Mobile Insights 2015 –  A Recap of CES 2015 with Implications and Insights for the New Year

Welcome to 2015 and the year of ???

Jan16

App-Promo and Tapped Mobile have survived the madness of CES 2015 and are pleased to present a curated half day morning session on Thursday January 16th at the TIFF- Bell Lightbox, recapping CES 2015 with a panel of the top digital executives in Canada discussing implications from CES and insights into how they see the year ahead unfolding.

Enjoy a cup of coffee, light breakfast, and come in from the cold to warm up with Mobile Insights 2015.

Event Overview
8:30 Registration, Networking, Coffee and Light Breakfast

9:00 Welcome and Opening Comments.
Jed Schneiderman, CEO TappedMobile
Gary Yentin, CEO App-Promo

9:15-9:30 CES 2015 Wrap Up

9:30-10:00 Agency Insights
Jake Norman, CEO Mindshare Canada
Bruce Neve, CEO Starcom MediaVest
Will Pate, VP Digital Strategy, M2 Universal
Matt Di Paolo, Managing Director Digital Innovation, Sidlee
Moderated by Jed Schneiderman, TappedMobile

10:00-10:30 Brand Insights
Jonathan Dunn, Associate Director Sales Marketing, Bell Digital Media
Rahul Raj, VP Marketing of Ecobee
Mark Childs, Chief Marketing Officer, Samsung

Moderated by Gary Yentin, App-Promo

10:30-10:45 Mobile Personas 2015
Mark Baltazar, Vice President, Brandspark International

10:45-11:00 Recap and Questions and Answers

Registration Information

Registration is limited to the first 100 registrations and is free for qualified agencies, brands and digital innovators.  Simply click on  bit.ly/Mobileinsights2015 to register

App Marketing 101: Analytics & Monitoring

What all marketing efforts boil down to is results. For applications, the most common metrics are usually either downloads or activity. In this final article in our 10-part App Marketing 101 series, we break down what you need to know to properly assess your marketing efforts for your app.

Although results are gathered at the end of any marketing campaign, it is imperative that analytics and monitoring be considered right at the start of any effort. Metrics are intrinsically tied to the goals and objectives of the campaign. It is during the planning phase of your marketing effort where you not only identify these goals but should also be detailing how you will measure each objective in order to determine if they are successful or not.

Once you understand what data you need to collect, you will need to pinpoint what methods or resources you will need to gather that information. Understanding the methodology you need will ultimately influence the decisions you make in implementing your marketing efforts – which is why it is important to do this all upfront.

When the campaign is underway, don’t wait until the end to start to look at the data. Monitor your results throughout your efforts to see what is working and what is not and make the necessary adjustments. Just be sure that you give your choices enough time to culminate before changing them up again.

At either the end of your campaign or at particular milestones in your ongoing marketing, you will want to put all the pieces of information together to gauge the full impact of your efforts. Identify and celebrate your successes but don’t be afraid of points of failure as these are valuable learnings to take into your next attempts.

 

What to Measure?

The short answer is to this question is everything possible, but here are some typical metrics you should be collecting and analyzing in your marketing efforts.

  • Product: Downloads, unique users, page views, session length, time of use
  • Pricing: Purchases, in-app purchases
  • App Store Marketing: ratings & reviews
  • Social Media: Fans, followers, active users, post views & impressions, retweets, demographics
  • Paid Media: impressions, clicks, click-through-rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), social impressions
  • Search Engine Marketing:
  • Contests: participants, page views, session length
  • Press & Blogger Outreach: media deliveries, online pickup, positive/negative sentiment
  • Community & Networking: thread/discussion activity

 

Analyzing App Downloads

When it comes to apps, the first metric that comes to mind is downloads.

When looking at your downloads, consider more than just the total number. Look at what your peak times are for downloading to help determine key time slots for future marketing for your users.

All app stores provide geographic information that should be taken advantage of. Breakout your downloads by country to determine your geographic heat spots. Doing this will help identify where the most interest is from your users, another insight to take into future marketing and product efforts.

If your product has both a paid version and a free trial or “lite” version, analyzing your downloads for both during the campaign will help you assess your pricing model. Are  those that are downloading your lite version converting to paid? If not – look to either the process to upgrade or the price point.

