The don’ts of Paid Apps

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 22-04-2014 | Comments 0

Paid apps were the first to appear on the empty app store shelves, but sadly they’re the first that will leave also. Although there are some who still try selling their unique ideas (The Room) through the Paid app business model and there are still those who want to spend money on business tools or security apps, that time will come to an end too. Gartner (a global technology research site) published a report which clearly shows that the end of paid apps is very close. People turn more and more towards friends, social networks and recommendation engines (quora, stumbleupon…) to find apps. This means that consumers will spend less time browsing through app stores. This has probably happened to you when a friend recommended a really good app and afterwards you end up wondering how you didn’t see it on your favorite app store before. This proves that even good apps lose their exposure nowadays.

Gartner predicts that only 0.01 percent of all mobile apps will be considered a financial success through 2018.

We think that this is a prediction every developer should be aware of. And although many independent and big companies are planning to make an app in 2014, there is a big difference in the results you may expect in 2014. Use these DON’TS:

  • DO NOT create a paid app if you truly don’t have anything unique.

  • DO NOT expect so much revenue out of a single free app, but expect some brand name exposure.

  • DO NOT experiment with business models if you’re an amateur developer. Use the inApp purchases business model as it is the most effective model combined with free apps.

  • DO NOT put your focus on games only. The current leaders are social and messaging apps  Use the intro of this article and start thinking about creating the next Snapchat, WhatsApp, Goggle Hangouts. There’s a bit of competition there, but don’t disregard this idea completely.

Yes, things may seem gloomy, but there is much more to be seen from free apps yet.

Gartner is forecasting that, by 2017, 94.5 percent of downloads will be for free apps. And Flurry Analytics says that overall mobile app usage grew by 115 percent in 2013.

This app usage will not be going away anytime soon, so it’s up to you to make the best out of it using the DON’TS provided in this article.

Read more on:

http://www.webpronews.com/gartner-mobile-app-development-is-becoming-less-profitable-2014-01

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Freemium- it’s almost free

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 16-04-2014 | Comments 0

The word freemium comes from two words “free” and “premium”.

  • Free- usually signifies the initial state of an app.

  • Premium- means that some money is required to unlock additional features.

An app can have a free version and can have a premium version available separately or the free app might be upgradeable to a premium one through in-app purchase.

Currently “freemium” games are the hottest thing since sliced bread, but you can’t just follow the trend—it’s important to carefully consider which business model makes sense, based on the attributes of each game. There are a wide variety of strategies, including ad supported, premium, or hybrid models.

How do you monetize your game through the freemium business model?

As mentioned before the most important tool for freemium app developers is in-app purchase (IAP). IAP allows app developers to sell packs of content or consumable items at specific price points. When using IAP, it is important to test often and adjust pricing as needed to maximize revenue and end-user engagement.

If you are just getting started with IAP, look at the top grossing apps that utilize this method to get a basic overview of how IAP should be implemented. (Don’t copy their app, obviously, but learn from their business model).

As freemium has become the most popular business model, developers and publishers are creating variations of the model for different types of games with fantastic results. Casual puzzle games can use the freemium model, if implemented and optimized correctly. For example, Bejeweled Blitz, one of the biggest brands in casual gaming, has maintained a top 50 grossing rank for the last six months.

Although this model is agile it doesn’t fit any type of app. So if you still haven’t read our article “knowing your app” now is the time. It will help you identify the best parts of your app and it will enable you to make that decision of going freemium.

 

Already made that decision? Check our blog regularly and learn what to do next!

Read more on: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/right-business-model.html

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Wearable Apps

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 11-04-2014 | Comments 2

According to Canalys, the market analyst, the sales of wearable technology might be breaking the 17 million mark by the end of 2014, and that this trend will be greatly driven by strong sales in smartwatches. These pricy tiny mobile devices worn on the wrist have become surprisingly popular.

 

While the wearable technology market may still currently be small, the predictions from Canalys are that this will have dramatically changed as soon as the end of the year. The range of these mobile devices and the competition that is starting to build is making it easier for consumers to find just the right gadget that will appeal to them enough to drop the money for them.

