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WWDC 2015

WWDC 2015: Recommendations and Events

WWDC 2015

Apple’s 2015 World Wide Developer Conference is almost upon us as iOS developers from across the world flock to San Francisco.

Several of us from Team Aptentive will be there for both WWDC and AltConf. In the process of creating our itineraries, we’ve been collecting recommendations for top restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in the area as well as some of the many WWDC happy hours and after-parties. A few of these are repeat favorites of ours, and others are brand new to this year’s list that we’re eager to check out.

We hope you can join us in trying out a few of these recommendations as you put the finishing touches on your own WWDC itinerary. As always, if you have a favorite spot or event that we missed, please let us know in the comments below.

Enjoy, and hope to see you some of these events!

Recommendations

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 2015 Parties & Evening Events

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

Monday, June 8th

Pinterest WWDC Happy Hour – 5:30-6pm
Pinterest Happy Hour kicks off at 5:30pm on Monday, June 8th. The group will meet at Natoma Cabana (90 Natoma Street). Come hungry and get excited for an evening of apps, bites and beverages.

WWDC Localization Happy Hour – 5:30-7pm
San Francisco’s own Babble-on App Localization and Applingua from jolly ol’ Wales is sponsoring a WWDC happy hour at one of our favorite local bars, Jamber. It’s just 2 blocks from Moscone! The first round of beer’s on the host, so come early.

2015 CocoaPods State of the Union – 6:30-8:30pm
It’s become an annual tradition for CocoaPods to host an event at WWDC, and we want to make this another great one. Last year we ended up with a waiting list almost double the amount we could get in, so we’re pulling a leaf out of Apple’s book by holding a lottery.

Yelp WWDC After Party – 6:30-10pm
Launch your WWDC week by attending Yelp’s 3rd annual WWDC after party! We’ll be enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres throughout the night. Be sure to RSVP by May 22 to get an additional raffle ticket for an Apple Watch!

Fabric WWDC Party – 8-11pm
Join Fabric and many of the top iOS developers at one of the hottest dance clubs in San Francisco.


Tuesday, June 9th

A Peak into iOS Engineering at Square – 5-8pm
At Square, we’re big fans of WWDC. Our iOS developers come together to learn about the latest trends and technologies in iOS, and share best practices with the community. In that spirit, we’re hosting a tech talk. We’ll give demos and present lightning talks (including a continuation of Scaling Square Register). Join us at SPUR, a 5 minute walk from Moscone Center.

WWDC Party at MyFitnessPall – 5-8pm
Open bar with local beer and wine, food, and a DJ to set the mood. Come meet MyFitnessPal’s engineering team and have a drink (or several) on them!

LinkedIn WWDC Happy Hour – 5:30-7:30pm
Grab a drink and some food, socialize with other iOS developers and LinkedIn employees, and enjoy some quality music. Check out LinkedIn’s San Francisco R&D office right in downtown SF! They’ll be giving away a free Apple Watch and tons of other awesome swag, so you don’t want to miss it!

Layer’s 2015 WWDC Party – 6-9pm
Layer invites you to a join us for a party Tuesday night. There’ll be cold drinks, food and great company. Don’t miss it!

Xamarin’s WWDC 2015 Party – 6-9pm
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 to attend.

Foursquare WWDC ’15 Event – 6:30-9pm
Foursquare’s lead iOS developer, Jeff Forbes, will share his experience supporting multiple apps with a shared codebase and the challenges the team had to overcome while developing Swarm.


Wednesday, June 10th

LaunchKit & iOS Folks WWDC Meetup – 5-8pm
LaunchKit would love to invite all its users & iOS developers over for drinks during WWDC. It’s very informal and being held a few blocks from the conference center. They’ll provide drinks and snacks. There’s no agenda except to meet up and chat.

App Camp for Girls Fundraising Happy Hour, hosted by WWDCGirls – 5:30-8pm
Meet and mingle, enjoy lite bites, win prizes, all while supporting a great cause! This year’s goal is to raise $10,000 to support App Camp For Girls at this event. 100% of your generous donation will go directly toward funding this year’s programming and future growth.

WWDC at Fitbit – 6:30-8:30pm
Come and hangout with Fitbit’s Engineering, Product Managers and Design teams, have some drinks, talk about wearables and get some extra steps in! One lucky person will walk away with a Fitbit.