Ultimately, while running any elements of your marketing campaign, you will want to look back at the impact of these efforts on your downloads. To gauge the full impact, compare significant amount of download data pre-campaign against the campaign period (and if possible also against post-campaign results). Additionally,

Before any marketing effort, be sure to baseline your downloads to allow you to quickly identify if your efforts are producing growth. Calculate both the total downloads prior to starting your marketing efforts as well as your average daily growth and use these numbers to compare against results during the campaign.

 

Looking at activity to understand your true user

Although downloads are a good stat to focus on in terms of interest in your app, if your goal is to understand the use of your app you are going to want to include activity as a core metric in your monitoring.

There are two main places to gather information on usage of your app. The first in in the app store via the reviews and ratings attributed to your app. Keep an eye on these as you continue your marketing. Are you increasing the number of reviews and ratings? Have these improved with your marketing efforts? What are your users telling you during this time?

As ratings & reviews are being calculated along with downloads to help position applications in storefront charts and features, it is definitely something you will want to include as part of your marketing goals.

The second place collecting data on your user’s activity is within your app itself, well that’s if you planned ahead in your product development to include statistics to do so. Implementing an analytics package when developing your app will go a long way in helping you truly understand the success of your app.

Take a look at the activity within your app during your marketing. Do you see spikes in activity that correlate to your campaign elements? How do these compare to the increase you may be seeing in downloads? Are new users staying an using your app or downloading it and leaving it behind? What areas are they most interested in?

By analyzing user activity – you will get a better sense of the longer term impacts of your marketing efforts. These metrics give insight to your users rather than those that are simply interested in your product, perhaps because of compelling positioning in your marketing campaign (short-term impact of marketing).

 

Analyzing PR & Online Buzz

A core part of any marketing campaign is to get the word out. Whether this is through a formal press release over the wire or through a more personal outreach to bloggers and online publications you are going to want to understand how successful your PR efforts have been.

If you are using a PR distribution system to send out a press release, some of these metrics are easily available via the reports they provide. Look especially to both the number of online pickup achieved through their network and the types of sites that ran your release.

If you are reaching out to press and bloggers through an email system, look to your open rate to gauge interest and then search online using keywords from your release to understand who ran your story.

Without investing in tools or systems that are devised to do so, the best way to gauge online buzz is through good ol’ fashion search engines. Search for your app name or other keywords during your campaign and make note of the sites that mention your product.

A great way to track reader usage is through URL tracking sites like the use of bit.ly. By converting your download page link, for example, into a bit.ly URL you will gain a better understanding of the traffic pushed to download your app from referring sources.

Of course, you will ultimately want to look to your downloads and usage during this time to gauge impact of the posts achieved to see if they result in achieving your overall campaign goals. This won’t be a one-to-one correlation but you will be able to infer spikes of download or activity during peak periods of online buzz, especially if this is isolated from other marketing campaign elements.

 

Understanding data from Paid Media

Out of all of the marketing resources you utilize in your campaign, paid media will come with the most amount of readily available real-time data.

When running mobile, online or search ads – it is best to split-test. Run a couple of versions of your ad at the same time and then look to the analytics provided to decide what is working and what needs to be stopped or changed. Monitoring this continually through your campaign will not only improve the active campaign’s overall results, but it will also teach you what to continue in future marketing efforts.

Whether it is during the campaign or at the campaign end, you are going to want to look not to the impressions made during marketing (unless your goal is pure brand awareness) but rather the connections or clicks made during the campaign. This is where the click-through-rate is important or as it is usually denoted “CTR”.

You will want to understand what a good CTR is for a campaign in order to quickly make a decision if the campaign is worth putting money into. Although these are always specific to the network and ad trafficked, industry CTR averages are available for speculation online so take a look at these conversations to help put things in perspective. Ultimately, you will want to run a few test campaigns yourself on various networks to really understand what to expect in using paid media for marketing your app.

 

Measuring Social Media

Like online buzz, you will want to look to your social media efforts during marketing to understand how they helped deliver results.

Facebook makes this incredibly easy through the use of their Insight tool if you are a page administrator. This tool not only breaks out user activity, but can also provide data by post (impressions, activity) and demographic. Like Paid Media, you can use the data in Insights to see what type of posts are working for your community and which are not. Outside of Facebook’s Insight reports, use tracking services like bit.ly to understand who is entering your community to ultimately download your app.

