I really enjoy Entrepreneur. And I’m a HUGE fan of Neil Patel & Kissmetrics. I’ve got a ton of value from his blog & love what he does. Recently he posted an article by Brian Honigman, a content marketing consultant & contributor to Forbes, the Huffington Post, Mashable & Entrepreneur (also posted) which I felt I needed to respond to.
I wanted to set the record straight based on what REALLY works to get more app downloads, based on what I’ve seen in the app market over the last 12 months.
Hi Neil & Brian, I have to respectfully disagree with a lot of this.
I’ve published over 200 apps in the last year and tried most of what you have suggested in your article. A lot of it honestly just does not work in real life.
1. “You came up with a great idea” – this is actually the MOST important part and really needs more discussion… to get more visibility in the store this NEEDS to be a great idea… would love to get your angle on how to choose this
2. “[You] hired developers and designers” – Easier said than done. Also its the fastest way to lose your money and put an end to your dream of app development when it all goes wrong and your developer has disappeared off the face of the planet and isn’t answering any of your emails any more. In the first few months of business I lost thousands of dollars like this, until I started to use the Haystack Method.
3. “Every developer dreams of experiencing the same kind of success as apps like Angry Birds, Waze, Instagram, and Snapchat. A huge part of the success of those companies, besides their development, was their marketing strategy.” Stop dreaming those dreams. There really is no such thing as first time success. Angry Birds was Rovio’s 52nd game they published, and their first big success. They spent 8 years and nearly went bankrupt in the process. Overnight success doesn’t really exist in the app market. Success comes after a ton of hard work that often you never hear reported in the papers.
4. “Let’s start with the basics – the app’s description”. Honestly? No. It’s useful in the Play store for ASO, but it’s only the rare person that ever READS the app description. Do you? Or do you see a great icon, glance at the screenshots, see they look amazing, see its got great reviews and then download it to your iPhone / iPad / Android device?
5. “Need some help finding the best keywords?” Yes – they are literally gold to get your app found in the store. It would be worth including if people DO need keyword help, that they should
A) Remove any spaces to maximise their 100 character keyword limit in ITC
b) Localise their keywords for more downloads in non English speaking countries
6. “Invest in Stellar Graphics”. Yes. ESPECIALLY in your icon (which people see first. If this is bad they will never see your screenshots, or read your description)
7. “When emailing a member of the media”. Honestly, for apps unless you’ve got a monster budget and put your ads on TV etc, this is a waste of time. PR releases, etc, tried them all with no visible impact on downloads. A friend made page 1 of techcrunch…. great DLs for one day, then back to normal.
8. “Generate Buzz on the Right Media Outlets” Again not a valuable use of your time. Much better to spend your time on ASO (app store optimization).
9. “Advertise Where Your Audience Lives Online” Until you know your ARPU (average revenue per user) do NOT pay for any ads. This is just a fast way to spend all your money without much of a return.
10. “Engage on Social Media” Again, I saw no increase in downloads from doing this. Would love to hear from anyone who has.
11. “Create a Website with Great Content”. You app does not need to exist outside of the app store to get maximum downloads. Does your app website get any / much traffic? People already in the app store are READY to buy your app. People browsing your website and just browsing the web. Bar a rare exception I haven’t seen this to work. Again, love to hear from anyone who has in the comments.
12. “Make a How-to Video” Where will this video be? On your website? Emails to reviewers? See my previous points.
13. “BONUS TIP: Ask for Reviews” Definitely this is really important, more so now than ever. You can use a free service like Playhaven to have these popups appear when the user has successfully completed your app / game (and hopefully then is enjoying it and will give a good review).
Chocolate Lab Apps.
I’ve contacted Brian & Neil so would love to get their views on my feedback.
In the meantime for all app developers reading this – let me know your thoughts. Have any of the suggestions worked for you?