Articles

An App Store Experiment Part 5 - The Finale

February 9, 2015

If you need to catch up first, here are the previous posts:

A bunch of interesting things have happened since part 4. Why is it the finale? Read on.

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App Store Rings in 2015 with New Records

January 13, 2015

Apple came out with some pretty remarkable numbers in their latest press release.

"the first week of January set a new record for billings from the App Store℠ with customers around the world spending nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases"

"These milestones follow a record-breaking 2014, in which billings rose 50 percent and apps generated over $10 billion in revenue for developers. To date, App Store developers have earned a cumulative $25 billion from the sale of apps and games."

So the App Store is still growing at 50% year over year. Amazing.

Forbes also have a detailed write up on the press release.

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You Can Ignore Your Competitors, But Don’t Ignore Their Customers

January 10, 2015

When I was building Appbot to track my own app reviews I never imagined that a few years later many thousands of apps would be using it, nor that the customers would teach me so much.

Much has been written about wether or not you should worry about your competitors or completely ignore them. A quick Google search brings ups many opinions one way or the other. Every business has its own strategy with regard to this and of course it’s your call.

It’s also widely accepted that watching and listening to your customers is critical to building a product that people want. Many of us who are working to create products and services people love in order to build sustainable businesses, spend a lot of time and money getting feedback from potential customers.

When we do it right listening to our customers helps us to find our difference. It’s a lot easier to refine your product to more closely align with what customers want if you know what they want. And it’s a lot easier to fill the gaps that your competitors are leaving wide open by listening to their customers.

The Internet has given us all this golden opportunity to listen. Your customers are showing and telling you what they want and your competitor’s customers are showing and telling you how to be better by leaving reviews.

So why not start listening to your potential customers? Chances are your competitors aren’t.

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How Not to Treat Your Customers

December 1, 2014

I was hanging out with my wife and kids early on Sunday morning (I try and leave my phone out of reach to disconnect, have some family time and not be tempted to check emails).

In the distance I heard a new message come in, my wife looked at me and said "you better go check that, it must be important for someone to be messaging at 8:14am on a Sunday morning".

Here was the message from my telco Telstra (the biggest Telco in Australia).

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The Best iOS Libraries

August 13, 2014

Everyone has their favourite iOS libraries that they drop into all their projects, here are mine.

  • Networking - AFNetworking - there aren't too many projects that don't require some sort of network communications and AFNetworking is king.
  • Blocks - BlocksKit - UIKit is still missing a bunch of places where blocks are super useful (hello UIAlertView & UIActionSheet), and BlocksKit is my go to library.
  • Support/FAQ/Feedback - AppbotX - No other choice, of course :)
  • Analytics - Google Analytics - again there are heaps of options for analytics, but I stick with Google Analytics for the price and integration with your website.
  • Side Menu - ECSlidingViewController - another one with heaps of options, but I have found this on the most reliable.
  • Core Data - MagicalRecord - Core Data requires a lot of boiler plate, which MagicalRecord wraps up nicely. Great if you also use Active Record with Ruby on Rails.
  • Progress - MBProgressHUD - a nice easy was to drop in a progress dialog.
  • Images - SDWebImage - a nice easy way to fetch (and cache) remote images.

What are your best iOS libraries? Tweet me and let me know what I am missing out on.

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Why 60 percent of your users opt-out of push notifications, and what to do about it

August 7, 2014

This was posted recently on Andrew Chen's site.

"In some product categories, over 60% of their users turn off push notifications. In others, a mere 20% do. That’s a huge difference when we’re talking about the primary method of retaining and engaging your mobile users. Recent data from Kahuna reveals that push opt-in rates vary widely across industries – ride sharing being the best performing, and social being the worst. Here’s a comprehensive look at the state of iOS push opt-in rates, as well as a roadmap for getting back on track if your app is trailing behind."

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An App Store Experiment - Part 4

August 5, 2014

Seven months have passed since part 3 was published. Here's what has happened since.

If you need to catch up first, here are the previous posts:

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What Makes A Successful App Store Name?

July 28, 2014

I was recently discussing app names in the App Store with a fellow app developer. I'm not talking about that awesome 4 letter name with no vowels that you spent three weeks debating and looking up domain names. I'm talking about the name you choose to show at the top of the app store.

Only Apple knows exactly how the search algorithms work, but it's widely agreed that the app name gives us the opportunity to sneak in a few more keywords and help sell our app.

Some examples are:

  • Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine
  • Minecraft - Pocket Edition
  • SoundCloud: music & audio - discover and stream songs, artists, podcasts and news
  • TracknShare - A universal life management diary tracker to journal, track, analyze, improve & share chronic health symptoms, such as pain and sleep, my work life, food, weight, wellness & the Quantified Self.

