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A 10 Day iPhone App Marketing Effort by Two Marketing Noobs

MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
edited August 2011 in Mobile Marketing Techniques
This post documents our first serious attempt at marketing one of our iPhone apps. We will update this post every day, perhaps sometimes more than once a day. We're currently at Day 10 / 10.

Crossnerd is a FREE, well-made, and, dare we say, unique, word game for iPhone and iPod Touch. Approximately $50K worth of man hours have been put into it by a company which has been developing mobile applications, and survived, since 2005.

Before the days of the App Store, we worked in close cooperation with manufacturers and operators. They took care of the marketing. Our job was to provide them with attractive applications and art assets. Now, as our business focuses solely on the App Store market, we're on our own, realizing that it takes a whole lot more than just creating attractive applications and art assets ...

The purpose of making this first version of Crossnerd available for free is to test the concept and gameplay on real users, get feedback etc. If enough people like it we will invest more time in it (we have loads of stuff planned for its potential future).

Crossnerd (Crossnerd LT) was released on May 17 and generated 150 downloads. The next day it had 100 downloads. We were expecting at least 1000, and at this download rate it would take too long to get a user base big enough to decide if this app is worth working on. So it needs marketing ...

What We Have Done for Promotion Prior to Day 1

A Facebook Fan-Page
The app encourages the user to "like" the Crossnerd Facebook Page by means of a specially designed level pack and in the about screen. Right now we have 30 "likes", only 4 of them real, the rest from our friends. (update Monday 24th: 36 likes ...)

A Trailer
Posted a Trailer at facebook and on this forum.

A Homepage
www.crossnerd.com

A Press Kit
www.crossnerd.com/press

A Thread at touchArcade
Crossnerd - An Exciting New Type of Word Game! - Touch Arcade

Contacted review sites:
artoftheiphone
smartappdevelopers
greatappaday.com (recommended!!!)
iphoneappgirl.com (recommended!)
Appsafari.com (recommended!)
appshouter.com
crazymikesapps.com
applesauceblog.com
(We add "recommended"s when/if contacting them resulted in something.)

Day 1. (Thursday, May 20)

Updated the in-app cross marketing page of our other apps to promote Crossnerd and track the App Store clicks using: bit.ly Statistics Our only "successful" app, Drunkalizer (70,000 purchases), though, was released before we started including the cross marketing page in our apps.

Started to write a press release.
What's your experience with press releases, what is important/seems to work?

Drew a p*n*s on the homepage and tweeted "How to DEFINITELY penetrate the noise in the App Store: http://www.crossnerd.com". We thought it was fun and that it would be re-tweeted, but the only thing that happened was that friends started calling, worried. Here is a screendump: guerrilla_marketing_attempt.jpg Well, the p*n*s is gone now.
Do you think it would have worked if we had more twitter followers? Is it worth trying again?

Created this thread (we believe it will be the key element in this promotion and generate loads of downloads, in the long run :) ).

Day 2. (Friday, May 21)

Got to work at 8 and almost suffocated on the way up to the office, it smelled like a dead guy took a **** in the stairway. Unfortunately, the smell had also spread into the office and it totally wrecked our marketing plans for the day as our minds were totally occupied by trying to figure out where the smell came from and how to get it out of our little basement office (it's really on the 2nd floor, but the windows are like basement windows, sort of).

But marketing-wise, at least two good things happened this day, a big marketing opportunity presented itself in an email that morning. Unfortunately we cannot give you any details on this right now, but we will, perhaps in a week. Also, we got the first reply on one of our eight review-site-mails. It was from greatappaday.com, hurray for Great App a Day!

Day 3. (Saturday, May 22)

Started working on the art assets (big banners) required for the marketing opportunity mentioned above. We decided we had to make THE BEST, most eye catching and good looking graphics ever. It involved a detailed photo realistic 3d rendering (using Blender and physically based renderer LuxRender) of a Crossnerd puzzle board. Obviously, the project quickly grew out of control and it took WAY more time than expected. No sleep this night.