Pebble WWDC After-Party with Atlassian – 7-10pm
Please join us for a night of apples, developers, demos, and fun! This meetup group typically has a focus on Pebble developers and apps but for this WWDC after-party all are welcome to come celebrate with us! Apple watch fans, Atlassian users, and Pebble first-timers alike. There will be apple snacks, apple drinks, apple desserts, and apple games!

WWDC Diversion – 7-10pm
Sure, you have plenty of good habits – you’re at WWDC after all – but isn’t it fun to give into the not-so-good ones every now and then?


Thursday, June 11th

Breather’s WWDC Happy Hour – 6-8pm
Toast your fellow iOS developers and join the Breather team for refreshments and snacks. Stop by and geek out over all of the latest news in tech and beyond. Space is limited, and admission is on a first come, first serve basis. What are you waiting for?


Saturday, June 13th

Apple Watch Hackathon
Wrap up WWDC week with an Apple Watch Hackathon. This hackathon will have great food, good people, and clever ideas. You may participate remotely or in-person, either as a spectator or as a team. Designers and developers are welcome.


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 Parties for WWDC app  (Only available for iOS).

Have a great WWDC, and let us know if you’d like to schedule a meeting!

Mobile Product Manager guide

App Store Top Charts

Dissecting the App Store Top Charts: The Anatomy of a Top App

App Store Top Charts

Last month, we combed through the free app top charts in both the U.S. Apple App Store and the U.S. Google Play Store for a few “Mad Science” experiments in App Store Optimization and App Store Rankings. In the process, we’ve found more than a few interesting trends and observations on what sets a top ranked app apart from the other 1.4 million apps in the market.

So what does a top ranked app look like?

The six observations below aggregate the data across 100 top ranked apps in either U.S. app store, revealing that top ranked apps are highly likely to be:

  • Highly rated, with at least four stars;
  • Often rated, with at least ten thousand app store ratings;
  • Games, social apps, or productivity tools (although the category distribution is broad);
  • Updated at least once a month;
  • Downloaded at least five million times; and,
  • Published by a North American company (although we’re seeing a growing surge of mobile app innovations coming out of the EMEA and APAC regions, particularly in gaming).

As you read on for more detail on each of these observations, keep in mind that the volatile nature of app store rankings means that the top charts change every day, so the findings below are also subject to change over time.

Observation #1: Ratings Really Matter to App Store Rankings

Of course, this one didn’t come off as a huge surprise after we just wrapped up our App Store Ratings eBook, but ratings matter when it comes to making the app store top charts. Like really matter.

Across the top charts:

  • 88% of Top 100 Android apps have a rating greater than four stars. (Click to Tweet)
  • 51% of Top 100 iOS apps have a rating greater than four stars. (Click to Tweet)
  • Top ranked Android apps average a 4.32 star rating. (Click to Tweet)
  • Top ranked iOS apps average a 3.94 star rating. (Click to Tweet)

Observation #2: A Good Rating Alone Isn’t Enough

Not only do the top ranked apps have good ratings, they have a lot of ratings. At the time of collecting the data:

  • 51% of top Android apps have over 1 million ratings. (Click to Tweet)
  • 37% of top iOS apps have over 100 thousand ratings. (Click to Tweet)
  • The average top 100 Android app has 3.1 million ratings. (Click to Tweet)
  • The average top 100 iOS app has 196 thousand ratings. (Click to Tweet)
  • Two-thirds of all others apps have zero ratings. (Click to Tweet)

Observation #3: Games Dominate Both App Store Top Charts

At first glance, this one wasn’t a surprise, considering that mobile games compose over 21% of all active apps. What is surprising, however, is just how much they dominate in the app store top charts. In both stores, we see mobile games dominating in greater proportion than their market share:

It’s hard to make any other comparisons given the differences in how Google Play and the App Store categorize apps, but in both app store top charts, we see a healthy mix of social networking and productivity apps coming in among the best represented largest categories.

Observation #4: Top Ranked Apps are Updated Frequently

This one did surprise us a bit. In both stores, the top ranked apps are updated remarkably often:

  • The average top Android app has gone 38 days since its last update. (Click to Tweet)
  • The average top iOS app has gone 28 days since its last update. (Click to Tweet)

It appears that top ranked apps are those that continue to be updated and managed long after release. This typically means larger support teams, frequent content refreshes, and ongoing QA efforts. (Of course we can only read so much into a causal effect of update frequency on app store rankings, but we’ve analyzed the point in greater detail in a Moz guest post on ASO.)

