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Mobile App Group Message

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.

Post by:

Ezra Siegel
Xcode

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.

Post by:

Ezra Siegel
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 – 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
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 - 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 - 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 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 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 - 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 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 - 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
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 - 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 - 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.

Post by:

Ezra Siegel
App Rankings and Ratings

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.

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Guest Blogger
Renaissance IO

Renaissance IO – The Best Way To Start 2014 For iOS Developers

Renaissance IO

There’s no shortage of mobile conferences these days – it seems like every week we turn around and hear about a new event talking about the mobile revolution and what you should be doing about it. However, not all conferences are created equal. As a relationship-driven company, we tend to favor smaller, more intimate conferences, like AltWWDC and 360iDev. Events like this are a great place to create meaningful connections and to truly dig in on topics that matter to you, rather than hearing the standard platitudes and marketing speak. The best ones always have the same thing in common – amazing people passionate about what they do who want to help their peers.

As you kick off your 2014, we’d like to highlight a conference in the same vein that’s happening at the end of this month in San Francisco: Renaissance IO. What’s special about Renaissance IO? I’m glad you asked.

Renaissance places YOU at the front and center to learn, connect, and be inspired to make better apps. In such an intimate setting, everyone is able to meet every other attendee, even all the speakers. The opportunity to form meaningful relationships with your fellow peers should not be overlooked. The Renaissance IO community itself makes the conference more than worth the trip as you walk away with new friends as well as knowledge.

We believe the relationships that can come from this kind of conference are extremely meaningful and have a positive impact on your work and your life. For our readers you have from now through January 15 to use the “apptentive” discount code for $100 off the low three-day registration price. Don’t miss out and register now!

Why is Renaissance IO an iOS app makers’ conference?

Because the conference is for people who make apps and every speaker, organizer, and moderator is an active app maker. There is more than just the coding involved in making a great app and Renaissance IO provides a ton of guidance for you to become a complete app maker.

Renaissance IO will be building on the success of its inaugural 2013 conference. Some of the most successful indie iOS devs will be in attendance to share their success stories. Oh and experts from small companies you might have heard of like Google, Apigee, Flipboard, Smule and Yahoo! will be there too. The speaker list is pretty inspiring, check it out.

If making great iOS applications is part of your New Year’s resolutions then start 2014 by investing in yourself.

Meet Apptentive!

We’re huge fans of what Tim Burks, the organizer, has done to build the iOS community in the Bay Area. The Apptentive team will be there to meet with app makers and share our knowledge on how to best communicate with your app customers. In addition, we’re offering all attendees six months of the Apptentive Pro plan free of charge as well as on-site coaching to make the most of our services.

Come find us at Renaissance!

Joining the Renaissance

Renaissance IO is geared to help iOS developers be true Renaissance men and women who are well rounded in technical, creative, and business aspects of app production. Whatever kind of help you may need to be a successful app maker, Renaissance IO is guaranteed to help. Head over to the event page and grab a ticket.

See you there!

Post by:

Ezra Siegel
Mobile App Development

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Mobile App Developers in 2014

Mobile Apps 2014
2013 marked the year of mobile app proliferation. It is uncommon to find someone, of any age, who hasn’t experienced using a mobile app. The mobile marketplace itself has shown maturity in design, functionality, advertisements, customer communication, and crafting a sustainable business.

With the improvements to mobile apps over the year, mobile app developers and companies are faced with a more difficult challenge than any before – customer expectations. The average person using mobile apps has considerable experience with a large range of apps and expect the best.

To have a successful app in 2014, here are 5 resolutions that shouldn’t be broken.

1. Customer Communication

Customer support, customer service, and a great customer experience  is more important than ever for every mobile app, no matter what vertical you’re in. Having a direct communication channel between you and your customers can be the difference between a successful app and one that fails.

Every app would rather receive feedback  directly from customers instead of receiving it in the app store accompanied by a negative review. Being able to listen and respond to customers is the foundation of exceptional support and service. Taking an unhappy customer and solving their problem can easily turn a negative experience into a positive one. Be sure to listen to your customers in-app in 2014 and you will be rewarded.