Smartwatch sales forecasts will dominate the wearable technology market with a predicted 8 million sales.

 

Although this market is pretty small at the moment and is primarily focused ar fitness enthusiasts (heart rate and step trackers), it does show a lot of potential to skyrocket in the medical and wellness segment. The report also stated that this year will be the one in which these devices “become a key consumer technology, as the smart band segment is estimated to reach 8 million annual shipments.”

 

In the second half of 2013, there had already been 1.6 million smartwatches and fitness bands sold.

 

This new trend may have started with the release of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Sony SmartWatch 2, but numerous successful Kickstarter projects also proved that users really liked the idea of wearable technology. But what we’re interested in are wearable apps. Google Glass gave developers that little push they needed with this video: https://developers.google.com/glass/samples/mini-games

 

So are you thinking to be one of the first developers to produce “wearable apps”? If so, what are your ideas on this subject? Share them in the comments.

 

Read more and Watch the videos:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thJstjwsJFw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZBsBzXXQlM

http://www.mobilecommercepress.com/wearable-technology-sales-break-17-million-year/8510952/

http://www.mobilecommercepress.com/mobile-games-coming-wearable-technology-platforms/8510386/

Picture Credits

Content Opens Doors

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 10-04-2014 | Comments 7

If you’ve read our article “Knowing your app” and tried to answer the questions that we’ve given, you surely got to know your app a little better by now and are ready to go to the next step. This step is a big one and it is directly connected to the essence of your app- content. Content is key, no matter if it’s a game app, a business tool or a wallpaper app. Each of these app types offer different chunks of content, but if the content doesn’t get updated regularly or if the updates bring only more of the same, than the app will be drowned in the past, no matter its kind.

When on this subject, there are many things that can be said about content. Firstly you mustn’t regard content as text, video, the game/application itself, its levels/features etc. All of these together form the content and make it breathe. If you focus on one type of content you will get the support from only one type of customers. We will  take the most famous example out there- Angry Birds. If we didn’t know why the birds are angry and aimlessly destroyed pigs, the game would not be as engaging. But Angry Birds is much more than a game now because of the different types of content Rovio produces. Rovio’s merchandise opened a whole other level, but the thing I  truly consider as content were their cartoons and the ability to watch them only from inside the app and nowhere else (there were some teasers on Youtube).

This helped in the process of bonding with your favorite bird. But there is always more to be done, when content is concerned. Writing history about your character, writing about the world he/she lives in could be too much for the youngsters, but wouldn’t it be great if they could grow up together with their favorite heroes (Dragonball)?

So let’s say that you want to make an android game app. We’ll start from the most common story about a princess who desperately awaits her prince to save her from a dragon who kidnapped her. This story can be shown in no more than 4 pictures as an intro, which is quite enough for a mobile app. But this is only the start. In-app you’ve just scratched the surface of the possibilities. Putting a Facebook button in your game is a common thing nowadays and 80% of your players will not click it without a good reason. Some games offer in-game currency for a like on Facebook (Knightmare Tower). But you can be different by offering more content. Usually different social media gets intertwined. Sharing the same content on your official web page, blog, Facebook, Youtube and twitter reaches a lot of different people, but it only tells one main story that is also seen inside your app.

What if all of these “channels” could tell different parts of the story? The game itself shows the basic story, but the website could tell more about the history of the story, the heroes, villains and the world of your game. It should also lead to a separate company website or just incorporate those pieces of info in one site. Then, you can use your Facebook page to directly speak with your consumers about the production of your game and its updates, use Youtube not only to provide videos like teasers and trailers, use it as a place to share the experiences of your team, share some Kickstarter style videos (you don’t have to ask anything from your users, it is just good for them to see you on video how you’re reaching out to them), or share some of your app designing knowledge. Finally use twitter creatively also. Share famous quotes of your characters or some wisdom of your fictional world.

