iPad Marketing

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by Modus, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Modus

    Modus Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2008
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    #1 Modus, Dec 8, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
    This could belong in one of the other forums, but I want as many people to see it as possible; it's a question not just for devs but gamers too.


    For Devs:

    What lengths would you go to, to market your games?

    Have you had any problems getting yourself into the top 100?


    Do you trust the Chart Ranking system to be representative of the most popular apps?

    Would you manipulate the Chart Ranking system if it would get your app into the top 100?

    For the Users:

    How do you find the apps you buy?

    Does the Chart Ranking (in addition to User Ratings) have any influence over your decision making?

    What proportion of apps that you pay for are you happy with? Most of them? Only a few of them?

    Does file (download) size influence your purchase? Do you shop from your Touch/iPhone, or from the desktop, or both? How would you feel about smaller executables and seperate (free and/or commercial) expansion packs?

    How many purchases are impulse (you decide on the spot)?
     
  2. snow_mani

    snow_mani Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
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    A users response

    As a user I find the apps I purchase in 3 ways:

    1) By viewing the appshopper.com feed
    2) By recommendations from posters on this forum
    3) When I use an app I enjoy I sometimes use the links in the iTunes store description to check out any other apps that developer has.

    The chart ranking system has no influence over my decision making. User posted reviews in iTunes do influence me but I always am looking for considered reviews (Not just reviews that say the app/game is a "must have" or "it's fun" or "it sucks". I want to know why they think it is a must have or why it is fun or why they don't like it).

    To date I have been happy with about 85% of the apps I have paid money for. However, if I was paying more overall for apps then I think my satisfaction would be lower.
     
  3. AchillesReborn

    AchillesReborn Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2008
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    I see the apps that I buy either on the itunes main page, or on sites like this. For non-gaming apps, I'll often make a specific search.

    Chart/user ranking means little to me. I only pay attention to concise reviews, ignoring the typical 'It won't start on my iphone that I haven't restarted/is jailbroken' nonsense. I especially ignore the star ratings of free apps, as it seems people love to hand out 5 stars for below par crap on the basis that it's free (although 'rate on delete might balance things a bit). If it's poor, it should have a poor rating, else every free app might as well have a 5 star rating.

    Every game that I use I've paid for. I've not found a single free game that I've wanted to keep. Other apps are mixed, but many of the better ones are not free.
     
  4. Modus

    Modus Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2008
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    Ah I forgot about things like AppShopper. Goes to show, if you don't ask...

    I probably should have added:

    Does file (download) size influence your purchase? Do you shop from your Touch/iPhone, or from the desktop, or both?
     
  5. TouchSF

    TouchSF Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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  6. snow_mani

    snow_mani Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
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    Size doesn't matter

    Size doesn't matter (gee I've always wanted to be able to say that in polite company! :D). BUT it does matter if there are frequent updates. For example I have a generally slow internet connection. Large files are a pain to download and if an app updates a lot then I often don't download the update until needed. I've got a few hundred apps in total and only 2 of these have been purchased or downloaded via my iphone. I do all my purchasing and downloading through iTunes on a PC. I am also limited by my measly 150MB per month allowance on my iPhone plan. Yep, only 150MB allowance per month. :(
     
  7. Modus

    Modus Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2008
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  8. Modus

    Modus Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2008
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    Good point.

    How would you feel about seperate file downloads for large games. For example, enhanced content or more maps as something you can install alongside the main application at will?
     
  9. Paulio

    Paulio Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2008
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    Local IGA (supermarket)
    Tasmania, Australia
    #9 Paulio, Dec 8, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
    Hey Modus, I'm a user
    Well I find the majority of the apps that I buy to be enjoyable and hardly have any regrets after purchasing them. Once I have used a paid app, I mostly take the time to write an honest review in iTunes, some ideas for updates and give a star review relative to my experience.
    In terms of using the reviews and star ratings my self depends on what the circumstance is, but mostly the reviews are made by idiots who seem to be unable to type and use normal English and the star ratings are mostly people complaining because they are generally stupid and don't know much about their device and how to use it so give it a one star review. I find this greatly annoying and will always check sites like TA and YouTube videos to see what I think of the gameplay etc.
    I tend to not ‘dive’ into buying an app before I see an in game video, or read a good review. Because of this, I am pretty much always happy with my purchases and never have any regrets.
    Size doesn't matter, if it looks like a good game. If it's a big download I usually make double sure I'm not downloading crap and then eagerly sit there waiting for it to finish so I can play!
    Also I never download from my desktop, always on my touch. This saves me from sincing and I generally find it easier and like how you can just do it like that. No hassle.
     
