A Rough Week For App Store Developers

The last 7 days was a bumpy ride for the whole App Store ecosystem. Being one of the leading developers there (at least in Productivity space) we are aiming to create great user experience at any given point of time, so if Apple needs our help – we are happy to provide whatever needed.

Watch OS 2 Issue

The things started to go down around iOS 9 release, when Apple announced that Watch OS 2 cannot go live because of a critical bug. The damage to the ecosystem wasn’t critical because there are not too many Apple Watches in the world right now, and Apple was quick with the fixes a few days after.

App Store Analytics Struggles

A few weeks ago we’ve noticed some issues in our app numbers and those from App Store Analytics. They simple were not matching, so it’s hard for us to make business decisions (be it picking the wining A/B test, or the right numbers for our app page conversions. Once we reported this, App Store told us that analytics “is broken for iOS 8.4.1”.

Yesterday, I noticed that App Store analytics doesn’t work for iOS 9 devices.

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Once again, it’s not critical. But we’ve been working on iOS 9 updates for all our apps for over 2 months, and it would be great to see how people use those features, adoption and so on.

iTunes Connect Delays

Update: If your builds are stuck in “processing, try to reload them”.

The way iTunes Connect works is simple. You compile your app build with Xcode, upload that to iTC with Application Loader and the build should be available for submission to the App Store.

Yesterday we’ve updated 4 flagship apps (Scanner Pro, PDF Expert, Documents and Spark) to support 3D touch and Quick Actions on the new iPhones. We always add new functionality to our software to take the most from the new hardware. In the end, this will help Apple to sell more iPhones 6s.

However, our apps are stuck in “processing” the build to iTC for over 10 hours already. I looked on Twitter, and saw many other developers struggling with the same issue.

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Truth be told, Apple is being very responsive and willing to help. So hopefully, we can get our apps in the App Store right before iPhone 6s release, so the new users can enjoy Quick Actions – it’s really going to change how we use apps.

Room For Improvement

Apple is definitely doing a lot right, and I personally love that company. All I want is a stable ecosystem for both developers and customers. Because in the end, this defines Apple’s own success in selling iOS devices to tens of millions people. Unfortunately, not that many developers these days can build sustainable businesses around apps (unlike in 2012). The whole App Store mechanics has changed, but that’s whole another issue that deserves a separate blog post.

We, and other developers, are always open for feedback and help when it comes to fixing the ecosystem or finding bugs. Giving the volume of apps it’s not an easy task for Apple to get everything right, but there’s no-one else on this planet who can do it better than them.

Final iOS 9 Checklist For Your App

Tomorrow we will witness another great keynote by Apple, where they will release the latest and greatest products. The reports say that we should expect iPhone 6S (also a new Rose Gold color), iPad Pro, Apple TV, iOS 9 and a few more things.

Is your app ready for iOS 9?

Let’s go thought a quick checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Apple wants to see these iOS 9 features in your apps asap:
– App Search (CoreSpotlight, Web Markup)
– User Activity
– Multitasking (Slide Over, Split View)
– New HealthKit quantity types/ HomeKit
– Metal

If you add these, it’ll improve your chances of being featured on the App Store as iOS 9 compatible apps.

Multi-Tasking is one of the biggest features for productivity apps and where context matters.

-Slide-Over (iPad Air) -it’s like a tall iPhone app design with 320×1024 resolution.

-Split-Screen (iPad Air 2) – more details below.

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-Picture in Picture (iPad Air)

Search is going to be big. It adds this extra layer of contextual knowledge and removes friction. The new Search will include User Activity and Core Spotlight – make sure you’ve added that.

Other iOS 9 features that are nice to have:

  • Open In in Place
  • App Thinning (Slicing is very easy to implement, On-Demand Resources mostly make sense for games or content heavy apps, Bitcode)
  • Coalesced Touches / Predicted Touches
  • New Extensions
  • Web Markup
  • Universal Links
  • Support for Right-to-Left languages

You can find more info about iOS 9 at WWDC 15 talks:

Once you are done with technical part, don’t forget to tell all this to the world.

Educate Your Users.

