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App Store Analysis and Survey

02-03-2010, 09:04 PM
#1
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
App Store Analysis and Survey

Note: I've posted this on iphonedevsdk.com, but thought it would be good to post it on this forum as well.


I've been thinking about the App Store a lot and have been wondering about the most efficient ways to spend your time trying to maximize or increase your revenue. I'm listing the main factors that I think play a role in revenue for games and apps. Of course, these are only my opinions and I will not be offended if you disagree.

If you're a beginner you may want to read some of these tips. Otherwise, if you already know most of these please just ready the bolded titles and then comment on what factors you think have the biggest impacts and what have the smallest impacts on sales. If you want, you can also order them from highest to lowest. Hopefully, if the survey goes well, we can get a good idea of which ones are the most important to work on. Since there is only so much time in the day, us indie developers should start at the top and then work our way down the list.

Anyways, here they go:

Price: The perfect price takes many things into account, especially the following: competitor apps' prices, the audience (and how much they're will to spend), the quality/type of app, and the development time.
Sales/Free for a limited time: One benefit of these are that they can boost rankings and popularity. However, unless it significantly increases the user base and publicity on the App Store as well as online, it most likely won't be worth it in the long run.
App Store Description: If written well and targets the audience, this can be especially useful in increasing sales. This is usually one of the last things people read before they think of purchasing an app. It helps if the description includes good reviews, awards, or anything else that shows the credibility of the app. Also, you want to make sure the description is accurate because if it isn't customers will not be happy. Don't forget to keep it simple and make the app sound useful or fun. Lastly, with the new look of the App Store it's very important to focus on the first two lines of the description. These will be the only ones that show up at first.
App Store Screenshots: It is usually wise to take advantage of all five screenshots you can upload. These give the potential buyer a good idea of the type of game and its graphics. If it doesn't look good, people will probably not buy it. Try to highlight the most popular features of the app as well as you can in these screenshots.
App Title: A catchy, memorable, and accurate title will always win over some other app with a boring title. Don't try to make it too long or add other information in it. While the icon is more important in the App Store, the title can be vital when people see it alone when surfing the web. If it's good, hopefully they'll then find it on the App Store.
App Icon: This is one of the most important things people will look for in the App Store. Even if the app does not necessarily fit what they were looking for, an interesting icon will draw them in. Don't just take graphics directly from the app and use them for the icon. Rather, take elements from the app or its use and importance and incorporate those features in an artistic and stylish icon.
Keywords: You fill these out when submitting your app, so make sure you get them right the first time. While sometimes adding popular keywords may help, it's usually better to use words that your targeted audience will search for and that fit your niche. This is about the only way customers will find your app through the App Store unless they happen to stumble across it when browsing through the 100,000+ apps out there.
Developer and App Website: Don't just make a website for your company or the app. Do both. The website for the app will supply the customer with immediate information about the app once they click on the link from iTunes. On the website, try to supply more information than what is already on iTunes. For example, add more screenshots, add a movie, and add more testimonials. For the developer page, make sure to list all your apps. If a customer likes your app, he/she will look into maybe buying another one of yours.
iPhone Forums: As you're probably already familiar with, iPhone forums on sites such as this one and Touch Arcade are very important. They have a wide variety of people who visit them and often thousands will read about your app if you publish a thread about it.
Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Etc: Use these sites to increase the publicity of your apps and company. Use your own accounts or try to get mentioned on other people's accounts who already have a huge audience. It's a good chance that if people are subscribed to your channel or following you, they'll be interested in your app.
Review/Giveaway Sites: Popular ones can create some nice traffic to your website or more importantly, your app. Whether they're good or bad the reviews (although good is better), you'll get publicity no matter what.

Other factors...

Things you can't control: These include getting featured somewhere on the App Store or in a commercial. While they're great, you can't rely on them. Another one is the release date. If you're lucky, when the app is released it'll appear on the front page of newly released apps but there are no guarantees.
Advertising: It can hugely increase revenues, but not necessarily profits. Unless you find the right place to advertise for the right audience, you may not end up profiting. Advertising is also not usually an option for beginner indie developers.

If you think of any other factors I left out (other than quality of app and type of app), please tell me.

I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback.