  10. majicDave

    majicDave Well-Known Member

    As a developer I have a few things to say. If I seem bitter, I'm really not. I'm grateful for the opportunities that the App Store has given me, but there are some teething problems... which are taking a while to iron out.

    Marketing - I really try to remain ethical in my marketing decisions. I don't like the way the App Store has gone with all these sales and banners and such, but it's clearly generating interest. If you can't beat em join em :(

    Top 100 - Apple has done a very good job of making everyone have to be in the top 100 if they want any real sales volume, and as a result have driven down prices. In the early days, Chopper rose up to the top 100, and eventually got to #13 at $7.99, and with no real marketing. At $4.99 sales had dropped to almost nothing. Now at 99c, it is again rising through the top 100. I have a quality app in development that initially I was hoping to sell at $9.99. Now with the top 100 or death scenario it will be a dollar or two. I have considered dumping it multiple times as I know if it doesn't get into the top 100 it will not pay for the time I'm spending on it.

    Chart Ranking System - This is changing often, and cannot be relied on. You can analyze the charts all you like, but at release time Apple might suddenly change the rules and screw up your plan. New releases now seem to have little impact on rank (which may be a good thing), but it is now with 2.2 even harder to find an app on your iPhone that is not either top 25 or released yesterday. Right now it has been 18 hours since Apple last updated the top 100. Having an app rising in the charts, this longer than usual delay is costing me. The App Store is a casino, with Apple spinning the roulette wheel while you bet your time. Sometimes it pays.

    Manipulation - Depends how. If I see other apps get an unfair advantage by using underhand tactics I might use em too, as long as they do not penalize the end user. I want as many people as possible to play my games, but I have to balance this with wanting no one to feel they have been ripped off or coerced or in any way used.

    Interesting questions, anyway. Cheers.
     
  11. BrettArchibald

    BrettArchibald Well-Known Member

    Jul 17, 2008
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    Self-employed interactive designer.
    Formerly Zimbabwe - now England.
    #11 BrettArchibald, Dec 8, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
    For the Users:

    How do you find the apps you buy?

    99% of the time, through TouchArcade, either through a review, or via the New Games page.

    Does the Chart Ranking (in addition to User Ratings) have any influence over your decision making?

    Invariably no, because by the time an app makes onto the App Store (or least makes it to where I can see it), I've already seen it on this site.
    If anything, the Chart Ranking, in my opinion, only helps the visibility of an app. Its ranking won't influence my decision to purchase it.
    The User Rating (in terms of number of stars) plays NO role in my decision to purchase anything. However, detailed informative reviews from other people on the App Store will influence my decision.

    What proportion of apps that you pay for are you happy with? Most of them? Only a few of them?

    Most of them. I'm an experienced enough shopper (in ALL aspects of purchasing ANYTHING in life) to have been burned in the past with rash impulse decisions, so I make sure I really do want to purchase anything these days before I splash out the cash.

    Does file (download) size influence your purchase?
    Do you shop from your Touch/iPhone, or from the desktop, or both?
    How would you feel about smaller executables and seperate (free and/or commercial) expansion packs?


    Size plays no influence.
    I shop from both my Mac and my iPhone, but the majority is from my Mac.
    I'm not a great fan of separate expansion packs. I prefer any updates to be included in the original game.

    How many purchases are impulse (you decide on the spot)?

    A fair few games I do decide to purchase on the spot, but as alluded to earlier, I wouldn't really call them "impulse" decisions - if I decide to purchase a game within 5 minutes of hearing about it, or whether I umm and ahh over it for weeks (FLOverload? Not sure whether to get it or not yet?), when I do purchase it, I'll be pretty sure that I want it, rather than purchasing it "just to try it out".

    So in conclusion, the App Store itself plays practically no direct role in my decision to purchase a game. I rely on "external sightings", as it were.
    But most developers here will tell you that my situation is not a typical situation. We TouchArcade users make up a relatively small percentage of app purchasers, and visibility on the App Store itself is everything. If you can get on the front page, or on a top 25 list, then you've struck gold!
    Do whatever you can to get there, I say! ;)
    Some people will bash you for it, but they're a small percentage - there's MILLIONS of other purchasers out there who will only ever buy your app if they see it on iTunes.
     
  12. Oliver

    Oliver Well-Known Member

    I would say that external websites play no role in the process of buying an app for the typical user. And I'd also say, that the typical user is not the user who checks appsniper, appshopper, toucharcade, youtube and several other ressources for new apps or reviews or price changes. At a maximum they browse through iTunes.