Observation #5: Top Ranked Apps are Insanely Popular

This one’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. All of the apps in Google Play’s Top 100 have an astonishing number of downloads, but this can also be attributed to the increased visibility and discovery resulting from higher rankings. Regardless, these apps are tremendously successful:

  • 34% of the Top 100 Android apps have over 100 million downloads. (Click to Tweet)
  • 95% of the Top 100 Android apps have over 1 million downloads. (Click to Tweet)

Unfortunately, our analysis stops with Android as the Apple App Store doesn’t make download count public. We did, however, note that the App Store’s top charts had a greater proportion of new apps. This seems to suggest that it is easier for a new iOS app than it is for a new Android app to rank high without a huge amount of downloads.

Observation #6: The U.S. Dominates the App Store Top Charts

As a disclaimer, this analysis only examines the top charts in the U.S. app stores. Both Google Play and the App Store have different rankings dependent on country in order to reward those apps that do a better job with localization and multicultural marketing.

Regardless, apps published in the names of American companies dominated the U.S. App Store top charts, with a 60% share of the top ranked apps (Click to Tweet).

Western Europe and Scandinavia stood out as the next app store leaders, with some of the biggest names in mobile gaming, including King (Ireland), Supercell (Finland), and Kiloo (Denmark).

There were a few more surprising regions that made it to the top charts as well, including eastern Europe, western Asia, and South America. These regions are all beginning to play a large role in mobile innovation, following in the footsteps of a few leading developers, including Apalon (Belarus), Viber (Israel), Waze (Israel), and Etermax (Argentina).


See or hypothesize any interesting trends we missed? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll investigate in our next analysis!

For more on the data behind these observations and the actionable steps you can take today to climb the app store ranks, download our free 55-page guide on app store rankings, ratings, and reviews:

Climb the App Store Top Charts with Our Guide to App Store Ratings and Reviews

Utilities iOS app

iOS Apps For the Business and Government Sectors

Just because Apple has always made considerable efforts to establish itself as a top B2C company doesn’t mean it take a swing at other fields as well, and there’s no better example than its range of business apps. Aside from the tons of third-party productivity apps available in the App Store already, Apple has worked with the industry giant IBM to develop a complex suite of apps for businesses and governments. Unlike ordinary apps, this suite, known as IBM MobileFirst for iOS, provides an increased level of security and integration with enterprise infrastructure, while maintaining Apple software’s characteristic ease of use.

Here are the apps that Apple tempts businesses with, grouped in categories.

Financial Services

In the finance sector, Apple has developed three apps, each with its own specific role and functionality.

Financial services iOS app

Advise & Grow is ideal for bankers that meet with clients and need to have all the account-related data at hand. Not only does the app allow easy monitoring and analysis of client financial data, but it can also perform real-time operations that are automatically processed and synchronized with the central servers, all in maximum security.

Complementing Advise & Grow is Trusted Advice, another financial app that gives wealth advisors a powerful tool to manage client portfolios, share complex financial predictions with them and keep tabs on every relevant aspect. Trusted Advice can generate charts and graphs to make everything easily comprehensible.

Financial services iOS app

Advisor Alerts is designed to make it easy to monitor accounts, trades, client satisfaction, and other aspects. What makes it great is the fact that it comes with push notifications, so you’re never missing out an important change.

Travel

Apple’s suite of travel apps are targeted at the air travel industry, and are designed to cater the needs of all the people involved, from airline customer service agents to flight attendants, and all the way up to pilots.

iOS Travel App

Passenger Care is an app for customer service personnel, providing real-time information on the boarding lines and flight info. If delays occur, Passenger Care allows the staff to easily identify the best options for each passenger, whether it’s booking a new flight or searching for accommodations.

Inside the plane, Passenger+ gives flight attendants real-time info on all passengers. Once again, if flight delays occur, flight attendants can identify the best solutions for passengers that need connecting flights or other services.

Travel iOS app

Last but not least, Plan Flight brings pilots up to speed with all the relevant data before take-off, such as flight summary, weather conditions, fueling options and much more.

Utilities

The utilities department was not overlooked either, as Apple found a clever way to make the work of field workers safer and more efficient.

Utilities iOS app

Field Connect targets energy network workers, which generates push notifications when a blackout or network problem occurs, along with stating the causes (weather related, accident, etc.), so they know exactly what they’re dealing with.

