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App Marketing Conversations

The State of the Enterprise Mobile Developer Ecosystem

The War for Mobile Dev Talent

In our latest installment of App Marketing Conversations, Apptentive CEO Robi Ganguly is joined by Ryan Morel of GameHouse and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE to discuss the emerging role of the mobile developer among today’s leading enterprises.

The conversation examines a few of the initiatives tech giants like Yahoo, Apple, and Google are taking to support, grow, and recruit the mobile developer community – and the luxuries such initiatives grant accomplished mobile developers around the world.

Check out what they had to say in the video below:

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App Marketing Conversations Transcript:

Robi: Hello and welcome to another App Marketing Conversations. As always, I am joined by Ryan Morel of GameHouse and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE. I am Robi Ganguly of Apptentive.

We’re going to talk a little bit about some stuff that’s happening in the developer ecosystem. As of today, Yahoo is officially in the mobile developer ecosystem. They had their first developer event and announced some mobile tools. Really headlined by Flurry but they also got some stuff around monetization, advertising, and other apps. But, now that means that we have a whole bunch of players in the space building tools at scale for mobile developers and these are not just players like TUNE and Apptentive. But, they are players like Facebook and Google and Yahoo, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft. So, it seems like everybody and their mother is chasing the mobile developer. Is that the most important developer in the world right now?

Ryan: I think so, yeah. Clearly. If you look at the short history of developers being really extremely important from the mid-90’s until today, has there ever been a time when maybe 10 of the top 25 tech companies had major initiatives to support the developer community? Not that I am aware of. There was always Microsoft.

Ian: And maybe Apple. Maybe the WWDC but frankly I don’t think they ever really cared.

Ryan: It was less about developers and more about the design community. Now everyone cares.

Robi: Why do you think that they care so much? What’s going on here?

Ian: I think it’s fascinating. Like Mark and Jason will tell you, the world is quickly being eaten by software and in particular software is being eaten by mobile and these folks know that they have to be the central player in order for them to continue to build their mountains and their empires. I would, honestly, I’d give credit to Microsoft but I would also give a lot of credit to Amazon in this regard. I think AWS paved the way on the web side of the world for people to understand that money can be made and mind share can be taken by simply providing these tools and as we move to mobile everybody needs to be there. All these guys are also providing a lot of monetization services and Facebook’s got that with their Atlas program. Yahoo announced that today. Simply getting SDK’s onto an app allows them to land and expand further into monetization where they can make money themselves too.

Robi: Do you think any of these platforms in particular are way out in front? Yahoo today talks about the fact that Flurry’s already in 630,000 apps. That’s a tremendous footprint. Huge. And so they’re out there saying, “Well, we’re here. We’ve got a huge footprint. We see a ton of data and we can help you make more money and we can help you make a better app because you’ll have analytics.” Are they really one of the front-runners or do you think they are out there but not there?

Ryan: It’s hard for me to take this particular announcement that seriously. I think the front-runners are Apple and Google. And Google has done a fantastic job with all of their developer tools. They provide the full stack of services the developer needs. Apple, I think they are starting to take the needs of the developer more seriously and once they really take it more seriously they’ll be right next to Google for being way out in front of everybody because they own the hardware. At least from Google’s perspective, they own the software. I was trying to come up with a good analogy and the only thing I could come up with, which is kind of lame, is the iPhone or your Android device is kind of like the new portal except for what’s placed on there isn’t decided by Yahoo. It’s decided by Google, Apple, and then the consumer. And ultimately, driven by what the mobile developers do. That’s not a great analogy but it’s kind of like it. Yahoo, they have to do something to get in front of consumers, but I don’t see how they make it uber meaningful.

Ian: I think the other parts of the questions about who’s the front-runners, how do you define front-runner? I think Flurry out there and 630,000 apps is a ridiculous number and I’m sure they’re on billions of devices but they kind of get dropped from a lot of the bigger apps. Once you grow to a certain size, you drop Flurry for other things. There are other SDK’s, I think you could actually put more app tracking in that category. It’s on a really large percentage of the top grossing apps, the top apps, but a much smaller number compared to Flurry of total number of apps that it’s actually installed in. So, when you think about front-runners, do you define front-runner as dollars flowing through the system, as number of devices, what is that criteria? I think you could go a lot of different ways to determine who’s the front-runner of different pieces.

Ryan: Maybe another way to bring the question would be like, who is the company that you would bet on to help you meet your goals as an app developer and as an app marketer? Inevitably, if you are launching on IOS and Android, well you need Apple and Google. Probably if you’re doing any performance marketing you’ll probably need mobile app tracking.

Ian: I like that plug.

Ryan: And for customer support, Ecoms stuff or whatever.

Robi: If you care about your customers and talking to them and listening to them, you should probably be working with us.

Ryan: And then that’s true but then everything else is like what’s the right thing for your particular business and that has to be made on an individual developer basis because it’s going to be hard for… At least in my view, someone on like Yahoo to say, “This is everything you need.” Because they don’t own the platform, they don’t own the hardware, or they don’t own the distribution.

Ian: But, their play is a lot like Google’s on the web. If they can make a dollar from a billion different apps or whatever, a billion different sessions each, fantastic. AdWords or AdSense does that all the time. That’s an interesting place and a profitable place for Google to play.

The Mobile Marketer's Guide To App Store Ratings & Reviews

Robi: Bringing this back to that marketer, if you are an app marketer and you’re thinking about this, a lot of what’s been announced is probably not super relevant to you if you are at the higher end of the spectrum, if you’re spending quite a bit of money on UA, if you are investing in retention marketing, if you are driving commerce through your business. You’re probably less interested in offerings that come from fundamentally companies driven around the long tail data aggregation and advertising. The Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter initiatives, while they’re coming to you and trying to pitch you, probably less interested to you based upon your company’s needs and where your business is going. Is that fair to say?

Ryan: That’s about right.

Robi: Google, Apple, right at the top. You care about that most and then you’re getting very specific, but otherwise not as important. You can keep listening to what they’re doing but probably not spending much time.

Ryan: The other thing I would add here is that no matter what Apple or Google will say, they care if you implement their services. They care if you take the most advantage of all the things that they have to offer when they’re trying to decide of editorial or placement of your content. That matters.

Ian: I would say the one thing about the Yahoo announcement that I thought was particularly interesting and I think what’s new was the announcement of Flurry Pulse which is basically Flurry allowing the Flurry data for your app. If I have Flurry installed on my app, the data that Flurry collects for me to be distributed to any of their partners which I think is actually a really great win for a lot of marketers and developers out there.

Robi: Yeah, that’s true. Benchmarking. And we’ve seen this from most recently App Annie instead that they’re going to be publishing more of their insights and retention for that data. It’s that direction. And that, if it’s consumable but you don’t have to integrate their SDK, you don’t necessarily have to have a direct relationship to use that, for all app marketers that’s a plus.

Ryan: That reminds me of whatever the saying is that if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Makes sense.

Robi: All right, so, that’s it for talking about Yahoo and some of the developer ecosystem developments of the past several months and be sure to tune in for the other installations of App Marketing Conversations and like us on Facebook. Thanks.

Ryan: Or YouTube.

Robi: Or on YouTube.

iOS 8

Quick Tips for Marketing Your Mobile App in the Apple App Store

iOS

Created an amazing iOS app but don’t know how to reach potential customers? Looking for marketing strategies for your iOS app? You’ve come to the right place!

There are many ways out there to promote your app. Here are a few strategies that you can follow in order to make your app reach peoples’ hands. It is not a recipe to hide and not even exhaustive. Each app is different, so your mobile marketing strategy should also be different.

It is also not necessary to do step-by-step planning. Sometimes you have to do things simultaneously as well.

Most small app developers think that their apps will not have a market. Instead, they think only the big apps will have a demand. But this is not true. Even the small app developers can make their niche, if they have the right marketing strategy. Here you go!

You will always design a great app. No doubt! But before you launch your app on the app store, it is important to get it approved by Apple. This is one of the first basic steps for you on the difficult road to mobile marketing.

The approval process can make you stressed, but the approval can be made simpler by first understanding all of Apple’s policies. Before sending your app to the Apple store, it is important to read all the rules carefully.

After you get an approval from Apple for your app, it is time to pull up your socks. Let us see what’s next?