For other social networks, like Twitter, you will need to lean on third party metric systems to really get a sense as to how your marketing efforts are doing within these communities. However, without investing too much money on these services, you will be able to look to your follower growth and perform searches to see what people are saying about your product. Again, the use of a tracking URL will also help to determine referral traffic to your download page. But unlike Facebook, most other social networks are not yet well set-up to provide you with additional data (like number of reads on your tweet etc.) so if this is of interest to you, you will have to look for alternative analytics solutions which do exist to integrate with.

Regardless of social network, you will want to look to follower or fan growth and sustenance as a metric to indicate interest in your brand and use of any download links

App Previews – The importance of app video previews in the new App Store for iOS8

Engage customers with a short video of your app in action, directly on your app product page on the App Store. By showing the experience of using your app, app previews can help customers better understand your app and encourage more downloads.

Overview

An app preview demonstrates the features, functionality, and user interface of your app in a short video that users can watch right on the App Store. Each preview is between 15 and 30 seconds long and is displayed as the first image on your App Store product page, followed by your app screenshots.

Getting Started

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you can capture real-time footage of your app directly from your iOS device. Simply connect your device to your Mac using the Lightning connector and it will be automatically available as a video camera. You can capture anything you’re doing on-screen directly to your Mac using QuickTime Player. Edit your captured footage in iMovie or your favorite video editing app and upload it to iTunes Connect for review along with your next app update.

Submitting App Previews

If you submit app previews they will appear in all countries where your app is available. However, you may only submit a single set of app previews designed for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in one language localization.

Just like screenshots, each app preview is device-specific and requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a 4-inch Retina display to view or submit. For detailed technical specs and step-by-step instructions on how to submit app previews, read the iTunes Connect Developer Guide.

Creating a Great App Preview

App previews are between 15 and 30 seconds long and it’s important to make the most of this time to help customers better understand your app’s content and features. These tips will help you create a great app preview that sparks interest and drives downloads of your app.

Planning Your App Preview

App previews use footage captured on device to show the experience of using your app. Users want to see an honest depiction of what to expect from your app, so resist the urge to overproduce your video. Consider these steps as you structure the content and flow of your preview.

  1. Develop an outline or storyboard highlighting the magic moments that make your app unique. A great place to start is your app product page—focus on the top 3–5 features you’ve identified in your app description and use these as your framework.
  2. Map out a list of scenes you’ll need, then plan the timing so you know how many seconds to devote to each feature.
  3. Aim to tell a cohesive story so that users get a sense of the journey they will experience when using your app. Craft messaging to explain transitions or features within the UI.
  4. Consider any demo content you may need to create to show your app. Create dummy accounts any time you need to display personal information.

Content and Format

App previews are for all audiences, so your preview must be 4+ appropriate. Avoid objectionable content, violence, adult themes, and profanity.

App previews are between 15 and 30 seconds in length. Make the most of this time to show what makes your app special.

Capture app footage from the device using QuickTime Player on OS X Yosemite. Don’t film people interacting with the device (such as over-the-shoulder angles or fingers tapping the screen). Stay within the app.

Show only material you have the legal right to display. If your app displays protected content such as music, film, trademarked characters, brands, or other intellectual property assets, ensure you have the appropriate licensing rights for your marketing use in all territories. If your app accesses the iTune Library, use only song that you’ve created or that you’ve specifically licensed for use in the preview.

Graphics and Transitions

Add graphic elements, such as touch hotspots, only when necessary to demonstrate how navigation or interaction work within the app. Don’t overlay animated hands simulating Multi-Touch gestures.

We recommend capturing the native resolution of the UI; avoid zooming in on the view. Ensure the transitions between scenes don’t imply functionality that your app doesn’t have. Use straightforward transitions like dissolves and fades.

For games, show a higher ratio of gameplay to cutscenes. Cutscenes may mislead your audience by giving a false impression of gameplay. Get your audience excited about the elements they will actively engage with once they download the app.

App Previews on App Store Product Pages

App previews are displayed as the first image on your app’s product page, followed by your app screenshots. This is one of the first elements a user will see on your product page, so ensure the preview poster frame is visually compelling.

Ideally, your preview poster frame should convey the essence of the app. If the default frame selected from your footage doesn’t convey this, you can select a new frame in iTunes Connect. Please note that changing the poster frame on previews that have already been approved will require a new binary version.

Using Copy

App previews are not localized, so we recommend limiting the use of copy to maximize engagement globally.