Your users will be the first people in the world to appreciate all the hard work you’ve done for them in iOS 9 update. So don’t forget to add What’s New description on the App Store App page. I think it’s not enough, so we also added a quick note inside our apps, so every user will be able to see the new features. Moreover, we’re doing a huge email campaign and educating our users why iOS 9 is cool and why split view is such a big deal for productivity apps.

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Let Apple Know.

App Store team should be your best friend and ally. If you don’t know anyone from the App Store global team – you really should hustle and get in touch with them. As soon as you are done with the updates, let them know about each app and what kind of iOS 9 features you’ve added. My guess is that there will be a huge feature on the iOS 9 compatible apps – you really have to be there to get recognition, karma and millions of eyeballs.

Get Press.

Journalists and bloggers who use your products are the best advocates. Once you add useful and shiny features to your apps – they will gladly share this with their readers. So drop a quick note to them and tell them what’s up. If your stuff is cool – you are going to be covered. Also, use your blog and social media to spread the word.

I can add more technical details that are useful for devs (especially on Search and Multitasking) – so feel free to ask.

Did I forget anything ?

PDF Expert 5 is #3 on the App Store. Wonder how many downloads it takes to get there?

People tend to exaggerate when it comes to the top charts of the App Store. We all hear about quadrillion revenues and multi-billion exits. But do you know exactly how much developers earn? That’s why sometimes it’s better not to earn anything. :)

The Mac App Store in super tiny, #8 position in top paid charts with just 94 downloads gives around $450 a day, according to Sam Soffes.

iOS App Store is slightly bigger, but it seems to be the playground for huge titles and freemium monsters. I’m happy to share some numbers from the top paid charts of the App Store.

This week our flagship product – PDF Expert 5 – went on a 50% sale to celebrate Teacher’s Appreciation Week (hosted by Apple) and got into Top 3 Paid iPad apps in the U.S.

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Wonder how many downloads does it take to get there? Only 700-800 downloads will grant you a place in the Top 5 chart for sure. But bear in mind that App Store ranking system is somewhat more complicated than just plain number of downloads, it also takes into account factors like rating, timing, usage, and god knows what else. So if you do the maths and give away 30% Apple cut you’ll see that the revenues are that hefty.

While being #3 Paid App with $4.99 price tag, it only gave us #160 position in Top Grossing chart. Once again we are witnessing the rise of freemium apps and content.

Welcome to the real world.

Never underestimate: A great case how PDF Converter reached the top of the App Store.

Here’s an interesting story how PDF Converter, one of our apps largely underrated by us, got to the top of the App Store worldwide.

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PDF Converter was originally released as an iPad app in 2011. It got quite a good coverage in press and media, with a good feedback from the users. The app itself does what it supposed to do – converts any file into a good looking PDF. (Tip: it’s much easier to market and sell products that do just one thing).

Truth be told, after the launch we never put too much effort into PDF Converter, however we did release a few upgrades with amazing iOS 8 features. There was always something preventing us from making it universal – flagship apps got all the love, huge updates for PDF Expert 5, release of PDF Office and so on. Nevertheless, recently we’ve got our hands on PDF Converter to make it a universal app. The new version had a slightly revamped interface, a few new features, improved stability and, most importantly, it became universal (available for iPhones).

It got a quick approval on iTunes Connect and I was about to hit “Release” button, we didn’t want to make it a “big” release with all the marketing activities at first, because  the campaign for newly released PDF Office was in full swing. However, I decided to wait and release it the week after, so we can prepare for a proper launch.

The marketing campaign for this launch was quite standard: e-mail newsletters to our subscribers, press and media coverage, social networks and blog. I already wrote how to do a great launch. We also decided to do a limited 50% price drop campaign to get more volume, which  helped us to reach the top charts (the regular price is $6.99).

Surprisingly for all of us, the results next day were outstanding! I woke up to check the charts and found that PDF Converter became absolute #1 business app almost in every country on both iPhone and iPad. We sold more than 6,400 copies that day. It was picked up and welcomed by the press all over the world . What’s more, is that our e-mail newsletter did show the best conversion rates. There was a waterfall effect all over.

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Trying to analyze what happened and why, I draw a few important lessons and conclusions.