Utilities iOS app

Expert Tech is an app designed to optimize the work of telecom technicians to the maximum. The app gives technicians an easy overview of the orders scheduled for the day so they can make an informed decision as to the necessary equipment. Traffic conditions and optimal routes are also displayed in the app, and detailed technical info on all network components are available on site. If the situation requires it, field technicians can also get in touch with an in-house expert for further troubleshooting with just a few taps.

Government

The government and its institutions can also benefit from Apple’s range of apps, as follows:

iOS government app

Case Advice is an app designed to help social workers make better decisions. The app provides them real-time information on all cases, along with analytics-driven predictive insights. With matters as delicate as social cases, having all the right information at hand is crucial.

iOS government app

Incident Aware is intended for law enforcement personnel. Integrating directly with the software used by the central dispatch, Incident Aware gives law enforcement officers’ real-time data such location and video feed of in-progress incidents, as well as the status of other units. Officers will know exactly what they’re up against, what’s the status of the backup units, thus being able to make better decisions to defuse tense situations and minimize risks.



This has been a guest post by Fredrick Cameron and Conosco.com.

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.

Apptentive logo

New iTunes Connect Breaks App Submissions

Update:  We have confirmed that Apple has addressed this issue and app submissions via the new iTunes Connect are now working properly.


 

All eyes and ears were on Apple today as they announced the much-anticipated iPhone 6 with larger displays as well as the Apple Watch. Apple also released a new iTunes Connect, which for developers is starting to attract an outsized share of the attention, but for the wrong reasons.

The new iTunes Connect appears to have an issue which is preventing submission of apps that include an embedded .bundle. Unfortunately this is impacting Apptentive customers as well as customers of numerous other frameworks such as Google Plus and Google Maps for iOS.

Customers attempting to submit apps to the new iTunes Connect site are receiving an error message similar to:

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.22.56 PM copy
ERROR ITMS-9000:  Missing or invalid signature. The bundle '$bundleIdentifier' at bundle path 'Payload/XYZ.app/ApptentiveResources.bundle' is not signed using an Apple submission certificate.

If you submit via Xcode, the error message is sent to your developer account via email, rather than shown immediately as above in Application Loader.

On the face of it, the error seems similar to those that have been reported on OS X for Mavericks, which have been covered by Craig Hockenberry on his blog. Unfortunately, going through the steps that Craig suggests do not appear to address this issue.

Both building and submitting with Xcode 5.1.1 and Xcode 6 GM are currently broken in the way outlined above.

We have filed a Radar (bug) report with Apple on this, and based on the significant number of people that are encountering this issue we expect that there will be acknowledgment and resolution from Apple quickly on this issue.

We will keep you updated on this issue via this blog post as well as our Twitter account. This is a great time to follow us if you don’t already, as well as our status & operations Twitter account at @apptentive_ops.

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or contact us.

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!


Apptentive logo

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Monetizing Mobile Apps

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 common mistakes should app developers avoid when trying to monetize their apps?

Rod Burns
The biggest mistake developers make is not devoting enough time to figuring out what their monetization strategy is. They have probably spent a very long time crafting their app but spend only a small amount of time figuring out the monetization mechanics. Understand your target audience/demographic and decide your strategy. Once launched use analytics to understand how people are using your app and keep pivoting, it’ll probably take some different tactics to get it right!

Rod Burns – WIP

Chiu-Ki Chan
Monetization is an integral part of app development. Not only that you should think about it from the beginning, you also need to keep adjusting it after launch. Experiment with different price points. Run discounts from time to time. Provide different bundles for your in-app products. Better start with a high price and adjust down – you may anger your users if you hike up the price after they got comfortable with the cheap options.

Chiu-Ki Chan –Square Island

Dan Counsell
Time and time again I’ve seen developers go straight to freemium and make pretty much nothing at launch, simply because they give away too much and didn’t attract enough users.

Unless you’re sure you can consistently get millions of downloads each month, then freemium is not for you. Paid is still far better for indie developers. If your app does well in the paid charts you can always try moving to freemium further down the line.

If you’re launching as freemium or switching to it, you should proceed with extreme caution.