When copy is necessary to give context to the footage, use easily understandable terms and consider language choice in light of your target audience.

Ensure text is legible and remains on screen long enough for your audience to read it.

To keep your app preview timeless, we recommend avoiding references to specific events, seasons, or memes that will date it (such as “New for spring!”).

We recommend leaving out references to pricing in your app preview. Pricing is already shown on the App Store product page, and references within the preview won’t be accurate in all countries and territories.

If you display features that are only available through In-App Purchase you must disclose this, but it’s a good idea to show it even when the In-App Purchase is optional so that users know what to expect. Disclaimer copy can be included contextually within the footage or in the end frame.

If your app uses a subscription model or requires login, we recommend identifying this in your preview.

Overlaying Audio

Consider overlaying the musical score of your app as the soundtrack to your app preview. Overlaying ensures that the audio isn’t disjointed when one scene cuts to the next.

We recommend capturing the sound effects of your UI in your footage to reinforce the functionality of your app. Work with high-quality audio equipment in locations without background noise when recording voiceovers so that all audio in your app preview delivers the best possible user experience.

Consider that your app preview is available in one language worldwide. Narration may not be appropriate in apps marketed globally. If you decide to use narration in your app preview, we recommend working with a professional voiceover actor. This is the voice of your app—make sure it resonates.

App Store Review

In addition to your app, we review all app previews to ensure they comply with our App Store Review Guidelines. Please observe these guidelines before submitting your App Preview with your app.

Create App Previews with iMovie and Final Cut Pro X

iMovie comes with every Mac and makes it easy to create app previews. Edit screen recording videos to get the timing just right, then customize your preview with titles, transitions, a soundtrack, and voiceover. To learn more, read the iMovie Guide for Creating App Previews.

Final Cut Pro X offers even more power for creating app previews, including advanced tools for audio and video editing. Download a complete set of titles designed to showcase your apps, or create your own custom motion graphics. To learn more, read the Final Cut Pro X Guide for Creating App Previews.

What I learned from soft-launching in Canada

Basketwars

By  on October 10, 2014

I knew it was a gamble right from the start. Forfeiting your relatively safe, more traditional corporate career for the sake of a dream, in this case, building an independent gaming software company.  Every day I kept reading about the financial success stories behind Candy Crushand Clash of Clans, and it kept whetting my appetite to get into the industry itself.

Knowing the uphill challenge I faced in this precarious industry, I still made the decision to develop a mobile game while pursuing my executive MBA from Pepperdine University. I was able to raise $30,000 from friends and family (including exhausting my savings) to start JABB Interactive, LLC. My goal was to build my first freemium mobile app, BasketWars.

In such a competitive space as mobile gaming, you obviously must differentiate yourself. I wanted to combine different aspects of gameplay with different genres and mash it up into one game. I enjoyed Basketball, having played it competitively at college.  Most game players enjoy blowing things up. Why not turn basketballs into actual characters and integrate them into a warfare scenario? To my knowledge, there were few if any mobile games that offered the marriage of such two compelling topics in mobile gameplay.

I reached out to a Los Angeles-based app development company who were excited by my concept and agreed to help me build it. I selected World War II as the game’s backdrop because it lent itself to terrific design opportunities and fun characters.

It didn’t take long for me to hit my first major bump in the road. I underestimated the amount of time it would require to finish the game. It took two years to complete BasketWars. Now I had to wrestle over how BasketWars should be made available. Freemium? Paid?

Having no experience with previous game app monetization, I rationalized that making the game free was just too risky a business proposition. I also came across a number of free game case studies that illustrated huge acquisition of users but generated no profit because users did not find value in purchasing in–app content. I settled on a free, “lite-version” of the game, in addition to offering a paid version for $1.99.

I needed still more funds to bring BasketWars to market. Turning to Kickstarter, I was able to raise an additional $10K. While I began allocating more funds for promotion and marketing, the best advice I ever received was from speaking to Gary Yentin, CEO & Founder of App-promo.