Start with a Blog or a Website

A blog can be a perfect place to let people know about your mobile app. If you already have a blog, then it is just a matter of a new post to add a brief introduction about your app anywhere in your blog.

But, what if you do not have any blog? Don’t worry!

There are a number of blogging websites like blogger.com, where you can simply register and start blogging. Easy, right?

If you don’t like blogging, you can simply create a one or two-page website to give a brief about your app. You can easily find a number of site builder websites.

Love to Tweet or Poke?

Let your love for Twitter or Facebook be one of your top strategies for marketing your app. Share everything about your app on social networking sites; and if your friends or family like your app, they will obviously share it with their friends. Also share good stuff apart from your app, so that people start following you. This will help you come in contact with more and more people and is good for your app too.

You can join a number of groups related to App development or stuff like this on Facebook. This will help you stay active online while providing new outlets for promoting your mobile app.

It doesn’t matter if you like Facebook, Twitter or the likes. It’s important for you to make an online presence in order to reach more and more people for your app. Let us think out of the box!

Make Your App Visible in the Apple App Store

Search is one of the mature fields of web. It is difficult to stay on Google, but if you have proper planning, then you can win the Google search for your app.

Search for an app on an app store, and you’ll see that it is more difficult than a Google search. There are a number of apps on the app store. Search for some keyword and you will get a bunch of apps for that and then it is difficult for you to find the best one. It is important for you to make your visibility happen by getting in contact with more and more people via different ways. You need to optimize the search visibility of your app. Searching is very poor and people need to learn the ways to search the app store. This is weird!

A Cool Video can do Wonders

About 90% of people prefer to watch videos over reading plain text. You can create an amazing video for your app with some cool stuff to make it more interesting. Create a video that most of the people find helpful and wait for the launch of the app.

You will get your users even before the launch of your app. This is one of the coolest strategies to get into the market.

Choose the Right Name For Your App

It is difficult to find the right name for your app. A right name for your app is the only one which sounds good and which contains the major keyword in it. If you have a shoes app, then you should consider including shoes or footwear in your app name in order to make your app search easy. The tight name and the right keyword both play an important role for your app. Take the time to think about the name for your app. Look at all the areas in the app to find a perfect name for your app.

Describe Your App in a One-Liner

It is important for you to provide a one-liner for your app along with the download link to your app. You can include this one-liner anywhere on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc. You can use this as your email signature as well.

It will make others know you and your app too! Isn’t this cool?

Localize your App

Have you created an app in a language very rarely spoken? Then it’s your bad luck.

Localization plays an important role in the success of your app. If you have selected English as your first language, then it makes sense to localize it in some other language.

Localization will improve your app download rate. There is a great chance that users will buy your IAP. Sounds interesting? Read further!

You can either do it yourself or hire someone with experience in localization.

Cross Promotion

If you are seriously interested in going into this app business, then it is important for you to build more than one app. If the target audience is similar for all your apps, then it’s pretty much true that luck is on your side as it is difficult to keep an audience of all apps on your side. If you have unrelated five apps, then maybe you will get a major audience for one app only.

Cross promotion is always better.

Launch Day!?

The launch day for your app should be the top priority from all the other marketing strategies. This is the final day which will decide the success of your app.

Make as much noise as you can about your app!

This is the time when you can make the bloggers love your app and start writing about your app.

Feedback is also important for you. You can ask the users who used your app to give you valuable feedback. It will take time, but it will surely lead you to the road of success.

Find ways to make people come back to your app.

Get amazing ratings for your app!

Conclusion

Marketing is never a simple process. It’s all about building the right app with a wonderful idea and then keeps on measuring the successes and failures.

All the very best for your apps in 2015 and more years to come!

About the Author

Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing iOS game development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lure him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.

App Marketing Conversations

App Marketing Conversations: Apple Pay

Apple Pay & What It Means For E-Commerce

In our latest installment of App Marketing Conversations, Apptentive CEO Robi Ganguly (@rganguly) is joined by Ian Sefferman (@iseff)) of MobileDevHQ by Tune and Ryan Morel (@ryanmorel) of GameHouse to discuss their experiences with Apple Pay and its implications on mobile and e-commerce.

The discussion covers the good and the bad of Apple Pay – from its simplicity and ease of use to its current very limited coverage by retailers and credit cards.

With over one million card activations during its first 72 hours, Apple Pay has the potential to streamline mobile commerce on a massive scale while providing retailers with a much greater share of revenue than what they would otherwise receive with the App Store’s 30 percent cut on all digital transactions. Still, Apple Pay and other digital wallets raise some concerns around security, particularly after the recent hacking of Apple Pay competitor CurrentC.

Check out the latest App Marketing Conversations video to hear Robi, Ian, and Ryan weigh in on Apple Pay, and let us know what you’d add to the conversation in the comments below.

Transcript:

Robi: Hello, and welcome to another “App Marketing Conversations”. As always, I’m joined by Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by Tune and Ryan Morel, GameHouse and I’m Robi Ganguly of Apptentive. So we’ve talked about user acquisition, we’ve talked about iPads and the tablets market, in the previous two segments. Make sure you check those out. But we’re going to talk about Apple Pay and what it means for e-commerce this time around. So a few months ago, we talked about Apple Pay initially. Now that you’ve used it, what do you think?

Ian: So I used it this week, at Whole Foods and the experience was really great! The experience of setting up Apple Pay was nice, it was not super-painful. The experience of using it was literally like, take out your phone, hold your thumb down, done. I don’t mean to over-simplify it. I don’t really know what else to say. That was how long it took. How much can I say, it was so simple. It was great.

Robi: That’s amazing. Have you used it yet?

Ryan: I’ve tried.

Robi: Okay, what happened with you?

Ryan: I haven’t been at a place that takes it.

Robi: Okay.

Ryan: Which I think says something in and of itself in the opportunity for e-commerce, right?

Robi: Yeah.

Ryan: You’re going about it every day. Interaction every day. But apparently I don’t buy enough stuff every day to get a place that takes it.

Ian: How many of your cards were accepted?

Ryan: All of them except for one, despite the fact that it was from the same bank.

Ian: Really?

Ryan: Yeah.

Ian: So for me, I basically have an Am-Ex and a debit card and just the Am-Ex was accepted.

Ryan: Really?

Ian: Yeah. I was a little bit disappointed about that, because I’d love to use that, so.

Robi: That’s interesting. Yeah, so I mean, it’s very early in terms of coverage from a store’s perspective and coverage from the cards that they accept. It seems like a lot of money is going to flow through this relatively quickly. Didn’t they already say the number of credit cards they got on file was far in excess of several other competing e-commerce through app services?

Ian: Yeah, yeah. And they didn’t get packed.

Robi: Yet! It’s true, that’s a really good point. So Whole Foods is taking it, who else is taking it? What’s going on here from the companies supporting this perspective?

Ian: So that’s actually a very good question. I think Target accepts.

Ryan: Target, Panera…

Ian: Yeah.

Ryan: CVS, either CVS or Walgreens.

Ian: Or, yeah, one of them and then the other one has their own…

Ryan: It is part of MCX message.

Ian: Right.

Robi: So let’s talk about this MCX thing, right? There are a bunch of fibers out there with a competing initiative. and they pulled their support from Apple Pay. So Walmart’s leading the initiative, is that correct?

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: Okay, and then, who else was involved? I think CVS, some others?

Ryan: CVS, some grocery store, big grocery store chains, Best Buy and GAP is involved in it, although I doubt GAP is doing this, because I think one of the GAP people was involved with Apple.

Robi: Okay.

Ryan: It’s all retail.

Ian: And what’s their complaint about Apple Pay?

Ryan: I don’t think they have a complaint, I think it’s that they want consumers to use their solution. Well actually, sorry, I believe their complaint is that they don’t get any customer data. So when you use your credit card, you get customer data, and when you use Apple Pay, you don’t, because Apple handles transaction, and the card never leaves the “secure enclave” or whatever of the device. So that’s their complaint.

Ian: Gotchya.

Ryan: I believe.

Robi: Interesting. Well it seemed like for the people I follow that have Apple devices that were talking about this stuff on Twitter and other social sites, that was reason enough to not do business with them.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: There are people actively choosing to not go there. Like, “Well, I’m going to go to the places that actually make it easy for me.” They feel like it’s anti-consumer.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: Has this mattered to you at all?