1. Never underestimate products in your portfolio. Sometimes you are just not doing enough to make some of your apps/ products/ services successful.
2. If you are multi-product company, do not focus solely on your flagships. Sometimes, making 20% of efforts might bring you nice financial return, halo effect and good karma.
3. It is much easier to market “simple products”. While it’s obvious for many of us, sometimes developers struggle to explain what their app does in a few words. Keep it simple. You’ll see the benefits of it right away.
4. Give love to your existing users. They are your best bet while introducing new products. This group of loyal customers will more likely to buy new stuff from your. So work on their retention, suggestions and always listen to their feedback – this is how you earn loyalty. When your release a universal version, notify your existing users that they can get a freebie on their iPhones – they’ll be thrilled.
5. E-mail marketing works! I told this already, but once again, e-mail marketing is more than alive. You just have to be smart about it: localize your e-mails, craft different message for different audiences, send it first thing in the morning for various time zones.
6. Press is still powerful. I love working with press. Get in their shoes and understand what they are looking for. Craft your message accordingly and reach out when it’s time. Press has always been a great channel for us, since we don’t use paid user acquisition (a.k.a. advertising) at all. So press would be your best bet for organic traffic of early adopters. (Tip: make sure you have a great service or product, before showing it to public).
7. iPhone market is much bigger than the iPad one. If you have an iPad only app, consider making it universal. You will be surprised how many more potential customers your’ll reach.
8. Take advantage of bundles. Get additional exposure and up-sales by creating bundles with the existing apps. PDF Converter goes well with PDF Expert 5, so it make total sense to create a PDF bundle, where people can convert files into PDFs in PDF Converter and then edit/ sigh/ annotate them in PDF Expert 5. Tip: this will also increase your chances to be higher in the App Store search results.

This case basically indicates that you should always improve your product and let the world know about it. If it is good – the results will pay off.

**Bonus**: Statistics on the app download numbers.
You know that I like sharing numbers. Here’s the most recent numbers of app downloads you need to reach certain positions of paid app charts in different countries. Numbers with “#” indicate rank in business category, and numbers in “()” show absolute rank in this country.

US #1 (23) – 2919
Canada #1 (16) – 284
Germany #1 (12) – 711
France #1 (10) – 202
Spain #1 (5) – 172
Italy #1 (1) – 328
Brazil #1 (4) – 378
UK #1 (31) – 273
Russia #1 (19) – 187

Interesting, that German market is almost 4 times bigger than in France. At the same time, Spain is twice as small compared to Brazil. Almost 3,000 app downloads will grant you top 20 in the US, while only 330 people have to buy your app in Italy to make it #1.

If you have any comments and questions, I’ll be happy to answer them below.

Berlin-London-Dublin-Tokyo: Granular Memories and Random Facts.

I was travelling for the last 35 days around the Globe and I feel obliged to share some memories, cool moments and thoughts with you. To keep it short, I’ll steer away from the traditional storytelling. Instead, I’ll draw fast and granular memories from those cities, interesting facts and worthwhile places – like impressionists did with their paintings.

Berlin

In order to boost team spirit and synergy we brought our US and Ukrainian teams together to launch the newest SAAS project from Readdle. After initial research we decided to pick Berlin as our base for those two weeks.

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Berlin is known for its startup eco-system, tremendous energy and creative people. I’ve heard great things about the spirit in Berlin, which is very different from classic German cities such as Munich and Frankfurt. It’s a melting pot.

Berlin is the cheapest (in a good way) capital in the EU. “If you are spending more than $10 on a meal – you are doing something wrong”, – said my German friend who lived there for a few years.

Kebabs! Best value for money I ever had in my life! No joke! For $4 you get an amazing chicken kebab from a friendly Turkish guy. You can function on this whole day. By the way, Kebabs were invented by Turks in Berlin, once they came to rebuilt the city after the end of Second World War. There’s a huge Turkish community which consists of 300.000 people.

Berlin is famous for its underground and techno nightclubs. Since I was on my own most of the time, I didn’t get much experience of that. Instead, I visited a few mainstream clubs like The Pearl and Felix, which were fine. The good vibes and amazing cocktails were served at this famous bar under the bridge – Tausend. You should definitely try “Odessa Jailbreak” and “No Nuts – No Glory”. Oh yes, and the “Old Fashioned” one at Ritz-Carlton is a must – the best I’ve tried yet.