Dan Counsell – DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
What Dan Counsell (above) said. I’ve both witnessed and personally experienced the perils of going freemium and giving away too much. Don’t undervalue your work and don’t be afraid to charge appropriately. If people don’t buy what you’re selling, then have the price cut conversation, but don’t set the bar too low right out of the gate.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
There’s only one right way to make money and that’s by providing value. When you think only in terms of how you could make money, you’re thinking only of yourself. You get customers the way you get anyone else, by thinking of what they need, not what you want or can get away with.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Kyle Richter
The biggest problem with App Store monetization is that developers often wait till after they have thought up and designed the project to add monetization on top of it. The most successful freemium apps are those that plan their in app purchase from the ground up and make it part of the experience.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
If you are considering charging for your app, the most important question is how much it costs you to acquire a user. If you plan to advertise for your users, you need to understand your cost per click and conversion rate so that you know how much you need to charge to recoup it; this will often be $4.99+. If you are getting users for free, then you can target the much more attractive $0.99 price point. There’s nothing worse than advertising for an app and losing money on each install!

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
When making an app that you’re charging upfront for, don’t be tied to one price point. Be willing to play around a bit, and find where you can really maximize your revenue. Also, for more expensive apps, putting them on sale for a limited time can help generate buzz and get users exposed to your brand. Never underestimate the power of a user loving your brand!

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
The price point or monetization strategy should be thought out at the very early stage of development. Whether to go free, paid, freemium, etc should impact how the app is built and what the user journeys are in the app. Often we see developers go premium and build an experience based on that, but then try and change the monetization strategy later on. I’ve rarely see that approach work. Research and decide up front exactly how you plan on monetizing and use that to inform how users will experience your app, don’t try and decide later on or change it later on.

And the other piece of advice I would have for anyone going premium is to immediately forget about how much you think your app is worth and canvas real world opinions from people you don’t know. Your friends will all tell you that your app is worth whatever you tell them you are planning on charging. However, the real world app store doesn’t work like that and you need to get real insight from your potential users.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

Do you have any monetization strategies that were a success or lead to failure? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.


Apptentive logo

Introducing Groups and Group Messaging

Groups and Group Messages enable you to place your customers into groups. This allows you to proactively send messages via Message Center to groups of customers who have similar interests, feedback, or questions regarding your app. These messages are delivered directly to the customer in app, and are a great way to follow up with your customers to keep them informed about the changes, fixes, and updates to your mobile app.

Creating Groups and Adding People

There are two ways to get started with Group Messages:

First, while viewing a conversation with a person, click on the “add/edit” link under “Groups” in the right hand panel. You may then add the person to a new or existing group, as well as remove the person from any existing groups that they may be a member of.

GroupInConversation

Second, click the “Groups” link from within the “Interactions” section of our website. You’ll be able to view all of the groups you have created, create new groups, and views details about specific groups.

CreateGroup

Sending a Group Message

Once your groups are created and you’ve added customers to them, you can send a message to the group by clicking on “Group Messages” within the “Conversations” section of our website.

For each group message you send, you can select the sender, the target group, and create the message. You can give each message a title, which is not shown to customers, that will help you manage the messages that have already been sent.

When you click “Send,” the message will be immediately sent to all people currently in the group. You can click on “Sent Group Messages” to see the  messages you’ve previously sent.

SendGroupMessage

Important Notes

When using Group Messages, please be aware of the following:

  • Messages are sent immediately to all members of the group and cannot be cancelled.
  • Messages are only sent to members of the group at the time the message is sent– if you subsequently add a person to a group, they will not receive any previously sent messages.
  • Group Messages will cause a notification (e.g. Push, Email) if you have them configured for your app.
  • Group Messages will not be forwarded to external integrations if you have them configured for your app (e.g. Zendesk, UserVoice, etc.). If the customer replies to the Group Message the response will, however, be sent to these systems.
  • Group Messages are supported on all versions of our SDKs that include Message Center.

We are really excited to announce the release of Groups and Group Messaging to all of our customers on a paid plan. The ability to group customers with similar interests, concerns, or questions into a single group and follow up with all them is an incredibly powerful tool. It creates a positive customer experience and helps you bring your customer support to the next level.

Following up with your customers can have a large impact on your customer base, and to show you what we mean, please read –  The Power of the Follow-Up Message. If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to send us a message from within the Apptentive Dashboard or through our contact form.

Mobile Team

24 App Development Tools to Help You Work like the Pros

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 your favorite resources or tools for app development and why?


Chiu-Ki Chan
My go-to resource is appdevwiki.com, a treasure trove for both Android and iOS. It has a great collection of libraries to jump start your app, but also links to design patterns, mobile services, app marketing etc, covering all the different aspects of mobile development.

