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We all want our apps to perform better, to get more downloads and make more money. Google tells us that over 1 million Android devices are activated each day; surely it can’t be that hard to get 1 million downloads right? Right? If you’ve created an Android app before you know that getting a lot of active users is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.
Whether you are developing Android apps from scratch with Java and the Android SDK, or using a rapid app builder like Andromo App Maker for Android to create your apps, this article will provide you with some tips and techniques for driving more users to your app which will result in more downloads, more installs and ultimately more revenue. Of course nothing is a panacea, apps can succeed without following these tips, and they can also perform poorly even if you do follow these tips, but by following all or some of these tips you will be ahead of those that do not.
0 – MAKE A GOOD APP
Step zero is your app. Your goal should be to create the best app you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you create a good app you’re already on the right track. Wrapped up in this idea of a “good app” is the subject matter. Depending on the type of app you are creating (and the reasons why) it’s also important for you to choose the right subject matter. That could be something that you are passionate about, a very popular subject, a subject that appears to be lacking in apps, or a subject that you think is about to be popular.
Remember it’s not just total downloads that count, it’s also active users. The more people that actually use your app (a function of its quality and subject matter) the more money you will make. You don’t make any money off of those people that immediately uninstall your app. A good looking app that provides meaningful, useful, or timely content will keep users coming back for more.
1 – LISTEN TO GOOGLE
Google Play is probably going to be the most important market available for your app so uploading your app there is a given. This means that it’s also a given that you will want your app to perform really well on Google Play. Thankfully Google has taken the time to let you know what they want from you when you upload your app there. You should follow these guidelines:
Now since you are probably using Andromo App Maker for Android to create your app, we’ve already paid attention to what’s required as far as the code goes, but the rest of it is up to you. You may not be able to do everything on Google’s list, but the more you do the better your app will perform.
At the very least you will want to ensure that you provide Google Play all of the assets that it is asking for. Feature Graphic, Promo graphic, icons, good screen shots at different device sizes, and a YouTube video. Take the time to ensure that your assets look great.
You might also want to watch this video for a few tips: Root Access: How your startup can succeed in the Play Store:
2 – DON’T BREAK THE RULES
Breaking the rules or stealing content may seem like a quick way to get some extra downloads but it’s not worth it. Breaking the rules will only hurt you in the long run. Breaking any of your advertiser’s terms of service will result in them banning your account and taking whatever money is left it in. This means that you your next app will have to look for another, possibly poorer performing, advertiser.
Breaking the Google Play terms of service will see your account (and apps) banned from Google Play and perhaps other Google services. This will, in effect, block all of your future apps from the most important Android App store there is… NOT SMART.
Play by the rules and you’ll be ahead in the long run.
3 – WRITE A GOOD DESCRIPTION FOR YOUR APP
Make sure you write a good detailed description of your app for any market you add it to. Your description should contain lots of information about your app as well as relevant keywords for people searching the web (Google or Bing) and the app market. Don’t go too crazy with the keywords though, too many irrelevant keywords and Google (and perhaps other markets) will notice and your app may get pulled. Just be honest it’s the best way.
4-TRY ALTERNATE MARKETS
While Google play might be the most important app market out there, as hinted at above, do not ignore the others. We’ve been working on making Andromo apps more compatible with Amazon Kindle devices, so don’t forget to upload your app to the Amazon App market.
You should also look for popular app markets around the world. Google Play is (as I said) obviously the biggest, but there are some important app stores in some countries which might help you get some more downloads.
You might also want to consider porting your app to Blackberry. It’s relatively easy to convert your Android APK using the online repackaging tools but submitting it to the BlackBerry App World can be a bit of a pain. It may not be the biggest market around, but if you want some additional downloads, and your app is compatible, I suggest giving it a shot.
5- BE SOCIAL
This is another obvious step that shouldn’t be missed. If your app is important to you, let other people know about it. Create a website, a twitter account, facebook page, Google+ page, all dedicated to your app. Tweet and post about it, especially when you release a new version, and don’t forget to let your friends know about it.
You don’t want to get spammy, but letting people know about your app is always good.
6- GET REVIEWS AND BE LISTED
There are a lot of sites out there that are devoted to listing or reviewing Android apps. These are a great way for you to get noticed by people either in Google searches or by regular readers of those sites. Here are two links that list some of the sites you can submit your app to for review or general browsing. Be careful though – I would not recommend paying any of the sites listed anything for their services before really determining it’s worth it:
- List Of Android Apps Review Sites
- Roundup Of The Top 7 Android Market Exploration And Review Sites
7 – ADVERTISE
Another obvious way to promote your app is to advertise it. You can advertise on ad platforms and websites such as:
- Google Adsense
You can also target mobile advertisers like AdMob, Mobpartner, Tapgage, and others.
House ads, which you can configure for both AdMob and tapgage, are a great way for you to advertise your app within other apps of yours, or a paid version of your app in your free app. The best part about using house ads to promote your apps is their cost: free.
8- LET THE COMMUNITIES KNOW
This is related to other forms of promotion, but subtly different so it deserves its own tip. The basic idea is to find communities and/or areas of the internet that may be interested in your app. So if you made an app that provides people with information on how to make candles, it would be a good idea to make a post on a candle maker forum.
Places to target include:
- Forums and Communities
- Facebook pages
- Google Plus Communities
- Twitter hash tags
- Tumblr blogs
- Anywhere else people congregate on the Internet
A word of caution before you start posting on every forum and community in the world: Many forums look down upon spam and self-promotion, so be sure to read the community guidelines before posting. Remember to be honest and let people know that you are the author of the app.
9 – HAVE A SALE
If you have a paid app, running the occasional sale is a good way to attract more paying customers. You can hold your sales around holidays or anniversaries if you want. I’ve also seen people change their App icons or Google Play assets to help promote the sale. All good ideas.
If you do run a sale, using house ads in the free version of your app is a great way to promote the sale.
10 – UPDATE YOUR APP EVERY MONTH
A well-timed refresh of your app is a great way to get your old users using your app again, as well as getting your app re-listed and back in front of potential new users. The right refresh schedule depends on the app, but once a month is a good rate for most apps.
Refresh your apps with a new feature or two, some new graphics, a better description, or a new ad network or type (banners, interstitials, etc). Keeping your app updated is a good idea if you want to be successful over the long term.
BONUS TIP – TRY, TRY AGAIN
As the old adage goes: “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.”
If you’ve made it this far in this article, it’s time for you to head back to step one. We’ve all heard the stories: Thomas Edison (depending on which version of history or quote you believe) tried over 6000 substances before settling on a carbonized cotton thread filament for his light bulb. WD-40 stands for: “Water Displacement, 40th attempt”, which means there were 39 failures before that. The important lesson to learn from these stories is that most people don’t strike it rich on their first attempt, and you probably won’t either. The obvious solution: try again.
Now this doesn’t mean forgetting about your old apps, or that your old apps are failures, it simply means trying something new, and not giving up after one attempt. Thankfully you’ve got Andromo in your back pocket, which makes creating new apps a simple and quick task. So get back on the app-making horse and create the next app to crack the million download barrier.
Got any tips of your own? Did you crack the million download barrier? Let us know!