Day 4. (Sunday, May 23)

Continued working on the nightmarish 3d scene. The dev server (which is actually in one of the two office WCs, see link) cpu was at 400% rendering tests constantly. On top of this, we had to find the time to prepare ourselves for an importing meeting with an investor / incubator on Monday at 15 PM. No time for preparations, two hours sleep this night.

Day 5. (Monday, May 24)

Continued working on the 3d scene. Finished and delivered at 12:30, and the result wasn't anywhere near as good as intended, looking like some sort of crappy board-game ad from the 90's or something (here it is). Would you click on it?

We made some plans for an update to Crossnerd LT, intended to remedy the situation (too few downloads), we are thinking of adding a "Level of the Day" level pack and a "Spread the Nerd" level pack which is only possible to play if you unlock it by entering a "Nerd Word", which you can only get from a friend who just installed Crossnerd ... Do you think that it would result in a chain effect that is strong enough to motivate two days' work?

Later in the evening we also remembered this thread and spent too much time updating it.

Day 6. (Tuesday, May 25)

Just to try it we ran an AdMob banner campaign focused on UK and Sweden, 72729 impresions, 1062 clicks, CTR 1.46%, number of downloads: ~ 30. cost: $130 ... So this only confirms what everyone already knew.

Day 7. (Wednesday, May 26)

Finished the press release and distributed it through prMac (Extended Distribution, ~$20) to 344 of their partners.

bitCycle releases Crossnerd 1.0 - More Than a Puzzling Wordplay
Please comment on it, we are Swedish non-copy writers.

Result: Quite a lot of (automatic) tweets and mentions on various websites. Didn't affect the number of downloads very much though.

Crossnerd got reviewed by appsafari: here
No noticable affect on the number of downloads (only ~30 views after 5 days).

Day 8. (Thursday, May 27)

Spent all day trying to find a good available domain name for another project we're working on, sort of like a webcomic. Found a name eventually.

Day 9. (Friday, May 28)

Started contacting reviewers who writes for various news sites and seems to like word games by tweeting them tailor-made Crossnerd boards.
Got one reply saying that they would be sure to check Crossnerd out.

Day 10. (Monday, May 31)

Decided to start working on an update which will add a "Daily Challenge".

Update (Friday, June 4)
Crossnerd LT featured as "Staff Favorite" in Games/Word/ category in Germany and Austria.

Update (Saturday, June 5)
Got this awesome review by iPhone App Girl.

Update (Monday, June 7)
Crossnerd LT was #1 banner on Great App a Day. This gave us the most noticeable increase in downloads so far.


So, the conclusion here is: Apart from Great App a Day and Staff Favorite word game in Germany and Austria, the above didn't amount to much.

Here is a graph showing the number of downloads / day for Crossnerd LT and another free app of ours called MixFace Lite for which we did no marketing attempts at all.
We think Crossnerd LT is a much better app with a wider potential audience and greater potential over all. Crossnerd has also received higher ratings and more enthusiastic reviews. But as you can see, this is not reflected in the number of downloads. Why is this?

Is it because ...
... the Word / Puzzle Games is a bad category?
... "Crossnerd" is a bad name?
... the Crossnerd Icon is not as interesting / eye-catching as the Mixface Lite icon?
... of the Crossnerd description text or screenshots in App Store?
... the competition is much harder now than in Nov 2009 when MixFace Lite was released.

What do you think?


We will probably do some more updates here even though it's past the 10 days.

List of things to do next:
Contact more review sites.
Spend some money on review sites?
Update Crossnerd LT (Daily Challenge).

