Under The Bridge Under The Bridge

Category: Marketing
BoardingBot Beta Beneficence

Been a while since we had any app landing page tools worth noting for you Dear Readers, but here’s a new one BoardingBot that looks quite interesting indeed, it lets you sign up beta testers directly … even via Facebook Messenger no less. That a great way to get the buzz buzzing buzzingly, or what?

BoardingBot.png

BoardingBot will create a site for your app, with screenshots taken from iTunes and an option for beta testers to request a TestFlight invite..

BoardingBot can answer chat messages from your Facebook fans and send them Testflight invites…

BoardingBot upcoming directory of beta apps enables you to find more beta testers. This feature is still under development – Become one of the first apps to be featured in our beta directory.

Pretty cool sounding, huh? If you’ve got an app ready for an open beta, give them a try and let us know it goes!

Wages of App Is Life

So it’s been a very long time indeed since we had occasion to note any new developments on the App Store sales tracking front — but what ho?

Well isn’t that just an awesome burger with awesome sauce? For years we’ve been not quite annoyed enough with the vagaries of getting reports split out by revenue share with appropriate currency conversions to do it ourselves, and now here’s a nice looking tool all Open Sourced for those final tweaks!

  • SALES REPORTS: Quickly view your sales reports for multiple products and days. Access information such as the number of downloads, in-app purchases, promo codes and refunds.
  • REVIEWS: The key to a successful product is keeping your customers happy. Track reviews from each and every country, and even have them translated into your local.
  • RANKINGS: Making changes to your keywords? Doing some marketing? AppWage tracks your rankings allowing you to see where and when your apps change position in charts.
  • TRACK COMPETITION: Need to see the results for multiple tables at once? You can execute multiple queries and have the results for each displayed at the same time, including any errors and messages.

*does a little happy dance*

Speaking of nice looking tools, there’s a new multi platform review tracker out, Review Command:

Review Command gathers your ratings & reviews for all of your apps, from all countries, and all major app stores, and displays them in 1 simple feed.

Supports iOS App Store, Mac App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store and Windows Store.

We bought that just now because it looked ever so pretty and hey it’s launch pricing of $19 right now so why not, and yes so far looks like it works well and is very pretty indeed. Responsive developer too — had a setup question because my iTunes account is weird and got a reply within a couple hours, on a Sunday afternoon no less. So if you have multi platform review management needs, or even if you don’t, we recommend checking that out too!

Getting On Board

So how bad is the retention on mobile apps these days? Pretty bad, you probably guessed; but this bad?

How to Make Your Users Open Your App Again

According to studies, one in four mobile apps is abandoned after a single use. So apart from focusing on first impressions and engaging users during the first launch you should think about how to keep bringing them back over time… Ask this question before you start building anything: How can I ensure that users will keep coming back?

  1. Start a drip email campaign during onboarding.
  2. Update users with their results by email.
  3. Use personalized notifications: push, SMS, chat bots.
  4. Leverage of social mechanics.

Read the whole thing — the infographics are great. For more perspective on long term retention, check out

Your User Onboarding Flow Is Too Shortsighted

Yes, the initial goal of user onboarding is to teach someone how to use your app. But if all a user has done is learned the ropes of one feature, the job isn’t done. Good user retention means going far beyond basic user onboarding. Retention has many stages, and if you want to keep your retention numbers high, you need to think about user onboarding past the first day…

For some specific tips, check out

User Onboarding Best Practices

It’s easy to make onboarding exclusively about the product—logistics, how-tos, and the nitty-gritty details about your product. But your onboarding still needs to be all about the customer. That starts by creating a seamless user experience centered around buyer personas and jobs-to-be-done to align the promise of your product with the onboarding experience…

A common theme you’ll notice here is exposing only appropriate functionality. Why, a “design pattern”, we could call that idea:

Design Patterns: Progressive Disclosure for Mobile Apps

Progressive disclosure is a strategy for managing information complexity. When you use progressive disclosure, you show only the information necessary at that point in the interaction. And you display more advanced functionalities of the app interface as the user interacts with it…

A most important aspect of that progressive disclosure is to never ask the user for a permission when there’s any chance they might refuse it, as they probably will if the benefit is not obvious and immediate. Good advice here:

Mobile UX Design: The Right Ways to Ask Users for Permissions

When it comes to requesting permission, the worst thing an app can do is to bombard users with permission requests without any notice or explanation. Both asking your users for permission too early or for too many things at once are common mistakes. And yet, many apps still do that…

So there’s plenty of food for thought. Some more links with gritty details you may find useful:

How Zendesk Onboards New Users is a neat teardown — check the rest at UserOnboard too.