After reviewing BasketWars and my plans for U.S. launch, Gary bluntly told me I did not have sufficient budget to acquire new customers in the U.S. that would enable me to get sufficient downloads and drive chart popularity. Instead, he recommended launching into the Canadian marketplace first and for the following reasons:

  • Getting to the top of subcategories in Canada is much easier and cheaper to accomplish when compared to other countries, including the U.S.
  • We could affordably test how popular the game was, and if the monetization techniques we implemented were effective or not
  • If we got negative reviews in Canada, we could fix those issues before seeing any negative comments appear in stores like iTunes or Google Play
  • We could continue to fix bugs and refine gameplay

Gary’s company was also based in Canada and had relationships with many of the top game reviewers.

Canadian soft launch proves invaluable

We launched in Canada in May of 2014. My team partnered with a mobile app analytics company called Appsee. Appsee allowed us to watch recorded video gameplay using heat sense technology. What did we learn?

BasketWars was not ready for prime time

  • We got immediate feedback on where users got frustrated or annoyed
  • Inefficiencies – improvements were needed in design, core gameplay, login, and in particular, tutorials
  • How long it took for users to convert to paying customers
  • Previous unidentified bugs/crashes
  • How effective our ad placements were

Canadian App Store Results

  • Our free/lite version: 3,220 downloads
  • Paid version ($1.99): 2 downloads
  • In-app purchases: 1
  • Total Revenue: $3.39
  • We reached #8 on the Sports subcategory under games.
  • We reached level 51 in the Action subcategory.
  • 157th in Games category
  • 517th in Overall apps

It was a sobering experience.  While the numbers were less than stellar, we also received constructive feedback from our Canadian pool of users. In particular, we learned:

  • Our tutorials were overly long and players got antsy, deciding to leave the game. (We didn’t include a skip button)
  • Many of our Canadian users did not speak English. Most were French Canadian and they not only misunderstood the tutorial itself but couldn’t figure out how to score a shot.
  • The game’s flow was not uniform. Players did not understand when to push certain buttons. Players grew frustrated.

The user feedback proved invaluable.  We were forced to go back to the drawing board and implement a complete UI overhaul, including a core change in gameplay.

Gameplay redesign

We originally designed BasketWars for players to make one shot per level, which would get progressively harder with each new level attained. Players got frustrated right off the bat because of their inability to make a shot on the first level. We learned that gamers must be pumped up with enthusiasm right from the start and that meant making it much easier to score on the first few levels before making gameplay more challenging.  We accomplished this by changing the shooting mechanism from an “Angry Birds” style pullback, to a point, drag, and release.

We also changed gameplay from making one shot to pass a level to making as many shots as players can in a limited time frame. In our testing groups, these two changes alone brought with it a tremendous improvement in the level of player satisfaction. Gamers who previously experienced the older version of gameplay remarked that they now felt much better about the gameplay and wanted to continue playing.

In reviewing the Appsee videos, we saw those players who couldn’t read English get extremely frustrated. Simple tasks could not be completed that were explained in English. We realized that any tutorial provided at the start of the game needed to transcend any language barrier. We accomplished this through animation and pointers.

Our monetization strategy 

In our Canadian soft launch, we made both a free and paid version of BasketWars. The paid version received only one download. In our free version, of the more than 3,000 beta testers, we documented only one in-app purchase. In studying monetization strategies from some of the more successful games, we knew that the most important factor in driving in-app or paid downloads was the “fun factor” and that users “got it” as soon as they started playing the game. We made the strategic decision to stick with a freemium model only and in our minds, believe it will give us the best chance to succeed in an increasing fickle gaming market.

Preparation for U.S. and global launch  

Braving the treacherous waters of mobile gaming app development proved a steep learning curve. I myself never waivered in my belief that BasketWars is as fun a game today as the day it was conceived. The JABB Interactive team learned a tremendous amount from BasketWars Canadian debut.

Since soft launching in Canada, we’ve continued to test BasketWars with small groups of beta testers here in the U.S., including friends and family. We are launching in the U.S with no marketing dollars and no paid promotion.

Our strategy includes using current lists of interested users while organically promoting BasketWarsvia social media channels to drive sufficient downloads to evaluate how well users are participating and enjoying the game. In effect, we are treating our U.S. launch as a second soft launch to further test the new UI/gameplay based on what we learned in our Canada soft launch.

Because we are an indie game development company, we are unable to spend vast sums of money on customer acquisition. Our strategy is to drive downloads through social media outreach, gaming blogger outreach, strategic partnerships and small promotional campaigns.

