Under The Bridge Under The Bridge

Category: Marketing
How To Be Evil (Or Not): App Store Scams vs. White Hat ASO

Who would’ve thought that How To Be Evil for iPhone programmers would start to shape up into a series? Well, turns out there’s more bad actors than you’d think (well, more than you’d think if you’re as trustingly naīve as we’re widely known to be) pulling scammy stuff on their users. Here is a particularly evil instance:

New scammy iOS app shows Apple may need to tweak its App Store review process

After downloading the app in question, called Heart Rate Measurement on the App Store, 9to5Mac reports that it works by claiming to read your heart rate through your fingertip using the iPhone’s Touch ID feature. What the app is really trying to do, though, is get you to authorize a transaction for $89.99 using Touch ID by “dramatically dimming the screen” to such a degree that you hopefully won’t notice the charge…



And this is not actually a one-off, apparently there’s a whole mini-industry of these tricksters:

Scam iOS apps promise fitness, steal money instead

But what if you’re not quite that short-sightedly evil, just want a bit of a leg up? Check out this masterpiece of a Guide To Evil™:

How to Game the App Store

I’ve been pestering Apple for years publicly and privately about the manipulation and outright scams going on in the App Store. Apple has made some progress here and there, but overall Apple’s strictness in some areas and hands off approach in others has disproportionately rewarded bad actors while stifling conscientious developers…

Go over and Read The Whole Thing, but here’s sample #1:

1. Find a keyword that drives a decent amount of organic search traffic. Obvious ones are keywords like “weather”, “calculator”, “solitaire”, etc, but those keywords are so competitive, and the rest of the tactics so powerful, you could get away with 2nd tier keyword targets. Now go to App Store Connect and name your app that exact keyword. “Weather” is already taken, and Apple doesn’t allow duplicate app names, so you’ll need to add a symbol. Let’s go with “Weather ◌”.

Here’s the thing, the App Store search algorithm gives a massive boost for an exact match to what the user searched, and the algorithm ignores symbols, so “Weather ◌” will get a huge search advantage, which will help to drive organic installs of the app…

Oh, one more we’ll excerpt — this one actually got us whilst trying out a scam app, luckily just for a trial subscription we promptly rescinded:

4. Trigger the subscription randomly while the app is running. This one is included in the above list, but is so cunning it’s worth a specific mention. Because the iPhone home button serves as a sort of universal back button, a panicking iPhone user is likely to hit the home button when trying to get out of something. Unfortunately, on iPhones with Touch ID, the home button is also how you confirm a purchase. So if the payment view is randomly triggered, many users will accidentally confirm the purchase while trying to exit.

Indeed they will. However, now we have a shiny new XS, so that at least isn’t going to happen again!

One money maker that’s called out is selling user location data, which apparently is a much bigger thing than we’d thought — check this out:

Report: Location Data Monetization in iOS Apps 

But all of us here are white hats, right, and we want to promote our app and earn money legitimately, right? Here’s a list of recentish (if “the last year or so” still counts as “recentish”) ASO resources and marketing tips worth reading to make a living without stooping to Evil™ tactics:

How I doubled App Store Impressions

Earlier this year I went through the App Store Optimization (ASO) process for one of my personal apps. App store impressions doubled immediately. Profits for the app almost doubled as well…

Surviving the App Store

A book on lessons learned in building mobile apps. Written by the indie game dev who built the number one app, A Dark Room…

How to Leverage Apple Pre-order for Your Ios App Launch

Not only does it allow you to get a good amount of pre-orders (and therefore downloads on the first day), it also gives you the possibility to start working on your app metadata for your App Store Optimization efforts…

The Smart Aso Trick for Higher Rankings

It’s no secret that titles – and now also subtitles – are the most important factors for keywords in iOS11. Here’s a smart and simple trick that you can use to leverage the fact that these keywords are given more weight than those included in the standard keywords field…

How to Combine SEO & ASO Techniques to Supercharge Your Keyword Research

There are a handful of excellent articles on Keyword Research for ASO (App Store Optimization), but I haven’t read any so far that combined: 
classical SEO + competitor based keyword research + ASO. So I decided to write one…

ASO in iOS 11: A Detailed Analysis of What REALLY Works

I have analyzed the ASO strategies of over 20 apps to provide you with a truly data-driven look at the impact of iOS 11 on keywords and conversion optimization…

Find the Best App Store Optimization Tools – ASO Tools List

iOS Dev Tools — App Store and Sales

What is ASO? The Ultimate App Store Optimization Guide

The 385 Pages ASO Book (2018): Advanced App Store Optimization

Mobile App Marketing Playbook: 36 Tactics to Promote Your Mobile App

Worldwide App Store Optimization

The Secret to a Great ASO Strategy is Optimizing for People

And don’t forget to keep abreast of the latest techniques in that old school  “classical SEO” to complement your ASO efforts — here’s a recent roundup to help you out with that!

The Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2019

App Store Aluminium Anniversary Affiliate Apocalypse

There’s an excellent series tagged App Store at 10 over at MacStories — all worth reading for reminiscing over the laughter, tears and rage of this last decade, but particularly these pieces:

But there is no laughter, just tears and rage, at today’s controversy, which is certainly starting off the decade with a BANG!

Apple Kills the App Store Affiliate Program, and I Have No Idea What We Are Going to Do.

Moments ago, Apple announced that they’re killing the affiliate program, citing the improved discovery offered by the new App Store. (Music, books, movies, and TV remain.) It’s hard to read this in any other way than “We went from seeing a microscopic amount of value in third party editorial to, we now see no value.” I genuinely have no idea what TouchArcade is going to do. Through thick and thin, and every curveball the industry threw at us, we always had App Store affiliate revenue- Which makes a lot of sense as we drive a ton of purchases for Apple. I don’t know how the takeaway from this move can be seen as anything other than Apple extending a massive middle finger to sites like TouchArcade, AppShopper, and many others who have spent the last decade evangelizing the App Store and iOS gaming- Particularly on the same day they announced record breaking earnings of $53.3 billion and a net quarterly profit of $11.5 billion.

I’m just beside myself.

I don’t know what we’re going to do.

I really didn’t think it would be Apple that eventually kills TouchArcade.

I guess now is a great time to link the TouchArcade Patreon again.

I’m just going to turn my phone off and go sit outside.

Yowza. Mind you, it’s not like this couldn’t have been seen coming…

Apple slashes affiliate commission rate on apps from 7 to 2.5%

… but the finality of destroying the affiliate reference business model is a bit crushing. Well, that’s one less avenue of monetization for your curation sites. Not that we were making anything particularly significant off our occasional app reviews, but not particularly significant still is a greater contribution than nothing. Ah well.

If you want to read more, although “tears and rage” pretty much covers it really, as always @mjtsai has a great roundup: Apple Removes Apps From Their Affiliate Program.

However. that’s not the only controversy afflicting the App Store lately; you might recall the WWDC-time excitement around the review guidelines now allowing trials:

Non-subscription apps may offer a free time-based trial period before presenting a full unlock option by setting up a Non-Consumable IAP item at Price Tier 0 that follows the naming convention: “XX-day Trial.” Prior to the start of the trial, your app must clearly identify its duration, the content or services that will no longer be accessible when the trial ends, and any downstream charges the user would need to pay for full functionality. Learn more about managing content access and the duration of the trial period using Receipts and Device Check

Mac App Store Sandboxing, IAP Trials, Multiplatform Services

Awesomeness, right? That’ll satisfy The Developers Union and sympathizers, riiiiight? Errrr, not so much…

Ersatz Free Trials

Every aspect of the solution is bolted on to a system which was not designed for, yet is somewhat admirably being used to simulate real support for free trials. Let me elaborate by listing several shortcomings and how they affect both users and developers in significant ways. Just off the top of my head …

  • Paid apps are listed as free, even though payment is required to unlock core functionality…
  • Bulk purchase programs are unavailable…
  • Family sharing is unavailable…
  • Not applicable to all app types…
  • Apps are ranked and featured in the wrong charts…
  • Transaction mechanics are pushed onto developers…
  • Free trials cannot be easily reset…
  • Apps cannot be made to “just work” out of the box…

There was also some grumbling at the time about the affiliate commission being lost on IAP purchases — well, that particular objection has been dealt with avec finalité, yes. Be careful what you complain about, indeed!

