Posts Tagged ‘apple’

app-marketing

Aug 08

The Evolution of App Marketing

There are over a million apps in the Google and Apple stores and you’d think that with such choice the evolution of marketing would be complete. However it’s taken more than 4 years for the market to realize a middle ground.

If you take a look at app marketing’s very brief history you will notice that it went through 3 distinct phases, and that we are currently still in the 3rd one. Each stage clearly indicates how technology advanced in a short space of time, and how mobile users stopped seeing their devices as a novelty and started using them as a tool.

In the early days of app marketing Apple dominated, but following android’s explosion into the market and the availability of 3rd party apps, Apple had to reassess its objectives and strategies as the marketing playing field became more of a minefield.

At first the emphasis was largely on volume and how many people could be encouraged to download a specific app, by any means necessary. This then indicated the popularity of an app but did not serve to illustrate how many people actually made use of it.

At around 2011 there was a shift and app marketing not only focused on volume, it turned its attention to performance tracking and quality, and incentivized apps were recalled. Marketing of apps then shifted focus on to how the app could offer the user an enhanced experience and the benefits offered, and rather than just simply racking up statistics, app marketing became more customer centric.

It’s safe to say that recently the focus shifted once again and value and ROI became top priorities.  With brands such as MobileCasino.co.nz offering apps that rivalled the online offerings, users have become accustomed to downloading programs that offer longevity.

It seems that these 3 phases were spurred on not only by technological advancements but by mobile marketers realizing that if the app industry was to have staying power it needed to offer users an experience that would keep them engaged , whilst still being monetized in some form or another. Whilst many apps are free to download, users may have to pay for add-ons or additional game features, or be subjected to in-app advertising. For now it seems that the evolution of app marketing has reached a level plane, but whether it stays there remains to be seen.

Oct 28

Indie Developer Interview: Beansprites | Games for Toddlers

When it comes to children’s games, not many indie developers have such an extensive back catalog as Beansprites, a small team from California who have covered cafe culture to dentistry is their myriad of colorful games.

1. What made you want to make games primarily for young children?

The decision to make apps for kids was something that just occurred organically – I’ve always been a fan of all genres of video games, and I especially loved light-hearted platformers such as Castle Of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse for Sega Genesis, that could easily qualify as a kiddie platformer.

I was also no stranger to playing games like “Putt Putt goes to the Moon” – which was a 2D point and click learning game for kids. I would experiment with all genres, but the kids app genre is always what appealed to me the most, and also where ideas came naturally.

2. Do you approach children’s game design in a similar way to adult game design, or is the process different?

A majority of the applications you see in my portfolio are geared towards the very younger age group, probably starting at 3 and up. I approach game design in a similar way for the majority of my apps – encompassing a very intuitive user interface where even a 3 year old could pick up and play the game without any assistance from a parent or teacher. I’ve even had reviews where parents have stated it was easy for their kid to get started, and they didn’t require any help. That is my goal for the initial experience – of course, keeping them engaged for long periods, and having them come back to my app over and over is another very important goal in game design – especially for kids of a younger age bracket who tend to have much shorter attention spans than the older kids and “tween” crowd.

3. What game style or type have you found to be most successful in your experience?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one genre, because it changes all the time depending on what consumers want to play – basically I study what is trending in the app store in terms of popularity and try to design an app with a twist, and add more unique features to that app that will make it stand out from the rest. In previous years, food apps have been very popular, but the focus has changed to other app genres, and adapting to that change is crucial to success.

4. You charge a minimal amount for your games, why did you chose to avoid the free to play model?

For the paid model, 0.99 cents is the most I will charge for my apps given their content and genre – namely that they are geared towards kids – I’ve avoided the free to paid model for Nook & Amazon, but institute iAP for iOS – Each App Store is different in terms of what works, and I may institute a free to play model for Amazon and Nook in the future.