Chiu-Ki Chan –Square Island

Dan Counsell
Beanstalk and Lighthouse without a doubt. While these tools are not directly for development, we literally couldn’t manage without them. Beanstalk has been our preferred platform for version control since I can remember, mainly due to the fact that we have a mixture of older Subversion projects along with newer Git based projects. Lighthouse on the other hand helps us manage the release roadmap for all our apps, everything from bugs to big feature releases.

Dan Counsell – DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
In the discovery phase we use communication tools like Basecamp and Hipchat to keep our teams in sync. We wireframe apps with Adobe Illustrator and push pixels with Photoshop. As of late we’ve started prototyping animations in Quartz Composer and on device.

During distribution we use a continuous build system called Jenkins and a distribution tool we built called AppBlade – both tie in and work well together. On the analysis side we’ve used tools like UserTesting.com for light usability testing of apps, Crittercism for ongoing crash reporting and usage monitoring, and Localytics for deep analytics tracking and user segmentation.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
I use Xcode and Instruments and all the standard tools as provided by the platform provider on a stock system that’s as normal as possible. It’s not cool or edgy or anything, but it’s really convenient when I need help. It’s hard enough when things go wrong without having some weird configuration.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Leigh Momii
There are lots of great forum based sites out there where you can ask the community questions and get answers. I regularly visit sites like StackOverflow, as an example. For mockups/UI, it’s hard to beat a tool as clean and simple as Balsamiq. My favorite IDE is still Visual Studio – the amount of options in there along with the debugging tools is awesome. I also really appreciate what PhoneGap and Bootstrap have done for development and enjoyed dabbling with them – very powerful!

Leigh Momii – HTC

Kyle Richter
There are basic tools such as Xcode that every developer will use. However as you begin to grow to work with larger teams(both large and small) additional tools become a necessity. For issue tracking I like LighthouseApp, its basic enough not to be overwhelming or confusing while being powerful enough for large teams.

For communication Google Hangouts is great for free video calls between multiple parties and Campfire for private text based group chat. Of course version control is a good idea for single developers, but its critical for groups, I like git with github as a provider. The most important thing is to find tools that solve the problems you are having, there is no solution that works for everyone. See what tasks are holding you up and consuming your time and find a tool to make it less of a problem.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
Amazon mechanical turk. This under-appreciated resource is terrific for doing market surveys, quick and dirty usability tests on new designs, compatibility testing, and more. You’ll get a fair amount of junk back, but at a buck or two a pop, you can afford to ignore feedback that’s not helpful.

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
Most of the tools I use revolve around API calls. For debugging these, I mainly use 3 tools. Firstly, Postman (Chrome extension), is great for reproducing requests. The best thing about Postman is that you can export a collection of requests as JSON. Secondly, Charles Proxy (Mac app) is the best for quickly seeing what’s actually going on, especially when you’re not sure requests are being triggered. Lastly, I started using Runscope (SaaS) to easily send details about requests, as well as monitor endpoints for changes.

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
Hands down the absolute best development tool I started using last year was Reveal. Reveal lets you inspect the interface of your iOS app at run time, as well as make and test changes on the fly. It’s not that I use Reveal with every app we build, but when I do need to use it, it is simply the most amazing and useful tool in my workflow.

Have you ever been stuck in the “tweak font/frame/anything size/position, build & run. Not quite right, :( try again” loop for more than 2 minutes? Have you ever worked on a super complex, multilayered interface that you just can’t build and test in Interface Builder? Have you ever wondered why the hell a particular view isn’t showing up or receiving touches? Reveal will help you debug and fix all of these problems and more in minutes. I’ve literally saved weeks thanks to this app.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

What tools or resources to you find to be exceptionally helpful during app development? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.

Mobile Team

The Mobile Team

The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about everything 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 spotlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and expertise.

Meet the Team

Rod Burns – Rod Burns has been working in mobile for more than 13 years and working with mobile app developers well before the iPhone revolutionized the space (when app pre-installs were the holy grail for developers). He worked on the platform side with Symbian, the device side at Sony, and helped games developers make amazing experiences at Marmalade, giving him a good perspective on all pieces of the mobile puzzle. Most recently he has been working with WIP, helping mobile developers be awesome through events like WIPJam and helping companies build communities around their developer programs.

WIP

Chiu-Ki Chan – Chiu-Ki is a mobile developer with a passion in speaking and teaching. Her mother tongue for mobile is Android, acquired while working on Android Maps at Google. Now she runs her own mobile development company, producing delightful apps such as “Monkey Write” for learning Chinese writing and “Heart Collage” for snapping photos to stitch into a heart. When she is not writing apps, she can be found traveling the world, sometimes sightseeing, sometimes dispensing Android tips on stage at various tech conferences.

