App Economy

Mobile Marketing and Strategy by Josef Mayerhofer

How to get players addicted

Spieler süchtig nach F2P

The nasty retention strategies in f2p games

»I’d use birthday money, I’d eat cheaper lunches, I’d ask my wife to pay for dinner so I’d have a spare $10-$20 to spend in the store. Which does mean, I guess, that I was thinking about it even away from the game.«

Team Fortress 2 addict Chris on Gamasutra: Chasing the Whale: Examining the ethics of free-to-play games 

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The F2P Funnel

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Freemium what is that? – A history of the greedy gifting

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Copied again: Growl vs Apple Notifications in Mountain Lion

grow_vs_notification_center
Unfortunately, it has almost become the rule: Every Apple software unveiling has a more or less bitter taste for indie developers.

Yesterday without much fanfare OS X Mountain Lion was presented to us, and it contains many nice new features. Most of the features such as notifications we already know from iOS. However these notifications strongly remind of the ones you find in Growl, an open source notification system for Mac OS. At least that’s how John Gruber (daring fireball) sees it. The tool has been around for more than seven years and to much regret took the step from freeware app to paid App Store offering. Loyal fans (like me) of course, have no problem to support the project around Christopher Forsythe with 1.99$.

Growls benefits have since been discovered by other developers and borrowed for their own apps. Since version 5 Skype users can choose between the built-in “Visual Notifications” and Growl who previously had to use the definitely Growl. This summer OS X Mountain Lion will be offering notifications that fade in and out the upper right corner and then disappear again. Hello Growl.
grow vs. notification center comparison

grow vs notification apple comparison

Growl notifications on the left and Apple's new notifications right

Apple uses the ideas and concepts of the developers that already put their creative energy to benefit Apple far too frequently. At the presentation of iOS5 this was particularly obvious and I was not the only one pointing out cases like that of WhatsApp vs. iMessage. Another example is Delicious Library. Wil Shipley’s jaw dropped when he saw the Apple Keynote in January 2010 when he saw the interface of the newly released iBooks app.

Apple bedient sich viel zu häfig der Ideen und Konzepte der Entwickler die Ihre kreative Energie ohnehin schon zu Apples Nutzen einsetzen. Bei der Vostellelung von iOS5 war dies besonders offensichtlich und ich war nicht der einzige der über Fälle wie den von Whatsapp vs. iMessage berichtet hat. Ein anderes Beispiel ist Delicious Library. Wil Shipley fiel die Kinnlade herunter als er bei der Apple Keynote im Januar 2010 die Oberfläche der neu vorgestellten iBooks-App zu sehen bekam.

“I guess it’s not enough Apple has hired every employee who worked on Delicious Library, they also had to copy my product’s look. Flattery?”

Later, in an interview with TechCrunch he seemed disenchanted:

“Now, of course Apple couldn’t contact me ahead of time and say, ‘Hey, we’re taking your idea, thanks.’ Their lawyers would worry they’d open themselves to a huge lawsuit, for one, and they’d also be leaking a secret. Nor could they write me a check. Even a token one would be an admission (in their lawyers’ eyes) that they were copying something. They are a public company — they can’t write someone a check unless they got some value in return. And if they got value, the lawyers would ask, how much was it? How was it determined?,”

At least he can be proud of his work:

“My designs are my children. … But your children aren’t really yours. They have lives of their own. So when your designs do change the world, you have to accept it. You have to say, ‘Ok, this was such a good idea, other people took it and ran with it. I win.’”

It almost looks as if the Growl team would have to grow similar attitude. Because lock-in effects are much weaker in Growl, than in WhatsApp Messenger. And for the developer community we can only hope that public pressure will bring Apple to start to pay royalties but for others’ ideas.

How does one get reviews for an app? An interview with “head reviewer” Frederick Osterhoff.

Tips from an insider: An interview with editor in chief of appgefahren, a German app review blog.

In the beginning of 2010 Fredrick Osterhoff set up abbgefahren.de and launched an app for this blog. In the meantime the young information science student made a business out of this hobby. He has about 30.000 regular readers. A team of independent bloggers helps the self-made app-entrepreneur to deliver them fresh content every day. The editor in chief gives us a peek behind the curtain and a few useful tips for getting your app reviewed.  Continue reading

Success through a Small Target Audience: Specialize your App!

infographic
Your app does not have to appeal to everybody. Just everybody from your target group. Define the target audience so precisely you won’t find it difficult to tailor a perfect app to their needs. Continue reading

Naming an App — Find the best name from the Marketing Perspective.

app name idea

Where do potential users find your app? If they are not guided to your app through external sources such as reviews or recommendations from friends, they will find it in the app store: A large part of apps is sold this way. Hence, your appearance in the App Store and the associated visibility are of critical importance.