Ryan: No, not to me personally. I think it’s going to be really interesting to watch and see what people do. I mean, how many hacks do we need to see? Right? Like, Home Depot, Target, I’m sure there’s been another one, and now this MCX thing ws already hacked, although people might … How many do we need to see before we stop trusting retailers in general with our data? How much money needs to be lost? So I think it’s going to be interesting to see whether these retailers can avoid the wave of consumer sentiment towards things that they can’t control. Like Apple Pay.

Ian: Right, right.

Robi: Yeah, I mean, it seems to me like, you can either fight this or you can say, “I’m going to go and try to make as many things as easy as possible for my customers.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: “Why struggle so much to take their money?”

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: “And in the process ruin my brand and my reputation?”

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: What do you think, walking around town, doing business on a regular basis, what parts of your life would be a whole lot easier if they had Apple Pay?

Ian: So for me it’s actually the small transactions, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Ian: I think the transactions under 5-10 dollars that are stupid little things, those are the ones that can be most improved by being sped up and not having to worry about carrying change and stuff like that. Going to the drugstore, I think that’s a big win. Actually, I’d love it for even things like – bad example because I don’t much do it – but things like vending machines or newspapers, kiosks or stuff like that.

Ryan: Right.

Robi: Yeah, I mean it’s a little bit different, but I use the Starbucks app which has my credit card information loaded.

Ian: Yeah.

Robi: So all I do is just scan it when I go to the coffee shop, and yeah. Seven dollars, five dollars, three dollars, paid in two seconds, super-easy, right? Yeah. What about you?

Ryan: So I think, maybe this would be a good segue into what you probably want to talk about, I actually think that e-commerce is where I would like to see it more, especially mobile e-commerce?

Robi: Yeah.

Ryan: Because… we talked a little bit about this before. There’s still a glut of people who don’t have mobile apps and purchasing things on mobiles on sites that are not called Amazon still sucks. I don’t want to put in all my info I don’t want to enter in all my credit card number, because I don’t know it! It’s not on me, right? So I agree with everything he said but I think like, I tend to buy more things on e-commerce, so that’s what I want.

Robi: Yeah, I think you’re a 100% right on that part. There are a bunch of different e-commerce companies, there are a bunch of companies that are traditional commerce companies, like Sears, right? That have become e-commerce companies and now mobile commerce companies, they have apps, but going through that registration process…

Ryan: It’s worse.

Robi: Sometimes it’s native, sometimes it’s web authorized, all that stuff. If I was on an iPhone, I’d just tap the item and then hit the little touch pad or touch ID and be away – Wow! That would be amazing!

Ian: Yeah, I mean I remember, I’ve been an Uber user for a long time but I installed Lift but I never actually used Lift because I had to put my credit card. It was like, I don’t want to go through this process but if that works, just use my thumb and I’m done? That’s a heck of a lot better experience.

Robi: Right.

Ian: The question I have then is does this start to break down some of Apple’s 30 percent ownership on digital transactions? Like if they’re only charging fractions that they’re charging on Apple Pay, can they continue to do that or will people start to get more upset than they ever have been about the 30 percent cut of app transactions?

Robi: I suspect that they don’t care long-term. I think that if they have the overall commerce market to go after, I don’t think Apple cares too much about that, and if people start getting frustrated, I’m sure that they’ll give them opportunities to use Apple Pay throughout their business. I wouldn’t be too surprised in the next year or so if Apple Pay ended up owning some of the subscription stuff that’s going through iTunes.

Ryan: We’re already seeing some breakdown of the walls of Apple with the recent thing about Disney getting Apple and Google to agree that if you buy a Disney movie, you can watch it on either device. I think we’re already starting to see some of that and it’s clear that Apple knows where its bread is buttered, and despite the fact that its media sales is a big business, it pales in comparison to its hardware. And that’s probably always going to be true.

Ian: So what’s interesting to me about that is that it’s always going to be a competitive threat to Amazon, as their business quickly moves digital, losing out on a huge percentage of revenue.

Ryan: My long, kind of moonshot theory is that Apple Pay is a big threat to Amazon because it enables so many little vendors combined with drop shipping and things like Ship and ease of purchasing things, which will create some competition for Amazon. Especially in the case where Amazon hasn’t been as focused on their ecommerce mode as they should be, with little things like the Fire, etc. at only 6 percent of retail.

Robi: Oh yeah, absolutely. And I think the interesting thing is fulfillment by Amazon has been a really smart move to create some momentum, but their mode is not the big brands, not the big ecommerce companies. In fact, most of those companies have parted ways in their relationships – so those are all opportunities for apple. Alright, so we’ve covered a lot of ground here. I think Apple Pay is very interesting, very easy to use, tremendous opportunities for ecommerce companies as well as others just to simplify the purchasing process. And we’ll see how the customer data stuff plays out, but I think security is a huge concern for consumers.

Robi: So be sure to share this, like it, and check out the other segments. Thanks.

Apptentive logo

Swift, Material Design, Wearables and More – Google I/O and WWDC

The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about from between app development to successfully marketing your app. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #MobileTeam. In each post we’ll highlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and experience.

This week we asked the Mobile Team:
What are you most excited about from Apple’s WWDC 2014 or Google I/O and why?

Rod Burns
The introduction of new language Swift has got iOS developers very excited. I don’t know many developers who particularly enjoy using Objective-C and Swift will make developing for iOS easier and quicker for developers. The language is more akin to web programming languages like JavaScript and Go, where Objective-C is more old school like C++. There are still a lot of web developers who are making the move over to mobile and this is an important move for Apple to continue to attract developers to their platform.

Rod Burns - WIP

Chiu-Ki Chan
I am very excited to see the new Material design. It literally adds a new dimension to the UI – elevation. Elevation determines the size of shadows, and leads to very natural animations. Another great addition is color accents. Developers no longer need to customize every single widget to brand the app. Just specify a color palette in the theme, and voila, the whole app is tinted accordingly. Material design comes with a comprehensive guide on the thinking behind the design, implementation dos and don’ts, and lots of visual examples. It looks beautiful.

Google I/O is stuffed with announcements beyond Material design, and believe it or not, the next thing that got me excited was Cardboard. Yup, it is a piece of cardboard, with lens, magnets and NFC tag. Add a phone, and you get a virtual reality viewer. The magnets are especially ingenious: one magnet is inside the box, to hold the outside magnet within a groove. Pull the outside one down, and the magnetometer on the phone detects the change in magnetic field to trigger a button event. This is how you select an item on the phone while it is trapped inside the cardboard box. Clever, isn’t it? I don’t really have any particular use for a VR viewer, but Cardboard is really fun!

Chiu-Ki Chan -Square Island

Dan Counsell
There were so many great new API’s announced at WWDC 2014, it really opens up so many new opportunities for developers. I can already see us taking advantage of Handoff and App Extensions in both Clear and Ember. For example, we could now write a widget for Notification Centre that shows your most recent tasks from Clear – This is something users have been asking for and we’ve never been able to offer before.

As a user I’m probably most looking forward to the new cleaner look in OS X Yosemite. I’m also very excited for HomeKit and HealthKit, the possibilities for both of these are mind blowing.

Dan Counsell - DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
Apple’s new Continuity features of OS X Yosemite and iOS are extremely exciting. The free interchange of information between Mobile, Tablet, Desktop, and TV only further bolsters Apple’s position as a truly unique cross platform ecosystem. There are some fantastic new use cases that will come out of this and we’re really looking forward to including some of this advanced functionality in our apps to make software even easier to use.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
The keynote announcements from these events are always a mix of exciting and scary. New things are exciting! Doubly so for developers and others working in technology, because new things change our direction, for better or for worse. That’s the scary part, because you don’t know.

Even now, a month later, with the new ideas in grasp, and the new betas installed, I’m not sure. It takes time to see how things pan out. Exciting! Scary!