5. Which platform do you prefer to make games for and why?

I enjoy working with all platforms – I always prefer iOS as I prefer their operating system, but Android is a market that is booming right now – I think it’s very important to consider all markets, even obscure ones that you think may not be successful.

6. Do you have any game development tips for those looking to make games for children?

One tip I have is if you’re making educational games for kids, go read up on some activity books you find in the kids section at Target, or Barnes & Noble – buy a few of those, and study those activities, and try implementing them into an app – there are endless possibilities for educational apps in the app store, and apple is always looking to feature new and innovative products! If you have a unique art style, that also helps – games from developers like Duck Duck Moose, and Toca Boca have a very unique art style, and branding that you would recognize immediately if seen on the app store.

7. Which game has been your most successful to date and why do you think it was so popular?

One of my initial, and most successful games that propelled me into doing this as a full-time business was “Fairytale Preschool” – this was a very basic, kids educational app for iOS which featured activities like finding the right color bottle, counting games, memory matching etc. This one was featured by apple under New & Noteworthy, and reached the top 100 games on the app store. It also reached the top 5 position on the education category all by itself, without any marketing. Of course, fast forward 3 years later to present time, and this kind of app would never have achieved the success it did back then.

8. What channels do you market your games on and which drives the best results?

I use Facebook, Twitter as the primary marketing outlets. There are also ad campaigns that you can run to drive installs to your apps, but they work better with free models for applications and games. Free App of the Day is another good example of marketing, but they charge a pretty penny for their services.

9. Like many game designers, do you have a BIG game in you which you will eventually build?

We are currently working on a 2D adventure game which will be released by next year – that is the big game that I’ve always wanted to work on, and it’s the biggest, most daunting project I’ve ever worked on to date.

10. What title(s) do you have in development at the moment?

At the moment, we are working on the 2D adventure game, full steam ahead! I also still make time for the kids apps, and if I see something trending, I will work on a piece for the app store. The holidays are coming up, so holiday themed apps are also in the works!

Finally, what would you say to your younger self when she first started creating games…

Be prepared for many sleepless nights, and long work hours! 🙂

For more information on Beansprites games and apps, please visithttp://www.beansprites.com

Oct 14

Unity 4.2.2 brings iOS Game Controller support

In a bold move to gain a larger foothold in the Apple developer market, the 3D development software giant Unity has added controller support to their latest release. The press release below indicates their continued effort to stay at the forefront of game development. The Unity website also covers various questions likely to crop up as well as outlining the relevant code snippets to include it into your games.

Like most mobile games developers, Unity have been closely following what important additions and changes the recently released iOS 7 update has made. One of the biggest and most exciting of Apple’s initiatives is the standardization of game controllers for iOS-based platforms. Unity are happy to reveal, in addition to several important bug fixes for Xcode 5 / iOS 7 (Build&Run, WebCamTexture and status bar), Apple Controller support is included with  4.2.2

This blog post (http://blogs.unity3d.com/2013/10/11/unity-4-2-2-brings-ios-game-controller-support/) answers most common questions this addition will raise and serve as a short tutorial on how to add support for iOS Game Controllers in Unity authored games.

Jul 09

Building an App: Dos and Don’ts from Fueled

You have a problem. You create a solution. You want to share it with the world via a mobile app. How the heck do you build one?! No need to fret, your friends at Fueled have compiled a quick reference of some dos and don’ts for the app building process.

DO your research, and have a strategy. Not every app idea has been thought of, but a lot of them have. There is a very good chance that your idea could already exist in some capacity. Search app stores, read tech blogs, find rumor mills; due diligence can save you time that would otherwise be wasted creating something that already exists. If you complete the research and find there is a need for your app, have a strategy for how to proceed. We at Fueled take great pride in our ability to build winning strategies for apps, from concept to launch and beyond. Organizing thoughts, setting deadlines, and paying attention to details will make the app building process flow much more smoothly.