Square Island

Doug Chavez – Doug Chavez is Senior Vice President for Universal McCann Worldwide where he focuses on emerging technology with an emphasis on social and mobile media business strategy. Doug has strong has proven track record of leading marketing transformation with clients such as Del Monte Foods, McDonald’s, Yahoo!, Charles Schwab and Ghirardelli. Prior to UM, Doug was vice president of global marketing at RadiumOne, an ad platform that leverages social sharing insights to expand audience segments across the web and mobile landscape. Doug is a frequent speaker about mobile and social strategy and how brands are evolving their conversations with consumers with strong mobile and social strategies.

DougChavez.com

Dan Counsell – Dan Counsell is the founder of Realmac Software, an award winning independent Mac and iOS development studio based in Brighton, UK. He’s been designing, building and shipping apps for over ten years, these include Clear, Ember and RapidWeaver.

DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson – Ben has been building apps and thinking about mobile since the beginning of the App Store. Before Raizlabs he founded his own mobile consulting company and created a breakthrough calendar app, Free Time, which was recognized by Apple as a New and Noteworthy iPhone app. At Raizlabs he has been involved in dozens of projects helping clients push the envelope with innovative mobile technology. Ben is also a co-organizer of Boston’s premier mobile meetup, Drinks on Tap and has spoken at a variety of mobile conferences on the benefits of animations in mobile software.

Raizlabs

Kevin Kim – Kevin Y. Kim is a founder and partner of AppOrchard LLC, a Tipping Point Partners company focused on sustainable iOS development. After graduating Carnegie Mellon University, Kevin was first exposed to the NeXTStep computer (the ancestor of today’s iPhone) while a programmer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and has been hooked ever since. His career has spanned over 20 years developing systems in finance, government, biotech and technology, including Apple where he managed the Apple Enterprise Services team for the New York metro area. His latest book, More iOS 6 Development: Further Explorations of the iOS SDK, is currently available through Apress. He resides in the Alphabet City section of New York City with his wife and a clowder of rescued cats.

AppOrchard

Mike Lee – Mike Lee was a Mac developer whose religion changed when iPhone was announced. He grew up in Hawaii and learned to code in Seattle, but moved to California to work at some startups and a local fruit company before traveling the world and ending up in Amsterdam making educational games. He is frequently seen on stage talking about life, the universe, and iOS.

The New Lemurs

Leigh Momii – Leigh is a Product Manager at HTC. Her background is in computer science. She worked in aerospace and consulting as a software engineer prior to coming to HTC where she started out as a developer evangelist. She then transitioned into product management to gain experience in a different facet of the mobile industry. She is a proud Seattle native. When she’s not geeking out on my laptop or HTC, you may find her journeying to remote places of the globe in search of the best eats and hangouts. She is also a huge sports enthusiast, and enjoys martial arts, board games, and video games.

HTC

Kyle Richter – Kyle Richter is the founder of Dragon Forged Software an award winning iOS and Mac development company, and co-founder of Empirical Development a for-hire iOS shop. Kyle began writing code in the early 90s and has always been dedicated to the Mac platform. He has written several books on iOS development including Beginning iOS Game Center Development, Beginning Social Game Development, and iOS Components and Frameworks Advanced Programming. He manages a team of over 30 full time iOS developers and runs day to day operations at 3 development companies. Kyle travels the world speaking on development and entrepreneurship, currently he calls the Florida Keys his home.

Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro – Shapiro was the founder and CEO of Ontela (now Photobucket), the leading mobile imaging platform. Previously he managed product for Wildseed, the creator of the first linux-based cell phone. He’s also the founder of Sparkbuy (sold to Google) and Robot Turtles, the best selling board game in Kickstarter history.

DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo – Michele Titolo is a software engineer who ships great products. She has lead development teams to success in the App Store, and raised and maintained quality standards on the projects she works on. She is a Core Team member of CocoaPods, and organizes for both Women Who Code and Appsterdam in SF.

Michele.io

Conor Winders – Conor Winders is the CEO and co-founder of Redwind Software, Ireland’s leading mobile apps and games developer. Releasing his first iOS game back in 2008 when the App Store launched, Conor has worked on over 150 apps to date. Redwind builds and publishes original titles as well as working with some of the worlds biggest brands including Heineken, Elvis Presley, Paddy Power and Deal or No Deal. A tech-enthusiast and self-proclaimed Apple fanboy Conor lives and breathes mobile.

