Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Sunday, September 6, 2015
So, someone said that if you're not the top 500 developer in the app stores, you're not making it.
He might be trying to be nice.
It's tough out there. And let me relate.
My last post was about a new golf game I published. And I wanted to share its progress and how it achieved $1.3m USD in just 3 weeks.
Of course it never came close to that.
It was a disaster!
The game got about 9k downloads in its first 30 days. And a great grand revenue of less than $100 ( didn't bother really checking exact amount ).
Now, this was a really bad performance.
I looked at giving value to users, as compared against my previous golf games.
There were 3, 18-holes golf courses to start with, and I added a 4th about a week later.
And the ads were lesser than my previous games.
I also felt, design wise, the game looked a lot better than my older ones.
Yet, it failed terribly.
2 weeks of work and really nothing to show for it. My previous hits often took just a few hours of work!
Thus, yes, its tough making it out there. The game was in top 10 of some market's new sports games category, and yet, downloads sucked.
In the end though, this was an experiment for me. As I had aimed, this was to see if adding value to users was even worth it.
I should have instead broken the courses into 4 different games and would have made more, downloads and money wise.
There you go then.
Make your judgment. Do you go for quality or quantity?
Me, I'll stick with quality for now. I'm still looking at the long run.
More quality and fun stuff coming out.. Stay tuned!
PS - my next game after the golf game, Battle Dwarves, is looking at heading towards an even worse performance! Arrgh! But, I know, winners are those who stay on the longest... I'll be around!
PPS - I'm using Unity Ads these days... And they're performing really great... Review on them will be up soon.. If there is demand!
Friday, August 7, 2015
Those series of posts were rather popular with you readers. Hey, everyone is interested to find out how much one can get for downloads and revenue right?
That game has garnered over a 1.2 million downloads as of this writing. Not bad for "hardly working" on it.
So, I just published about 24 hours ago this awesome Tiny Course Mini Golf Game on Google Play.
|Tiny Course Mini Golf!|
It was developed over the course of a month. But I did not really spend a full month on it. It was more like a couple of hours here and another hour there.
Then there were many days not touching the project. Seriously, I need to work on procrastination.
So, if one were to consider the proper full time in development, the game probably took about a week to develop.
|Peaceful golf courses filled with spikes!|
Giving Users more Value
My previous golf games usually consisted on a single course only. This time around, I decided to give users a bigger value for their download.
I initially planned to release 5 courses of 18 holes each, and later on add a few more. But instead I dropped the initial release to just 3 courses.
So look out for the updates coming out over the next weeks. I'll be looking at keeping this one updated for a longer period, and hope I won't run out of resources for creating more and more levels.
Is value always going to be a positive return? Well, experience has thought me that nothing is guaranteed in this business.
|A look at the desert-themed mini golf course|
The game uses Heyzap ads, both static and video inters. The ads are shown in hole 6, hole 12/13 and the menu screen. I will see how this setup goes in the love-hate relationship department with the users and my wallet.
The game has also been approved for sale on Amazon for $1.99 . Lets see how that performs there too.
|One of the initial release courses|
I've gone full blown cross promotion on this one (besides getting family ad friends to download). I need to get a new app up the charts, and I'm hoping this one will make it.
So I'm doing cross promo via Heyzap for this too. Will give you some updates on this as we go along.
I've also used twitter, and well, only 1 fellow developer was kind enough to support the game to give it a download over the last 24 hours (if you're reading this, thank you very much!). Still, better than 0.
I'm not sure what other promotion methods I'll be using going forward, keep reading this blog to see the progress , will you?
|Challenging jumps and drops in the Mini Golf game|
OK, this might sound lame, but I could use more downloads to get the stats to a better more meaningful format.
The bigger the numbers, the better and more accurate (whatever that means) the results will be.
So, if you haven't yet, go download the golf game and lets see where the game goes.
|Download Tiny Course Mini Golf on Google Play|
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Late To The Party
Setting A Moral Trend
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Harder To Be Noticed
The New Shift
How To Grow Your Mobile Business
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
A Million-Download App
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 SuccessThis 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.
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.