2. Improved Performance

Even with the large number of apps that are available, only 40% of them actually get used and a large portion of these are plagued by performance issues. Apps that crash, freeze, or are just plain slow are often immediately deleted. Consumers don’t care to deal with a low performance application, especially when there is bound to be an alternative app (or five) they can use. App performance needs to be constantly tracked and monitored.

Here are a couple of things to remember when measuring (and testing) your app’s performance:

  • Track performance on multiple devices and operating systems
  • Track performance on different networks: wifi, 3g, 4g, and LTE

Create apps that perform well on any network, the majority of devices, and the most recent operating systems. Apps that don’t perform well rarely get revisited. Even after performance issues get fixed, it is unlikely a customer will choose to download the app again. Test and measure throughout every step of the development cycle.

3. Intelligent Advertising

Advertising provides revenue for many mobile apps and often serves as an app discovery tool as well. However, people don’t open an app to see an advertisement and too ads can ruin the experience and cause low retention rates. Even a single poorly placed ad can cause someone to close the app, lose interest in completing a purchase, or discourage someone from using the app again.

Be intelligent when and where you advertise inside your apps. Make an effort to incorporate your ads as seamlessly as possible. Don’t settle for using ad networks that have low quality advertisements that degrade the overall design of your app.

4. Design Updates

Design has become one of the most important aspects for a successful mobile app. Both iOS 7 and KitKat are focused on design and apps need to start reflecting this. In Apple’s case, all apps must be compliant with iOS 7 by February 1st.

To get started on improving your app design, take a look at these resources:

5. Security

Security is a real issue for everybody using mobile apps. In a recent report from HP, 97% of apps contained a privacy issue, 86% lacked basic security defenses, and 75% fail to properly encrypt personal data. As the general population starts to rely more heavily on using mobile apps, security is of the utmost importance.

The newer operating systems give consumers more control than ever over their privacy settings, but many don’t understand the implications and security concerns surrounding mobile apps. As an app developer it is incredibly important to develop apps that are secure from the ground up. You may not be reliable for any breaches in security, but you have an obligation to protect customer information to the best of your ability.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Mobile app developers hold the future of how we interact with technology, connect with companies, and organize our lives. Follow these 5 New Year’s resolutions that mobile app developers should not break, and you’ll be off to a great start.

Post by:

Ezra Siegel
Apptentive In-App Survey

5 Tips to Writing Effective Surveys for Mobile Apps

Apptentive In-App SurveyWhether you are a seasoned survey writer or brand new to the scene, writing effective surveys for mobile devices can be challenging. As with any survey the first question to ask is “what’s the goal of this survey?” In order to write an effective survey you must have a goal that will help guide you in writing concise, data-oriented questions.

Nobody likes a long a survey – especially on a mobile device. That means all of your questions need to be extremely relevant – so no fluff. Only ask the questions that are essential to making decisions. Keeping surveys short and simple makes it easier to analyze the data and make decisions based off the results.

There may be many questions you want to ask your customers, but breaking all your questions into smaller surveys will work better than compiling all of your questions into a single survey.  Focus on a specific goal for each set of questions and you will get better data than trying to ask various questions that aren’t all connected.

Writing an Effective Survey

The data from a survey is only as good as the questions asked. Therefore it is extremely important in how you phrase both your the questions and the answers you provide. To help you out, here are 5 tips to make the most effective surveys.

1. Personalization

Holding the mobile device is a single individual you are looking to engage and have answer a couple questions for you. You need to write questions that feel as if they are directed at each customer instead of a general approach. You are surveying them and want their opinion, thoughts, and feelings on the matter.

Begin your questions with phrases like “How do you feel about…” and “What you do think of…” The importance of the survey is to hear what your customers think. There is no wrong or right answer. Phrasing questions in this way opens the way for customers to share their thoughts and provide new insight on something you haven’t considered.

2. Simple, Direct Questions

There isn’t a lot of real estate to use on mobile devices therefore your questions need to be simple, and direct to the point. Don’t waste space circling around the real questions you want to ask.

3. Provide Accurate Answers

The more accurate your answers are the easier it will be for you to analyze the data. Avoid number rating scales because it is difficult to gauge an experience with numbers. In a rating scale up to
10, there are some people who think 6 is still a positive experience, but many who feel otherwise. Words are a better way to accurately portray how someone is feeling in a way that other people can understand.