These are some ideas that we hope will help you design a brand new and unique app that will reach to top 100.

Best of luck!

 

Drag Racing…it’s not a drag.

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 09-04-2014 | Comments 0

Created by creative-mobile.com, Drag Racing is a game with simple gameplay mechanics where you shift gears at right times and press the gas pedal once in a while. What made this game popular was the wide variety of real-life vehicles, the options to customize parts and paint jobs while competing with your friends online or just enjoying offline. The official forum hardened the community of players, teams appeared, VIP’s, discussions evolved into competitions and subjects like different games from creative-mobile became interesting topics joining even more players together. On their official web site their vision section says:

“We create original challenging games that combine intense sessions with long-term progress and rich social experience. We focus on free-to-play products and cross-platform gameplay, allowing players to enjoy our games on any device and at no cost.”

Well, not exactly at no cost:

  • Premium Currency- Known as “race points” or RP, these premium credits are required for some upgrades. You can earn some in the game, but just a small amount, this is why the game pushes you to earn more by clicking ads or paying cash. There is a mini IAP screen with different amounts of RPs.

  • Interstitial ads are also present and can be disabled for 2.71$. They rarely appear on some of the screens and always appear after if you quit a race without finishing (which is rare due to the 12 second duration of every race).

  • Marketing- another way to earn RPs is by clicking the “Earn Free RP” button which leads to a separate screen with other games and apps. If downloaded and opened, you earn RP.

  • Popup ads- They only appear if you stay longer inside the game, they could be intrusive, but they’re usually questions about whether you would or wouldn’t like to watch a video, which is kind of ok, because it doesn’t force you to watch a 10 second full screen video ad and rewards you RP if you do.

  • Self-promotion- it is really rare to see a popup window in Drag Racer that tells you to play other games from creative-mobile, but it happens now and then, just reminding you that there are other products that you may enjoy.

The good about this game is that it does not limit you on how much you can play; the difficulty curve is slowly rising which keeps frustration at bay, you can compete against other players which is always fun and no ad interruptions could be noticed during your peaks of engagement. This is a good example of  how mixed business models work together.

What types of business models do you use in your app?

Try drag racing now on Soc.io Mall:

http://mall.soc.io/apps/Drag+Racing

You advertise, you monetize – basics

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 08-04-2014 | Comments 0

You’ve created your app? You’re doing that now? Or maybe plan on doing it? Never mind, you’re here reading about app monetization and this means you’re headed in the right direction! We hope that by now you know that creating a free app is the key nowadays. Monetizing apps is a big subject that we’ll talk about in many articles on this portal. But let’s start from the ad types. To know which ones will suite your app best, you must be able to distinguish them first:

  • Banner Ads- the most basic of ads. You’ve seen them on websites. They look almost the same on mobile (they vary in size). They’re static black parts on your mobile screen filled with an ad provided from an ad network.

  • Full screen Interstitial- these ads fill up the entire screen on your mobile device. Similar to pop-up ads on the web you might think that nobody likes these types of ads, but if timed correctly and containing the right content (not spamming every few seconds) interstitials can provide a big click through rate.

  • Panel Ads- Usually used by big game publishers, these ads show one big icon on the top of the screen and four smaller icons below advertising 5 products at the same time. This is also used by smaller developers who have a couple of apps and only want to grow exposure. Panel ads are not intrusive in any way; they are usually given as an option behind an “our games” or “more games” button.

  • App list- This ad form usually tries to fill the screen with as many apps as possible showing them as a list (typical for app stores). Again non-intrusive given as an option through a button.

  • Floating ads- recently created in-app ads that pop up in floating bubbles while you’re at your peak of engagement.

Banned ad formats

There are some ad formats that were banned from Google Play, yet they’re still usable on alternative app stores and we think you should be aware of their existence.

  • Icon ads- Pushed to the user’s home screen and displayed within an app’s icon. When the user taps on the icon the ad format opens up either a panel of a list ad format depending on the publisher’s choice.

  • Push notification ads- Ads that show up in the system’s notification dashboard.