    My gf only uses the apps I bought or downloaded. She does not look or search for other apps. She has no interest. One collegue of me has no interest in apps. My boss bought an iPhone and didn't even know that it has to be activated using itunes (which means, he constantly ignored that the iPhone displayed to him what to do).

    Also the sales numbers correspond to your ranking in the top lists of Apple. That's what's important visibility. All other web sites just don't count for these numbers.

    Also take a look on this http://www.createwithcontext.com/how-people-really-use-the-iphone.html page 31ff.
     
  13. PoV

    PoV Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2008
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    What lengths would you go to, to market your games?

    I've been trying to do my marketing entirely without spending any money. Sending out Ad Hoc's to any sites that requested them. And now with the freebie promo codes, approaching sites and people directly (anyone I could determine was in the US at least).


    Have you had any problems getting yourself into the top 100?

    Heck yeah. I've started calling it the "Apple Lottery" as a result. If you get in, you win a prize called "lots of sales". At least it's lots compared to what you get outside the top 100 system.


    Do you trust the Chart Ranking system to be representative of the most popular apps?

    Most popular apps, sure. Best apps, that's a completely different story. I've been wowing users and review sites left/right and center with Smiles, but it is a tough battle reaching the people that will truly appreciate the game (without Apple's help).

    I have a game that thrives on word of mouth, but I've been astonished to see how poorly accepted the slightly higher price point was ($4.99). It's picked up, but it was certainly unnerving in the beginning.


    Would you manipulate the Chart Ranking system if it would get your app into the top 100?

    No. I took a stand when I launched my game Smiles at the end of October. I said I wasn't going to play the price drop game, and I haven't. As a result, I've come up with and implemented a completely different marketing system than I've seen on the iPhone thus far.

    I split my game in two ($2.99 each).

    This works for me, since Smiles really is 2 distinct games (an early marketing strategy that didn't work... 2 games in 1). Even when I do eventually decide to sale my game, I can sale only a part of it and not drop below $4.99. Unlike many other developers, that means I can continue to be fair to all the people that took the plunge from the beginning.

    If anything, I'm low at the moment. My marketing strategy is a long and complicated one that may eventually see me raise my prices. I've been making games professionally for nearly a decade now. And now that I'm running the show, I have a few things up my sleeve.
     
  14. HJJ

    HJJ Well-Known Member

    Dec 2, 2008
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    Hi... for some background, I have a 2g iPod touch, and I use it daily on my 90 minute train commutes in the evenings. Not sure if this matters, but I am a girl... and I tend to be more interested in word games and puzzles. When my brothers were growing up with Mario and Link, I was playing Tetris.

    How do you find the apps you buy?
    When I first got my iPod, I typed in specific words like "puzzle" or "cryptograms." Nowadays, I usually browse the mobile app store when I'm watching TV at night. Since I'm viewing on my iPod, it does mean that I usually look a the "Top" lists... when I'm able to be at my computer, I will search deeper into the store by going to the Games store and basically clicking "next" over and over. One thing I dislike about this is that they don't put the average star ratings next to these games.

    With so many games out now, I will take a look at the ones with cute icons or nicely done UIs.

    Does the Chart Ranking (in addition to User Ratings) have any influence over your decision making?
    Sort of. I am hesitant to buy anything with lower than 3 stars. I always look at the written reviews to see as much of the full story as I can though. For instance, the other night I saw an app with 3 or 3.5 stars, but when I went into the reviews, all of them were 5 stars. So it leads me to think that there were either a lot of people who didn't understand the game and deleted it right away and rated it poorly OR the developer has some friends who reviewed the game.

    I particularly hate to see reviews like, "Bought this when it was $3, refund please." People have some nerve, especially when it's made perfectly clear by the developer that there was an explicit "sale." Sometimes I really wonder what kind of children we are letting review things.

    What proportion of apps that you pay for are you happy with? Most of them? Only a few of them?
    I'd say I'm happy with most of my apps. I am a total impulse buyer, but I also know what I like. I have about 5 or 6 pages of apps right now, the majority of which are games. I don't always use them all regularly, but I like to have a good selection given my long commutes.

    Does file (download) size influence your purchase? Do you shop from your Touch/iPhone, or from the desktop, or both? How would you feel about smaller executables and seperate (free and/or commercial) expansion packs?
    As of right now, size doesn't matter at all. I buy most of my apps through the mobile store using WiFi.

