28 Insights on How To Get Your App Discovered from DiscoveryBeat 2010

Industry execs gathered at DiscoveryBeat 2010 to educate the audience on a variety of issues related to app discovery and how to stand out in the ecosystem.

DiscoveryBeat 2010, a conference dedicated to application discovery through web and mobile, helped to shed light on the best practices for successful developers in a crowded marketplace both on iOS and Android. Execs from top companies, ranging from Flurry to Tapjoy, presented information and answered questions on a panel that helped put things in perspective. Below are some key take aways as well as some excerpts from some of the panels for those interested in gaining more information about particular topics.

Some of these notes are in rough form, as the conference was long and arduous. Feel free to leave a comment or question below.

1. Ad inventory is exceeding faster than number of advertisers, which means you can advertise across tons of applications right now.

2. In-app purchases on iOS make 7/8 of the revenue compared to 1/8th from advertising

3. Android is largely an advertising supported ecosystem right now due to a lack of in-app purchases, and that works both for advertisers and publishers.

4. It’s important to have the entire launch strategy as perfect as possible in order to maximize chances of success, so organize your marketing strategy before launch.

5. Pay per install services like the kind from Tapjoy work well. Although the user quality will be low if you’re paying around $0.30, they can help you get enough users to get you on charts that can help you organically get higher ranking users.

6. Engagement is key. Get users to come back often. Daily active users is the metric to track.

7. Social media helps but may not help you get as effective results as you might think

8. Spending money on a low quality game will not help you succeed. Game quality must be good.

9. Build social integrations as an innate part of the game play to create a viral effect, although it won’t truly be viral.

10. PR should not be ignored and it should be anywhere around 35 percent of your costs

11. Iterate fast and respond to the community. That’s how Pocket God and Paper Toss became successful.

12. For Android, free is standard and search should not be ignored.

13. Monetization cannot be thought about after the app is built. It has to be part of the game ground up.

Below are some of the important quotes and notes from the various sessions throughout the day. They’re in a rough form, but there are a lot of interesting statistics and ideas from industry experts in there, so please give it a read.

1. What are developers not getting?

– Most people thinking about monetization as an after fact. Must think about it from the get go.
- Think about LTV and in-app purchases from the get go.

2. Games are exploding right now. Are brands really reacting?

Aunkur:
 Games is the largest category in terms of revenue
- Brands can’t ignore this audience and seeking out great experience

Lee:
 The reality is that ads are great if you can get them. The number of eyeballs is growing faster than ads – so inventory exceeds ads.

3. What are people doing to acquire customers?

Peter:
 There are varying costs and it depends on your business
- Most people are moving towards a Daily Active User model. People need to have more customers coming in than leaving
- CPC results in pretty high Cost Per Acquisition. i.e. you’ll pay for 20 clicks $1 something but it can cost up to $10 if you’re paying around $0.35 per click. From the advertiser side you can get a cheaper users.
- We’ve seen as high as $300 eCPM

– 80 percent of all discovery happens from the chart. What you would pay for install is that you should pay for enough installs that you get visibility. Tapjoy drives installs at less than $0.50 but we can drive you 100,000 users in a day that will get you to the App Store where you can get organic users.

– We must justify the cost of acquisition and make money after the fact

4. How do you get the initial discovery?

– You need to get your first 100,000 downloads.
- You can use house ads, paid ads, cross promotion.
- You can’t buy 500,000 users but buy 60,000 users in the first 2 days.
- You don’t have to be in the top charts. Flurry works with tons of apps where you pay for install (when user launches app for the first time) and you can still build your business bootstrap.

5. What can we do to monetize with revshare on offers?

– Typically display banner ads go in certain areas. There is also mediation to tune your performance to get as many people to click. As you are using your app, Flurry works with you to figure out what is the right ad unit and where it should be placed. It would say something like people who bought x bought y.

– If you spend on advertising and get charts, there’s a chance you may not get organic growth. Why?

– if you have a not so great app, you may not see organic growth. Things like the icon, packaging your app, descriptions all impact that growth. Testing your app is important. Figure out things like icons, app is engaging etc., and then you can go for a bigger campaign.

6. Which platforms should we focus on?

– Where you can be the biggest

7. Any thoughts on how gaming platforms can help?

– You want to find a gaming network that helps increase the length of engagement. Most apps only get opened 6-10x. Get people playing longer -> increases chances of sharing
- Plug-in to something that gets you distribution and help people discover it
- Android not as effective as making money as iPhone. PapayaMobile will open their system to others to tap into their billing platform.

8. People are building collaborative discovery. Will it work?

– You can’t just build on top – you have to identify influential users so you can marry influencers with content providers
- No one has really cracked virility on mobile.
- On mobile, SMS is most effective in inviting users into network. Facebook and Twitter matter less with promoting mobile apps/games

9. Which viral techniques used to work well before and don’t today?

– a lot of fragmentation today. The right share buttons matter and they are a bit tricky as far as implementation is concerned on mobile
- Email is not effective on mobile
- Using uniformed virtual currency to incentivize cross promotion of apps works.