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Berlin is huge. 9 times bigger than San Francisco. So pick your staying location wisely. I would recommend staying somewhere around Mitte. That’s what I’ll do next time.

Check out the Zoo there. Tigers, lions and panthers are well-fed and healthy. Still in cages though.

If you are there and love eclectic shows that might blow your mind – check out The Wyld musical.

Dublin

Right after Berlin we flew to Dublin, stopping for one day in London. Dublin is a great, atmospheric and traditional Irish city with more pubs than you can think of.

Web Summit brought 20.000 people to Dublin from all over the world. What strikes me most is the fact that the whole country is working to bring the best tech talent and companies to Ireland. Everyone is involved and everyone knows why you are there, from the customs officer to a dancer in a club.

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Since my schedule was really tight, I haven’t done any sightseeing at all. However, I visited a few great places, where the an exclusive events were being held. My exploration started at Guiness Brewery, which is the most famous attraction in Ireland. The factory produces 17.000.000 pints of Guiness per day and ships worldwide. The taste of Guiness in Dublin is different from that bottle in your local grocery store. Irish people also like mixing up Oysters with Guiness – interesting experience.

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Have you ever entered a black door on a black street with just one bouncer outside? I did. The moment you walk in reminded me of Narnia. Nothing can tell you from the outside that there is this chic and vintage whiskey bar with colors of gold, flowers and dozens of people smoking cigars. Great experience. Once again, you have to know places.

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London

The more you can afford in London – the more you like it. Each time I’m there – I like it more and more. Let’s skip all the traditional tourist destinations and dig into some details and interesting places.

It was a pre-Christmas season, that’s why the whole city shined bright with bazzillion lights, filled with millions of tourists and have this tremendous vibe.

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My goal was to visit British National Museum, but the closest I made there was the ice-rink place next to it. Surprisingly enough, it was be fun.

As for the cool restaurants and places to visit: Cocochan for great dumplings, Ice Bar for great shots from your ice glasses, Kouzu for the finest Japanese cuisine experience (get the duck!), Mamounia for sheesha. Burger and Lobster serves full size lobsters (or burgers) for just 20 pounds. As for the clubs – Maddox and Cuckoo are good choices.

If you prefer calm and chilled places, try attending musicals such as “Lion King” and “Phantom of the Opera”. Or you can enjoy the biggest IMAX at BFI next to Waterloo station.

I really liked the Canary Wharf neighbourhood – it feels so chilled, because of the canals, yet energetic and young. I would live there for a few years for sure.

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During a meeting with a friend from Goldman Sachs we visited the trade floor. Oh my God!!! It is exactly what they showed us in movies: a huge open space with dozens of people screaming, calling and trading. Each Table had at least 3-4 displays with huge graphics, scales, numbers and news reports. Amazing atmosphere!

One more funny thing: Harrods had a great deal: spend $16,000 and get a free parking spot for 2 hours. Isn’t it amazing?

Tokyo

It was my second time in Japan – the sheer excitement now changed to deeper understanding of the culture and social dynamics.

Sophistication – this is the right word to describe Japan and its culture. Everything is meaningful, proper and solid. Salary men give their lives to companies they work for. Everything is done with respect. For instance: the hotel wallet bowed to a taxi driver, when he picked me up. By the way, the doors in taxi cabs are opened and closed automatically – so you don’t even have to touch them.

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Shibuya, the most crowded intercrossing in the world, has a small corner with a famous Hachiko monument. We all know Hachiko’s story, how she waited for her owner for years. And this is very symbolic to see a sign of loyalty and love in an endless stream of people passing by.

Everything has to be done properly. A friend of mine, who is doing fast food sausage business in Tokyo (yes, you heard it right) has told me an interesting fact, that if you want to speak Japanese with a business person – you have to know the language perfectly. It’s not acceptable to make mistakes while talking, because “how can we do business with you if you can’t even talk properly?”. It’s almost impossible to learn Japanese to that level in less than 10 years. That is why they use local translators or joint ventures for doing business.