Crossnerd On The App Store
Post edited by Mopedhead on
<a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
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Replies

  • facebookapp110facebookapp110 Posts: 53Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    Well i really like your effort for marketing iPhone App.
    <b><a href="http://www.riysoft.com" target="_blank">Web Design Company</a></b> - <b><a href="http://www.aabuk.com" target="_blank">Jilbab</a> </b> - <b><a href="http://www.aabuk.com" target="_blank">Hijab</a></b>
    · ·
  • benoitr007benoitr007 Posts: 245Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    Draw a p*n*s on the homepage and twittred "How to DEFINITELY penetrate the noise in the App Store:www.crossnerd.com". We thought it was fun and that it would be re-tweeted, but the only thing that happend was that friends started calling, worried. Well, now the p*n*s is removed now. Here is a screendump: guerrilla_marketing_attempt.jpg
    Do you think it would have worked if we had more twitter followers? Is it worth trying again?
    Care to elaborate on that strategy? 0_o
    · ·
  • Sinecure IndustriesSinecure Industries Posts: 408Registered Users @ @
    edited May 2010
    benoitr007 wrote: »
    Care to elaborate on that strategy? 0_o

    I believe it's the "WTF" approach :D
    <a href="http://ind.ustri.es/twitter" target="_blank">@sinecureind</a>|<a href="http://bit.ly/r6pflb" target="_blank">All Our Apps on iTunes</a>|<a href="http://bit.ly/qNO0lT" target="_blank">Backlash</a>|<a href="http://bit.ly/ybCp9e" target="_blank">Vis
    · ·
  • rocotilosrocotilos Posts: 3,292iPhone Dev SDK Supporter, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited May 2010
    Good efforts. The game looks good too.

    Sinecure, WTH is a WTF approach?? :D
    · ·
  • Sinecure IndustriesSinecure Industries Posts: 408Registered Users @ @
    edited May 2010
    rocotilos wrote: »
    Good efforts. The game looks good too.

    Sinecure, WTH is a WTF approach?? :D

    Not 100% sure but I believe it involves a wanger on your webpage :confused:
    <a href="http://ind.ustri.es/twitter" target="_blank">@sinecureind</a>|<a href="http://bit.ly/r6pflb" target="_blank">All Our Apps on iTunes</a>|<a href="http://bit.ly/qNO0lT" target="_blank">Backlash</a>|<a href="http://bit.ly/ybCp9e" target="_blank">Vis
    · ·
  • rarindeedrarindeed Posts: 271Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    Just wondering... to whom are you promoting your app?
    <a href="http://www.twitter.com/rarindeed" target="_blank">@rarindeed</a><br />
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    <a href="http://bit.ly/burstly" target="_blank">Burstly</a> is the only open and free ad management platform for iPhone app developers.
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  • justill45justill45 Posts: 1,302Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    ah, the ol' dick on page marketing str……wait a minute...
    <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glow-bounce/id373370714?mt=8" target="_blank">Check Out my new app "Glow Bounce" (FREE)</a><br />
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  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    benoitr007 wrote: »
    Care to elaborate on that strategy? 0_o

    Well, as we all know, drawing p*n*ses is an age-old practice among young men trying to get some attention. So we figured, this might just do the trick!
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
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  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    rarindeed wrote: »
    Just wondering... to whom are you promoting your app?

    For the moment we just want to get as many as possible to download it, try it, and if we are lucky, get hooked!

    Judging by the reviews and other comments we've heard, those (few) people who tried it, really like it. So if only more people knew about it ... We're not sure if there is a specific and well defined target group that we should direct our effort towards.
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
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  • ziocletoziocleto Posts: 1,107Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited May 2010
    Mopedhead wrote: »
    But marketing-wise, at least two good things happened this day, a BIG marketing opportunity presented itself in an email that morning. Unfortunately we cannot give you any details on this right now, but we will, perhaps in a week.
    ...
    (here it is). Would you click on it?

    That's familiar ;) Apple marketing opportunity :P

    My suggestion is that is more than enough, in fact I quite liked it, mine wasn't nowhere near as good, and, as a matter of fact, it doesnt really matter that much.

    So good luck with a 2000% jump in sales when that comes out! Happy times :)
    <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id443802549?mt=8" target="_blank">Paper Camera</a><br />
    · ·
  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    ziocleto wrote: »
    That's familiar ;) Apple marketing opportunity :P

    My suggestion is that is more than enough, in fact I quite liked it, mine wasn't nowhere near as good, and, as a matter of fact, it doesnt really matter that much.

