Come kick off the holiday season with us this Friday, at our monthly drinkup. This time we’re starting a little earlier, so whether you’re coming straight from work to cap off the week, or stopping by to start off your night, we’ll be there at 5:30!
A few months ago we began strategizing with Moms With Apps, a community of Kids’ App developers. Like appFigures, MWA strives to help developers succeed. MWA and App Friday co-founder, Lorraine Akemann, has played a vital role in our recent outreach efforts within the developer community.
We love connecting with our members to find out more about your needs. With that in mind, we reached out to Lorraine to get her perspective, as both a developer and a community organizer, about how developers can use appFigures, and data in general, to find the insights that matter. Her findings were so interesting, we’ve decided to bring them to you in this three-part series:
Today’s kids are tech savvy, and app makers realize that family-friendly content is filling a growing niche. As independent developers turn their apps into businesses, they rely on data to help chart their course. What circumstances can change an app’s rankings? Which country generates the most downloads? Which day of the week is most popular for sales? You name it, app developers want to track it.
I interviewed several app makers from the Moms With Apps community about how they use data. Three main themes emerged: 1) analyze past data to chart historical trends, 2) monitor current data to evaluate visibility, and 3) synthesize past and present data to adjust future business strategy. In this article I will illustrate key points from each theme with specific developer testimonials.
1. Tracking sales to refine the target market
“Our initial wave of apps is targeted at occupational therapists (OTs) first, and parents second. Two years of sales data indicates that OTs buy apps primarily while they are at work, Monday-Friday. Dexteria Jr. is the first in our second wave of apps, and we are trying to transition our targeting to parents first and OTs second because the parents market is 10x the size of the OT market. Studying the recent data allowed us to confirm that the strategy is working; our traditional weekend sales dip is being mitigated by weekend purchasers of Dexteria Jr.” Frank Jensen, Dexteria
2. Tracking profits over time
“Recently, data from appFigures led to a crucial change in our company priorities. We tracked the percentage of our profits that come from educational purchases, and saw a clear increase over the past two years. Because of that, we’ve just released the Motion Math: Play Pack, a single game bundle that teachers have requested.” Jacob Klein, Motion Math
3. Tracking downloads by country
“We have been getting substantial downloads from China, but relatively little sales. We used appFigures to identify the trends from China, to compare it’s monetization against other markets we sell into, then make some decisions on how much effort we should invest into China as a market.” Andrew Kao, Puzzingo
Lorraine Akemann is co-founder of Moms With Apps, a collaborative network of developers who create apps for kids. After launching her own app in 2009, she recognized the need for knowledge-sharing and cross-marketing to help gain exposure in the App Store marketplace. Lorraine’s advocacy and efforts are focused on supporting apps that are designed to respect children and families, and her partnership with the Association for Competitive Technology is based on bringing best practices in online privacy to the forefront of kids’ app development. You can find Lorraine on Twitter @momswithapps
You know that sinking feeling you get when realizing you lost something you didn’t back up? That’s actually one of the reasons we started appFigures as a cloud platform. Our trusty servers provide redundant storage for your important data just in case you ever lose it.
While this type of convenience has pretty much become an industry standard since the wild west days of the App Store, we decided to take it even further. We’re really excited to unveil our new automatic integration with Dropbox, available to all premium plan members.
To turn it on, just head over to Account Settings → Add-ons and enable Dropbox Backup.
Once it’s enabled all the data in your appFigures Archive (new and existing) will be delivered to your Dropbox account automatically. After all, you can never have enough backup.
Several months ago we started something new; a monthly drinkup on the first Friday of every month. The idea was simple: hang out with our team + our members + strangers who are passionate about technology + beer = an awesome way to end the week. At the last drinkup more than 30 app developers thought exactly the same. It was a blast!
The next drinkup is this week, Friday 11/1 at the same place: Central bar (109 E. 9th St.) at the same time (7pm – 10pm). We hope you’ll come join us and maybe even bring a friend. The more the merrier!
Please RSVP on Eventbrite.
Earlier today we rolled out a small improvement to how sales and ad reports are exported. You can now export reports into two new format: CSV, which opens in Excel, and JSON, which is programmer-friendly. In addition to the newer format, exported reports can now be broken down by product as well as by date or country.
FYI – We’re keeping the old format for exported report (TSV) for legacy support but intend to remove it in the near future.
appStrategy is a new series of posts that feature app developers who utilized analytics to make more insightful decisions and get more out of the app store. Our first post is by Michael Sacca the founder of Tiny Factory.