We make technology because we get bored and dissatisfied with the old stuff, because we like the challenge of being kept on our toes, of not knowing whether we’re getting in on the ground floor, or wasting our time while the competition laps us.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Kyle Richter
Apple has begun to make great strides towards unifying iOS and Mac not just from a design standpoint but with functionality like Handoff and Continuity. This feels like a level of maturity on both platforms that will usher in a new wave of exciting use cases. Thinking of all your technology as a single continuous device is definitely where the future is heading and it is very refreshing to see a company like Apple getting behind that drive.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
The Wear products are fascinating. It’s most of the value of Google Glass, but delivered in a way that harmonizes with social norms instead of disrupting them. I’m wearing one now and it’s still a little too intrusive, but unlike Glass, that’s a software problem, not a hardware one.

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
There were a lot of awesome things announced during WWDC. iOS 8 is really a developer release. But the thing I’m most excited about is the changes we are starting to see from Apple; they are starting to open up more. We don’t have a WWDC-specific NDA this year. The Developer Forums will be index by search engines. When we are more free to talk and write about the new frameworks and APIs, everyone wins.

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
From a pure developer perspective, Apple’s announcement of the Swift programming language is one of the most exciting things to happen the platform in years. The opportunity for existing and new developers who learn the language is immense. Apple might be talking a big game about supporting Objective-C and C long term but there should be no doubt that the future of the platform is Swift. Already we have seen a number of the new features of iOS and Xcode tied intrinsically to Swift.

In theory, a new language built from the ground up for iOS and the associated hardware is an incredibly powerful proposition. Apple will be able to do things that nobody else can even dream of, and we as developers have the chance to take that journey with them. From a more realistic perspective of course, we won’t really get to use Swift in anger for a year or two anyway, but it sure will be fun when we can.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

What excites you the most from this year’s WWDC and Google I/O? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.


IMG_20141015_171854

Apple’s WWDC 2014 – Recommendations and Events

Apple Events WWDC 2014Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference is an amazing time to learn, connect, and enjoy San Francisco with the developer community.

For anyone who will be in San Francisco attending WWDC or the amazing AltConf that is held alongside (we’d go to San Francisco just for AltConf), we have a few recommendations of how
you can make the most of your time in SF and also a list of the after party events each day of WWDC – skip to the list of WWDC after parties and events.

Cocktails

Yes, you’ll be drinking for free at parties this week. But, should you enjoy paying for a delicious beer you can’t find anywhere else or a well made custom cocktail, try one of these places out:

Burritos

They deserve their own classification, they’re that important to SF’s developers. Just a few suggestions, we don’t intend to start any great burrito debates:

Coffeeshops away from the mess

  • Blue Bottle – venture to the Ferry Building
  • Ritual – hanging out in the Mission is always fun
  • The Grove – great cozy/homey shop with delicious food

You have to try the seafood

Some other favorites

Want to meet us at one of the places above? Hit us up on twitter – @apptentive

WWDC 2014 Evening Events

*Some events may already be full or have a wait list.

Sunday, June 1st

sf/MacIndie 2014 – Jillians from 5-9
sfMacIndie is for independent Mac and iOS developers, designers, WWDC and AltConf attendees and anyone else who’s interested. It will be a great opportunity to connect and network!

 iBeacon Adventure @ WWDC 2014 – 8pm to Wednesday Night at 8pm
We are hosting a scavenger hunt adventure! We are going to be using iBeacons and Bluetooth Low Energy (CoreBluetooth) around Union Square and South of Market during the conference. Open to all WWDC attendees at no cost and with no registration requirement.


Monday, June 2nd

NativeX Happy Hour – Novela from 5-8
Mingle and enjoy cocktails after a long day at WWDC in one of San Francisco’s most unique bars.

Xamarin’s WWDC 2014 Party – Temple from 6-9
Join Xamarin for drinks, meet other mobile developers, show off your apps and discuss the latest Apple announcements.  Even if you’re not attending WWDC, you and your friends are welcome.

TapSense WWDC Party – Jillians from 6-9
Join TapSense to learn about their 10 Million Dollar RTB Fund for app publishers. There will be food, drinks, pool, and for the second year in a row, hot apple pie.

CocoaPods 3rd WWDC Meetup – Twilio Offices from 7-10
CocoaPods is working with the Alt Conference to have a great opening event to the WWDC week: The CocoaPodsAlt State of the Union. You should come along.

5by5 WWDC Meetup – New Relic  from 8-10
Hang out with fellow listeners and meet the hosts of your favorite 5by5.tv podcasts while enjoying free food and drinks at New Relic’s beautiful San Francisco office.

Crashlytics + Twitter at WWDC – Jones from 9-1
This year they’ve “kicked things up a notch” to celebrate the amazing apps being built – go hang with many of the world’s top mobile app developers, and tons of awesome Crashlytics customers


Tuesday, June 3rd

Millennial Media Green Apple Party – The W from 5-8
Join Millennial Media on June 3rd for our Green Apple Party at the W Hotel San Francisco, where we’ll have the entire 2nd floor bar and reception area reserved for our key partners! Food, cocktails, music and other surprises await — don’t miss this event!

WWDC Reception @Sqaure – Square, Inc from 6-8
Have dinner + drinks along with tech talks, followed by networking.

Foursquare WWDC Event – Foursquare SF form 6:30-9
Foursquare’s lead iOS developer, Brian Dorfman, will share some internal iOS frameworks and discuss open source projects written by the team. Food and drinks provided.

Open House at Layer – Layer HQ from 6:30-9:30
Expect drinks, great eats and exceptional company in our new Mission District space. Meet the Layer team, hang out with other developers and take in the sunset over the Sutro skyline.

Yelp WWDC 2014 After Party – Yelp HQ from 6:30-9:30
Drinks and Hors D’oeuvres!

Sketch Meetup at WWDC – The Factory from 7-9
Come to say hi the people behind Sketch, everyone’s new favorite tool for digital design. We’re in town for WWDC, so we thought it’d be nice to see to give everyone an opportunity to put a face to some of the people behind Sketch.

AltBeard Bash WWDC 2014 – Children’s Creativity Museum at Moscone 7-10
Join Jim Dalrymple and AltConf at the Children’s Creativity Museum at Moscone on June 3 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm for a few drinks and enjoy music from the Amazing Embarrassonic Human Karaoke Machine. Be prepared to sing!

Crittercism & Localytics WWDC Party – 111 Minna Gallery from 7-11
Take a breather and enjoy some drinks and apps (appetizers) on Crittercism and Localytics.


Wednesday, June 4th

Firebase + Pebble WWDC Happy Hour – Firebase HQ 3.0 from 6-8:30
Join us for a happy hour during WWDC to learn more about the two APIs!

Pocket Gamer Mobile Mixer WWDC – Vessel from 6-9
It’s all things Apple on as the Pocket Gamer Mobile Mixer comes to town for WWDC! Find out from our all star panel best kept secrets on how to top the charts with your iOS app, then party all night long to the sounds of the legendary REY.VS.  Drinks, bites, beats and more!

WWDCGirls Fundraising Party – New Relic from 6:30-9
Please join WWDCGirls in a happy hour benefitting the non-profit App Camp For Girls. Meet and mingle, all with the aim of supporting this great cause. Refreshments and light bites will be provided

James Dempsey and the Breakpoints – 50 Mason Social House from 7-10
Come enjoy an evening of humorous and informative songs about Apple development technologies performed live by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints.

HP IDOL OnDemand Innovation Party – Local Edition from 7-10
We’ll have old school arcade games like Pac-Man, Asteroids, Tetris, and more, plenty of grub, an open bar with specialty cocktails and craft beers, a flipbook booth, a candy bar, plus amazing prizes like 2 VIP tickets to Outside Lands, an Oculus Rift Dev Kit, Arduino sets, and much more!


Thursday, June 5th

Apple Bash – Yerba Buena Gardens from 6-9
Revel in a one-of-a-kind experience with exceptional music, great food and drinks, and the cheerful company of new friends.

If we missed any events that you know about and think should be added to the list, let us know. To keep the schedule of events in your pocket download the Party List app  (Only available for iOS).

Have a great WWDC!


App Marketing

App Marketing Conversations: Platform Rule Changes, What Do They Mean

What do Apple and Facebook platform changes mean for mobile apps?

In this installment of App Marketing Conversations we take a look at recent changes to Apple and Facebook’s platforms. Apple has made changes to the terms on IDFA (ID for Advertiser), which allows anyone from analytic companies and advertisers to track companies between apps. Apple is banning apps who use IFDA for tracking purposes without displaying ads.