DON’T forget the execution. You have your idea, done the research, and have a strategy; now what? Proper execution. Even the simplest idea can become a great app, as long as the follow-through of the plan is on point. Instead of imitating another app’s layout, enhance the best qualities and make it better. Focus on developing an intuitive UX and responsive UI. Users want apps that work well and serve their needs the instant it is downloaded. This is also where a well-thought-out strategy can come in handy as it will help create checkpoints throughout the dev process, allowing you to evaluate the progress. Ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is key.

DO focus on building a product that you will use. If you have no interest in or don’t have a use for your own product, you will likely end up with an inferior result. Having a passion for your design and function will show and be important to investors and consumers. Additionally, constantly test any assumptions you have throughout the design and dev process. Updated layouts, additional functions, anything you think will improve the app overall is worth a test because you can always go back to the way it was. This process will ensure that you are building an end product that makes sense and has value to users.

DON’T rush your launch. Everyone is excited about their product and wants to launch as soon as possible. However, here are many reasons why you shouldn’t do this. For starters, it takes time to build a quality app. No matter how simple it may seem, design, development, and testing all take time. Even when the app is completed, work must be done to properly market the product prior to the launch. You will want to build media relationships if you do not already have them, launch a website, and build a buzz around the product. Weeks are not enough. Months of planning, organizing, and action are needed in order to have a successful launch.

DO take the time to test. Simply having a couple of your friends play with the app does not count as testing. Friends and family are not your target market, they will download your app simply because they love you and want to help out. Seek out agencies or other professionals in order to get useful feedback. Outside testers are potential consumers, they should be using your app. The goal is to gather constructive criticism, opinions, and relevant data that will allow you to make little tweaks based on user feedback during beta before your big app store launch.

DON’T think it’s done just because it’s in the App Store. Being in an app store simply means your app is accessible, not that people will be able to easily find it. An app store optimization strategy will be needed to increase visibility. This should be a big part of the strategy. Additionally, the app will likely have some bugs, need to adjust to user complaints, and have new feature introduced at times. Updating too frequently is not necessary, but no app is ever complete at version 1.0.

DO make sure you work with the right partner. Whether it is a friend, a freelancer, or a shop like Fueled. Depending on your goals, it may make sense to partner with different people. Typically for a prototype, working with a freelancer may make sense so you can demonstrate proof of concept before investing in really polished design and high caliber development which will serve as the foundation of your product after its commercial launch.

Written with love by the editorial team at Fueled, a premier Android app design agency in New York City.

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iPhone Gaming

Mar 21

How iPhone rules the mobile gaming world

Everyone has an idea in mind of the key features and functionalities that they desire in their phones. For iPhone consumers, one of the top key features them our driven to be games. With a higher interest in games, iPhone is crowned “mobile device king” by an end of the year study this past year. Data driven from users of popular platforms such as Androids, iPhones, and Blackberries, iPhone conquered far above its opponents when it came to devoted gamers. This provides interesting feedback about iPhone consumers.

It’s All in the Numbers

iPhone gamers come from a wide spectrum of interests and tend to be very loyal to their playing time. It is recorded that iPhone gamers play their games of choice typically 743.1 minutes on a monthly basis. This number far exceeds the Android gamers who clocked in at 484 minutes on a monthly basis. So iPhone attracts their consumers to their games and then captivates them into playing on a more regular basis than any other mobile device platform.

And the numbers are just rising! With more mobile consumers turning towards smartphones, gaming popularity is just increasing among Americans. In a couple of years, estimation 2016, more than half of mobile consumers are going to be dubbed iPhone gamers.

The most striking data derived from the increase popularity of iPhone gaming is that it has been determined that iPhone game features are used significantly more than any other feature on the iPhone. Popular features such as texting, social networking, and even the basic phone call, all fall short of the minutes used by iPhone games and their devote gamers.

iPhone even Appeals to Game Developers

It is true that the market of Android is open source; however, top notch game developers prefer developing their product on iOS versus Androids. Think of the iPhone as a “playing field.” Most extremely popular and successful games that people of all interests flock to be probably introduced on the iPhone first. After the game proves in its success, it may then be converted and developed into an Android game. So die hard mobile gamers, who typically want “it” first, tend to migrate to the iPhone knowing they can get the latest and greatest from top game developers first.