UI Interactions “The best UI Interactions for your inspiration, every day.” — onboarding specifically

iOS Onboarding without Signup Screens

Cross-Platform Onboarding Without Signup Screens

Onboard is a particularly clean and simple framework for quickly adding onboard screens.

UPDATES:

OnboardingKit: “A simple and interactive framework for making iOS onboarding experience easy and fun!”

5 Delightful Ways to Onboard New Users

The Future Is Subscribed

In case you’ve been under a rock the last couple days, we just had the biggest upending of the App Store since In-App Purchases:

Wow! So that’s the big news for this WWDC, eh? Er, actually…

“…but frankly, we’ve got a busy enough keynote that we decided we’re not going to cover those in the keynote.”

O_o Seriously? What on earth are they going to announce next week, the Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom? Well, while we wait, the discussion rages about just how much difference this will make to indie development. To get you up to speed:

2013’s Adobe’s Subscription Model & Why Platform Owners Should Care is a great exposition of the mutual value proposition of subscriptions.

App Store 2.0 — will it change things?

We, as a company, have been on the App Store since the very first day (YES) of its existence and have over 50 million downloads worldwide. Readdle managed to build a sustainable business creating great productivity apps that people were happy to pay for.

But 2.5 years ago we saw a big shift and decline on the App Store, that hit all premium priced apps with one time purchase model.

So here are some new things that we know and our reaction to them…

Developers can gate apps behind subscriptions, within limits, Apple says: Let the redesigning of your app as a service begin!

How we made an App Store subscription success

As the co-creator of Zombies, Run!, a fitness app that transitioned to a subscription model just over one year ago, I couldn’t be more delighted. 🍾 + 🎉 all round, folks.

Before all that 🍾 + 🎉 though, I want to share the lessons we learned in the past year — a terrifying, exciting, and ultimately very successful year…

And as usual, Michael Tsai has a great roundup on Pre-WWDC App Store Changes if you feel like getting deeper into the discussions. If not, pleasant dreams waiting for that “busy enough” keynote Monday. Speculation is rampant as usual, but nobody seems to have any real clue, so let’s go with the prediction we like best:

One more nail in the coffin of the Wintel ecosystem coming from Apple

So if they do announce the next-gen PowerBook ships with ARM macOS 12 this fall … you heard it here first!

Make The App Store Great Again

In case you didn’t visit the Dev Portal this week, there’s a new mini-site worth flipping through:

Making Great Apps for the App Store

Hopefully this facelift presages attempts to address the not-so simmering frustration out there:

Life and Death in the App Store

For all but a few developers, the App Store itself now resembles a lottery: for every breakout hit like Candy Crush, hundreds or even thousands of apps languish in obscurity…

Just Landed Is Shutting Down

Essentially, there’s a massive oversupply of apps, and the app markets are now saturated and suffering from neglect and short-term thinking by the companies who operate them…

What no indie developer wants to hear about the App Store

But the truth is, even if Apple gave indie developers everything they wanted, it wouldn’t matter much over the long term…

Nostalgianomics

People don’t pay for functionality, at least not anymore. They do pay for content and services, but they don’t pay for functionality…

Fixing the Apple App Store

My take: I don’t think the App Stores are broken; I think they’re doing exactly what Apple wants them to, because Apple’s interest is in supporting the corporate app developers and the larger studio developers…

Et cetera. Perhaps we’ve already had a trial balloon for one of those presaged attempts; if so, it went over … poorly.

Paid App Store Search

  • “It’s downright embarrassing that App Store search is still so bad…”
  • “They need to de-crappify the Store…”
  • “Apple has done some dumb things in the company’s history, but this stands out as particularly stupid…”
  • “Why wasn’t search already better?”
  • “would exacerbate much of the App Store’s dysfunction…”

Well, that’s kinda a downer of a post so far, isn’t it. So let’s pick it up a bit with this inspiring manifesto:

Built an iOS game. It became #1 in the App Store. Here are revenue numbers and what I learned.

