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Advice on how to deal with APP stores

Can anyone share best practices on how to interact with the APP stores? We have a new app coming out for batteryPOP, and I know the stores are cluttered and competitive, especially in the KIDS space. How do we get prime placement? Featured? How important is timing, and do we need an "in?" Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

5 Replies

Candice Hughes
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Candice Hughes Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO & Founder Hughes BioPharma, AdapTac Games, Digital & Mobile Health, Biotech, Technology Scout

Great question! I eager to hear people's experiences as I will be in this position in a few months. So far my approach has been to proactively build audience awareness. I feel driving people to your product is important. To me apps are in a bit of similar situation to novels (which I also write, publish, and sell via distributors/retailers). There are many books and many apps. Raising awareness, especially through word of mouth, helps bring customers to you. A much lower number of people are going to stumble across an app (or book) through key word searches. The retailers don't have much interest or incentive to work with small indies unless you manage to build a big audience on your own first. So you get no help from the retailer. For example, Amazon controls all promotion on their site. As an indie with a small to medium sized audience, you are shut out from special promotions that could help you even when they apply. (Like if they are running a Halloween promotion and your book is perfect for Halloween, you won't be included.) It is the old adage of success breeds success.

So at least looking at if from a broader indie perspective, you are pretty much on your own to drive traffic. It takes alot of continuous effort and creativity.

While I haven't tried app stores yet, the model appears to me to be quite similar to that for books.

Lee Senderov
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Lee Senderov Advisor
Start-up Executive, Advisor, Investor
Hi Greg,

My experience is more so with Apple vs. Android but I have a few learnings from Android and Kindle as well.

Let me start with Android and Kindle.

Android -
You can submit your app to be featured which at least gives you a chance (Apple does not allow submission of apps to be featured). I did this directly through a contact at Google Play but I believe you can do it in the dev dashboard. We were not selected because our app had all sorts of issues which they will clearly lay out for you which is great.

Kindle Fire -
If your app is paid, you can submit to be featured on their Free App of the Day. When we first launched one of our apps, it was a paid app and when we offered it for free, we saw over 150K downloads the day it was featured on Kindle Fire. The nice thing with this feature vs other Free App of the Day sites is that you don't pay a CPI (on Free App of the Day sites, I was quoted around $3 CPI for iPad (and a bit less for iPhone).

Apple -
We have not had a ton of success getting featured here even though our kid app has close to 1M downloads. We have direct contacts at Apple, a PR firm working for us and still nothing. I have spoken with other developers who have had success getting featured because they had other connections into the Apple ecosphere, even with the connections we've had, no luck. That said, here are a few things we've learned.
To have an increased chance of getting featured:
- Your chances are higher if you submit for the release to go out on Thurs when Apple updates the app store
- Your chances are higher if you, for example, use iOS 7 features when iOS 7 is being released because they are looking for apps that take advantage of new features, op systems, etc
- You have luck :)

Also, keep in mind that being "featured" can mean a bunch of different things. Originally I thought that if you were featured it meant hero shot but we have been told we're "featured" only to find ourselves in the "What's Hot" section of a sub category or in "News & Noteworthy", areas that we haven't seen drive a ton of traffic.

I hope this helps a bit. We've done more aggressive advertising but its too much to write and describe here, feel free to reach out to me and I'm happy to chat with you more and provide more insights if you think they will be helpful.
Sari Louis
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Sari Louis Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Take this infographic with a grain of salt since it was produced by a marketing firm, but they're claiming that 60% of apps don't break even:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404012,00.asp.The jury's still out on this one, but the difficulty of breaking through on iOS and Android's stores is the reason we decided to release YumvY on Windows 8 (http://bit.ly/VoM4gQ) and Windows Phone 8 (http://bit.ly/1fRdYi6) first. Because they're both smaller ponds at this point, discoverability is higher on those platforms. In fact, on both platforms, we have been featured on multiple occasions so far. So the thinking is that if we achieve a prominent position in those smaller stores, we can then move to the dominant platforms from a stronger position. Again, jury's still out, and obviously this may not be even possible for you, but I can let you know how it turns out in the long run :)
Greg Alkalay
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Greg Alkalay Entrepreneur
CEO / Founder at batteryPOP Kids Network
Thank you Lee, this is incredibly helpful. Hadn't actually thought about the Kindle Fire route, though we are likely launching in the Android Market before pushing to Apple. Would it be OK to follow up with you when we're closer to release? We're working with a company that has successfully launched apps in the past, but I want to make sure I'm armed with the knowledge as well. p.s. What's your kids' app?
Greg Alkalay
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Greg Alkalay Entrepreneur
CEO / Founder at batteryPOP Kids Network
Thank you Sari. We're definitely not under the illusion that this app will make us millionaires, but it does give us the opportunity to extend the reach our content. We push out animation, live action, puppetry...anything of excellent quality and appropriate to the 6-11 year audience. The app is part of a larger strategy, but we're obviously quite proud of it and excited to release it as well. Would love to see it get some traction!
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