When providing ranges in your answers, don’t let your answers overlap or your data will be off. If you ask “How often do you play Angry Birds a day?” Don’t include the following: 1-2, 2-5, 5-10. Instead use: 1-2, 3-5, 6-10.

4. The Other


One of the most over-looked answers to many questions is “Other.” Where appropriate, including the “Other” as a possible answer, followed by the generic “Please Specify” input area can be an incredibly useful method to learn something important from your customers that you may not have expected.

5. All Questions Required


All questions included in a mobile survey should be required. If you have a question you are not requiring don’t include it in the first place. This will force you to focus on only the most important questions to include in your survey. The one exception is the common “Do you have any other feedback or suggestions for us?”

When To Use A Survey:

Apptentive Mobile SurveysThere are many great ways to use surveys to better understand your customers. Here are a couple of examples of how surveys can be used to drive your business.

• You want to know what your customers thought about a recently released feature or share their thoughts about new features they’d like to see.

• You’d like to better understand the demographic of customers who continue to use your app 20, 30, or even 40+ times.

• You have a purchasing funnel (or just a set of steps for a customer to complete) and want to know why customers aren’t completing the process.

• You want to know if customers would recommend your app to a friend.

There are many reasons why mobile apps should use in-app surveys. The most important reason is to better understand the people using your app. When you have a better understanding for why people use and like your mobile app you learn how to make faster and smarter decisions, better monetize your app, and make your customers happy.

If you take into account these 5 tips you will be off to a great start to writing a results oriented survey for your mobile app. If you want to start using mobile surveys in your app, here’s a great place to start.

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Post by:

Ezra Siegel
App Monetization

Top 5 Reasons Mobile Developers Fail to Monetize

App Monetization

Developers are constantly looking for ways to increase revenue streams and turn a profit on their apps. There are only have a few options that are really viable, but most are rarely profitable. In fact, 59% of developers don’t even make enough money to recoup the original costs of developing an app. If you have developed a great app that’s providing lackluster results, these five reasons are the likely culprits.

 1. Lack of a Monetization Strategy

Many developers start creating an app without having a monetization strategy. They know they will have some ads and maybe make it a premium app, but that’s about it. Their main focus is on the actual product, which is good. However, apps that are designed with monetization in mind tend to do a lot better. Perhaps ad space is worked into the design, such as interstitial ads or special ad areas. However, if a monetization campaign isn’t integrated into an app so that it fits seamlessly with the user’s experience, it can be less effective. If you’ve created an app that wasn’t optimized ahead of time, there are some options to consider.

First and foremost, there is Poll To Pay. It works as long as there is some available paid content in your app. You just need to integrate the SDK and place a “Poll” button somewhere visible. This allows customers to take a poll in exchange for the paid content, and Poll To Pay will pay you for the content that was given to the customers. People are more likely to part with their time instead of money making this strategy more effective than many ad campaigns.

Second, you can use sponsorships. This is similar to ad-supported monetization, however, it works much better with apps that weren’t originally designed for ads and places more control in the hands of the developer. This is because each advertisement can be custom designed for your app, tailoring the experience specifically for your audience. The idea of sponsorship is to find individual businesses or events to advertise on your app. It works best with industry specific apps that are related to your mobile application. This often results in a higher eCPM because of the contented is related to the app.

2. Not asking for help

Publishers and developers often overlook simply asking their monetization platform for help. The goal of these platforms is to make money, and in return, make you money. Chances are, they have had developers with the same challenges as you, and they know how to help. This can include:

  • Deciding on the right ad format
  • Choosing ad placement
  • Understanding and improving eCPMs
  • SDK challenges

They have access to a lot more research, experts, and experience in monetizing apps and can offer great advice for your specific app. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them, even if you don’t have a problem but just want to monetize smarter.

3. Misunderstanding eCPM

A popular way to judge the effectiveness for an ad campaign is by paying attention to eCPMs or Effective Cost per Mille. This is the ad revenue made per 1,000 impressions. In order to calculate this, follow this simple equation to find out how well your app is monetizing:

eCPM Equation

This is a great way to compare ad campaigns and services. However, this is a tricky metric and should  be seen as a tool and not as the sole way to measure monetization success. Many times the eCPM doesn’t tell the whole story.

For example:

Advertiser “A” gets 10,000,000 impressions in a week. You earn $10,000 which gives you an eCPM of $1.