Last but not least are the custom ads. These ads may come in any form you may imagine since your team is developing them. Yes, there is a way to express yourself through ads. Creating native ads in your app is a common thing for famous apps, you may advertise your own apps, or make a deal with a company and advertise only their products if your app is connected to a similar subject. The possibilities here are endless, but as always it takes time and hard work.

There you have it! The basic types of ads that’ll help you monetize your app. We hope they’ve been useful. Which ones do you think would fit your app best? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Soc.io app Review: Naked Wing

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 07-04-2014 | Comments 3

LET’S FACE IT! Not long ago, the world got addicted to a bird game. You know what we’re talking about, you played it too. We didn’t sleep/eat/talk to other people except for comparing high scores. Parties passed right before our eyes, we instagrammed points, screamed internally when our best friends beat our score and time passed in between green tubes.

And then we were cut off…The birds’ wings flapped no more.

But do not despair. There is another bird alive and kicking…over a frying pan.

Meet Naked Wing. It’s the little chicken that fell from heaven into a hot pan nightmare!

Utensils attack him and oil fries him. You can’t fly (Chicken remember?), but you can jump your way through burgers, steaks and hot dogs. Just stay away from the hot oil!

Screenshot_2014-03-27-21-45-20.png

Bubbles make you less vulnerable and chilli peppers give you speed. Tilting your device is better than tapping, and with the option to regulate the sensitivity, you can adjust the difficulty of the game. With its captivating graphics, great music and fun backstory, this little bird provides neverending fun. That is, until you lose and he is turned to yummy KFC.

Screenshot_2014-03-27-21-47-37.png

You’ll hit the “Try Again” button over and over again…we did!

Download this fun game from Soc.io Mall and tell your friends. But watch out, your highscore will be in danger! That’s a promise.  https://mall.soc.io/apps/Naked+Wing

 

The age of free apps

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 02-04-2014 | Comments 0

 

We can’t even remember the days when it all started. When Google Play was a store with a couple of apps…the days with low competition…Many claim that since then people have slowly started to forget paid apps. And with over a million apps swarming Google Play today this may be true. But if users really forgot paid apps, that means  they got used to getting everything for free.

So if you had a plan of making a paid app, take a knee and reconsider (unless you have a unique app that no one can copy). Today, the two main sources of app revenue are ads and in-app purchases. We’ll go over them in detail in future articles. For now, just go aheadand google them. You’ll find a lot of success stories.

But don’t think that monetizing your app is easy.

When ads are concerned, SmarterAdServer’s data shows that for every 200 times an ad is shown, 1 person clicks on it. And for each click you’re likely to get around 30 cents. So to make just $10 a day from an app, you’d need it to be downloaded some 6,600 times a day.There is a lot to say about the “sneaky” way of inApp purchases too.  Many users blame this method saying it was made to trick people into thinking an app was free. But every IAP still requires an agreement from the user. This business model is best used in games in which through IAPs you make your game easier (later, during difficult levels) or unlock some content and special abilities for your users.

Currently these two models are  the most popular ways to monetize your apps especially if you’re planning game development. In the next article will deconstruct a popular app’s business model and explain why it succeeded. There are also mixes of these and other business models too. So check our blog regularly and find out more.

 

Read more on:

http://www.jamescox.com.au/monetizing-apps-in-the-age-of-freebies/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemium

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Who is using Your App?

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 31-03-2014 | Comments 0

Over 70 percent of all Android devices engage in at least one game every month. Flurry’s strategies involve finding the right balance of ads and in-app purchases for a particular genre although it doesn’t seem to have any ideas for premium-priced titles.The analytics firm believes that developers can decide how to best monetize their game based on the relation between engagement and retention:

matrix.jpg

Flurry states:

Quadrant I houses those evergreen genres that are most likely to keep their users highly engaged for long periods of time, and are typically dominated by advertising.