Facebook has shut down advertising partners who were doing attribution tracking and holding onto data too long. There are a lot of questions around both of these issues and we break down the changes and what they mean for you.

Take a look at the video from this week’s App Marketing Conversations to learn more.






App Marketing

App Marketing Conversations: Holiday 2013 Recap

2013 Holiday Trends for Mobile Consumers – Sales Data Showing Rise in Mobile Commerce

In this installment of App Marketing Conversations we talked about consumer trends during the holiday season and the growth of mobile commerce. After the holidays, IBM released shopping data around how people are spending money with mobile devices. Mobile commerce is taking a larger percentage of online sales each year and companies not seeing increases through mobile devices should be focusing more heavily on mobile. Android continues to own the mobile market, but consumers with Apple devices are spending more money.

Take a look at the video from this week’s App Marketing Conversations to learn more.

 

Robi: Good morning and welcome to another installment of “App Marketing Conversations.” As always, I’m joined by Ryan Morel of Game House, and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ. And I’m Robi Ganguly from Apptentive. Happy New Year.

So, in the previous installments, we’ve been sort of talking about what happened over the holidays, and stats that have come out. We want to do a little bit of a deeper dive on some stuff from IBM. They had a lot of shopping data around how people were spending money using mobile devices.

So, a couple things to highlight. They said they represented about 17 percent of all online sales, and that was growth of 46 percent over last year. So, mobile’s share of online sales grew tremendously, even though online sales themselves as a total bucket were growing really pretty healthily as well.

And then, sort of not surprising, Apple was much larger than Android. So, I think that the numbers are basically that Apple represented something like 12, 13 percent of the total, and Android was about 2 1/2 , 3 percent. And then, more importantly, the dollars spent from Apple devices were a whole lot more than Android.

$115 to, I think the number is $83 for Android in some of their studies. And then, if you cut the numbers up different ways, you come out with different absolute numbers. But in general, consumers with Apple devices were spending a lot more money than people with Android devices.

So, as you look as this stuff, Ryan, what do you take from it that’s most interesting?

Ryan: The thing that I think is most interesting goes back to our other topics about saturation not really mattering, in terms of where the growth of the market is going to be. I find Android and like this really sucks. But I also go “Well, there’s a lot of opportunity here,” right, because I still own the market from a pure market share percentage. So, they have a lot of room to operate and grow.

If I’m Apple, I’m really excited because I can now go build meaningful businesses around retail and commerce that Android can’t right. So, you can go into retailers and say, “Hey, I represent 15 percent of your mobile sales, or your total online sales. Let’s do some interesting things, if I leak in kind of all this other commerce-structure stuff that we can do that no one else can. And that kind of just creates the ecosystem login and platform login. That I think it will be hard for everybody to compete with.

Robi: Yes.

Ryan: So I think – yes, that’s what I think is really interesting.

Robi: Got it, and what about for you? Is it the same thing, or is there something else?

Ian: Yeah, and I mean I agree with everything he said there. That the one thing that stuck out to me originally when I heard the stat was, I think 16 percent was the number, right, for overall percentage of online sales. Is thinking about who that is actually out sized for. Who is doing more than 16 percent?

And it wouldn’t surprise me to see like an eBay doing much more than 16 percent on mobile. I think eBay has done pretty well with mobile, especially if you were to add in PayPal. That, sort of to me, is not online sales.

Ryan: Yes.

Ryan: Thinking about that type of world. Obviously, the newer folks have done tremendously well. Fab, I think, most of the, depending on how you define Fab, is doing well right now. But Fab has done tremendously well on mobile.

Shopping app 1-ILO seems to be killing it in the App Store. So, not just the fact that overall, it’s at 16 percent. But the fact that there are pockets where it’s even higher is incredible to me.

Robi: Right, right, and I think, again, in every one of our segments, we’ve brought up Amazon, I think. The stats on Amazon’s mobile are really extraordinary. So, that’s another place where people are buying really quite a bit of stuff from Amazon directly through their mobile apps.

I did a number of times did this holiday season. It’s like, “Oh, this is something I’m going to buy. I’ll just do it now as I’m waiting for the bus.” Super convenient.

So, yeah. I think the overall number hides the extraordinary success some of the people are having underneath the covers. And that means, for an app marketer, you should be wondering why you’re below 16 or 17 percent if you are. What are you doing to actually boost that up and take advantage?

So, what we can give advice to marketers around using the mobile device to stay engaged with these customers, and get them to spend $120 with you?

Ryan: I don’t know whether I am the right person to be giving advice on any of that. But one of the other things that I read, which I found quite interesting was that, especially for clothing, people are two or three times more likely to buy using Touch-based devices versus PC.

Because for something about touching the shirt, or the pants, or whatever makes you more likely to buy it.

Ian: There’s a tactile, like the zooming of the images. That makes a lot of sense.

Ryan: The point I’m trying to make there is if you’re not making a mobile-optimized experience, either from a Web perspective, or even just an app perspective, and you’re trying to sell clothes, or things that people kind of touch, and feel as part of the experience with the actual product, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You need to do that now! Or a year ago, probably.

Ian: Yes. I think the two things that I think of when I think what advice marketers can pull from this first, is along that line which is…I mean not the vast majority, but a large percentage of eCommerce is through very small, independent, kind of crappy-looking websites, and things like that. And obviously, individually, they don’t make up a lot, but collectively they make up a good amount.

If those folks–and I think a wide margin of those folks have not yet implemented any sort of app strategy or mobile strategy at all. If they don’t, it’s going to be killed by the folks who do and come in with that. So, for them, I think they have to do it.

And then, the other piece of the puzzle is, I think, eCommerce, perhaps better than anybody else on the Web, has always done a great job of personalization, of targeting, of things like that. And whether that’s e-mail, or whether that’s the recommendation of a website, whatever it is.

And I think that stuff has to transfer to a mobile-focused orientation. Like, you have to port that to mobile in a way that’s friendly to mobile as well.

Robi: Yeah, absolutely. And in some ways, it’s easier on mobile. At least with phones, you can generally be assured that it’s one person using that device. Tablets have more sharing for sure. But like on PC, that assumption isn’t always there.

So, you get a lot of work to get people to register, and get them to log in on websites. And I think to a large extent, apps have less of that on the phone as a requirement. I still see a lot of apps that ask me to register the first time, and I think that that is generally kind of crazy.

Because to start with the assumption that that person is the owner of that phone. And if you want them to log in, show them some value later on. But you can personalize, already, just from having them use your app without them logging in and registering.
So, I think there’s a lot more opportunity on mobile to do that well.

It also seems like, because we were in the previous segment talking about television ads. Some of these premier brands that have been doing TV ads for years, if not decades, should be thinking about using those ads to engage their shopping base through the advertisement to get their app, to start spending money there.

Did you see…because we were talking about this, did you see any of these mainstream retailers talking about their apps?

Ian: Yeah, I think a lot have. And Macy’s has a lot of TV ads it’s just another app. Home Depot actually has a good amount of ads about their app as well.

It feels like there’s a solid traction there. And I know Target does a lot of ins, like part of Target’s app strategy is to really just be a companion to the in-store experience. So, they’re certainly doing some of that. Yes, I think a good amount are doing it.

Robi: Anything else we should cover on this topic? I think the general point is, thanks to IBM and their data, really quickly, lots of sales are happening through mobile devices. And if you were one of the companies that’s not seeing 15, 16, 17 percent of your online sales coming through mobile, it probably means, not the market hasn’t gotten there it’s just that you haven’t. You probably want to focus more on your mobile efforts and they’re best.

Ryan: It’s a little bit like SEO strategy and being held heavily reliant on Google search for your business. Because if you didn’t do it you were screwed. And we’re kind of almost at the point with mobile where, if you’re not doing it you’re screwed. You have to do it.

I think the numbers that I would like to see are what are the average sales for people on PC? If the average iOS user was spending $100, and Android was spending $80, or whatever it was. What is the average PC user spending? Because that’s…I’d be interesting to see that.

Ian: Yes. I don’t know if that 16 percent is percent of online sales revenue, or online sales numbers.

Ryan: Yes, because if it’s revenue and it’s 8 percent of numbers, then it’s like, “This is a totally different story than the one we thought.”

