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Making your app free without publicity

03-20-2010, 01:50 PM
#1
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Making your app free without publicity

Here is my experience with making my app free:

So I decided to make one of my apps that doesn't even get a sale a day free for a day. I know there are many sites out there now (freeappaday.com, freegameoftheday.com, freeappcalendar.com, etc.) that help publicize your apps that are free for a day, but I didn't use one of them for this. Since my app is for a very specific customer base, I didn't think I would get as many downloads as I did. I ended up getting over 400 downloads in total. My guess is that the 400 people who found it probably saw it on a site or app that tracks price changes. In these cases, people will download an app even if they don't want it just since it's free. Since the app must have went back to paid late yesterday, I also got 3 paid downloads for the app. Yes, 3 is a very pathetic number but it did go up from 0 to 3. Plus, once I get the statistics from today I can see if it translated into any more paid downloads. Another thing I noticed was that its rank did increase and even reached the top 100 in its category in Slovakia. The point I'm trying to get across is that if you are getting very few downloads and aren't accepted by one of the Free App A Day websites, you can still do it yourself and get a fair number of downloads.

Now to my question. I have a few options that I could do. Since I thought this worked well I could try this same technique of keeping the app free for one day on this app again and on my other apps. Or next time I could try to keep it free a little longer and see if my rank could improve. Or lastly, since my apps get very few downloads I could change them to free permanently and hope they become more popular than they are now. So what do you all think I should do?
03-20-2010, 02:11 PM
#2
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 374
drewse,
If you are looking for more eyes to view your stuff you can make each free a different week. If you dont believe that the one free day is enough try a full weekennd before going free all the time. Their are different reasons for going free. One to get more eyes and on a list at the app. store. Another may be to promote a new app. you are releasing. It is your decision if you want to still try and make some money on the old games or just get the exposure so people may see your work and look forward to paying for the next app.

03-20-2010, 02:16 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
I think you should just go with one of the free app websites... one you don't have to pay for. It may work somewhat without their help, but advertisement can only make awareness higher, not lower. Nothing to lose really.

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03-20-2010, 02:30 PM
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidianGTX View Post
I think you should just go with one of the free app websites... one you don't have to pay for. It may work somewhat without their help, but advertisement can only make awareness higher, not lower. Nothing to lose really.
While I agree with MidianGTX, I am grateful that Drewse decided to go at it solo. This tells us something a little bit different. While 3 sales aren't a lot, it is certainly more than zero and there was virtually no risk involved. In this case, there is certified proof that the free status garnished at least a little interest, and there was no promotion or site involved.

You might try using a free app site now to see what the difference is. Even if your app targets a specific demographic, I think the data would be worth noting.

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03-20-2010, 03:18 PM
#5
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewse View Post
I ended up getting over 400 downloads in total.
I made my game Pollywog free through freeappaday.com - on the 1st day it got over 70,000 downloads - a tad better than what I could've managed on my own Whatever you may think of these sites they'll almost certainly get more eyeballs on your app than going it alone (freeappaday.com certainly will at least). I posted more detailed before/after numbers on my blog.

As for your options at this point, it's hard to say. If you have a popular free app (>10,000 downloads a day) it might be worth looking into ads, though I'm not bullish on that approach personally. If you have more than one app you should certainly add some sort of "More Games/Apps" link in all your apps that leads to a website or internal view with links to your other apps. This sort of cross promotion is modest at best, but if you manage to get at least a few hundred downloads a day for a free app it can certainly translate into a few sales.

I'd offer more advice but I'm still trying to find something that works myself. My only conclusion at this point is that supporting a loser is pretty much a waste of time. Basically, if your current batch of apps isn't cutting it, make some more (that's my plan anyway).

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03-20-2010, 04:08 PM
#6
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Derby, UK.
Posts: 161
Interesting! We've just released a new game and my 1st released game isn't selling well at all < 2 - 3 downloads a day, I already have a lite app but i wonder if making the Pro version free for a day or 2 may have a positive impact on our new games sales.

May try this and report back!

Thanks for the info

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03-20-2010, 04:57 PM
#7
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Thanks for the feedback

Well to be honest, I actually did try getting some of these sites to publicize it, but I didn't get a response from two of them and I learned that Free App A Day costs money. If I could get support from a big site I have no doubt it would greatly help my sales, but I don't think my apps are at a good enough quality yet that a site would agree to promote it.

I might do what sleb said and try it with my other apps and see if a site would promote it for free (like what MidianGTX and Flickitty said). But it probably wouldn't happen.

And thanks Frank Condello for your person experience with Free App A Day. I read your article on the results and congratulations on your success.
03-20-2010, 05:17 PM
#8
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 977
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewse View Post
Well to be honest, I actually did try getting some of these sites to publicize it, but I didn't get a response from two of them and I learned that Free App A Day costs money. If I could get support from a big site I have no doubt it would greatly help my sales, but I don't think my apps are at a good enough quality yet that a site would agree to promote it.
I heard that one of the sites you've registered with relies on votes in order to select which apps get featured. Perhaps you can get your friends to visit the site and vote for your games.

I am also sensing that your Pocket Game of Life is doing relatively well in the voting for next week. No guarantees though, since things change from day-to-day.
03-20-2010, 05:27 PM
#9
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MindJuice View Post
I heard that one of the sites you've registered with relies on votes in order to select which apps get featured. Perhaps you can get your friends to visit the site and vote for your games.

I am also sensing that your Pocket Game of Life is doing relatively well in the voting for next week. No guarantees though, since things change from day-to-day.
So you made freeAppCalendar, right? Well, I think it's a great site and I like the voting idea. Hopefully Pocket Game of Life gets chosen. I'm not sure how many people will see it though since I don't know how much traffic the site gets yet. And why aren't you charging for ads yet? Are you waiting until the site becomes more popular? I hope you don't mind if I sort of took advantage of the free ad space
03-20-2010, 05:46 PM
#10
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewse View Post
And thanks Frank Condello for your person experience with Free App A Day. I read your article on the results and congratulations on your success.
I'm not sure you read to the bottom

Yes, I did get 20-50 sales per day for the first week after the promotion (due entirely to a big featured icon on FAAD) but I'm now down to 10-15 sales per day, and as soon as the little icon drops off the FAAD website I fear that'll drop again. The game earned a nasty 2.5 stars as a result of making it free as well, so it's basically dead - dead, dead, dead.

Considering I had nothing to loose at the time the FAAD promotion wasn't a bad decision by any means, but I wouldn't call it a success - it was more of a "squeeze every last bit of blood out of failure" move. Success for this particular app would've been an average 75 sales a day over 3 months. That would've taken it to barely-break-even territory. As it stands, it won't ever break even.

SHREDD GO FAST! FREE!
Nozoku Rush Kick Math's Ass!
Critter Panic Break yer brain! FREE!
Silverfish & Silverfish MAX Hardcore arcade insanity!
Nozoku A casual game of math & logic.
More: cbox.me Twitter YouTube