Game developers have even been stumped into thinking that with the high success of their product on iPhone it would do just as well or better on the Android. However, in some cases this is proven false. This all relates deeply on that iPhone gamers are more devoted to their favorite games and out play an Android gamer any day. I phone devices themselves are much more advanced devices than that of most android driven devices. Apple has created the iPhone in such a way that it utilizes each aspect of the device and typically out performs the Android. What this means is that for the most part iPhone game developers can experience their game on a better platform and device to get the full experience of their game.

In conclusion the iPhone is the best testing and developing platform for mobile games. Expect big things from our iPhone game developers and even bigger things from our iPhone developers themselves. This is not a hard thing to imagine considering the iPhone consumer expects big things so under delivering is not an option.

In the near future we should expect machines that are faster smaller and capable of allowing the gamer to experience a much more lifelike streamlined gaming experience than ever before. iPhone developers know that game developers and consumers are counting on them so look out and expect the unexpected.

 

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Jan 10

Successful Mobile Apps of 2012

According to statistics from PC World, Business Week and figures from Apple’s website, Google and Apple have added over 500,000 apps to their online stores in 2012. With an exponential increase of mobile apps every month, it can be very difficult to navigate the charts and determine what apps have been successful this year. To make it easier, here are a few apps that lead their categories in 2012:

Productivity/Business/Utilities – Clear by Realmac Software

Clear is a simple to-do list app. What makes this particular to-do list app stand out from the rest is its beautiful design and easy to use interface. Clear wants to keep things simple: add a task, swipe it off the list (literally), and organize thoughts in files. Clear also connects to the cloud so backing up and storing a list is simple.

Why is it so successful? – It might seem odd that a paid to-do list app is outshining the free competition, but Clear is strides ahead of the others. The key to Clear’s success lies in the app’s simple, yet stylish UI. Creating an app with a nearly self-explanatory design pulls in more users.

Social Networking/Photography – Instagram by Facebook and Burbn, Inc.

The introduction of Instagram changed the way mobile users take photos and share them. The app allows the user to take a photo, apply effects and filters, and upload it for others to see. As is the case with other social media outlets, users can follow other people and comment on their pictures. Facebook recently purchased the app for a stunning $1 billion, which makes it one of the fastest and biggest payouts in tech startup history according to research by Pingdom.

Why is it so successful? – Before Facebook’s big purchasing move, Instagram had gained a large following. According to the New York Times, creator Kevin Systrom released a test version to influential bloggers who used it to post pictures on their sites and Twitter accounts. The trial releases created a demand, leading to huge success at the app’s launch.

Games – Angry Birds by Rovio

Angry Birds has been a clear leader in mobile gaming since its launch in December of 2009. The game now has 5 versions available on almost every mobile platform available. In addition to winning awards for Best Mobile App for Consumers from Mobile Excellence Awards and Global Mobile Awards, Angry Birds also spawned a collection of toys, books, board games, and even theme parks.

Why is it so successful? – Angry Birds proves that a game doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to develop to be a success. The game hit the mobile market early, giving it a leg up on the competition. The continued success can be attributed to the constant flow of series updates Rovio gives its new and veteran fans. The most recent update, Angry Birds: Star Wars, was released on November 6.

What’s to be learned from the most successful apps of 2012? It doesn’t have to be complicated to beat out the competition. Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder, attributes his app’s success to keeping things “as simple as possible.” The most successful apps in 2012 were modest ideas that applied frequent updates, offered a simple-thrills UI, and integrated social media options to promote community engagement.

Do you have an idea for a mobile app? Let Zco give you a hand. Send us an email or request a call from one of our experts to get started.