Robi: Yes. Good questions for sure. And if I find some of those answers, I’ll put them on the post. Great, well thanks for tuning in, be sure to “Like” this and share it. And check out the other installments this week and Happy New Year.

Ian: Thanks.

Ryan: Thanks.

Apptentive logo

Apple Buys Burstly – Alternatives to TestFlight for Mobile Apps

apple_testflight

Last Friday, Apple acquired Burstly, the owner of mobile app testing platform, TestFlight. While the details of the acquisition are not yet clear, we know that TestFlight will be ending Android support in March and will no longer be providing the SDK to new customers.

Apple’s lack of distribution and beta testing support for iOS apps is well-known and this acquisition strongly suggests that they are addressing ways to expand on these services for iOS developers in a more affordable way than their current enterprise developer program.

TestFlight filled an important role allowing companies and developers to distribute their mobile applications to beta testers before releasing them in an app store. Being able to put your app into the actual hands of a person and hearing what they have to say is crucial to finding bugs and polishing the usability of an app. Distributing your app and getting feedback is something that every app should do before being submitted to an app store.

With TestFlight heading out of commission for new customers and Android, here are alternatives to distributing your app and getting the feedback you need before submitting your app to the app store.

App Distribution – HockeyApp, Installr, TestFairy

HockeyApp is a platform similar to TestFlight for distributing your beta apps. It is available for Android, Windows, iOS, and Mac OSX applications and on their lowest plan ($10/month) you are able to distribute up to 5 apps to an unlimited amount of people. Furthermore, by integrating their open-source SDK you can receive crash reports and detailed analytics around the devices using your beta app.

Another solution is Ubertesters, which allows you to distribute and test across Android, iOS, and Windows. The Ubertesters platform has an array of tools for a mobile product managers to have full control over the testing process and managing beta testers.

Another relatively new option for iOS app developers is Installr (still in beta).  Installr syncs with the Apple Developer Portal to keep devices and profiles up to date (no more manually registering devices), making it incredibly simple for you distribute your apps to your beta testers.  Android support is in the works and is planned to be ready by the time TestFlight ends it’s Android support.

For Android, TestFairy is positioning itself to be a strong alternative to TestFlight. The distribution process is simple and straight forward and the detailed analytics give you a large amount of insight into what’s going on with your app on each of your various devices.

Feedback – Apptentive

Distributing your app only solves half of the problem. The other is soliciting and managing the feedback you receive. While Apptentive is most commonly implemented in apps that are live in the app store, we have many customers that starting using us to receive and manage feedback while testing their apps. We have two great ways to get feedback from your beta testers and all of it can be implemented for free.

1. Use in-app surveys to ask your beta testers specific questions. Our mobile surveys can be called with the press of a button or triggered by specific behavior taken by your beta testers. If you know you’ll want feedback after they complete level 3 or view X amount of pages, you can have a survey ready and waiting to gather their feedback. Based on the answers you receive, you can update and modify your questions without releasing a new version of your app.

Surveys

2. Include a “Contact Us” or “Send Feedback” button in your app. By placing a button in your app, beta testers can quickly send feedback and include a screenshot with Apptentive’s  in-app feedback tools. If you have questions regarding the feedback, you can easily respond to your tester and have a conversation to get to the bottom of any problem, all through the app.

Apptentive’s conversation management dashboard is perfect for organizing and managing the feedback you receive from your beta testers. All of these tools are free to use, easy to implement, and perfect for learning what final touches are needed before submitting your app to the app stores. Start getting feedback for your beta app and sign up for a free account.

App Marketing

App Marketing Conversations: Q4 & Holiday Planning

The holidays are almost here and App Marketers have to prioritize!

In this installment of App Marketing Conversations we talked about the upcoming holiday season and how important it is to prioritize your marketing activities in order to make the most of the influx of new customers. With less than 6 weeks to Christmas, it’s important to plan for how you’re going to attract brand new customers, learn about how they’re different from your existing base and understand how to keep them. In addition, if you haven’t created your ad and marketing plan for the holidays and determined your absolute drop dead ship date, you’re already behind the ball. Take a look at the video from this week’s App Marketing Conversations to find out more specifics.

The Transcript:
Robi: Hello and welcome to another App Marketing Conversations. I’m Robi
Ganguly from Apptentive. As always, I’m joined by Ryan Morel from
Gamehouse, and Ian Sefferman from MobileDevHQ. We’re missing Darwin.
Ian: That’s right.Robi: But, you know.

Ian: It’s a good thing.

Ryan: Darwin’s in the corner.

Robi: For those who checked out last week’s segments, you might have
noticed that Darwin was acting up a little bit. We want to talk about Q4,
so we’re wrapping up Q3, here. And we know that many marketers out there
are thinking about how to close out the year, and Q4 is historically big
for many companies, especially retail, travel.

As you’re thinking about Q4, and we’ve had a number of years of experience
in the app ecosystem. I think there are some lessons for how to plan around
this, and how to time your product launches. So, we thought we’d share some
tips and tricks and get into that a little bit.

And then take comments and questions, so we can dig in more over the course
of the quarter.

So let’s start off, number one piece of advice that you would give to your
app marketers thinking about their Q4 planning?

Ian: If you haven’t started planning yet, it’s already too late. Like get
on the stick. Right. Q4 needs to happen early November, not late December.
Timing is everything, and having that strategy ready is gold.

Robi: What about you?

Ryan: Yes. So I think my biggest piece of advice would depend on the
company size, is not only make sure you have it planned early, but make
sure you’re starting it early. So you’re optimizing around that probably
two weeks before Christmas for two things. One, velocity of your ranking,
so that when the App Store shuts down, which it inevitably will, you’re at
the right spot. And that your user retention monetization metrics are
right.

Ian: And this is something that is really interesting, which is about the
ranking. Because I’ve always found it really weird that they shut down
rankings. Like I just never understood it. But Apple has been playing with
their rankings a pretty good amount, recently, leading me to think that
they might actually be getting ready for some sort of big change that
they’ve never done in Q4.

And it’s almost like, “Okay, well, I don’t understand what Apple’s going to
do. How do I manage around that?” And it’s like, start getting those
download velocity, ensure you have that engagement and retention, ensure
you have the right ratings, ensure your reviews look good. And like get all
of the first order priorities right, and then let the rest take care of
itself when it does, whenever it does happen, right.

Ryan: Yes.

Ian: I just have this vague sense that they’re going to change something
during Q4 this year.

Robi: Well, so…

Ryan: Prediction time.

Robi: The idea that they’ve been shifting more and more about their
rankings recently, I think underscores the fact that the historic shut down
of the App Store has indicated that it’s been highly manual, right? That
the way that they think about rankings, the way that they think about
reviews, all that stuff’s intertwined and dependent upon people. And so, if
they’re shifting a lot of the rankings, maybe they’ll be moving some of
that optimization more to their computers, which you would sort of expect,
right. It’s actually a little odd how manual it is.

So, if you assume that, then your point really is an important one.
Foundationally, we know that there are things that will matter, regardless
of whatever the algorithm ends of being. The core things that matter:
download velocity, retention, app ratings, and customer reviews. What else,
foundationally, should people be thinking about, that you think maybe
they’re not planning around as much?

Ryan: I think product launch timing is really important. So, I mean, you’re
going to see like certain developers are planning to launch their games in
early December, late November, whatever it may be. And those developers
have existing relationships with Apple and can negotiate placement, right.

There was news, unconfirmed comments this week, that Apple had either paid
PopCap, probably not, more likely, guaranteed placement for them to do IOS
exclusive. Like that stuff happens. So, if you’re not one of those people
who can get that type of promotion from Apple, you need to be watching
beforehand. The last thing you want to do is launch your title at the same
time that EA launches Battlefield on IOS or something like that. You’re
just going to get drowned out.

Robi: Rule of thumb. Would you say launch title by the first week of
December, or launch it before Thanksgiving?

Ryan: I mean this is just my opinion, I would do like early November.

Robi: Okay.

Ryan: Give you a chance to see what’s happening, drive some downloads, make
an update before Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving is also probably the
second busiest weekend on the App Store. Then see what happens right after
Thanksgiving; one more update, and then you punt. Cross your fingers.

Robi: Right.

Ryan: Because Christmas, I mean, it can’t be underscored how profitable
Christmas and the four days after it are. It’s unbelievable.