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Since I was visiting TechCrunch Japan and meeting with local business people, I found out another fascinating fact that doesn’t fit the Western culture. A startup or a founder has only one chance to make it right. If you fail – you loose respect and probably won’t get funding in the future at all. Quite tough, right?

Let’s switch to food. Food in Japan is amazing. Whether it’s a cheap ramen for $6 or a rare sea urchin – the taste is always delicious. Kobe beef sushi was the best beef I’ve tried in my life! The variety of dishes even for breakfast is shocking. Unfortunately, I didn’t make to the famous fish market this time, where they sell huge tuna at the auction at 4-5 AM. Next time then.

A few times after long days of meetings, I went walking around the small streets, parks and highways. Sometimes Tokyo feels like a cleaner version of New York. It’s super clean. With 30 million people living there, it doesn’t feel overcrowded. People don’t run on the streets, in fact, I was the one walking faster than others. If you are walking on a street at 5 PM you will hear the mysterious melody – tremendous atmosphere, especially if you are lost and just wondering around.

Another surprise for me was a unique blend of traditions and high-tech in such a modern city. You can see small Japanese gardens here and there, people bowing to each other, historic monuments and signs surrounded with high-rises.

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To better understand Japan and Tokyo, you have to live there for a few years. So if you are courageous enough – I totally recommend you doing that. The good thing is that Tokyo less expensive than any other alpha city (according to locals $50K annual income will allow you to make a decent living there).

Great trip. Amazing 35 days. Feel free to ask questions and directions – I’ll be happy to give tips and guidance, as well as connections.

Marketing Checklist For Your iOS 8 App Launch

Is your app ready for iOS 8? Have you updated it and added all the great functionality iOS 8 provides? That sounds great, but what should you do next? There are a few helpful (I hope) tips that I’m going to share.

Update iTunes Connect.
Have you added great features, extensions and widgets? Very good, probably your app became much better and added a few use case scenarios. It is important to share this with your potential users who read your App Store descriptions. Update your App Description, What’s New and Screenshots. It is important to explicitly focus on the new iOS 8 functionality. People love new cool things, but they have to learn about their existence first.

Create Compelling App Previews.
While updating your iTunes Connect metadata you will notice that your apps can be advertized using short 15-30 second videos, a.k.a App Previews. App Preview must show the actual interface of the app, unfortunately, ad or promo quality videos are prohibited. You can easily record those using Yosemite’s QuickTime. Make it easy to understand, show the main cool/ killer features, add comments and music and you are ready to go.

P.S. App Previews are language specific, so it’ll take a lot of work to create a video for each language, each app, on both devices (iPhone and iPad). Let me know if you find a way to streamline that process.
These guys at IconicVideo can help you by the way.

An example of our Scanner Pro Preview:

Update: “App Previews are not localized, so limit copy to easily understandable terms and consider language choice in light of your target audience.”

Educate Your Existing Users.
It is vital to keep your existing users engaged and happy. After all, stickiness and retention matter more than absolute download numbers. Giving your existing users a free candy is always a good idea, especially with the iOS 8 groundbreaking features. For that reason you can use splash screens, e-mail newsletter, blog and your social media channels. But devs, pretty please, make those messages relevant and craft target segments carefully, so your users get useful information, not just promo materials.

For example: Our Calendars 5 now has a widget that allows to see the schedule in Notifications Center, which is pretty cool. So we will tell our Calendars 5 users about it via splash, e-mail and mention it on our blog.

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Take Advantage of App Bundles.
While being in the new iTunes Connect you will also discover that you can now bundle up your apps in one package. It’s a great move from Apple, hands down! Everyone wins: you can sell more, users get more for less.

A few details about App Bundles:
– Total price of a bundle should be less than all apps combined. The normal practice would be to discount from 30% to 50% of the total value.
– A bundle icon will consist of the 4 first apps that you add to the bundle.
– You cannot use “essential”, “Collection” and “Editor’s Choice” while naming your bundle.
– The bundle screenshots would be first images/video previews of the apps that it consists off.
– Apple Editorial team might be doing something for bundle promotions, so create them according to the guidelines to increase your chances if being featured.
– The first app (main) will determine bundle’s category on the App Store.
– For those whole has one app, there will be an option to “Complete Bundle” which can potentially boost your sales.

