Application development is one of the major items that sets apart modern smartphones from the previous generation. For Android, people can design and submit apps to the Google Play Store. But with more than 3 apps being submitted every 5 minutes, how do you make yours successful?
The recipe for a successful depends on four things. Organic searching, quality of app, implementation and support.
Quality of Application:
One of the integral things to the success of the app is naturally, the app itself. A poorly designed, error filled app wont sell while an addictive freemium app can rake in money without the customer even knowing they're spending it. But before we can get to that, let's start with the basics.
One of the upsides of the Android app market is also a technical nightmare. Android is effectively the coming together of hundreds of different devices under the one title. This allows app makers to hit a massive audience, but also makes them have to consider significant differences between their clients' devices. Ultimately the app maker and account for two main differences: The Android OS and the screen size.
Due to the fluctuations of different screens it can be quite easy to design an app that works at 800 x 480 but completely struggles with 1200 x 900. Android OS has a natural method of altering apps so they manage different resolutions, but it's not something you want to rely on completely. Either generate multiple versions to work on different screen sizes, or check that your app works with the pre-set Android scaling.
There can also be compatibility issues when different users use different versions of Android OS. This normally only becomes a problem when someone using an older version (such as 3.0.2) tries to use an app that was coded in a newer one (4.2.2). The easiest ways to avoid such a 'backtrack' problem is to design an app in an old OS, such as 2.0.1. This means that the large majority of your target audience wont get any form of stability issues deriving from reverse OS compatibility.
Try a test group
One easy way of finding out the problems of an app is to have a test group. Isolate a portion of the market that is likely not to bring in much money anyway and have the consumers there test your app for you. This allows for a cheaper and faster way of finding the majority of problems with your app and restricts the possible negative feedback from the consumers.
Paid or Freemium?
Before considering how to market your app, you need to decide exactly how you want to sell it. Unlike the iOS market, the Play Store does allow an application to change from freemium to paid over an update, so you need to choose from the start which you prefer. Furthermore a few countries do not support in app purchases (like China) so using a freemium-based approach can reduce your profitable market share.
The choice between paid or freemium can be made for you depending on the type of app you are trying to sell. Pocket RPGs tend to suit the freemium category; appealing to a larger audience than normal and the IAPs can fit right into the basic gameplay. Using freemium also has the advantage of being near impossible to crack as there is almost a constant connection to a server. More serious apps, like navigation are more suited to a paid purchase. Buying 'streets' as you go along with the navigation will most likely be less profitable and drive away a large customer base purely by inconvenience.
The Play Store Layout
One of the most important deciding factors for customers to purchase applications is the home screen for the app on Google Play. If it is desolate, with few screenshots and barely any information very few people will try it let alone purchase it. It should have a few snappy photos, a detailed but brief description (want to draw their attention, not bore them) and a video. When customers can see what your app does they'll be far more interested in trying it.
Normal 'T.V.' advertising certainly isn't the way to go for an app. Focus on delivering ads through other freemium apps or get it featured on the Play Store or a 'choice' by the editor. Internet advertising in general is quite effective for apps, find a market (like a photography site/forum for a photography app) and submit a few ads there. It will be much cheaper than advertising in a larger market base, and far more effective. Reviews are a very important part of the process, getting your app reviewed by a quality site with a good amount of viewers will help your rankings in the playstore and hit your target market.Our site is one of the few android news sites that offer a special android app review service for a low price to help market your android application..
Organic searching (searching in the store not based on paid advertising) is one of the most common ways for customers to find your app, and you need to understand how the searching system on Android works to take best advantage of it.
Google search retrieves and lists organic searches with the following factors:
- Keywords in title
Google search compares the keywords from the search with keywords in the title of the app. So use keywords in your title to optimise this, but refrain from going overboard, this will just make your app sound generic
- Keywords in app description
Google uses a similar system with the app descriptions, so use keywords in your app description. You can be a little more liberal here as less people are influenced by the language in the description itself
- Long Term Users
The search function is also managed by the number of regular users of your apps, not just the download counter. Keeping advertising up and managing the maintenance of your app will increase the number of loyal followers.
Supporting Your App:
When asking your customers to pay for the app or having IAPs, it is quite necessary to have an excellent support basis. If someone purchases a $5 dollar game and it won't go past the loading screen then you are likely to get quite poor reviews from a lot of people, and that will make you suffer.
Set up a support basis before the application even goes live. Have a dedicated email for support that sends out automatic responses to your customers so they know their problem will be looked at. Make sure that this is easy to find within the description and ensure that it works. A furious customer that just paid money will be further aggravated when the support system also doesn't work. Furthermore when asking for money, and having a poor support system it may make you seem quite dishonest to your client base.
It's quite easy to make an app that won't be noticed on the Play Store. But there are a few simple steps you can take that may ensure your success. When making an app, make sure its stable and useable for a large customer base. Before implementing the app decide whether its going to be paid or freemium. Use smart android advertising and create a support system for those that buy your app.
When you take all of these steps into account you are certainly on your way to having great success in the Google Play Store!