Bilingual Child was a side project for us that quickly became our main focus for the better part of the last two years. After the initial success we began experimenting with what else we could do with our early language offerings and found some interesting results.
Testing the Market
We launched Bilingual Child right around Christmas of 2011 as an early English to Spanish learning application. This was our first iOS application that we’d ever launched and the first application in the ‘edutainment’ space.
Upon initial launch we saw a good number of downloads come in from China, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, France & the Philippines. The downloads were decent, but the sales on our in app purchases were lacking (Downloads were free and in app purchases were initially 1.99 per book for additional content). We were making an average of .03 cents per install compared to .16 cents per install in the United States.
We were generating interest but because we were translating from English to Spanish our users weren’t interested in purchasing our content.
We knew they wanted to learn one language or the other, but the dependency on both was shrinking our target market.
In order to scale language education internationally we needed an app that was native language agnostic instead relying on translation.
Building For The Wider Funnel
We set out to create a new game that could teach basic English & Spanish vocabulary in any country in the world — regardless of their native language.
We used the same branding, icons and sprites we’d developed for the original game but created a new way to interact with them instead of choosing the vocabulary word once, we made a game where the children would consecutively pop bubbles connecting vocabulary words with their icon multiple times per level.
This new version didn’t rely on a native language and instead taught through immersion so anywhere in the world we could teach English or Spanish.
In a matter of weeks we had a new game in the app store. Upon release we drove our average revenue per install up to .09 cents in those same countries, almost tripling our value showing how much revenue we were leaving on the table by not offering the right product for the market.
The “More Apps” Button
Once our new applications were launched we created a funnel to drive traffic from Bilingual Child to our new suite of apps.
We finally had something to offer our users in addition to our flagship application and they were eager to check it out.
Utilize what you have, chances are you’re not taking full advantage of what you’ve already built.
On average we have 400 visitors traveling through it per day. These were pre-qualified users who are interested in early language education and already enjoy our applications so we saw immediate traffic coming to our new apps which helped to instantly boost their ranking in the app store.
Determining Our Best Selling Days
By analyzing our appFigures data we were able to determine that our best sales days were coming in on Monday and Thursday with Saturday and Sunday always steadily higher than our week days.
We knew that any marketing we did would be most effective on these days so we focused on what we could do to capitalize on this. We didn’t have a large marketing budget so we had to get creative.
Weather Triggered Marketing
When we thought about what drove our sales we took a step back and considered when a parent might download our app. What a better time than a rainy day where kids are stuck inside all day with nothing to do.
Using AdMob’s targeting tools, we ran ads in locations that were experiencing bad weather at the beginning of the day when parents typically take young kids to the park before nap time and again in the late afternoon when elementary schools were getting out.
This allowed us to reach parents when they most likely had their children inside and were looking for ways to entertain them.
This technique not only led to more sales but allowed us to utilize our limited marketing budget at the exact times when our customers were likely to download and use our application.
Growth hacking is about finding creative avenues to get the attention of your audience in strange and effective ways
By taking advantage of the momentum we had already built, reusing assets to quickly create a new experience & some creative growth hacking we were able to add an additional 10k in profit over the last 6 months.
Michael Sacca is a designer, writer & entrepreneur. He is the founder of Tiny Factory, a digital product company based out of San Diego, CA. He has released six early language education apps for kids in the iOS market. You can check out his latest projects, Brandisty.com for app developers to keep their branding in one place and growthtracker.io a goalboard for growth hackers. Follow him on twitter @michaelsacca
Have a great appStrategy story you want us to feature? Tell us about it at email@example.com
Apple is getting serious about kids in the app store. This summer, additions to COPPA led to policy changes and a new top-level kids category.
Earlier this week we started tracking the new Kids category and all age groups. Top 200 ranks are tracked hourly.
If you’re developing games for kids, you may want to read this article from our friends at momswithapps: How are kids’ app developers communicating to parents?
Last month we had our first official drinkup in New York and it was a blast so we decided to do it again.
We’ll be at the same place (Central Bar) next Friday. Here are the details:
When: Friday, September 6th @ 7:00pm
Where: 109 E. 9th St. New York, NY 10003
See you there!
FYI – This is what the last drinkup looked like.
Come meet our team and enjoy a drink on us at Central Bar in NYC’s lower east side just a few blocks from our office next week. See you there!
- When: Friday, August 2nd @ 7:00pm
- Where: 109 E. 9th St. New York, NY 10003