabefelipewatanabe São Paulo / BrazilPosts: 152Registered Users @ @
    @varchar, guess one of your problems might be picking the right games to develop.

    You said you have a bejewled style game. That, for instance, should be very hard to market with all those giants burning money on their similar games.

    What I'd suggest is picking good niches in which you can make a good volume of downloads without competing with the big guys. Of course you could be lucky and all, but I wouldn't count 100% in it.

    ASO is also key, but for what you wrote, you're doing it well.
    Head of Marketing at Tapps Games
  • varcharvarchar NYCPosts: 138Registered Users @ @
    @felipewatanabe

    Good points about "types of games" to develop. I guess I am blinded into thinking that because my game has 500+ reviews its a good game and i should continue to focus on it.

    I am now thinking of creating a different game and focusing on it. I was about to ask what niche you recommend, but hey who would want to disclose that.... lol....

  • chuckc192000chuckc192000 FloridaPosts: 387New Users @ @
    Thanks for clogging up the App Store review process just to change your keywords.
  • varcharvarchar NYCPosts: 138Registered Users @ @
    @chuckc192000 First of all, I do not make updates just to change keywords! I constantly review feedback and incorporate bug fixes and some weeks new features! With updates I also optimize keywords as well. I would never want to just update an app just to update the keywords. That's lame and its a waste of time for everyone!
  • Jake28Jake28 Posts: 71New Users @
    @varchar pm me the name of your app and ill check it out and offer you suggestions via PM, If I can, of how you could increase conversions of IAPs (if you want that is! :) )
  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 3,547New Users @ @ @ @ @
    Thanks for clogging up the App Store review process just to change your keywords.

    It's really nobody's fault but Apple. ;)

  • sanyam61sanyam61 Posts: 96New Users @
    @varchar you need a prior market research of what app cravers require, meet the technology with the need and bingo. That requires time and different opinions.. there was no instagram, facebook vine twitter etc.. their ideas were original or with a BIG twist. secondary research never helps. Rest you are going average as many other indies do in app business
  • iSpreadNewsiSpreadNews Posts: 359Registered Users @ @
    Thanks for clogging up the App Store review process just to change your keywords.

    It looks like Apple is adding artificial 7 days delay, so ASO does not hurt review process. Before release of iOS7, updating the app took 1-2 days average! That means number of reviewers is big enough to approve updates in 1-2 day.

    iSpreadNews.com - VERY CHEAP (from $50) way to send your iPhone/iPad app announcement to hundreds of blog & news sites owners over the globe.

    Just remember that there other countries besides US!
  • passmeoutpassmeout USPosts: 20New Users @
    Advertising budget I had about $1,000 a day
    I have to say you are rich
  • vshahvshah AhmedabadPosts: 6New Users Noob
    My concern is how to increase app reviews and rating? Any specific activity would you like to suggest?
  • optimizemyappsoptimizemyapps USAPosts: 138Registered Users @ @
    @vshah - One way to increase the review & ratings on your App is to put a Rating Nag pop up. This you will have to decide when to show the user , it works best when the user has achieved something positive in the game or App like successfully completed a level.
    This is the screen which says , Rate this App, Rate Now ; Remind me Later ; I Dont want to rate

    OptimizeMyApps.com for Professional Help on App Store Optimization / App Promotion Services at Great Prices
  • hiteshvashishthiteshvashisht United States Of AmericaPosts: 4New Users Noob
    Hi you have spent alot .. of money but honestly the things u did is just 5% of promotion .. I am into app marketing from the last 6 years and had a perfect record of 68 app that I bought in top charts with proof... let me know I am very interested to help your app for free... and I have promoted more than 480 apps in 6 years in which near about 429 apps are earning alot from my services taht I provided them ... I would love to share the secrets for how to get your app best promoted and increase its users interest.. especially ON USA app store.... but for only IOS apps...
  • HappyByteHappyByte Posts: 343New Users @ @
    If you buy a lot of ads from many sources then you need to use attribution and a very good stats that allows segmentation and per segment/campaign/ad analysis, so you can trow out bad channels.

    But before going there you need a game that makes money.

    And then it vary much.

    To be sustainable you need a game that will have up to 50-60% retention, up to $50-100 average LTV per paid user, and high organic conversion rate up to 300%, that will allow you to get a ROI that will pay off your expenses.

    If all the above metrics are met in your game, then you'll be 0-20% profitable if your game will get 40-50 cents per download.
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