I built an iOS app called A Dark Room that hit the #1 spot in the App Store. Here is the article The New Yorker wrote about it.

  • 2.26 million downloads in under two years (free and paid combined).
  • #1 game in the US for 18 days straight (20 days overall).
  • 26,859 ratings of which 23,833 are 5-stars (4.73 average rating)…

Long list of Do’s and Don’ts for developing, marketing getting featured, and making sustainable income. Read them!

Another interesting metrics-laden post-mortem on Almost Impossible! here: iOS Game Revenue & Launch Details

Now that you’re all fired up, for massive collections of marketing resources check out:

App Marketing Stack: “A Curated Directory of Tools & Resources on App Marketing and Mobile Growth.”

iOS Dev ToolsApp Store & Sales

ios-marketing-resources: “Awesome list of iOS app branding/marketing tools.”

The iOS App Marketing Strategy Guide

And there might be some more nuggets in our earlier roundups on marketing, landing pages, videos, and screenshots.

And finally, whether you’re indie or not, handling marketing or not, no doubt a bane of your App Store development is the review process, ’tis it not? Besides Apple’s new Guidelines page mentioned up at the top, here’s some more help:

Under the Radar #21: App Store Rejection – “Tips on avoiding rejections by Apple’s app-review staff and what to do when your app get rejected.”

App Store Review Guidelines History: An annotated list of all changes to the Review Guidelines back to 2014.

Good luck!

UPDATES:

How To Write App Store Descriptions

Monument Valley in Numbers: Year 2

The Complete App Store Optimization Checklist: 2016 Edition

The Savvy App Store Submission Checklist

Good practices to influence your app revenues using App Store reviews

AppReviewKit: “An alternative solution to remind your users to review your app.”

The App Store Keyword Algorithm Update Takes Effect

In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers

App Store Optimization — The Definitive Playbook

App store optimization: How to win Google Play and App Store search

The Essential List of 35 App Promotion & Marketing Strategies

7 Advanced App Store Optimization Strategies

Black Hat App Store Optimization

Apple’s New Search Ads: What You Need to Know

Top 10 Apple Search Ads FAQs: Answered

Our Experience with App Store Search Ads

Socking simians

AppStop The Madness

Just need to throw something, anything, up for a landing page? AppStop has your back:

Create a landing page for your iPhone app, using the info you’ve already submitted to the App Store

Just enter an App Store URL below, and I’ll generate a customizable landing page for your app, that you can fork on GitHub and deploy on github.io or your own domain…

You can also scrape info from iTunes Connect for unreleased apps. So if you want to do some A/B testing on possible descriptions, screenshots, etc. this would be a pretty darn convenient way to go about setting that up, looks like!

h/t: iOS Dev Tools Weekly!

Older collections:

Over 200 Success Tips!

App Website Theme: AppifyWP Pro

Roundup: App Marketing 2013

UPDATES:

Applandr makes a landing page out of your store listing

LaunchKit.io’s Instant App Websites

Check out BoardingBot!

Over 200 Success Tips!

OK, it’s actually just one tip from us — this is a nice little collection of current best practices and links to useful resources:

Creating Successful Apps – Over 200 Development, PR and Marketing Tips

  1. Before Your App Is Launched

    • It goes without saying that you’re going to need to make a good product – but there’s so much more. We outline the steps you need to take before you even write that first line of code or start your first wireframe.
  2. App Store Optimisation

    • App Store Optimisation is a mix of marketing and research. We outline how to optimise your app to get the maximum amount of downloads, the factors in determining how visible your app is in app store searches… and tell you how to improve everything.
  3. Improving Your App

    • App development never stops. We outline what you need to understand about how people use your app and the steps you will need to take to improve your app’s retention rate.
  4. Getting Reviews & Coverage For Your App

    • Getting publicity for your app in the right places can be a real challenge. We outline how to find those right places and more importantly – people – to get the exposure your app needs.
  5. Paid App Advertising and Exposure

    • From paid social media to adverts in other ads. We talk you through the options and give some general advice on ensuring your budget goes as far as possible.
  6. Conclusion and future guides

    • In the coming months, we plan to create a guide on how best to monetise your apps and an experts roundtable with advice from some of the most successful app entrepreneurs and marketers…

Chances are you won’t be terribly surprised by much of this if you’ve been following our various roundups and/or have been working on selling apps yourself for a while, but it’s short enough to be a good checklist and comprehensive enough you’ll probably find at least something of interest; so we completely recommend adding this to your marketing reference collection!