Robi: I find it really interesting; it’s not exactly Black Friday, you
know. And this isn’t the retail sector. But it is very much a meaningful
portion of the year in discovery for a lot of consumers, and then, by
extension, app marketers.

Ryan: Yes.

Ian: Huge.

Robi: So let’s talk a little bit more about the IOS7 aspect of this. Does
that matter, if you were thinking about the Q4 and IOS7 is sort of nice to
have? Are you crazy? Should you be pulling that in and saying, “I have to
be supporting IOS7 by the time?”

Ryan: Yes. So I think one of the, this is a guess. I’m totally making this
up; maybe this isn’t true. So what happens around the holidays? People get
together, and people talk and share things about what they’re interested
in. So AirDrop becomes really interesting, right.

So, if you’re not supporting IOS7, I’m not sure that AirDrop will work for
you, but it seems like a kind of no-brainer, right now. But the kids
sitting around on Christmas morning, or afterwards, whatever, are sharing
games via AirDrop. You have to be supporting it.

Ian: Yes, I agree with that. I think another reason why is, if you want any
hope of Apple featuring you, right, like if you care about that at all,
they simply won’t do it unless you’re optimized with their latest stuff.
They don’t give a sh** about you.

Robi: Yes. So we’ve been talking quite a bit about the App Store, as it
pertains to, Apple’s App Store. What about the Google Play Store? Same
foundational stuff? Same dynamics? Or are there differences that marketers
should be taking into account as they think about their Android releases?

Ian: I mean certainly like I don’t see the same rush to get things in. I
mean, you don’t have the shut down the same way. You can continue to do it.
But I think all of the things that we’re talking about foundationally, that
all sits on the same premise of have your ducks in a row; make sure you’re
aligned for this massive jump. That the jump isn’t going to be the same;
consumer demand isn’t going to be the same.

Ryan: Yes, I think that’s right. I have one more question for you. Like, if
you’re a new developer, because we’ve consistently heard that ratings are
an increasingly important thing. You don’t have a lot of volume. How can
you get that initial set of ratings? And how can you manage around that?

Robi: Well, I think there are two things. And one that is very much
underestimated, and very much why we’re talking about Q4 planning now, is
timing. You just, you have to be out there for a period of time, especially
if you’re new.

It’s not just going to explode, right, like you have to give yourself room
for people to download your app, use it, start interacting. And potentially
rating it if they’re happy, and if they’re not happy, finding out really
quickly. So that takes time. You can’t really force that stuff. Even if you
were to buy a lot of downloads. As we know, we’ve talked about it a lot,
it’s not necessarily going to be translated into consumers who are going to
be using it on a regular basis. Which means those are not consumers who are
going to rate you well. So that’s sort of one thing.

The second is that, if you do have other titles, and you’re sort of new in
this space, you could do some stuff with your existing audience that will
move people over to your newest apps. And that’s an asset you could do. And
I would say, sort of begging, pleading to get to your first 20 or 30
ratings, if you’re really brand new, is important. And people can do that.
We find, it’s better to get people outside of your network to do that. You
know, if you have to resort to asking your friends and family to go down on
your app and rate it because you have no attraction, nobody’s rated it,
then that will work, too.

Ryan: Yes. After how many, we’re maybe getting off-topic here, but you see
a lot of games or apps ask for ratings like almost right away, that’s
probably bad?

Robi: Our data says that’s horrible.

Ryan: Okay.

Robi: People hate that. They don’t go and rate it; they don’t take action
on it. But then they’ll also go and complain.

Ryan: Yes.

Robi: And say, “I haven’t even used your service; I haven’t used your app
at all. Why would I do that?” So we often find, and suggest to people using
our tools, to be conservative, and then sort of ramp it up more
aggressively as you get data and we report to people on the outcomes around
that.

So like a conservative estimate for a lot of apps is after it’s been on a
device for ten days, and it’s been used five to ten times, that seems like
it’s at least an indication that that person has made some commitment to
that experiment with your app to get to places that are, you know,
successful for them.

And then, what’s really important is to think about what’s unique to your
app as a success metrics. If you’re a utility, and people can actually use
you to like set up like a calendar invite, or something like that, that’s
probably aligned with them really adopting your app, as opposed to just
kind of poking around.

Ryan: Right.

Robi: So, last thoughts on Q4. We’ll come back to this, but last piece of
advice for marketers, as they’re planning?

Ian: You know my last piece of advice that we haven’t talked about is
actually get out of the marketing room and make sure your engineering is
also on track with this. Especially if you have any services in the Cloud,
make sure your infrastructure is ready.

Robi: That’s great advice.

Ryan: Yes, so, I would potentially think about pre-paying. Or you know,
negotiating now around any advertising revenue. So, especially at, well,
like this week, in the next couple of days, because we’re at the end of Q3,
people are maybe running deals and they will be happy to sandbag a little
bit. So you might be able to get some pre-paid discounts on advertising.
But I would be getting that set up now.

Robi: Yes. And I think that you should really think seriously about doing
an audit, right. How is your app, how are your teams doing in term of App
Store optimizations? How is your download velocity looking? How are your
ratings or reviews looking? How is sentiment inside your app around
customer satisfaction?

If you’re not aware of that, you can do an audit early on, to also tell
yourself and your team where you need to be by the end of November, if you
really want to be ready.

Great, well, be sure to like this, share with your friends, and check out
the other segments this week. Thanks.

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apptentive-device

3 Ways to Rank Higher in the Apple App Store

[Editor’s Note: Due to the popularity of this post and the ever-changing nature of the Apple App Store ranking algorithm (and those of Google Play), we’ve released a free 55-page eBook full of actionable steps to improve your App Store ranking, ratings, and reviews. Enjoy!]

Rank Higher in App Stores

It’s common knowledge at this point that ranking higher in the App Store is a key ingredient to accelerating your app business’s growth. However, with more than 1,000 apps being launched every day, ranking highly is a daunting task. Smaller or independent developers lament the current state of affairs, sure that they can’t hope to compete with companies who have large advertising budgets or pay-per-install campaigns. Fortunately, paying for installs is not the only way to climb up the rankings. Here are three key strategies to ranking higher that don’t require a huge investment to implement.

Here’s how you can compete with the big boys and not break the budget:

1. Engagement & Retention

Apple has been experimenting with the app store ranking algorithm and there have been rumors that increasing engagement and retention statistics will play a part in increasing your ranking directly. Regardless of these rumors,  improving your engagement and retention will still have an indirect effect on your ranking.

The obvious path to more engaged customers is to make an app that people love. The hard part is creating an app that people love, because it doesn’t just happen on the first release. You need to discover what customers care about and iterate quickly. How do you do that? By engaging in conversations with your customers, soliciting feedback, and listening to what they have to say. Your early fans are an incredible resource for learning how to create an app that more and more people will love.

People who love using your app can’t help but talk about it. Customers who use an app often and love it will share it with their friends. Word-of-mouth is the second largest driver for mobile app discovery. Face to face sharing is far more effective than a “like” or a tweet. Engage with your customers to learn what drives them back to your app and iterate from there.

2.  App Store Optimization

App store optimization is a powerful yet often overlooked weapon to rank higher as app store search is the number one discovery method for mobile apps. There are two important steps to ASO: optimizing your keywords and tracking your competitors. Using ASO to rank higher is a relatively simple process that requires time and patience instead of money.

The most important key performance indicator to track are your keywords. Apps that incorporate a keyword into their title rank on average 10% higher. Working keywords into your title and app description can make the largest immediate impact to ranking higher for specific search terms. Track your rankings for specific keywords over time and you’ll begin to see which keywords are more effective for bringing in downloads.

Tracking your competitors ranking for keywords can take more time than tracking your own, but understanding the keywords your competitors are placing an emphasis on will give you a competitive edge. Gathering intelligence on what keywords your competitors are using allows you to either try to rank higher than them on those keywords or choose to target other words altogether. Here’s a more in depth post we wrote on ASO.

3. Improve and Increase Your Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & reviews affect your ranking and can influence the decision to download your app. Building an app that people love is HARD work, and your efforts should be acknowledged. You have an audience that may use your app everyday, loves it, but still never takes the time to give you a review. It’s your job to go out there and proactively reach out and lead your customers to action. Sometimes all it takes to increase your ratings and reviews is a simple question asked in the right way and at the right time.