Advertiser “B” only had 1,000 impressions and paid you $2.50. This means the eCPM was much more for “B” at $2.50.

This makes it so that Advertiser “B” has a higher eCPM and so it seems to be a better place to build up your inventory, where in reality the revenue from advertiser “A” was much better.

4. Maintaining Identical iOS and Android Apps

In order to be successful in the app world, it is almost always necessary to have iOS and Android platforms for your app. However, maintaing identical iOS and Android ad campaigns is a problem a lot of app developers have. These platforms have very different technology, and what works for one operating system might not work on the other. For example, iOS doesn’t allow Notification Push ads on many ad networks, so advertising campaigns have to adjust for this.

The demographics and habits of the customer bases for the iOS and Android are also very different, and can dictate what works best. For example, highly social interstitial ads may work on iOS, whereas simple call to actions on a loading screen may work better for Android. This is always evolving so testing many different options for ad services, ad models, and monetization options are crucial to find out what works for each operating system.

5. Failing to Integrate Ads

When it comes to ad space in an app, things can literally get ugly. It is a shame because designers work so hard to make an app beautiful, right down to the spacing of your font. Mobile ads can really stick out like a sore thumb and this hurts monetization. However, in a CPI model, publishers can help correct this by creatively optimizing ad placement with many services such as AppFlood, MobileCore, or Appnext .

Many ad services allow publishers to create their own banners, buttons, and items to seamlessly fit into the user interface. This looks better and you can make an advertising menu button for customers to see other apps they might like, which will feel as though it is part of the app and not an annoying ad. A good example is the advertisement on the phone to the right. The phone on the left has a good example of a customizable interstitial ad.

Mobile Ads

These 5 areas are important to focus on when you are questioning your own monetization strategy. Always improve your product, but take a closer look at your monetization plan and don’t fall into one of these traps. If you have other insights into what holds apps back from monetizing successfully please share below.

About the author:
Elliott Morrow is a blogger and writer from San Francisco. He relocated to Russia to participate in the growing tech scene, to assist fellow bloggers, and to battle bears on the weekends.

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Guest Blogger
Thankful for Simon

The Top 6 Reasons Why Mobile Apps Give Thanks

I am thankful for my family, friends, food, shelter, life, and much more. During Thanksgiving I get to celebrate, give thanks, and reflect on how fortunate I am.

One of those items I am thankful for are mobile apps. They help me communicate and stay in touch with friends anywhere in the world.  I can deposit checks, sync grocery lists, and remember pretty much everything with an app. Apps are an amazing traveling resource and they encourage me to exercise, cook new dishes, and find new music.

Apps weren’t always capable of doing everything listed above; in fact, mobile apps have come a long way since their birth 5+ years ago. Let’s take a look from a mobile app’s perspective on what mobile apps should be thankful for.

The Top 6 Reasons Why I Am Thankful – Brought to you by me: A Mobile App

1. FunctionalityFrom Simon to the iPhone 5s

Simon iPhone 5s

I am grateful my life didn’t begin and end with Simon. Instead, I live on powerful operating systems that are installed on sleek devices. The limits of what I can do are in the sky. Due to the innovations of millions of app developers the skills on my resume are more impressive than “the most interesting man in the world.” I can book airplane flights, check the weather, provide entertainment, navigate, inspire, encourage, motivate, and bring you the news faster than it takes you to put your socks on in the morning.

The functionality that my brethren and I exhibit wasn’t always this awe-inspiring. Back in the day we were limited to small arcade games, ring tone editors, calendars, calculators etc. Basically nothing exciting. We’ve come a long way, and the future is bright. I can’t wait to see what I will do next.

Give Thanks: I am thankful for my functionality and continually being updated to the latest and greatest in the mobile app scene.

2. DesignFrom eye sores to visual paradise

Evolution of App Design

Functionality is great, but I want to bake the pumpkin pie and eat it too if you know what I mean. I want the style and grace that makes people tear up when they look at me. I want to bring smiles with silly animations and elicit oohs and awws with the newest design trends. App design has changed drastically over the years. I know the older app generation may have felt cool in the equivalent of  60s and 70s attire, but we’re in the 21st century now and I am thankful for the way I look.