    So good luck with a 2000% jump in sales when that comes out! Happy times :)

    Thanks! How long after you got the mail was your app featured?

    Was it one of the big banners at the top of iTunes or did it get on the "what's hot", "new and noteworthy", ... ?

    Do you know if it is common that you get the mail and then nothing happens?
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
    · ·
  • justill45justill45 Posts: 1,302Registered Users
    edited May 2010
    Mopedhead wrote: »
    Thanks! How long after you got the mail was your app featured?

    Was it one of the big banners at the top of iTunes or did it get on the "what's hot", "new and noteworthy", ... ?

    Do you know if it is common that you get the mail and then nothing happens?

    oh wow, you got one of the banners, good luck :D
    <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glow-bounce/id373370714?mt=8" target="_blank">Check Out my new app "Glow Bounce" (FREE)</a><br />
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  • TambourinTambourin Posts: 1,022Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited May 2010
    you're super lucky :D
    · ·
  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    Tambourin wrote: »
    you're super lucky :D

    Well, not really ... Nothing has actually happened yet, and we're not counting on it. Also, spending this much time / money on something that you make available for free and then get less than 50 downloads a day is more "tough luck" than "super lucky". : )

    BTW: Thanks to whoever just wrote the charitable review of Crossnerd in App Store after reading about us here! Maybe the only way for us to succeed is by getting enough people to feel pity ... :' |
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
    · ·
  • ziocletoziocleto Posts: 1,107Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited June 2010
    Mopedhead wrote: »
    Thanks! How long after you got the mail was your app featured?

    Was it one of the big banners at the top of iTunes or did it get on the "what's hot", "new and noteworthy", ... ?

    Do you know if it is common that you get the mail and then nothing happens?

    My app was featured about 2 weeks later worldwide, but the week before it had appeared on the Australian news and noteworthy.

    It was the "big" banner, that's usually the format for that, but not the "very big banner", to me it appeared in the middle of itunes between news and noteworthy and what's hot, you know there are 4/5 "stand alone" banners in there, was one of those.

    Yes I know it can happen to get the email and then nothing happens but it didnt happen to me so I'm not sure how much lucky I was.
    My guess is that if they send you an email is: "very probable".

    Cheers,
    Dado.

    PS: Have you got featured yet? Congrats and good luck if that happened :D
    <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id443802549?mt=8" target="_blank">Paper Camera</a><br />
    · ·
  • MozyMacMozyMac Posts: 609Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    very nice and organized work!
    <div align="center"><a href="http://mozymac.com/forums" target="_blank">Free Mac Video Tutorials and Online Help</a></div><div align="center"><a href="http://bit.ly/qSqPrz" target="_blank">Steve Job's Most Famous Quotes</a> | Steve Jobs 1955-2011, RIP<br
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  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    ziocleto wrote: »
    PS: Have you got featured yet? Congrats and good luck if that happened :D

    We just got featured!

    Not the big banner in the USA, but a "Staff Favorites" in Germany and Austria! That's really encouraging as we are working hard with this. Next week we'll update Crossnerd with a "Daily Challenge". Hopefully that will make this free version more interresting.

    If you haven't allready, please try Crossnerd, it is FREE:
    Crossnerd at App Store
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
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  • justill45justill45 Posts: 1,302Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    Mopedhead wrote: »
    We just got featured!

    Not the big banner in the USA, but a "Staff Favorites" in Germany and Austria! That's really encouraging as we are working hard with this. Next week we'll update Crossnerd with a "Daily Challenge". Hopefully that will make this free version more interresting.

    If you haven't allready, please try Crossnerd, it is FREE:
    Crossnerd at App Store

    just curious, how do you know you got featured there, did apple send you an email, or did u just notice a big spike in those places and checked?
    <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glow-bounce/id373370714?mt=8" target="_blank">Check Out my new app "Glow Bounce" (FREE)</a><br />
    <br />
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  • rocotilosrocotilos Posts: 3,292iPhone Dev SDK Supporter, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited June 2010
  • ziocletoziocleto Posts: 1,107Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited June 2010
    Mopedhead wrote: »
    We just got featured!