Redwind Software

Do you have any questions for the Mobile Team? Share your questions either in the comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.

apptentive-device

A Break Down of iOS App Rankings by Ratings in the Apple App Store

It’s not easy getting your app discovered in the app store, and it’s getting increasingly challenging every day as more apps are added. As the popularity of mobile apps rises, Google and Apple are feeling pressure to refine and improve their search algorithms. One of the biggest changes in recent months was the increased weight of ratings and reviews in Apple’s app store.

The change made the number of ratings you have and the ratings themselves become more influential in the ranking of your app. This is a way for Apple to legitimize apps, establish app credibility, and make sure people don’t cheat the system by purchasing downloads from bots to boost their Top Charts rankings. It is similar to linkbuilding in SEO. If a lot of other websites are  linking to a certain site, that site must be credible. If a lot of users are rating and reviewing apps, not only do you know that the downloads are coming from real people, but you can also measure overall satisfaction with the app.

At MobileDevHQ we are in the business of helping apps improve their organic discovery. Ratings and reviews have now become an important part of app store optimization (ASO), so we decided to sift through our data to see what kind of information we could find about the ratings of top 10 apps.

Ratings By The Numbers

Our data comes from analyzing the top 10 apps in every category, and pulling the number of ratings along with what those ratings were.

So what can you get from these numbers? First, I want to stress again that these are not rating numbers you need to hit in order to make it in the Top Charts, but rather the average of the apps that are currently in the top 10 for every category. There are more factors that influence your ranking than just ratings.

That being said, there are some interesting patterns in, and differences between, the numbers.

Apps In The Top 5 Have More Than Twice The Number Of Ratings

The numbers show that, on average, the apps in the top 5 of any Top Chart have more than twice the number of ratings as apps in ranked between 6 and 10. It is clear that ratings are important and have some relationship, direct or indirect, to breaking into the top 5 apps.

Top Apps Get Good Ratings (*Surprise!*)

There isn’t a lot of world-changing information in the analysis of what the ratings actually are for top apps. Overall, the difference between apps in the top 5 and apps ranked 6-10 is 0.4 stars. The takeaway? Top apps have high ratings. Only 13% of the apps had a rating of less than 3, and over 60% of the apps had a rating greater than 4. We can’t claim any causation here, but it’s clear that high ratings are a shared characteristic between top rated apps, and shouldn’t be ignored.

Free Gets Rated More but Paid Gets Rated Higher

Below are the top 10 categories that had the most ratings, as well as the top 10 categories with the highest ratings.

It’s no surprise that social networking apps get the most ratings as they will, by their nature, receive the most downloads. However, it’s also interesting to note that they are not in the list of top 10 categories that receive the highest ratings.

Paid apps seem to get very high ratings. There are 7 paid categories in the top 10 rated categories, compared to just 0 in the top 10 number of ratings.

Free iPhone Games Apps and Free iPhone Apps seem to take the cake overall. They are the only two categories that are in both of the top 10 lists. Reference, Photo & Video, and Lifestyle Apps see a lot of ratings when they are free (most likely due to higher download numbers), but the paid versions get rated higher. Although the Free versions get downloaded more, consumers are happier with the paid versions.

In contrast, two of the under-performing categories were Paid Medical Apps and Paid Travel Apps. The top 10 apps in Paid Medical Apps received an average of 13,052 ratings at 3.8 stars. The top 10 in Paid Travel Apps had an average of 10,440 ratings at 3.8 stars.

What can you take away from this information? Well, if we make the assumption that the number of ratings and what the ratings are is a good measure of user happiness, it seems that if you are thinking of creating an app, these two categories have not yet been hit with a killer app users love. Both of them are right at the average star rating and well below the average number of ratings, and they are both very lucrative markets. Just something to consider :)

Wrapping It Up

Ratings are important. That’s clear and simple. Although there isn’t a magic number that will guarantee a spot in the Top Charts, it is clear that if you are trying to get into them, you can’t ignore ratings. You should be proactively prompting users to rate your app, and creating a great product to make sure those ratings are good.

About the Author:
Alex Klein is in charge of marketing at MobileDevHQ. He is a graduate of University of Washington, and has passions for marketing, tech, and sports. Connect with him on Twitter.