It isn’t all superficial though. Great design makes it easier for people to understand how to use me. It feels good to be able to provide an intuitive experience where things just work. Every time a person launches me for the first time and naturally knows how to use all of my feature is a testament to great design.

Give Thanks: I am thankful for beautiful design that makes me look better than Miley Cyrus (WAY BETTER) and helps the least tech savvy person naturally tap the correct buttons.

3. PopularityProm Queen Victory

Prom Queen App

The great debate: web app vs. native app. I wouldn’t say the war is over, but native mobile apps currently hold every bunker, the resources, and if we were playing capture the flag our record would be 100-1. The ballots were cast and this year native apps won prom queen. We number in the millions, which means there is more mobile apps than the population of over 50 countries. In short, I am really popular right now.

Being popular is great and I’ll tell you why. It can take a single individual or hundreds of people on a team to make me, either way, creating jobs that people can support themselves with makes me feel warm inside. With tons of free coding programs anybody can learn the skills to make me which means there are huge opportunities out there for anyone with the determination to learn.

Give Thanks: I am thankful for being the tool of choice that is making a meaningful impact on lives around the world and providing thousands of jobs.

4. CommunityThe bigger the feast the better

App Thanksgiving

Whether it is your neighborhood, your work, sports teams, clubs, or meetings, having a community that supports you is essential. For me, there are amazing developer communities that focus on sharing knowledge to make better apps and better app developers. The people who  are a part of these communities are amazing, creative, and intelligent people. From my own personal experience, some events where I have met great developers are AltWWDC (being changed to AltConf), Google I/O, and 360iDev.

These larger conferences are great places to learn and meet people with similar interests as you from around the world, but don’t forget to check out your local communities.There are local meetups for Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry apps in every larger city. If you live in a smaller town where these communities might not exist yet, make one! It only takes a couple of minutes and creating a supportive community is a great way to meet new people, make better apps, and get out of the house every once in awhile.

Give Thanks: I am thankful for the wonderful developer community that provides support for one another, sharing thoughts, conversation, inspiration on how to make better mobile apps.

5. Customer Happiness -The one thing that matters most, happiness

Customer Smile

As a mobile app I really have only one goal. Make people happy. It takes a lot of work on the development and design side of things, but it’s the goal that every developer, mobile product manager, designer, and head of mobile should aim for. The look on the faces of family when they video chat are priceless. Enabling communication between friends across the world is heart warming. Seeing children learn with a mobile app is pure joy. Helping a couple find that perfect anniversary restaurant is awesome. All this is what I am thankful.

Customer happiness should be the important goal for any company (with a mobile app). When customers are happy they tell their friends and family about me, and then I get the chance to make even more people happy. It’s a great cycle and it works.

Give Thanks: I am thankful for the opportunity to help people smile, laugh, relax, find their way, connect, and cry with joy.

I am extremely fortunate to have what I have and today I give thanks. Thank you to the current OSs and devices. Thank you to everyone who uses me and spreads the word about me to their families and friends. Thank you to the big boss on top who finally realized mobile is the place to be. Thank you to mobile app developers, indie and not. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Mobile is taking us to great heights and I am thankful to be part of it.

Post by:

Ezra Siegel
Ghost

The Top 6 Reasons Why It’s Scary to be A Mobile App

Ghosts, ghouls, witches, and even vampires may come out of the woodwork on Halloween, but to a mobile app they’re hardly reason to shriek into the night. As I considered what costumes I could create that would elicit the most screams and bring my fair share of terror into the night, I caught myself thinking. If I was mobile app, what would be scary to me? Zombies, trolls, and Frankenstein don’t cause a stir, but plenty of items come to mind, and each year they’re getting worse. I bring you:

The Top 6 Reasons Why It’s Scary to be Me: A Mobile App

1. The App Ecosystem - Costume Idea: An extra on Michael Jackson’s Thriller

Michael Jackson Thriller

There are over 1.75 million mobile apps available for download in the app ecosystem. Every week it is growing and getting organically discovered seems as likely as setting the high score for Candy Crush Saga. As a mobile app, I just want to be downloaded and do what I was made to do, but I need to be found first.

Being a part of the app ecosystem is like being an extra on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. You may look great, have all the moves, but no one is going to pay attention to you unless you’re at the front and your name’s MJ.