You’re most likely missing out on a huge opportunity to both improve and increase your ratings & reviews. However, you’re not alone in this struggle to get more ratings and reviews from your customers. Apps with customer bases of all sizes, even the big boys, experience this same problem. Download our customer story  to see how Urbanspoon reached 5 stars in the app store and increased their daily reviews by over 1,000%.

See how Urbanspoon:

  • Moved up the Apple App Store rankings
  • Improved to be a 5-star mobile app
  • Increased daily reviews by over 1000%
  • Consistently receives quality feedback

Get the Story:

360iDev Logo

Talks from 360iDev 2013: The iOS Developer Conference

360iDev, one of the best and most comprehensive iOS developer conferences in the world, occurred this past week in Colorado.

360iDev Logo

The sessions were all extremely insightful, teaching both beginner and veteran iOS developers something new. The content of the conference covered the whole spectrum – from highly technical down to business and marketing.

The presentations from 360iDev are amazing resources for developers and we wanted to share them with the developer community. Here is a collection of the talks that are publicly available.

The Presentations:

Topic: Animating Responsibly
Speaker: Mark Pospesel 

Topic: Putting the Custom in Custom Controls
Speaker: Mark Pospesel

Topic: Gratuitous Animations: How Subtlety in User Experience Design can Impress Your Users and Apple
Speaker: Ben Johnson

Topic: Design Patterns for Mobile Apps
Speaker: Saul Mora

Topic: Intro to Android for iOS Developers
Speaker: Chiu-Ki Chan

Topic: Effective Use of Open Source Software
Speaker: Ash Furrow

Topic: Do Scary Things
Speaker: Samuel Goodwin

Topic: Achieving Zen with Auto Layout
Speaker: Justin Williams

Topic: Amaze Your Users with Augmented Reality
Speaker: Colin Cornaby

Topic: Tales from Indie Tech Support
Speaker: Josh Michaels

Topic: Effective Strategies for Dropping Out
Speaker: Josh Michaels

Topic: Push.IO Party App Post Mortem
Speaker: Joe Pezzillo

Topic: Ten Terrible Tribulations of Core Data
Speaker: Kendall Gelner

Topic: Understand and Control Sockets with NSStream
Speaker: Thomson Comer

Topic: API Jones and the WireFrame of Doom
Speaker: Michele Titolo

Topic: AirPlay: Creating Apps with (Spilt) Personality
Speaker: Jay Thrash

Topic: The Video Streaming on iOS: The Gory Details
Speaker: James Jennings

Topic: Take the Red Pill – Writing Apps for the Real World
Speaker: Carl Brown

Topic: Stronger, Better, Faster with Instruments and Debugging
Speaker: Kyle Richter

Topic: Living Off the Grid with UICollectionView 
Speaker: Jay Thrash

Topic: Kick Those Bad Reviews with Automated UI Testing
Speaker: Robert Shoemate and Anthony Rinaldi

Photos from 360iDev (more presentations below):

Topic: How To Break Your Mobile Apps Before I Do
Speaker: Nick Arnott

Topic: Automate Everything: Continuous Integration for iOS and Mac
Speaker: Brian Partridge

Topic: Apps that Can See: Getting Data from CoreImage to Computer Vision
Speaker: Carl Brown

Topic: Hacking iBooks and EPUB with JavaScript!
Speaker: Jim McKeeth

Topic: Parallactic Collection Views
Speaker: Rene Cacheaux

Topic: The Art of Customer UI Controls
Speaker: Sam Davies

Topic: Let Animation Be Your Guide
Speaker: Rusty Mitchell 

Topic: Bring Your App to Life with UIKit Dynamics
Speaker: Chris Parrish

Topic: Idea to App Store
Speaker: Janine Ohmer

Topic: Provisioning Profiles like a Pro
Speaker: Jay Graves

Topic: Augmented Reality Geolocation Math
Speaker:  Dalmo Cirne

Topic: Dynamic Audio for Apps and Games
Speaker: Tony Hillerson

Topic: Thread Safely! Techniques for Safe Concurrent Programming
Speaker: Joe Keeley

Topic: Swizzle Sticks – An Introduction to the Objectinve-C Runtime
Speaker: Matthew Henderson

Topic: Pebble Smart Watch and iOS SDK Overview
Speaker: Matthew Morey

Topic: Lessons Learned, From Freelancer to Merger
Speaker: Ben Reubenstein

Topic: Customer Support – Building App for the Long Haul
Speaker: Joe Cieplinski

Topic: CyCript: JavaScript Debug Console for Native Apps
Speaker: Jay Freeman

Topic: Unity for iOS Developers
Speaker: Nathan Eror

Topic: Kickstarter to Launch: Galcon 2
Speaker: Phil Hassey

Topic: Clients from Hell… and How to Deal With Them
Speaker: Andria Jensen

Topic: Why and How to Use SQLite without CoreData
Speaker: Brent Simmons

Other:

Here are all of the recordings available from the conference

A podcast by Ash Furrow for iOS beginners and newcomers: http://springboardshow.com

There were many other amazing talks at the conference and as more become available we will add them to the list. Thank you to John WilkerNicole Wilker, and the whole 360iDev community for an amazing conference.

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App Store Rankings

Ratings to Affect Apple App Store Rankings

The rumor is that Apple is tweaking the app store algorithm to include ratings. According to app marketing firm Fiksu, starting in July there has been a noticeable shift up the ranking charts for apps averaging 4 stars and higher while apps that are rated 3 stars or less are dropping.

App Store Rankings

There are also reports that Apple is experimenting with engagement as another factor for rankings. According to a post from TechCrunch, new user engagement (i.e. time spent per session, number of sessions per week, etc.) is increasingly affecting category rankings.

Engagement Affecting App Ranking

All in all, Apple seems to be experimenting with creating an app store ecosystem that places quality apps at the top instead of just the apps that get downloaded the most. Including ratings in the ranking algorithm places Apple down the path for rewarding apps based on quality by gauging engagement and retention levels.

We are all aware that there are services available for gaming the download system and we must assume there will be instances of buying ratings as well. One argument is that adding ratings into the algorithm will damage the ecosystem further as apps with mid to low-level budgets will get pushed further into obscurity as ratings increase for apps that have the budget.

It may well be the case that apps will buy ratings to try and move up the rankings, but I am sure (I hope) that Apple will invest time and effort into catching apps that use black-hat tactics to increase their ratings. Even with the potential for apps to try and game the charts, including ratings into the algorithm is a necessary step forward to having the best quality apps reach the top charts.

With ratings (and engagement) becoming  factors that will affect Apple App Store rankings, here are 5 tips to get better ratings for your mobile app.

5 Tips for Better App Ratings

 

 

  1. Learn which customers love your app and which ones do not. If you ask every customer to rate your app how many ratings will end up negative? Negative reviews will no longer just dissuade new customers from downloading your app, but also lower your rankings. With Apptentive you can talk to unhappy customers to gather feedback about what could be improved while guiding happy customers to the app store.
  2. Ask for ratings at the right time and in the right place. There is a right time and place for everything and this holds true when asking for ratings. As a general rule, don’t ask for a rating the first time a customer uses an app. Let them experience the app before being prompted. Also, try to avoid prompting customers while they are busy interacting with the app. For example, prompt a customer after they finish the checkout process and not when they add an item to the cart.
  3. Give your customers a voice. By making it easy for your customers to contact you in-app, frustrated customers will vent to you about your app instead of leaving a negative review in the app store. This gives you the opportunity to solve a problem, create a happy customer, and then ask politely for a rating.
  4. Respond with respect. Always respond with “thank you” to any message received from one of your customers. Whether a customer complains about a problem or suggests a feature for the hundredth time, responding respectfully and courteously can disarm an upset customer. This gives you the opportunity to providing amazing service and “wow” the customer with your support and attention to their problem. Giving them a great experience can often lead to a positive review later on.
  5. Ask after each new version release. With the current reports surrounding the changes in the Apple App Store there is a belief that ratings of the most recent version of an app will harbor the most weight. New ratings and reviews from your loyal community could become very valuable if this new system is put in place. If so, be sure to ask your community for ratings after each release, but remember to not over do it or spam your customer base.

How do you feel about ratings being included in the Apple App Store ranking algorithm? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below.