How to be successful on the App Store?

After speaking at MDDAY conference in Moscow on how we promote our apps, I decided to sum up my presentation here.

So how do we make our apps stand out? How do we reach high positions on the App Store? What worked and what didn’t?

I am about to share our AppStore success formula^.
^Please note, that this worked for Readdle. So we are talking about high-end paid productivity and business apps.

Great Product + Happy User + Press + E-mail + Splash = Success.

Great Product.
I am convinced that your business can’t be successful if your product isn’t awesome, or at least it isn’t perceived as awesome (Yes Beats, I am talking about you!).

A great product on the App Store should solve real life issue. It should be helpful and bring real value. Scanner Pro, for example, transforms your iPhone into a portable scanner. You no longer have to go to the office to scan something, that’s why this app saves you time and money.

Happy User.
A great product makes users happy. It’s that simple! Let’s be honest, we live in a world of egoists. Nobody cares how hard you worked, how much you spent, how passionate (or not!) you are about your business. Everyone is focused on one thing – “ME”!

So we have to stop thinking about our company, our work, some random features. Instead, we should focus on what makes our user better. We want to empower him, we want to make him more efficient, cooler, greater.


If done right, it gives unexpected benefits and people genuinely want your product.

Back in 2008, when we just started, my pitching skills were horrible, I admit it. Unfortunately, I had to learn everything on my own, there were very few people who knew how to do things back then.

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.27.27 PM

I want you to avoid my mistakes, that’s why “Pitch Perfect” by Steve Sande and Erica Sadun is a MUST read. It provides a great overview of the industry, how blogs work and give great canvas how to pitch.

Some Press Tips.
You know that blogs do care about traffic, right? If someone wrote about you, drive some traffic to that article! It will make an author happier and he will more likely write about you next time. Sharing this article on social media, commenting and engaging is a great way to start.

Play a detective. Guys, you have to understand who are you talking to! Before mass e-mailing and pitching, try to make a research who is the best person to talk to on that blog or site. Follow them on Twitter, engage in discussions, care about what that person does.


Be friends. Blogs and sites are run by people, right? Try to be genuinely nice and friendly. Help them! If they visit your town – give some directions. If they have a new initiative – support it. You don’t even know powerful that is!

Attend exhibitions. Although we live in a very open and connected world, I do believe that personal contact does matter! Attend exhibitions and meet people from the industry! Macworld iWorld, WWDC, MWC usually attract industry leaders, experts and bloggers – come and participate. You have to hustle if you want success.

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 8.20.32 PM

Pitch. Just keep it short. Tell why a person should read your e-mail, and skip 599 others. Be passionate! Tell why you products is amazing. And please, don’t forget to include links.

Create videos. Nobody likes to read! Make it easier for everyone – a picture is better than thousand words, a video is better than a picture. Launch videos do amazingly well in our case, getting 50-70K views in a first few days. 50,000 people actually spend 60 seconds of their life and saw your product! Isn’t it amazing?

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 5.02.11 PM

Who thinks that e-mail is dead? You are so wrong. I do believe that e-mail is the most intimate and personal way of communication with your user (we are not going to use Whatsapp or Snapchat).

If you have users, sign them up for e-mail newsletter? Send out tips and tricks, give exclusive news and something useful!

That’s how we did it!

Result: 600K+ subscribers with 50% open rate.

Splash. Never forget about trying different things and measuring them. A, B or even C stuff. Sometimes you’ll be surprised.

We showed two different splashes to PDF Expert users, when we were launching PDF Expert 5 as a separate app. The first one (my favourite) was a great looking photo that showed interface, gorgeous background and app info.

Splash - Existing-B-ipad-land@2x

The second one – simple minimalistic screen that tells that the new version is out!

Splash - Existing-A-ipad-land@2x

Guess which one won?

The second one was almost twice more successful, which brought us 70,000 (!) more clicks! Do the maths. That means you have to put away your assumptions and start measuring things.

So that was a short overview of what works for us. There are a few outstanding posts by Jeremy Olson and Dan Counsell that I strongly advice to read.

I’ll be happy to hear your feedback. Did I miss anything? Please do tell me.


2 thoughts on “How to be successful on the App Store?

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