At first glance, visitors assess your app based on four criteria:

  1. App Name
  2. Icon
  3. Screenshots
  4. Star Rating

These four points have to convince the visitor to want to know more about your app. For customers with attention deficit disorder, they might even be the sole basis of decision-making. These visitors are so impatient that they skip the description text and reviews.

In this blog post I shed light on the the written part of your app’s business card. I’ve put together four simple principles that will help you to find your app-name or improve an existing one.

1 The name of the app must be easy to memorize for the user. Remember that users are faced with a myriad of apps and will initially see your app for a few seconds tops.

examples:

  • In the game Fruit Ninja you split fresh fruit with your virtual sword. The fun game idea is conveyed in the name; It is short and memorable.
  • ElementalKnightsOnlineTheWorld, an MMORPG sits on the other end of the memorability scale. Even if the developers had opted for the use of spaces in their name, it would remain cumbersome and boring.

If you want to put more information into your app’s name, you may want to choose a short name and append further information. On the device, then only show the short name:

  • WhatsApp is named “WhatsApp Messenger” in the app stores. Below the icon on the phone only WhatsApp is shown. An important additional information for newbies who don’t know what the app is all about.

 

2 To ensure that your app is found via the search function, you should add a keyword if possible.

The placement of keywords in the app’s name is important not only for the search inside the app stores, but it also has positive effects on the discoverability by conventional search engines.

3 Another factor for your app name should be uniqueness. Apart from the fact that you can get legal problems if the name of your app overlaps with another the confusion this causes is likely to be problem for you anyway.

In the long run you want to build a strong brand. If your app’s name is confusingly similar to those of other apps it stands in it’s own light. The example of Fruit Ninja also meets the criterion of uniqueness.

4 The name of your app should be as uniform as possible out in various app stores and countries. The brand of your app can only grow through constant presence.

Imagine, you have different app names for your Android and iPhone versions. If a blogger does not explicitly link the two app stores, it may be that your app is only found in one of two stores by potential customers. By using different names, you inhibit spillover effects and slow down the positive feedback.

This topic is particularly relevant in light of the international exposure of your app. While some users are only active in the part of the internet that is written in their native language, there is a second group that don’t care to much about language barriers. The first group of users might not understand the name of your app if it was not translated. And the second group can’t find the app, if the name in their home country is different. With the standardization of the name, you should consider both groups. If your app’s name is not understood internationally, you can translate a part of the app name. It keeps your brand internationally consistent and the name of your app still comprehensible.

  • The app FidMe (iOS, Android, WP7, Bada, Blackberry and Nokia), replaces your plastic loyalty cards. The name is adapted from the French word for loyalty card – carte de fidélité. Most users of the English localization, however will not understand that. In this case, the developer could have included descriptive words such as “FidMe – Loyalty Card Management”. Although that name is cumbersome, the improved tangibility and the inserted keywords are more valuable than the short name.

Image: Kristian Niemi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Emotional App-Marketing: The story behind your app.

Thomas Suarez on Apps at tedx. Photo by Daniel Sofer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Probably you have already seen a video, that hasn’t only made a fuss in the app world but has gone viral the past couple of days: I am referring to the TEDx Talk the twelve-year-old developer Thomas Suarez gave not long ago. With his little company CarrotCorp he has a few programs in the iTunes App Store and inspires other kids at his school to learn how to create apps too.

As always when a young talent outdoes his peers it calls for two kinds of reaction: excessive admiration or totally out of place hate tirades. Of course it may be kind of intimidating for some adult developers when a twelve-year-old shows this kind of ambition and with his presentation makes even experienced speakers look bad in comparison. You start to imagine what this young mind might do just a few years from now. Ok, that is a little frightening or even offending for everyone who himself isn’t a teenager anymore.

But instead of suspecting overambitious parents or arrogance just out of your hurt pride you should try to learn something out of this video for your own app marketing: Don’t only advertise your app, also market yourself – and your history.

Suarez’ apps aren’t state of the art programming. They have the charm of playful experiments and still are very good; for a twelve-year-old that is. He even sells them for 99 Cents and gets good ratings, because he gets a youth bonus. People want to support him by buying his app. That should show you: The more personal you can tell the story of your app and the more positive emotions your users can link to it, the better.

So try and think about a story that you can tell about your app or how you made it: You created your selection of cooking tricks, because once you nearly died of food poisoning? For programming your game you had to take a two hour bus ride everyday; from your rumanian farmers’ village to the next internet café? Whatever you think is suitable to give your app a personal touch and the press a great headline or anecdote to tell – use it. But stay authentic.

There isn’t a good story for every app and in that case you have to focus on its qualities solely. But if there is, don’t be shy. If a twelve-year-old can do it, so can you.

Image: Daniel Sofer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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