Monday, June 22, 2015
There are a million things to do to improve your app store ranking using app store optimization (ASO). And language or translation plays a really important in that strategy.
What Is ASO?App Store Optimization, or ASO is the process of where you tweak your app store listing so that it shows up higher in app store searches.
The higher you rank your app, the higher the number of downloads. Below a certain level of listing, you are most likely not going to get any downloads.
What is the one thing you can do today to improve your app store ranking using ASO?
Optimizing App Store Listing
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 Mistake In App Store Optimization Listing
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 - Impact of removing and adding translation to app downloads|
How To Increase App Downloads
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.
Translations ASO Strategy To Get More Downloads For Your Apps
Will ASO translations 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 app store optimization strategy, take a while, and try it out. It would hopefully give you a boost as it did mine.
Friday, February 27, 2015
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!
Get the best Aircraft Combat Game
Before you continue reading, please download and play my latest game published:
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!
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.
Monday, February 23, 2015
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 App Store 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 app store optimization 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 - ASO 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?
Monday, February 9, 2015
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
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
|Christmas Market Vintage Silhouette by Karen Arnold|
From a distance, as I neared the street where the stalls are set up, the noise (and wonderful food smell) started streaming towards my ears (and nose). And as I approached the centre of the market proper, the screaming started to get louder and louder.
You'd think a triad has started a street war or something!
Thursday, January 15, 2015
The Android ecosystem is really huge, that the slice of cake each developer can potentially get is, pretty sweet.
I've been developing and making money with Android for over 4 years now. It took me about 2 years to get the "hobby" to start giving a stable enough income to leave my day job. And the 2.5 years after leaving the job? Well, that has been the best days of my life!
Here are some common, and uncommon, ways you can make money from your Android apps.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
|App Reviews & Ratings|
One important aspect that many developers tend to miss out on is reviews and ratings optimization. Are you one of these developers? If you are, you may be missing out on one of the most important marketing machine your app has.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Apps suspension, and ultimately account banning from Google. And that too done in such a way that developers don't have ways of defending themselves or given any opportunity to fix the issues.
Sign the Petition Here!
Check out following problems reported by Phandroid and another developer on Reddit. There are countless other similar cases that's been reported by developers.
Is Google Evil?
Monday, January 5, 2015
(Psst! Read to the end for a hot tip on app naming!)
Keyword research play an even bigger role now. Gone are the days where you could slap together, for example, a flashlight app, and your app would show up for flashlight searches. In fact it's gotten so bad for flashlights, that Apple has even stopped accepting flashlight apps!
A new year, a new look!
Before I proceed, I would love to wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful 2015! May you publish a new flappy bird killer app or game this year.
This blog has just undergone (still is undergoing) some renovations, and hopefully this new look gives the blog a more professional look. But the changes are not final, and not only limited to how it looks.
This year MobiAdage changes its tag line to "the business of mobile". With that, I am striving on providing you with much better articles, comprising ASO / SEO, app marketing and mobile advertising. I'm also in the midst of working out some useful products and tools that will be beneficial to the small indie developer community.
Let's see how it goes then. Stick around! And please wish me luck!
Now, back to the topic of keyword research strategies that you can use TODAY for your apps.
Keyword Research for Mobile Apps and Games
Keyword research should be looked at even BEFORE you start your development. The market is so packed and vast now, that its really tough to stand out from the crowd. What's going to make your flashlight stand out? Should you even bother with a flashlight app? Is it worth your time and effort?
Every developer with a sane mind will advice to stay away from making a flashlight app. But we know the insane ones are the ones that make this world a lot more exciting right?
Flashlight apps are like the countless hello world codes developers all around the world have written. If you're new and just starting out in this world of app development, then I do recommend you try making one, if this interests you. You'll get the experience of developing a useful tool, and also learn the app publishing and marketing parts too.
The thing is, the flashlight app market is just too crowded, that Google perhaps should make a sub-category called "flash lights". And for cameras and alarms too. How you get outstanding here is what's going to make the difference whether your app succeeds or not.
I'll be using flashlight app as an example here, the theory can be applied to any apps of course.