We feel BasketWars currently boasts a superlative design and incorporates two years’ worth of learning the ins and outs of studying what constitutes a fun and enjoyable mobile game. Earning my MBA has proven its value, helping me develop JABB Interactive’s marketing and overall business strategies and preparing me for the launch of BasketWars in October. We feel confident that BasketWars will receive a warm reception by game fans in the U.S.

Apple’s iOS App Store Gets Massive Overhaul With Trending Searches, Video Previews, App Bundles And More

Apple announced a significant overhaul to the iTunes App Store on iOS this morning at WWDC in response to the challenges developers have faced as the store became increasingly crowded over the years. Today, there are 1.2 million iOS applications, meaning that the traditional means of finding “what’s hot” like the App Store’s Top Charts or Editor’s Picks, for example, are no longer enough. To address this problem, Apple is giving App Store search a serious makeover, with new features like “trending applications,” continuous scrolling, App Bundles, video previews and more.

“I do read your emails,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook with a chuckle, when detailing the App Store update.

In the iOS 8 App Store, which comes as a part of the forthcoming new version of Apple’s mobile operating system, users will have a new “Explore” tab that lets them delve deeper into the App Store’s offerings, including by category and subcategory.

Also new is a continuous scroll, which is more of a performance improvement related to moving through the App Store search results, which was not always the fastest way to navigate through a set of applications.

App Bundles, Video Previews, And More

Developers will also be able to create “App Bundles,” which help them better market and sell groupings of their applications to App Store shoppers. This would be helpful to those developers who specialize in certain types of applications, like a suite of apps for photo editing, for example.

Consumers will now have the option to buy these apps in bundles, which could potentially increase developers’ App Store sales.

A prominent children’s app developer, Toca Boca, was shown as an example of the App Store bundle with a grouping of apps called “Toca Toy Box,” which allows users to download a whole set of apps from the developer at a discount, when compared with buying the applications one-by-one.

IMG_0200

Meanwhile, a feature for video previews of apps – something that, we should point out, arrived on Android first – allows consumers to view the app in action before they make the decision to purchase. These short App Store videos are perfect for tweeting or sharing on Vine, and help to give a better idea about how an app looks and feels versus a screenshot, which can be misleading.

When played, the videos fill the screen, giving users an experience that’s as close as possible to what it’s like to use the actual application, without having to download it.

For developers who take the time to craft high-quality apps with elegant transitions and animations, videos will also help them better showcase those efforts. And for gamers, video previews will let them get a taste the gameplay before committing to a download.

Another feature involving related search suggestions that prompt you with other possible searches to try, also got a brief mention during the keynote, but this had already launched earlier this year.

And top apps that Apple likes will now get an Editor’s Choice logo to help with app recommendations.

IMG_0199

Family Sharing

A handy feature for multi-iOS device families is the new “family sharing” option, which will allow users to buy apps one time then share with others. This feature extends to other media as well, including photos, videos, calendars and reminders. Users will need to have the same payment card details on file for this to work, however, so no – you can’t “family share” with a just a bunch of friends.

The Family Share feature also lets parents approve children’s app purchases, which is a great addition that saves the grown-ups from constantly having to type in their App Store password. The feature will alert the parent via an approval notification, which is handy.

Trending Searches

The “Trending Searches” section in the App Store is very interesting, and possibly one of the more important features of the new release, as it gives developers another way to get their apps found.

You can think of this section as something like Twitter’s trends, as it will give a look at what’s currently hot on the App Store, without the reliance on App Store chart rankings, which have been repeatedly gamed by unsavory developers who know how to hack the algorithm. Apple didn’t clarify how ‘trending searches’ works, or how real-time it is, but it does appear that this, along with the other “Explore” features will replace the “Apps Near Me” section which debuted in iOS 7, and nearly really gained mainstream adoption as a way to find new apps, due to its limited use cases.

IMG_0202

TestFlight

Not entirely unexpected was the announcement that recent Apple acquisition TestFlight, an app beta testing service, would now be integrated into the the developer center, giving developers native (and public!) app beta testing. You can read more about that changehere.

Related to the App Store changes, developers are also getting a new software development kit, with 4,000 new APIs to hook into. As a part of this change, developers can now build their own widgets for the Notification Center, but not the homescreen.

