The Business of Mobile - Make Money with Android, mobile advertising and App Store Optimization

Monday, June 29, 2015

What mobile app or game to make next?

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A Million-Download App


I want to make another million download hit.

In fact, I want to make that every time I release an app.

But I know (and have faced) reality, and there are times I release simple, life-lacking mobile games. These are more for my satisfaction that I have completed another one.

Sometimes too, these come out of a challenge for myself.

I recently tried making a pinball game in Unity3D. It is published, with a modified and simplified gameplay. And it took just a day to do it. Ketchapp be the inspiration!

You never know when your release will be a hit , eh? Flappy bird probably best falls into this category.

The Secret to Mobile App Success

This really is a secret to mobile app success. Maybe not each and every app, but eventual apps.

So I sat down today, and tried to list out where I've been successful. I guess one of the mantras of successful people is, "do more of what works ".

My list went with the usual suspects. Golf games, soccer/football, pool/billiards, basketball games.

These are where I've found most of my hits. Games that hit a level that at least gave back a decent amount in revenue, especially beyond the first month.

While I continue to explore new fronts, aircraft dogfight and racing games, I know these are where I need to focus to continue a level of growth.

Its the same reason EA focuses on certain games year after year. Or why Rovio keep releasing more angry birds variants.

Once you find a formula that works for you, repeat it.

Of Angry Birds and Naughty Pigs


Do note though, that one person's formula will almost very likely not work for another.

So if you're thinking making "angry pigeons" is gonna make you a million download hit, you may want to think it again.

Create a portfolio of games, see where you get your hits from, expand on those.

Cross promotion comes in very handy in these cases too. A player playing a racing game is more likely to download another racing game.

And about the Translation


And speaking of downloads, my last post about the influence of translations on app downloads, well, it has continued to maintain its run. I added a few more missing translations, and it gave a slightly more upwards swing.

ASO - Download increase after app store description translations (click to enlarge)


Guess this time the translations came through.

Cheers!
Bill

Monday, June 22, 2015

App Store Optimization - How to get more downloads for your apps fast

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There are a million things to do to improve your app store optimization (ASO). And language or translation plays a really important in that strategy.

Updating an Ancient Dinosaur


I recently updated an ancient game of mine on Google Play. This game, a football juggling game, was my first game out on Android.

Yes, it is ancient, and the museums have contacted me numerous times to get it listed beside the Dinosaur gallery. And it goes to show how far things have progressed. (If you're curious, those are just panels bouncing up and down.)

The drop in downloads


When I did the update to the APK (I removed all ads from it), what I was worried was if my old self-translated texts actually complied with Google's policies.

So I thought to myself, that I might as well delete all the translations, and leave the default English in. After all, it was not really getting much downloads anyway (and no more profits directly from it as I've removed all the ads.).

But I did keep an eye on the downloads, and it showed that drop. Check out the graph. See where I published the update. Right at the drop.

ASO translation impact on downloads
ASO - Impact of removing and adding translation to app downloads

Translations matter for ASO


As far as app store optimization goes, translation of store listing descriptions and title plays a pretty big role.

So I added in some translations (37 initially), as I wasn't really sure if the effort to add all the translations in was going to be any useful. And when I checked the results, it looks like it was a worthwhile effort.

App translation got me about a 200% rise in downloads.

Roller coaster and making your own luck


Will it always work out? Honestly, NO. It won't. And of course this is a small game with a very small download count. So the boost looks more visible.

But here is the deal. Say you are showing up at the top of searches for "futbol". Do note that you will have great downloads, not only from Spain, you will also get it from other Spanish speaking countries. And it also helps when a Spanish guy is searching for it in US.

App releasing and optimizing is an on-going strategy. You will need to keep fine tuning till it gets right.

After all the hard work, you will find luck. (Yes yes! Luck comes after hard work!)

So if you haven't used translations to your advantage for your ASO strategy, take a while, and try it out. It would hopefully give you a boost as it did mine.

Cheers!
Bill

Friday, February 27, 2015

Google stepping on my toes: Ads in Google Play searches, how am I affected?

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I guess Google woke up yesterday and smelt the coffee. Then it went out for a walk to smell the grass.

Google then went further down their lane to the shops and got themselves some bacon and bread.

As Google was stepping out of the shop, a brick magically dropped from the sky and hit it in the head.

And a realization came to Google, that they have the most popular app on Android, the Google Play market app! Who cares about the brick right?

Show me the Money!


Google, the big G, is now onto apps advertising business! Welcome buddy!

Note: If you're gonna tell me that they been in ads all this while, please, just let me be dramatic a while!

So searches on Google Play would start showing ads in them. Well, it is their eco system after all, they should have the rights to make money from it.

My biggest annoyance with this really is that app discovery is about to get a hell of a lot tougher! Already its tough getting ranked, throw in a few more ads in between the searches, and good luck people!

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Lost of Revenue


And then there is the issue of lessened revenue from ads inside apps. More developers with money to advertise might head Google's way to advertise. Leaving ad networks with lower inventory and a lowering eCPM to at least attract some advertisers.

All doom and gloom! Or is it?