UPDATES:

10,000 Mobile Apps Later and What We Learned

10 Tips for Getting Featured on the App Store

How to pitch your mobile game to Apple — with email address!

The Details behind a Six Figure App Launch

10 Effective Growth Hacks to increase your SaaS Revenue (any business, really, especially any software business)

Sweat the Details: Animation and Microinteractions in Mobile Apps

The Complete Guide to Enterprise App Marketing

Marketing Your Indie Game: The Single Most Important Thing That No One Knows How to Do

A Guide to Launching Indie Games, Part One: Pre-Launch

Advice on Building a Press List

An App Store Experiment Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

My Buffer MVP – Idea to Paying Customer In 1 Day Without A Landing Page

Game Monetization Whitepaper; Appnext self-serve advertising; Lootsie real world rewards; Skillz play for cash

Mobile Games Press List

adamwulf / app-launch-guide: “This guide is aimed at indie developers who are building and launching their iOS apps largely by themselves. The guide will walk through planning, pre-launch, marketing, product dev, QA, and launch.”

How to Get Started With Apple Watch App Store Optimization

Three alternative mobile games marketing strategies

Unsustainable Apps: Revolver

The good news is, there’s a pretty cool open sourced app for you to check out (h/t iOS Dev Weekly):

Ciechan/Revolved: a 3D modelling app for the iPad

  • OpenGL ES 2.0 based rendering integrated with UIKit
  • custom animation engine
  • a bit of private API hackery

The line drawing system has been explained in detail on my blog

The bad news?

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 12.18.55 PM.png

Ouch! Damn, that’s just painful. Although sadly usual, these days:

The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable

Accounting for 47% of app developers, the “have nothings” include the 24% of app developers – who are interested in making money, it should be noted – who make nothing at all.

Meanwhile, 23% make something, but it’s under $100 per month … those who prioritize iOS app development are less likely to find themselves in this group, with 35% earning $0-$100 per month, versus the 49% of Android developers…

Meanwhile, 22% are “poverty stricken” developers whose apps make $100 to $1,000 per app per month…

A Candid Look at Unread’s First Year

Unread for iPhone has earned a total of $32K in App Store sales. Unread for iPad has earned $10K. After subtracting 40 percent in self-employment taxes and $350/month for health care premiums (times 12 months), the actual take-home pay from the combined sales of both apps is:

$21,000, or $1,750/month

Considering the enormous amount of effort I have put into these apps over the past year, that’s a depressing figure. I try not to think about the salary I could earn if I worked for another company, with my skills and qualifications. It’s also a solid piece of evidence that shows that paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store…

I suppose this is a sign of maturity, the app market is starting to resemble other creative markets like books, art, and music as the returns to individual creators shake out. Depressing, isn’t it? But chin up and move on, just means we have to get better at marketing. And here is an excellent article on how to go about that:

How Hours became a top grossing app

… when I asked on Twitter what people want to know about, the overwhelming response was: how on earth did you market the app? Some seem to believe I have this magical ability to get featured by Apple, TechCrunch, etc. etc. etc. I don’t. It takes time and a lot of hard work and I started out just like anybody else so this stuff is completely do-able. I don’t have all the answers but I’ll tell you what I did…

TL; DR: Make a lot of friends. And it’s hard work. But read the whole thing!

UPDATES:

Increasing In-App Revenue with Metric Driven Design and Emotional Targeting

Video Killed The Screenshot Star

So it’s not enough that designing the increasingly misnamed “screenshots” for your App Store listing is a full-fledged production process these days, now you need to ramp up your video production skills as well:

App Previews

App Previews are short videos showcasing what’s great about your app to help users decide if it’s right for them. Customers can watch App Previews directly from your app details page in the App Store. App Previews are composed primarily of device-captured footage of your app to help customers make more informed download decisions.

How Do I Create an App Preview?