Example: I am making “Readdle Productivity Pack” that consists of Scanner Pro, PDF Expert 5 and Printer Pro. This is a great example when users can get complementary apps with a 40% discount. With deep-linking in place, our apps talk to each other making it super easy to work with documents (create PDFs using Scanner Pro, edit and sign them with PDF Expert 5 and print directly from your iOS device with Printer Pro).

Dig iTunes Analytics.
The new iTunes Connect would be the place to stay for hours, days and weeks as a marketer. Finally, Apple is going to show us all analytics about our apps, users, platforms, sources of traffic, impressions and conversions. This is groundbreaking! We can now measure the direct effectiveness of Screenshots, Video Previews, app descriptions and keywords. Moreover, you will be able to track sources of traffic and see what campaigns work best. If you don’t have a person who understands this, I highly recommend finding one. Or, sit down and learn yourself what to do with all this data.

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Get Press Coverage.
Press is one of the most important media channels when it comes to marketing. Journalists and bloggers love unique stories, interesting use cases and new stuff that we’re doing with our iOS 8 compatible apps. Tell them what you’ve done and why it’s awesome! If it really is, you will be mentioned and covered.

Tip: It’s very helpful to make a short video that shows your iOS 8 exclusive features. Look what our friends at 1Password did. This video was picked up by almost every single Apple-related blog.

Talk to Apple.
The same principle applies to communications with Apple Team. Just let them know what you are up to and what you’ve done so far. Apple cares about what good does your app bring to platform users. If it is something unique, useful and helpful, editorial team will reach your out for more details and might even feature your app.

I hope this list will be helpful for you. Let me know if I forgot anything.

Iconic Video: My Video Production Hobby

I am happy to share with you my latest and greatest hobby – film and video production! We call it Iconic Video.

It often bugged me what to answer on a simple, yet challenging question: “What’s your hobby?”. – Traveling? Reading? Art? Sure, but it should be more of an “activity”, so when I started doing videos for Readdle apps two years ago, I instantly fell in love with the video production process. So this is how it all began. Actually, it started a bit earlier when I was asked to act the main role in a short ad movie, but that’s a whole another story. :)

I was lucky enough to gather a group of creative and bright people for this project, including the best camera-man, post-production guy, popular stylist, great make-up artist and actors (luckily, Odessa is full of good-looking people).

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Our goal was (and is) to shoot a great videos that showcase and explain services and apps, mostly in tech (you bet!). The very first video for Documents by Readdle got 90,000 views very fast. Of course, my main priority is to shoot great videos for Readdle, however, I recently helped a good friend of mine, David Barnard, to shoot a video for his Perfect Weather iOS app.

Perfect Weather for iPhone from Contrast on Vimeo.

My heart and soul belongs to Readdle and I’m 150% on it. We’re currently working on something big that will bring us to the new level. So Iconic Video is a hobby of mine where I express my creative mind and soul. So, say, instead of drinking another Long Island Ice tea at the bar with friends in Friday night, I’d much rather be thinking about the best way to showcase my friend’s app, where to shoot and which actors to hire for another great video.

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I guess it is obvious that every app or service should have a promo video. Yes, people are lazy and selfish, they don’t like to read long (sometimes boring) descriptions. Remember how Dollar Shave Club business succeeded because of THIS video?

I want to bring this thing to another level and shoot a short movie that addresses social aspects and issues of our lives. Hopefully I can do it this fall. You’ll like it.

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So if you ever need a good video, these folks (with my curation) might help you out. I’m happy to share insights and thoughts about video production, usefulness of it for business and more. Don’t be shy and ask me questions.

How To Do a Price Drop Campaign For Your App

After watching this presentation of “Building on an App Store success” from a creator of Badland, I felt obliged to write this post. With all due respect I have to disagree with the statement he made, saying that it just takes to change the price and your app will go up in charts, so you don’t have to do anything else. This might’ve been true 3 years ago, but not now.

The situation is no longer the same as it was before when it comes to App Store discovery. There are many price change trackers like AppShopper, but people tend to install less apps now, and they actually use just a few of those.