Posted  by  (@sarahintampa)

http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/02/apples-ios-app-store-gets-massive-overhaul-with-trending-searches-video-previews-app-bundles-and-more/

App Annie Index – Market Q1 2014: Revenue Soars in the United States and China

AA-Index-banner_FINAL_1384x742_Market@Apppromo follows the App Annie Market Index and found the results for Q1 2014 very significant in terms of revenue in both the US and China markets. Please review and enjoy the following excerpts from the latest Market Index.

 


The information contained in this report was compiled using App Annie Intelligence, the industry-leading market data solution for identifying opportunities in the app store economy. It provides the most accurate market estimates for global app downloads and revenues – to learn more, take the tour or request a demo today.


 

Key Trends Across Stores, Countries and Categories

  • Google Play worldwide downloads now exceed iOS App Store downloads by around 45%, driven by growth in emerging markets. Russia and Brazil have been on the rise for some time now, but Mexico and Turkey also had a strong influence on Google Play downloads in Q1 2014.
  • The iOS App Store remains comfortably ahead in worldwide revenue, generating about 85% more revenue than Google Play. This gap narrowed over the last quarter though, as Google Play revenue increased markedly in the United States and United Kingdom.
  • China was the key market for iOS App Store growth, showing exceptional gains in both downloads and revenue. iOS App Store revenue in China grew around 70% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Games remained the key category driving growth in both app stores. However, there was also growth in categories outside of Games. Tools saw gains in Google Play revenue, dominated by anti-virus and security apps. On iOS, Finance grew in revenue during tax season in the United States.
  • Messaging apps remained a huge growth area, contributing to the gains for the Communication category on Google Play and Social Networking on iOS.

 

Store-Index-Header

Google Play Builds a Substantial Lead in App Downloads

 

iOS App Store vs. Google Play App Downloads & Revenue

 

image01 - Store Download Revenue Charts

 

Google Play led the iOS App Store in downloads by approximately 45% in Q1 2014, up from 35% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the iOS App Store maintained its comfortable advantage in revenue, leading Google Play by 85%. However, Google Play continued to narrow this revenue gap. The gains for Google Play come as Android devices extended their lead in worldwide device installed base.

Growth in Google Play downloads was driven by explosive growth in emerging markets, with Mexico and Turkey showing themselves as markets to watch. According to IDC, smartphone adoption has grown rapidly in Mexico, increasing around 75% in 2013 and expected to grow by approximately 40% in 2014. Over 65% of these devices used the Android OS, and this proportion is expected to increase in 2014. In Turkey, significant investment in IT and prominent technology projects as part of Vision 2023 and the FATIH education project are contributing to rapid device growth. According to IDC, IT spending is expected to increase around 9% in Turkey this year, driven primarily by the adoption of smartphones and tablets.

iOS App Store revenue growth was driven largely by China and the United States. However, impressive growth extended to smaller markets such as Vietnam and South Africa. Games remained the key category for revenue growth, but Finance apps also gained markedly, with worldwide category revenue growing around 45% quarter-over-quarter. This was boosted by the performance of TurboTax 2013 during tax season in the United States.

Games also topped growth in Google Play revenue, but other categories also saw notable revenue growth. In particular, Communication saw huge gains, and News & Magazines made a significant contribution. While emerging markets drove Google Play download growth, it was established markets such as the United States and United Kingdom that contributed the most to narrowing the revenue gap with the iOS App Store.

Attention iTune Account Owners – email from Apple

@Apppromo would like to share with you a recent email we received from @Apple, enclosed below:

Dear iTunes account owner,
Apple is committed to providing parents and kids with a great experience on the App Store. We
review all app content before allowing it on our store, provide a wide range of age-appropriate
content, and include parental controls in iOS to make it easy for parents to restrict or disable
access to content.
We’ve heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases.
As a result, we’ve improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children’s
purchases, or restrict them entirely. Additionally, we are offering refunds in certain cases.
Our records show that you made some in-app purchases, and if any of these were unauthorized purchases by a minor, you might be eligible for a refund from Apple.
Please follow the steps below to submit a refund request:
Find your in-app purchase records. Check your email for iTunes receipts or use a computer tosign in to your iTunes account and view your Purchase History.
Use this link to submit your refund request to Apple.
Provide the requested information and enter “Refund for In-App Purchases made by a minor”
in the Details section.
Apple will review your request and contact you via email about your refund status. All refundrequests must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015.
If you have any questions or need further assistance with your refund request, please contact Apple.
To learn more about parental controls in iOS, please see this article.
Thank you.
App​le

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