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you can capture real-time footage of your app directly off your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Just connect your device to your Mac using the Lightning connector and it will be automatically available as a video camera. You can capture anything you’re doing on-screen directly to your Mac using QuickTime Player. Edit your captured footage in your favorite video editing app and upload it on iTunes Connect—just like your screenshots—to submit it for review along with your next app update…

Availability

App Previews appear on your app details page in the App Store on iOS 8 or later. App developers can submit their App Previews this Fall.

So, time to get on that then, right after watching the “Creating Great App Previews” WWDC session. If there is such a thing as “your favourite video editing app,” that is. Those of us who would be hard pressed to even name any video editing app, never mind have a favourite one, well we do have a bit more of a challenge here, don’t we now.

No doubt in short order there will be a great deal of options to help us with that; but at the moment the only established option we’re aware of enough to have linked to before is Apptamin, who have here an excellent post here to get you up to speed,

App Previews (video on the iOS 8 App Store): Thoughts and Tips

Video on the App Store. It’s (almost) here. It’s awesome for App Developers. One can’t help but wonder why it’s only coming now when the Google Play Store and the Amazon App Store have added it a long time ago. But it doesn’t really matter. After producing close to 300 promo videos and game trailers since we started Apptamin, we do have some thoughts about the App Previews that were introduced. And a few tips as well…

Read the whole thing, as they say. And then these:

The Ultimate Guide To Using Video For App Marketing

Let’s Make a Promo

Getting Started with App Previews

UPDATES:

Ideon / SmudgeKit: “provides a drop in replacement for UIWindow to draw visual representations of all touch events to the screen. Ideal for for creating App Previews or other screencasts where it is crucial to show touch gestures.”

From the Wayback Machine: Fingertips: Presentation Mode

The Making and Effectiveness of an App Preview

Recording Your iOS 8 Device with QuickTime Player

How to Make App Trailers: Top 8 Do’s and Don’ts

TouchVisualizer: “Lightweight touch visualization library in Swift. Multiple fingers and touch radius supported!”

SmoothReviews

Here’s a new service, “SmoothReviews”, you might consider signing up for if you’re trying to market an app and would like some more reviews — AND WHO DOESN’T? we ask you:

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 5.26.24 PM.png

That’s pretty much it, really; everybody scratches everybody else’s back and we all get more reviews, without the suspicious patterns that can be detected by Apple when puppet accounts are hired directly. We’ll let Jay the founder speak for himself:

My name is Jay and I am the founder of SmoothReviews.com, a brand new service for app developers that I think your Under the Bridge readers will love.

SmoothReviews is a service that allows any app developer to get unlimited, free, honest app reviews on the App Store or Google Play. Here’s how it works:

• You give a review, you get a review. For each review you give, you earn a point on your SmoothReviews account. Your app will then appear for another developer to review, and you’ll lose the point.

• We support free or paid, Android or iOS, Tablet or phone apps. Any app can receive reviews.

Here’s the big news for you and your readers: Anyone who registers during the BETA period (before June 10) will get unlimited app slots for LIFE! After that, new users will be given 2-3 app slots and charged a small fee to add more.

We ask that you please check it out and tell your readers about your experience so they can get free unlimited app reviews for life, and start moving up the app rankings.

Indeed. You loving it, Dear Readers? We love it so far — signed up last night and got a freebie 4-star review for that fine Poses app pretty much immediately, seems they’re handling the nobody’s earned any points yet case by picking lucky people to get reviewed anyways, and some righteous dude is into the idea enough to spend $3 on our app. If you’re reading this, thanks awesome guy.

Any-ways, we figure this seems like a morally acceptable way to pump up your review count. Vastly more morally acceptable than the usual begging, wheedling, and outright bribery, that’s for sure. So we’d encourage you all to go sign up! Especially before June 10th, when it’s FREE ! UNLIMITED! FOR LIFE! WOO-HOO!

UPDATES:

How Overcast asks for reviews

The Broken App Store

How I hacked App Store ratings for a consistently perfect 5 stars

ReviewsMotion appears to be the same idea: “Give a review – Receive a review, it’s that simple”

Getting from ⭐️⭐️ to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ TL;DR Ask at the bottom of your version upgrade notes!

What’s the best site to track ratings, reviews and features on the iOS App Store nowadays?

Review Command: “Track all your app reviews from every platform and every country, in one beautiful Mac app. No Cloud. No Subscription.”