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Making the most of being featured

10-15-2009, 01:01 PM
#1
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 62
Making the most of being featured

We got our first game Hopido featured on the App Store's "What we're playing" section this week. While we're obviously thrilled Apple staff would pick out Hopido from the plethora of game submissions, we're also a bit bummed by the very modest effect being featured has had on the sales so far.

So I was wondering if any of you fellow developers out there would be able to give us some advice on how to make the most of this opportunity? Maybe something could be improved about our App store presence? (Btw, is there any way to know how many people click the icon but after seeing the App page decide not to buy?) Would it make sense to give the game away for free for a few days just to (maybe) get on the charts?

What sort of experiences others have had with the "What We're Playing" section. I guess it's the least sales generating feature spot since it's buried at the bottom of the games page and doesn't show up on the device at all. Has it made considerable effect on anyone else's sales? Is it possible/common to be "promoted" to other feature sections, such as "New and noteworthy" or "Staff picks"?
10-15-2009, 01:52 PM
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by moidoka View Post
We got our first game Hopido featured on the App Store's "What we're playing" section this week. While we're obviously thrilled Apple staff would pick out Hopido from the plethora of game submissions, we're also a bit bummed by the very modest effect being featured has had on the sales so far.

So I was wondering if any of you fellow developers out there would be able to give us some advice on how to make the most of this opportunity? Maybe something could be improved about our App store presence? (Btw, is there any way to know how many people click the icon but after seeing the App page decide not to buy?) Would it make sense to give the game away for free for a few days just to (maybe) get on the charts?

What sort of experiences others have had with the "What We're Playing" section. I guess it's the least sales generating feature spot since it's buried at the bottom of the games page and doesn't show up on the device at all. Has it made considerable effect on anyone else's sales? Is it possible/common to be "promoted" to other feature sections, such as "New and noteworthy" or "Staff picks"?
Congrats on getting picked. I'll try to answer some questions for you...

1) "What We're Playing" is a nice category, but as you mention it's not visible on the iPhone/iPod Touch, which limits it's reach to those who use iTunes to look for apps. It's becoming increasingly apparent that less than half of users shop within iTunes. The changes for iTunes 9 make it difficult for less skilled users to even find the games section (a lot of them don't realize the "App Store" heading is a drop down list now)!
2) There is no way to see how many people click the icon in iTunes and decide not to buy.
3) Absolutely not a good idea to give it away for free. Your position is reset whenever you jump between paid and free sections. All you would be doing is wasting the 1 week gift that Apple just gave you... You're practically giving it away already at 99 cents.


I was featured in "What We're Playing" back in April of this year. The first day or two I saw an increase of about 2-3x normal sales. While that sounds good it was not the magic bullet I'd heard of from being featured... Unfortunately for you, my solution is one you cannot do- I decided to hold my one and only sale of the year at the same time. I'd always been at $2.99 before that (and has been $2.99 ever since then). Dropping to 99 cents and putting a "Sale" banner on the iTunes icon boosted my sales more than 20x for that week. Once I'd slipped to page two of the featured section (they were segmented into 4 pages back then) things were still pretty hot as I'd become the #1 RPG in multiple stores including the USA and Japan. After about 10 days I ended the sale and things quickly (VERY QUICKLY) deflated back to normal.


I don't have a very good suggestion for you on increasing sales now. Your icon is appealing enough to me, your screenshots look decent, the iTunes text is descriptive, clear, and well written English. Normally I could pick apart these items and give some guidance, but you've done a pretty good job with your presentation


Most important lesson here- Never, ever start out at 99 cents. You have nowhere to go but up in price. Free is not an option, since that hurts your ranking and reduces your potential sales pool as anyone who's really interested will download it while free... meaning that you need to try EVEN HARDER to get those people who are not particularly interested to decide to pay for it later. Most games could easily start at $1.99 or $2.99, enough to have some wiggle room if Apple decides to feature you. Remember, everyone loves a sale!

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10-15-2009, 04:25 PM
#3
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 62
Thanks for a very informative reply Commander! I guess we'll just have to wait and hope the slight uphill we're seeing is the start of a exponential growth curve..
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderData View Post
Most important lesson here- Never, ever start out at 99 cents. You have nowhere to go but up in price.
Maybe it was a mistake to start at the lowest prize tier. We looked at other simple puzzle games such as Blocked and Geared and thought Hopido is about the same caliber. Of course we also (half-seriously) hoped it might have the same magic pull those games have had, and everyone would buy it at 99 cents without a second thought... Next time we'll be so much smarter.
10-15-2009, 05:54 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderData View Post
Most important lesson here- Never, ever start out at 99 cents. You have nowhere to go but up in price. Free is not an option, since that hurts your ranking and reduces your potential sales pool as anyone who's really interested will download it while free... meaning that you need to try EVEN HARDER to get those people who are not particularly interested to decide to pay for it later. Most games could easily start at $1.99 or $2.99, enough to have some wiggle room if Apple decides to feature you. Remember, everyone loves a sale!
Exactly and that is why there are Introductory Sales, as long as you mention it - not sure why this would be wrong.
10-16-2009, 07:07 PM
#5
Your copy in your app description is your biggest problem!

You are trying to make contradicting statements that make me not want to buy your app! So easy vs. so exciting! The problem is you are trying to convince me that the puzzle is so easy to play that I don't need to buy it. You are giving me all the information about how simple your game is, that it all of a sudden doesn't sound interesting anymore.

Put some lingerie on your app description don't give away the simplicity of your concept all at once. Wait until your customer has bought the merchandise to reveal the contents.

Your presentation (especially your icon) has "buy me now" written all over it! Even the topic is great, but when I read your copy for the app description, I move on quickly to the next app!

Jeff
10-17-2009, 02:54 AM
#6
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndicated Puzzles View Post
You are trying to make contradicting statements that make me not want to buy your app! So easy vs. so exciting! The problem is you are trying to convince me that the puzzle is so easy to play that I don't need to buy it. You are giving me all the information about how simple your game is, that it all of a sudden doesn't sound interesting anymore.
Thanks for an interesting suggestion. Although I'm not sure I completely get it.. Are you saying it's bad advertising to tell people that the rules of the game are easy to learn? Because we really are targeting Hopido for the more casual puzzle fans as well as hard core brainiacs.

As non-natives we of course have a slight disadvantage when it comes to selling our game in English. Then again, I thought the common assumption was that hardly anyone reads the descriptions anyway. It's all about the pretty screenshots...

Anyway, I edited the description a little. Do you think the added paragraph (in bold) would persuade you to buy Hopido? Come on, it's only 99 cents!

-----------

Hopido is a unique and highly addictive puzzle game that will have you hooked for that "one more try"!

The objective is simple: tap anywhere to start and then, using the two allowed moves, "hop" once on every glass tile that make up the puzzle shape.

What starts out innocent and easy will become increasingly challenging as the puzzles get bigger and eventually downright Evil. Only the greatest of minds will be able to solve the hardest Hopido puzzles and earn the coveted title of a Hop Legend!

Just like all best puzzle games Hopido may take only few seconds to learn, but requires real dedication to master. With its 120 uniquely designed puzzles Hopido provides countless hours of classic brain-teasing fun!

Key features

* 120 unique puzzle shapes
* 4 difficulty levels from Easy to Evil
* An alternative objective for each puzzle
* Super-addictive "Hopcentration" minigame to unlock
* Comprehensive statistics
* Auto saves puzzle progress
* No time limit, no stress!

Visit http://www.hopido.com for a game video and more screenshots.