Get into the spotlight with: ASO, Press

2. ChurnCostume Idea: Zombies (undead customers)

Conehead Zombie

The only thing that hurts more than being all alone in an App Store is being found, downloaded, and then discarded. I may only live in digital space, but I have feelings too. You want to know what’s really scary? Retention rates! On average, retention rates drop to below 30% after a short 90 days.

I’m quickly left wondering, where did all the people go who downloaded me? Is there a way to bring my (un)dead customers back? It makes me shutter thinking about all the zombies who have me on their phones. I wish I knew why some customers left and why some stayed.

Raise the dead with: Engagement, In-app Customer Support - It’s time to bring them back “Warm Bodies” style - with a little love.

3. Device/OS Fragmentation- Costume Idea: Dr. Jeykell & Mr. Hyde

jekyell & hyde

You are all so terribly hard to please! I think I am going a little crazy trying to handle every new operating system and device that gets released. Android is the usual suspect with over 10,000 distinct Android devices seen this year and eight different OS’s in use. Apple’s fragmentation is nothing to scoff at though, the generations of iPad’s, iPod’s, and iPhone’s adding up is starting to give me a headache as well.

I’m afraid to fall asleep at night not knowing where I might crash and bug out tomorrow. I feel like I have a thousand split personalities. Compared to me, Dr. Jeykell and Mr. Hyde had it easy.

Prevent odd behavior with: Testing

4. Negative ReviewsCostume Idea: The Girl From The Ring

There is nobody more unhappy looking than the girl from the ring. She’s so unhappy that looking at her makes me feel terrible inside, thus her image will not be placed on this page. She’s so unhappy that she makes other people unhappy just by being in the same room with her.

Apparently I make people so unhappy that they leave negative reviews in the app store (ouch). Most of the time I don’t know what is wrong from their comments or they’re upset about a bug that has been squashed (change your review if the problem has been fixed!). These negative reviews make people think they won’t be happy if they download me, but that’s simply not true! I have many happy customers but they’re just too busy being happy to take the time to leave a review. My reputation is based on star ratings and reviews, and it really cheers me up when my happy customers leave a rating.

Turn that frown upside down with: Apptentive :)

5. Marketing BudgetsCostume Idea: Ghost

ghost

There is a lot of noise in the mobile industry and I somehow seem to drift through it all like a ghost. Nobody sees me and I haven’t quite saved up enough money for the “don’t be a ghost” operation. Even with cash to burn, I’ve heard it’s still difficult to be noticed. As mobile continues to grow, I’m afraid that some marketing budgets will be too big to keep up with (some already are).

Correctly marketing me is a task that my creators can no longer ignore as it is crucial to every app’s success. The time of making apps and making it big without a marketing strategy is long gone. I am beautiful and talented so make a marketing plan to get me noticed. Not every marketing plan needs money to work.

Make Casper a real boy with: CreativityRelationships with Bloggers, Review Sites

6. Development CostsCostume Idea: It’s Alive!!!!! (Frankenstein)

Young Frankenstein

Holy broomsticks! My great great grandfather was made for only 10 cents, but mobile apps these days can cost into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Once the mobile app development process begins, every little feature, design change, update, and maintenance starts to add up. It’s like Frankenstein coming alive and reaping havoc all across the town while you’re helpless to stop him (because you love him so much).

Now, I don’t think there is anything more important than me, but I can sympathize with what these growing costs can mean for businesses that want an app like me. In an effort to preserve and promote my kind, I urge you to be smart about how you develop your app. There are lots of tools out there (some free, some not) that will save you hours upon hours of dev time, cut down on maintenance, and are cheaper than doing it yourself.

Stop the monster rampage with: 3rd Party Solutions (Push, Support, Analytics etc.), Minimum Viable Product, Find a friendly dev who takes payment in candy corn.

Being Prepared

Zombie PrepareThe only way to beat my fears is by being prepared, just as the only way anyone is going to survive the Zombie Apocalypse is by being ready for it. Having strategies in place for all of these issues are as important as the development of an app. Without knowing how to handle these issues, your app won’t get very far. Do your research, spend time sketching out ideas, and make a plan for your app even before development begins.

If you have any other suggestions on what mobile apps need to know and prepare for in order to survive please share in the comments, I want to survive!

Post by:

Ezra Siegel