Is it really all that bad? I guess time will tell.

Google has ads showing at the top of its online searches too. Has that stopped other web sites and bloggers from achieving fame and fortune?

In the long run, it might prompt developers to up their game. To make better products. So that when keywords are searched, your app shows high on the charts. Right after the sponsored ads.

When ad-blindness starts creeping in (like it has for banner ads in-app), you'll want to be sure your apps are visible. High enough to be visible amongst the top few rankings.

App store optimization will play an even greater role. You'll want to be found.

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Mobile advertising networks challenge


Ad networks need to innovate further. If an ad network is saying they are going to die due to this, then perhaps its better to get the shovels ready.

Innovation will be needed. Here is a scenario that I'm thinking will play out.

A user searches for "monkey limbo" on Google Play. In search results, Donkey Limbo comes out at top due to advertising.

User thought that's a cooler game. So user installs and limbos his donkey like there is no tomorrow.

Now the user misses his monkey. He goes back to the Play store and downloads one which has monkeys in it. This monkey game is yours.

Here is the opportunity really. You will want to be sure that when a user sees an ad in your app, the user will be attracted to download it.

If  you used admob, chances are Donkey Limbo will be shown again. Its the same case now where Cash of Clans (pun intended) is shown on every ad networks first ad. Its ridiculous!

Heyzap's Innovation


Okay, maybe Heyzap wasn't the first to do this, but they just came out with a new ad unit called Multi Ad (creative naming huh?).

This ad unit shows multiple ads in interstitial format. Bloody genius, and just in time for the Google Play changes.

Showing multiple ads at a time increases the chances of you scoring a download. App walls also will have similar impact, but we all know inters perform much better.

And then, there are the video ads. If anything, all the folks that been highlighting how big the video ads are going to be will just have another reason to further spread the love of it.

Unless of course if Google starts showing interstitials and video ads in Google Play too! That is for rambling on another day.

Have fun!
Bill

Monday, February 23, 2015

App Store Optimization : Improving App Search Ranking with Keywords

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You've heard this many many times the past weeks. Heck, even the past months and past years!

Keywords make all the differences in your app store optimization strategy. This key ASO strategy affects your app's search and discovery.

Unless you're a big brand or a big app of course, then you can screw keywords (maybe)!

Smart Keywords Optimization


You've got to get keywords right though, and know where you should have them and how.

Pssst! To get more tips and tricks of app store optimization, do sign up for the newsletter!

Here is how the priority goes:

1 - Keywords in App Title


Keywords in app title carries the biggest weight. Its crazily heavy, that if you are not doing this already, please do it.

The app stores put pretty high value in title keywords, that not having a keyword in would mean a big lost of download potential.

Its tempting to make a short app name. To build your brand especially. But when you are that small fish in the big pond, you want all the discovery optimization you can get.

2 - Keyword Density in App Description


While keyword density in description applies to Google Play store, you will never know if Apple will start using that in near future.

Algorithms change all the time right? Plus description in iOS stores is still searchable on Google.

Keyword density in your app description, in terms of ASO is, well, having your targeted keywords appear a few times, NATURALLY in your descriptions.

Avoid the temptations of keyword stuffing as it will sooner or later backfire. Also avoid non-related keywords (we all wanna rank for "angry birds" don't we?).

The "experts" recommend having keywords appear 5 times in description. I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion, but I'll say that, in my analysis of some apps, this is pretty spot on.

But is that really the optimal value? Who knows really, and honestly, I doubt it. There is a game that appears well ranked for a certain keyword which only has 1 line in its description.

Maybe they're doing keyword stuffing in other languages? (Dirty little ASO trick!)

3 - Keywords in Reviews


You've got your neighbour and your sister to download and rate and review your game right? Especially for a brand new one?

Do remember the importance of keywords in your reviews.

Its pretty proven that keywords in reviews comes into action for app store optimizations. So ask those you've asked help from to leave natural sounding reviews with your keywords in them.

4 - Keywords in Company Name


Now, this is one thing many developers are not making use of. When you search for "Rovio" on Google Play, you get all apps from them pretty high up on the list.

This is the clearest reason why you need keywords in your company name. It is searchable and another opportunity to boost your app store optimization strategy.

In App Store Optimization, Keywords Rock!


Yes, getting your app ranking high on the app stores does require a great ASO keyword strategy. And making sure your keywords are appearing at all the places they can appear in will surely boost your search rankings.

What's your favourite keyword optimization strategy?

Cheers!
Bill

Monday, February 9, 2015

Are privacy issues hindering our growth potential?

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The problem with privacy is, well the lack of it. But not in the sense we've been told.

There has been all the noise about privacy that even the mobile app world was not spared.

Privacy on an Android device


We now have the Android advertising ID that mobile ad networks must use.  I just checked the setting on my device, and the opt-out is unchecked. If this is the default setting, then we know that most users are not going to turn this on. Neither will most users reset their ad ID every now and then. Its a good thing I guess.

Submitting the list of apps that a user has on his/her device(s) is also a big No-no now.

On the bigger picture, in my opinion, worrying about some basic simple stuff is really hindering our progress.

My simple search and wasted opportunities