    How many purchases are impulse (you decide on the spot)?
    I'd say the majority of apps are impulse buys. A few stayed on my mind for a few days before I finally decided to pull the trigger, but most of them get downloaded before I can even say "goodbye $2." Most of my apps range from .99 to 3.99. For me, the 1.99 and 2.99 games seem to be my sweet spot. I recently sprung for Instapaper at 9.99. (USD)
     
  15. Vende

    Vende Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2008
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    How do you find the apps you buy?

    A combination of the itunes chart, websites like this and appshopper, and I repeatedly google iphone and search for the lastest news.

    Does the Chart Ranking (in addition to User Ratings) have any influence over your decision making?

    It has a moderate impact.

    What proportion of apps that you pay for are you happy with? Most of them? Only a few of them?

    I'm happy with virtually all the ones I've paid for with maybe 2 or 3 exceptions (Stone of Destiny, that stupid violin app, Enigmo)

    Does file (download) size influence your purchase? Do you shop from your Touch/iPhone, or from the desktop, or both? How would you feel about smaller executables and seperate (free and/or commercial) expansion packs?

    I don't think about the size of my apps though this will be a concern when I'm closing in on only one free gig. I shop from the iphone at work, from itunes at home. I really don't know much about executables and expansion packs but I can't imagine having a problem with them.

    How many purchases are impulse (you decide on the spot)?

    Eh, even if a purchase is only 1 or 2 bucks, I try to do some research on it and go by other opinions/youtube footage of the game, especially now since I've spent a bit more than I originally budgeted.
     
  16. HJJ

    HJJ Well-Known Member

    Dec 2, 2008
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    PoV, I was the recipient of one of your promo codes for Smiles Zen. I was a little confused about how to play, so I went to your site, and after seeing Smiles Drop, I ended up buying it too. Smiles Drop feels more familiar, but I ended up liking Smiles Zen even better. I'm enjoying them both. Best of luck!
     
  17. PoV

    PoV Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2008
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    I'm glad you like it. :D

    I'm extremely pleased with Smiles Zen myself. As you said, Smiles Drop is familiar, but Zen really gets you thinking.
     
  18. mattmanp

    mattmanp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2008
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    How do you find the apps you buy?

    Through Touch Arcade and it's forums and word of mouth. Occasionally on the App Store front page, but that's pretty rare.

    Does the Chart Ranking (in addition to User Ratings) have any influence over your decision making?

    I rarely look at the carts. I used to and that's how I found a majority of my least favorite games.

    What proportion of apps that you pay for are you happy with? Most of them? Only a few of them?

    Most of them. The ones I don't like are either because of controls (Super Monkey Ball) or the game did not match the description/expectation (Urban Tycoon). Both cases were impulse buys based more on my expectation and not enough on reviews.

    Does file (download) size influence your purchase? Do you shop from your Touch/iPhone, or from the desktop, or both? How would you feel about smaller executables and seperate (free and/or commercial) expansion packs?

    I don't mind bigger sizes. I'd rather a big sized game that is fully featured and has lots of production value. For instance Real Soccer 09 is the second largest app I have (64 MB) and it looks the most like a PSP or DS game to me. I think that pouring more in to graphical power to make a visually impressive game helps people to justify paying larger amounts. RS09 was totally worth $10.

    As for expansion packs. I'm for them if they're an unexpected bonus but not if they're a selling point on the game. When I bought Enigmo, one day they released an update which allowed downloading and playing user created puzzles. Added a ton of replay value and I would assume helped some with sales. The Urban Tycoon experience taught me not to buy games because of promised updates to come later. If you want to charge for an expansion pack, I would think it'd be better to package it separately as a sequel.

    How many purchases are impulse (you decide on the spot)?

    At first a good amount, but with the overwhelming amount and times I've been disappointed it's really rare now.
     
  19. istopmotion

    istopmotion Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2008
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    1. Mostly TouchArcade and AppSniper.

    2. Sometimes, but since I only buy games that I see have been released recently, most of them are not anywhere near the top 100 at the time I purchase them.

    3. I'd have to say I'm happy with all of them at first but only about 25% of them are the ones I keep playing over and over - Everyone loves high replayability

    4. Anything under 20MB, I buy on my iPod. Anything over that, desktop and then transfer it to my iPod.

    5. About 75% of them. The thing that gets me to notice an app is the icon. If the icon looks like it was made by someone using MS Paint - screw it. If it's really polished and looks better than the actual game does, that's what gets me. LOL
     

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