    Not the big banner in the USA, but a "Staff Favorites" in Germany and Austria! That's really encouraging as we are working hard with this. Next week we'll update Crossnerd with a "Daily Challenge". Hopefully that will make this free version more interresting.

    If you haven't allready, please try Crossnerd, it is FREE:
    Crossnerd at App Store

    Got it, and I dare to say, I like it very much!
    It's 100% well done, execution is perfect, and smart. Impressed!
    I think it may be a bit too easy for the first 30 levels or so, maybe the difficulty curve could be a bit steeper?

    Cheers,
    Dado.
    <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id443802549?mt=8" target="_blank">Paper Camera</a><br />
    · ·
  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    justill45 wrote: »
    just curious, how do you know you got featured there, did apple send you an email, or did u just notice a big spike in those places and checked?

    We could see that our ranking improved in Germany and an increase the number of downloads. No email.
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
    · ·
  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    ziocleto wrote: »
    Got it, and I dare to say, I like it very much!
    It's 100% well done, execution is perfect, and smart. Impressed!
    I think it may be a bit too easy for the first 30 levels or so, maybe the difficulty curve could be a bit steeper?

    Thanks! There are only 10 + 20 = 30 levels in the current version, do you mean the last levels in the Jumble Joy level pack are also too easy?

    We really appreciate getting feedback on this since it is hard to make a good guess on what is a generally perceived as not too hard or easy.
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
    · ·
  • iPhoneAppGirliPhoneAppGirl Posts: 14Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    Hey I just noticed that you guys are THESE GUYS I was reading this post way back before you guys asked me to review you!

    I'm totally excited that you guys got featured, seriously you deserve it!

    I'm glad you liked the review - I only wish I had MORE VISITORS to my site to see it - but feel free to spread it around!

    Can't wait to see how this goes, you guys are AWESOME!
    (and probably clinically insane ;) )
    App Reviewer By Day, Corporate Slave by Night. <a href="http://www.iPhoneAppGirl.com" target="_blank">iPhoneAppGirl.com</a> - <a href="http://www.chantellejoy.com" target="_blank">ChantelleJoy.com</a>
    · ·
  • iSpreadNewsiSpreadNews Posts: 349Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2010
    Mopedhead wrote: »
    Thanks! There are only 10 + 20 = 30 levels in the current version, do you mean the last levels in the Jumble Joy level pack are also too easy?

    We really appreciate getting feedback on this since it is hard to make a good guess on what is a generally perceived as not too hard or easy.

    We are considering to provide you our promotion service for free (see sig) - you will have to document the results here and run cross-promotion of several apps made by our premium clients inside your apps - are you interested?
    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!
    · ·
  • MopedheadMopedhead Posts: 36Registered Users
    edited June 2010
    Hey I just noticed that you guys are THESE GUYS I was reading this post way back before you guys asked me to review you!

    I'm totally excited that you guys got featured, seriously you deserve it!

    I'm glad you liked the review - I only wish I had MORE VISITORS to my site to see it - but feel free to spread it around!

    Can't wait to see how this goes, you guys are AWESOME!
    (and probably clinically insane ;) )

    Thanks! We're struggling to get more attention too, and it's really hard.

    Have a look at our latest attempt: http://www.armspikes.com.

    The plan here is that this Arm Spikes thing will turn into a huge internet craze, and that we, the creators, will be able to use this in various ways to market or apps. So far the Arm Spikes project's Facebook page has only 5 "likes" but in a couple of weeks, this thing will EXPLODE.

    So come on! Join the Arm Spikes movement! : D
    <a href="http://www.bitcycle.com/" target="_blank">The Company I Work For</a> | <a href="http://itunes.com/apps/bitcycle" target="_blank">Our Apps in App Store</a> | <a href="http://twitter.com/bitcycle" target="_blank">Follow Us On Twitter</a>
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