While the vast majority of commentators are satisfied to assume incompetence and/or malice for the lack of conventional free trials, there is a counterpoint worth considering:

Free Trials from Apple’s Perspective

I think Apple have probably thought long and hard about it, and concluded that the options they have introduced are actually better than the free trials developer’s are requesting…

… For me personally — and not a reflection of the opinions of others in my company — Apple are doing this right. There are perhaps a few rough edges — for example, they could word the free In-App Purchase option better — but their philosophy of making it completely clear to customers what they are getting, and when they pay, is on the money. It is not a case of Apple being vindictive. I guarantee they have thought about this problem deeply.

Well, we’re not sure that’s a compelling argument, but we can see that Apple would consider the current state good enough compared to resolving all these issues, definitely. So the chances that anything’s going to change more soon are probably slim indeed. So, to make the best of things as they are, here’s a library for you from BlackPixel:

Announcing IAPKit

Last week at WWDC 2018 Apple announced they are officially supporting free trials for apps via a Non-Consumable IAP item. Inspired by The Omni Group, this is exactly the approach Black Pixel took last year when releasing Kaleidoscope 2 and Pixelboard.

Last Summer when working on these two apps, we decided to create a shared framework to use internally that would wrap the iOS SDK APIs necessary to provide a smooth consistent experience with starting a free trial and upgrading to full app versions. Today we are open sourcing the fruit of this labor as IAPKit.

IAPKit provides an easy way for developers to connect to their own apps’ IAP products and display them in a simple UI that works with Auto Layout, Safe Area Insets, and iPad split-screen modes. We hope the Apple development community finds it as useful as we have…

Or, you could always just not bother with that, and go ahead and trial without it:

Trialware Makes Its Triumphant Return

To reliably answer the question of whether Apple is now allowing all-or-none trialware apps, I wanted to be very up-front about the changes with the App Store reviewer. To that end I wrote this directly into the reviewer’s notes:

We are moving to a “trialware” biz model. The user has 14 days to evaluate the app. After that, they’ll be asked to pay the IAP price to continue using it.
Surprisingly after about a day, the app was approved! Wow!

… To sum up:

  • Apple is now apparently allowing “all-or-none” trialware apps
  • You don’t have to use wonky $0 IAPs and DeviceCheck to make it work

So there you go — we’ll probably try that our next attempt at monetization and see if it continues to work!

Trialling aside, it’s pretty clear that Apple wants everybody to move to a subscription model. That has its upsides and downsides; again, @mjtsai keeps a great roundup updated at Productivity Apps and Subscription Pricing.

And one more tidbit to finish off with on a more amusing note: You know how Apple’s gift cards get auto-scanned? Ever wanted to do that with your own App Store promo codes? Well, here’s how!

Cracking the code behind Apple’s App Store promo card design

Apple’s App Store gift cards have a special trick: you can simply hold one up to your iPhone or Mac’s camera and it’ll automatically scan in the code and redeem the card for you. As developers, we thought it’d be cool to print some of our own promo code cards to give away at events, so we tried to create our own scannable cards. Turns out, there’s more to it than meets the eye…

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 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.


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

How to perfect your mobile app’s login screen

Onboard: “An iOS framework to easily create a beautiful and engaging onboarding experience with only a few lines of code.”

How Great User Onboarding Helps These Messaging Apps Grow to 1 Billion Users

SwiftyOnboard: “A swifty iOS framework that allows developers to create beautiful onboarding experiences.”

Tutti: “is a Swift library for creating iOS app tutorials and onboarding experiences.”

Onboarding libraries for iOS

5 Steps to a Better Onboarding Experience

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!


In-App Purchases: Auto-Renewable Subscriptions Tutorial

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…


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!


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

How to make Apple Search Ads work for your App

Top 21 research-driven app store optimization tips (ASO)

App Store Optimization Monthly

Find the Best App Store Optimization Tools – ASO Tools List

Apple Search Ads Campaign Structure Demo

Apple Search Ads Best Practices to Scale Impressions

Apple iOS App Store Optimization Tips: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Black Hat ASO — Where to Draw the Line

Surviving the App Store

The App Store Optimization Stack [1/4]

108+ App Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Downloads

65 Simple Ways To Promote Your Mobile App

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


Applandr makes a landing page out of your store listing

Check out BoardingBot for landing page and beta management

Or if you want a really simple landing page … How to Use Instapage to Create a Landing Page (Without a Dev)

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!


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

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

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

How to build a press list that gets you coverage

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!


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