A recent article in the WSJ points to success factors for developers with software in Apple’s App Store which could serve as great tips for BlackBerry developers in App World as well.
As App World and the App Store become increasingly cluttered with applications, developers are finding new and innovative ways to gain exposure for their software and push their products to the top.
Tip # 1 – Constantly experiment with price points
PopCap Games Inc., maker of the popular Bejeweled puzzle game, experimented in June by cutting the price on its Peggle game from to 99 cents from $4.99 for four days. Peggle, which had been ranked at around 60 in top paid apps, shot up to second place within 24 hours.
There are a variety of reasons why it’s important to experiment with pricing points. While one dollar may not seem like a lot of money, it could be just the right discount that your customer base needs. Also, discounts are news and news means more exposure. By lowering your prices, users will take notice and the news spreads virally, thus further helping downloads. PopCap has not commented on revenue, but said that sales during the discount period increased 20 to 25 times the previous volume.
Tip # 2 – Getting featured is your top priority
The key to success in both App World and the App Store is to get featured. In the App Store, the 25 most downloaded apps appear on the first page of the store when someone accesses the site from their iPhone. As a general rule of thumb, with each “click” that a user must make, the number of users discovering content drops dramatically. Getting seen without having the user to navigate from the first page they see is crucial.
“If it appears in the top 100, then everybody will see it,” said Vijay Chattha, head of VSC Consulting, a San Francisco marketing firm that is launching a business to help iPhone app developers promote their wares.
To get featured in App World, you need to develop your relationship with RIM. Many of the apps featured on the App World carousel, are there because RIM has used the software and they like it. It’s no coincidence that The Hockey News app was featured for so long and Jim Balsillie is a huge hockey fan. Another way to get featured is through the BlackBerry Developers Challenge.
Tip # 4 – Choose the right time to launch your product
Many developers have chosen to launch their software on the App Store around weekends, because this is when consumers are most active on the store. While this is true for App Store, I’m not positive if it’s also the case with App World. BlackBerry users may be more inclined to browse apps during the work week, but this isn’t confirmed.
Tip # 5 – Choosing the right category
Choosing a category that has fewer entries is an easy way to get more exposure for your product. Apple requires developers to put their app into one of 20 categories. The largest category, games, has more than 13,000 apps, according to data-tracking firm Mobclix Inc. The smallest, weather, has 310 apps.
In App World, a BlackBerry Bold has access to 131 apps in the Entertainment category, 288 in Productivity & Business and 37 in Personal Finance & Banking.
Tip # 6 – Searching optimization through branding
Some developers try to capitalize on popular brands by embedding those brand names into their own apps’ descriptions.
For example, a recent search for EA, the brand for game giant Electronic Arts Inc., turned up 15 games from a company called Digital Chocolate Inc. A close look at the games’ description showed that the word “each” was abbreviated to “ea.” Digital Chocolate Chief Executive Trip Hawkins was a co-founder of EA.
An EA spokesman called the tactic “barnacle marketing.” On Monday, Digital Chocolate stopped using the abbreviation.
Another strategy involves building high value keywords into your brand. While App World bars the use of the terms “black”, “berry” and “blackberry”, words such as “free” will give you some much needed searchability. Also, make sure to name your product in a way that tells the user immediately what your software does. For example, the application “1-Click Flashlight” by Motek tells you exactly what it does without requiring a click. On the other hand, it’s not obvious what software such as “ECOE” does, purely from the title (Tickmaster for BlackBerry).
By following these basic tips, developers should be able to maximize their revenue potential from app stores.