------
Drew

Last edited by drewse; 02-04-2010 at 08:46 PM.
02-04-2010, 03:35 AM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 139
Promotion is really are full day job, for indie players, I feel the only thing we can do it push the game quality to as best as we can, and leave others for the god... yes, we can build blogs, youtube etc.. but the problem is, do we have enough time to update it every day?

02-04-2010, 09:59 AM
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldong View Post
Promotion is really are full day job, for indie players, I feel the only thing we can do it push the game quality to as best as we can, and leave others for the god... yes, we can build blogs, youtube etc.. but the problem is, do we have enough time to update it every day?
Everyone should have time to blog. 15 minutes a day on a generic blog that you can link to will do surprising things.
02-04-2010, 07:13 PM
#4
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarrenHollywood View Post
Everyone should have time to blog. 15 minutes a day on a generic blog that you can link to will do surprising things.
I agree, even spending just a few minutes on some of marketing methods will definitely make a positive impact.
02-04-2010, 07:38 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 25
Great insight story. But there's only one thing you missed. KEYWORDS.
I mean I don't understand how the apps are ranking when you type in certain keyword in the search box.

To be alittle bit more specific: say Im looking for a YOGA app. So I typed into "yoga" and... here it is.... three apps show up on the page - yoga STRETCH - iPump Yoga - Yoga Trainer Pro Apple says that the words in the title are included in keywords search, but are those words automatically ranked before the keywords you are listing? If that's the case, then why iPump Yoga is ranked second and how would Apple know how 2 place yoga Strech and Yoga Trainer Pro? Would they take ratings or reviews into consideration?
I've been doing some research but nothing is making any sense to me. Anyone stand by my statement?
02-04-2010, 08:40 PM
#6
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipodtouched View Post
Great insight story. But there's only one thing you missed. KEYWORDS.
I mean I don't understand how the apps are ranking when you type in certain keyword in the search box.

To be alittle bit more specific: say Im looking for a YOGA app. So I typed into "yoga" and... here it is.... three apps show up on the page - yoga STRETCH - iPump Yoga - Yoga Trainer Pro Apple says that the words in the title are included in keywords search, but are those words automatically ranked before the keywords you are listing? If that's the case, then why iPump Yoga is ranked second and how would Apple know how 2 place yoga Strech and Yoga Trainer Pro? Would they take ratings or reviews into consideration?
I've been doing some research but nothing is making any sense to me. Anyone stand by my statement?
Thanks for reminding me of keywords since they also are very important. I'll add them to the list.

To answer your question about how they are ranked, I agree the way it works is kind of iffy. My guess would be that words in the title are ranked higher than the keywords you enter. However, they probably place more popular apps in front of other apps that have the same keywords/titles. How they determine popular? Don't know. Most likely they account for rankings in the App Store, but probably not ratings. I'm also wondering if they look at words in the app description or in the reviews. I've seen some developers add keywords to the descriptions of their apps, so maybe it does help. I'll guess we'll never know.
02-05-2010, 03:37 AM
#7
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 37
Great tips!
Im a start-up and honestly I'm quite confused about App Store SEO.
I can clearly see that App Store search algorithm is evolving so listing the keywords of good value has never been a easier than before and some of the tricks ain't effective anymore, like the devs did in good old times - adding the name of popular apps or company and inserting texts like "highly recommended for fans of..." "if you like... you've gotta try...." and "people like.... also bought..... " in appstore description.

Is the keywords placement in the listing matter? Also, will including generic keywords like "fun" or "sex" even work?
02-05-2010, 06:47 PM
#8
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by tatum View Post
Great tips!
Im a start-up and honestly I'm quite confused about App Store SEO.
I can clearly see that App Store search algorithm is evolving so listing the keywords of good value has never been a easier than before and some of the tricks ain't effective anymore, like the devs did in good old times - adding the name of popular apps or company and inserting texts like "highly recommended for fans of..." "if you like... you've gotta try...." and "people like.... also bought..... " in appstore description.

Is the keywords placement in the listing matter? Also, will including generic keywords like "fun" or "sex" even work?
I've developed a few apps too and am not sure about the same questions you had. It doesn't seem to make a big difference for me, but then again, I haven't sold that many.