How I do my keyword research
This is just one of the ways you can do your keyword research. This strategy gives you fast ideas for keywords. Remember though, that like everything you do in your app marketing, nothing is guaranteed. Luck plays a role too.
Using this simple strategy, if I were to develop a flash light app, this is how I'd go about with it.
1 - Keyword research on Google Play
One of my favourite keyword research tool is the Google Play itself. The suggestions that Google displays as you type in the search field are a treasure trove of keywords ideas.
I loaded Google Play on the browser, and started typing "flashl", and I get the following suggestions:
|Keyword research on Google Play|
This in itself gives me a great idea for the keywords I'd use for the flashlight app. You will notice the keywords "free", "app" and "widget" there. If I'm just using this, I'd title my app "Free Flashlight App & Widget". This title covers all the suggestions that Google Play provided.
The problem with this is that your app is just another one of a bazzilion out there that use these keywords. Remember, you need to make your app stand out!
2 - Get more keywords research done via Google's Keyword Planner tool
Google's Keyword planner tool is based on web and internet searches. While it's not quite used in the app world directly (my assumption), you can get some really useful ideas from here. After all, this important keyword tool highlights what humans are actually searching for anyway.
So I searched for "flashlight app", and the following were returned (sorted by average monthly searches):
|Google Keyword Planner ideas searching|
A couple more ideas pop up here, such as "LED", "Brightest" and "Torch". Again "Free" and "App" shows up here as what I found from step 1 above, adding further value to these words.
Do these basic words matter? There are certain parties that say we can remove them as these don't carry much weight. But end users still use these words for searches, thus there is an importance to be placed on them.
3 - A look at the competition.
So I head back to Google Play, and do a search for "flashlight". This is what the search returns:
|Keyword "flashlight" search result on Google Play|
Look at the titles of these apps. The first 7 out of 10 apps have the word "Torch" in their title. LED is used quite often too. "Bright" and "brightest" are there too. So these are indeed useful keywords to use for the flashlight app.
Surprisingly "free", "app" and "widget" don't appear in the top 10 flashlight apps' names. This is an opportunity to use them as keywords in your app, MAYBE there is search volume? You've got to test these out. (One important point about keyword research is testing it out to find out what works best, and do note, testing takes time).
4 - Brainstorm ideas to make the flashlight unique.
The best way to stand out is to make your flashlight app have unique and interesting features. You brainstorm some ideas and look at the competition.
Strobe light effects are popular among the top flashlight apps. You can also add a police light effect, and SOS light effect. Maybe also a disco light effect and even a message light you can personalize.
These features make your app still the same as the top apps. An idea that can make your flashlight unique is perhaps a night camera mode, where you have the flash light on, and at the same time your can take pictures.
You could also make a game where your flash light is used as "tactical" flashlight (another keyword suggested by Google's Keyword Planner). You can play a real-life multiplayer game with a fellow friend, where your phone becomes the gun, and there is a crosshair on screen and using the camera, the front views are shown. And when your opponent is in sight, tap a button on screen to "shoot".
You can use many other related keywords that we went through to get more ideas for your flash light app.
The app marketing and ASO has just begun.
The keyword research step is just one of many the developers need to go through. There are many ways to do it.
And seriously, please don't copy other developer's descriptions 100%. I've experienced these a few times, and the copier never gets their app high anyway. There is a lot more to an app's rankings this than just the title and description.
Hot ASO Tip!
It looks like Google might be treating plural and singular words with the same weighting. Check out the graph below for my Aztec Mini Golf Games 3D game on Google Play.
|Singular and plural naming rank effect on Google Play ASO|
Some time in October, I updated the app's description to have "golf games" (plural) as its main keyword. You can notice that the game started ranking much higher for "Golf games", but dropped in rank for the singular form.
And then, in December, Google did some changes I'd guess, and you notice that both singular and plural names now rank about the same.
Do let me know if you've experienced something similar.
Conclusion - Keyword Research Rocks!
Keywords research is just one part of app store optimization. And there is much to be done. It does not mean this is it for keyword research. It would make sense to keep trying out more keywords if your app isn't ranking well.
But sometimes it's not the keywords that's holding your app back. I'll look into these in upcoming posts. Do sign up for the newsletter to get updates into your inbox!