Quadrant II has high-frequency but low retention games which are used often but for limited periods of time. Two types of people use these games, those who make a lot of IAPs and those who don’t. This is why using IAP here is key, but adding some reward video ads for those who aren’t willing to pay also plays a big role.

Quadrant III games are those picky titles that both have low retention and low frequency, but have a small amount of customers that play continuously and also pay. Similar to quadrant II, here you can use IAPs, and a low frequency of interstitial ads that aren’t so disruptive.Developers should look to maximize revenue early in the lifecycle of game.

Quadrant IV, like Quadrant I, houses genres with extremely high retention, but relatively lower frequency. Match 3/Bubble shooter and Endless Runner genres are on the border here. We say “relatively” lower frequency as these games are still played at least once a day on average. Monetization strategy tips slightly more towards advertising given the high number of impressions generated over time. Of course, if you’ve got a hit like Candy Crush, the game can monetize quite nicely through IAP.
matrix2.jpg

Not surprisingly, Android skews male and younger. Most Android genres appeal to males under 35, suggesting there’s an opportunity for an Android game that appeals to older males. Solitaire and Slots are the only genres that have a firm middle-aged audience, with Solitaire skewing more female. Gamers that monetize through IAP, such as Card/Battle, Strategy, and Action/RPG titles, are more appealing to men. Genres more appealing to women- Solitaire, Brain/Quiz- are those that are more amenable to monetization through advertising.

Now that you’ve seen this, you know that there is still a way to monetize your app, but doing that is not connected to doing only what analytics tell you. It’s about thinking. Think about your app, think about your users. This curated article helps in identifying who plays your app and why. Now that you know, think on how to give more to your users, how to make them happy, how to make them relate to your app…Look at the rule-breakers around you like “Candy Crush”, “Clash of Clans”, “Flappy Bird” and try to break some rules yourself.

Read more on:

http://blog.flurry.com/bid/109445/Flurry-s-Gaming-Matrix-Re-loaded-on-Android

http://appygamer.mobilesrepublic.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=3&articleid=20450192

Google Play? Try another way

Posted by admin | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 28-03-2014 | Comments 0

Many developers work hard to turn their favorite ideas into helpful or entertaining apps, and they succeed in doing so, but choosing Google Play as their first app store usually turns out to be a mistake. Every day, more than 800 new apps are uploaded on Google Play. The next day, those are already buried by new ones and so on…This is why every developer should explore every market out there before deciding where to launch his app. In our article “Your place on the Shelf” we talked about understanding the app store environment and competing against similar titles from the same category. If we compare the numbers of apps under the “Arcade” category on Google Play and on Soc.io mall it is clear that there is far less competition on Soc.io mall. If you have a high quality app, the chances of getting famous are much higher on small app stores where you could build your user base, get a lot of downloads, be on top positions and even get your app featured for free or for a low price. Achieving that on Google Play is out of reach for startups as well as veteran developers. So, instead of focusing solely on an app store don’t forget the basics:

  • Create a simple website and offer your game directly from there.

  • Build a community on that same website. Open up some discussions on your own Forums. These discussions rarely (the greatest app stores don’t even have social elements on them) occur on an app store.

  • Make your own blog on Blogger or WordPress.

  • If your app is doing well, don’t just sell the app; sell something more personal like T-shirts with your app logo on them.

  • Don’t forget Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ even Pinterest have their own part in the big social game. Spread the word and do it in a unique way on every social network.

  • Use analytics to track social media. Try https://hootsuite.com/

  • Learn about App Store Optimization or ASO.

  • Make use of QR codes.

Remember:

Using all of the above will use your visibility if you use it smart. Stay small and compete against smaller numbers of competitors, try and become the best app of your category on a small app store, then after you’ve gotten your community up and running, users and downloads piling up try out the bigger markets with a different version of your app. Test your way in and continue doing what you did before.

Read more on:

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2169475/4-Ways-to-Help-Consumers-Discover-Your-Mobile-App

http://www.appsgeyser.com/blog/2013/10/11/build-an-android-app-and-increase-your-apps-visibility-in-3-simple-steps/

Picture credits