My experience shows that in order to make a great price drop campaign, you should be reaching out as many people as possible to let them know that this app goes on a time-limited sale. In other words, you have to inform people about your price drop, and price tracking sites are not enough.

Recently I made a price drop campaign for our flagship app – Scanner Pro. As a result, it went straight to #1 spot in business category worldwide. Also, Scanner Pro joined Top 5 league in overall Top Paid Apps in many countries including USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, France, etc.

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So how did we do that or what does it take to make a great price drop campaign?

Imagine you have your app ready to be discounted. It has good ratings, high price and great perceived value for users. So we are ready to go! The main idea of a promo campaign is to hit various marketing channels at once, so you have a higher cumulative effect which leads to higher positions on the App Store, that, in turn, leads to higher organic exposure and downloads.

Set up a campaign.
This is a very basic first step in which you decide the scale and the goals for your price drop campaigns. Pick good dates for the promotion (I would recommend Tuesdays for productivity apps and weekends for games). Plan all activities 2-3 weeks in advance, since it’ll require some time to prepare.

Contact Press.
Tech press loves great stories that make a lot of traffic. Writing about a price drop is not something bloggers would like to do, unless it’s a popular app so they can use affiliate links to generate extra revenue.

I would recommend creating an interesting story that would be appealing to press and people. For example, Scanner’s Pro sale was to celebrate its milestone of 6 million users. Sites like iMore, Mac Stories, iDownloadBlog, Cult of Mac, 148apps, 9to5mac are likely to write a short mention if done right.

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Send Out E-mails.
Send e-mails to your own subscribers and consider buying e-mail blasts from other media companies.

We have a huge list of people who subscribed themselves via our apps because they want to receive news and deals from Readdle. It’s important to make the e-mail as friendly as possible, by just saying that there’s a great chance to get the app with a huge discount because of the milestone.

Some media companies have huge e-mail lists of people who might be your potential audience. Consider doing e-mail blasts campaigns with them, even though it might not be purely ROI positive. The logic behind that is to get this extra bit of users who will download your app and give it a momentum to reach the Top Paid charts. Macworld and The Next Web might be the first two options to explore.

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Make a Splash Campaign.
This is one of the most powerful channels! We call it “splash advertising”, when a person who has one of our apps sees a full screen banner that conveys the message we want.

Readdle built its own “splash notification” system that can track impressions and conversions. It also supports various languages and A/B testing. If you don’t have a system like that, there are many 3rd parties who do something similar.

It is important to avoid hard-selling message because the main goal is to friendly inform your users about a time-limited offer.

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Use Strategic Partnerships.
I am confident that all indie app developers are not competitors, but they are on a same boat. Try making friends with them, because it might be a good idea to get access to their user base. Some folks are doing mutually benefitial e-mail marketing and splash campaigns, consider doing the same. You give, you get.

As I said every little bit helps to get the momentum, if done right and at the same time, it gives you a pretty high chance of hitting the top charts.

Find an Effective Advertising Channel.
This is one of the hardest challenges since paid advertising seems not to be working for paid apps at all. However, some time ago Facebook app installs gave me hope, but this is no longer the case. If you manage to find a good advertising channel – you hit the Holy Grail.

Create Buzz Via Social Media.
Don’t forget that people love deals and sales! We are extremely happy when we get a good item with a solid discount. Apps are no exception. Make your Facebook and Twitter communities talk about it. Sale + promo codes giveaway usually works better for us, when I explicitly ask to share something (it normally gets 300-400 retweets).

Localize Everything.
Scanner Pro hit #1 Paid Position in Germany and Japan. This was possible only because the app was localized. Not only that, but the whole marketing campaign was localized too (e-mails, splashes, pitches for press, screenshots, etc). It sure does require extra effort and time, but I believe it pays off.

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Make a Video.
Video is the most powerful tool to showcase your app or product, especially when you have an app like Scanner Pro. When people see it, they get it. I am going to articulate the importance of videos in a separate article later this week, but trust me – it is indispensable. Me and my team shoot a great video that showcases three various use cases for Scanner Pro. In a few days it got almost 20,000 views, which is not that bad for an app video.

The site was totally redesigned and localized too. This is also very important if you expect traffic there.

I hope these isights will help you. Good luck and share your thoughts below.