Notes from BackFlip Studios Presentation

BackFlip Studios built Paper Toss, giving it away for free. They had close to 5,000,000 downloads and a very active user base. They realized that this way they can get an unfair advantage. Eventually Paper Toss grew to 20,000,000 downloads. Other games were launched and Paper Toss was ported to Android. About 25M additional downloads were added. Monthly impression network of about 800,000,000 a month. Using this, they can sell paid apps, promote other apps, further extend distribution network by promoting other free applications. Julian noticed a real pressure on pricing and wanted to build a steady revenue base.

Dave, maker of Pocket God, started in Sega Genesis. He wanted to be involved with iPhone when it first launched and setup some sprint projects. PocketGod was meant to be a week long exercise but it took for them. It was a bit slow initially, but they focused on the community side – reaching out to people on TouchArcade, responding to comments on diff. social networking sites etc. Bolt was focused strongly on having weekly updates.
- saw success with media outlets such as YouTube with grass root efforts.
- focused on younger kids and word of mouth impact
- Changed icon every single week

BackFlip is using free and paid apps to cross promote each other as it has about 20 diff. products. 10 full-time people and 150-20 contractors.
- Give away high quality product for free and using it best as can to cross promote
- When they cross promote similar games with similar audience, you see a lot of CTR.
- What’s fascinating is that you can embed unique currency in games and then use those points to incent a larger user base to download other games.

– if you’re an indie developer, you can do cross promotions with other indie developers. Do something unique such as cross promoting using a cool mini-game that promotes the other game
- Don’t just do lite version necessarily but do a custom content that your paid players can get

10. How can platforms help in discovery?

– Its fascinating that you can accrue currency and bet that in another game, something Scoreloop offered.
- There should be a way to write a review within the game without leaving the game and things need to be cross platform.

11. How’s Android working for you guys?

– Backflip makes 60 percent of revenues through ads. Paper Toss was pushed to Android 6 months ago. Mobile advertising is interesting on Android right now. There is no mechanism for in app purchase. All successful Backflip games are being ported to it.

12. Which metrics are important to watch?

Key take aways:

– It’s really all about Daily Active Users. 30 percent engagement is important – 30% of monthly active users coming back. 2-3x return.

– Diff. apps have diff lifecycles, so it depends on application. Market does start to segment around weekly use case and business models associated with that.

– You want to capture the behavior of users and actively capture users when they are free.

– Anything that is demoable then demo it.

– Be early to market

– Relevance engine for mobile is a wide market. How do you combine unique attributes of mobile with semantic search? How do you integrate word of mouth into an automated system? How do you go after reviews?

– 50 percent of iOS market is iPod Touches. People discover games by showing them to people. Human behavior on mobile is so different because its not an easy problem to crack.

– Same game with diff. packaged cover would get 10x variability in consumers willing to pick up the package. Do something like Mechanical Turk or focus groups.

– Icons are important and test them with statistical relevance. Names are also important: use some mysterious that sounds like something new and people find easy to pass along.

13. Any thoughts on how gaming platforms can help?

– You want to find a gaming network that helps increase the length of engagement. Most apps only get opened 6-10x. Get people playing longer -> increases chances of sharing

– Plug-in to something that gets you distribution and help people discover it

– Android not as effective as making money as iPhone. PapayaMobile will open their system to others to tap into their billing platform.

14. People are building collaborative discovery. Will it work?

– You can’t just build on top – you have to identify influential users so you can marry influencers with content providers

– No one has really cracked virility on mobile.

– On mobile, SMS is most effective in inviting users into network. Facebook and Twitter matter less with promoting mobile apps/games

15. Which viral techniques used to work well before and don’t today?

– a lot of fragmentation today. The right share buttons matter and they are a bit tricky as far as implementation is concerned on mobile

– Email is not effective on mobile

– Using uniformed virtual currency to incentivize cross promotion of apps works.

Extra Session Notes on Key Topics:

Interfaces

AI research problems are common place. All of us use speech – an AI problem. A big issue is how we can get computers to understand what we are trying to do.

People are actually really good at understanding intent – we learn language which is a good way of expressing intent but also utilize visual cues and body language.

Real revenue for Android is advertising based

Many companies are generated $14 per user per year in Apple, compared to $6 for Yahoo.

AppCircle integrates within the Tab Bar navigation

Android marketplace charts

– Free is standard for now
– Search matters (brand + SEO)
– don’t forget operators

Carriers want to control user experience and want to promote good content.

Fireside Chat:

– Design for Discovery

a. a game will only get discovered if you play it for a long time.
b. If you see your friends are playing, you might more likely be interested in playing.

Engagement for a web game is: do your players like it, do they like it, do they come back?

Give players choice. In FrontierVille we let people know that clicking is good so they should start clicking. Players had to figure out what to click?

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Most folks who are breaking out are doing so out of the app store using techniques such as:
– aligning with brand or celebrity (i.e. Tapulous – overtime they released new version leveraged new fan base of a band)

There really isn’t no in app store technique working well.

For twitter apps, sometimes the inherent game design needs to include tweeting.

Need to have:
– PR strategy
– High ratings
– Pricing strategy
– built in social integrations