You get up to 255 characters on iTunes, and some developers manage to use every last one of them, a skill in itself.

However, many products are big enough to just use their name like Twitter, Vine, Facebook, Pinterest etc.

Some products choose to just add their main keyword Spotify Music, Pandora Radio etc.

So what do the top ranking apps do?

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Developer Economics Q3 2014: State of the Developer Nation

July 26, 2014

Really interesting report came out recently about developer economics.

Key takeaways for me were:

  • "Third party tools are a critical part of successful app businesses. There’s a strong correlation between tool use and revenues, the more tools a developer uses, the more money they make."
  • 67% of mobile app developers primarily target consumers and 11% target professionals directly. The 16% of developers who target enterprises are twice as likely to be earning over $5k per app per month and almost 3 times as likely to earn more than $25k per app per month.
  • 2% of all app developers pull in over 50 percent of all app revenue.
  • 47% of devs either make literally no money.

Pretty damning stats.

Check it out here

Big thanks to Claire for pointing it out to me.

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AppbotX - Your Mobile App Customers Deserve Better Communication.

July 17, 2014

I'm really excited to announce AppbotX is here. It's the culmination of all the things I have learned about keeping customers happy and getting better reviews.

AppbotX provides feedback screens, FAQs, inline downtime & news notifications, version updates and review prompts for your mobile app. All built natively and specifically for mobile, controlled remotely from the AppbotX servers.

I'd love to hear any feedback you have.

Find out all the details

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App Review Word Clouds

July 8, 2014

After being prompted by a support email, I started wondering what words people use in app reviews. So I thought I'd dig into the Appbot data and see what I could find.

Note that this data is only for reviews in the past week of the 34,000 apps that Appbot collects reviews for (approximately 200,000 reviews). The most common words appeared up to 80,000 times.

So armed with the cool jQCloud jQuery plugin here is what I found.

I present them without much comment, I'll let you make your own conclusions.

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Which Languages Should I Localize My App Into?

July 7, 2014

A question I wanted the answer for AppbotX recently was : "Which languages should I localize apps into?".

After a bit of Googling I couldn't find answers with data to back it up, nor could I find much good data around where apps are being used.

So I turned to the Appbot data to see where reviews are coming from. I believe there would be a good correlation between usage and number of app reviews left.

Looking at the last month (approximately 1 million reviews for 34,000 iOS apps) here was the top countries and their major languages:

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iOS 8 App Reviews

July 6, 2014

Last year I wrote about the bad reviews developers were receiving while iOS 7 was in beta. Unfortunately with iOS 8 it's happening again.

Here is a selection of reviews from Appbot that mentions iOS 8 and 'crash' or 'bug'.

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Surviving Working From Home (Even With Kids)

April 23, 2014

I've been very lucky throughout my career to have a lot of flexibility in where I work. I've tried everything from a few days a year to full time from home.

I'm currently in my third stint in working from home the majority of time, and I think I've finally started to get the hang of it. My perspective is as a developer with kids, but many of the thoughts below apply to any situation.

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Lean Canvas

March 16, 2014

I was recently reading the fantastic book Running Lean by Ash Maurya and then did a great startup bootcamp with Pollenizer. Both preached the values of the lean canvas to model your product or business.

When using the tools to create a lean canvas like spreadsheets and pieces of paper I found them frustrating and clunky.

So Lean Canvas for iOS was born:

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Android Development Tips For iOS Devs

March 12, 2014

I've been an iOS dev for 5 years and have always managed to avoid Android, until now. But believe it or not it's actually a lot of fun, and not that big of a jump from iOS development.

Here is a bunch of things I learned building 7 Minute Workout for Android, I hope you find them useful. Note that not everything I compare below is an exact match and it's not a complete overview of Android developent, but it does cover everything I learned building a simple app.

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Difference

February 6, 2014

I've often thought about how some products have that little something, a difference. How did they get that, and what makes it?

I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy of a book last week by one of my favourite bloggers Bernadette Jiwa from The Story of Telling called Difference.

So many light bulbs went off reading this book and the Difference Map is genius, I hope a lot of accelerators and Startup Weekends start using it.

It's only a few dollars for the Kindle version so I highly recommend you grab a copy now.

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An App Store Experiment - Part 3

January 28, 2014

It's been over five months since I posted part 2 of this experiment, in that time I have done pretty much nothing on it.

It turns out that nothing has been pretty interesting.

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Affiliate for Mac

January 7, 2014

Generating affiliate links is a pain, there are a few solutions around to update your blog etc, but I thought it would be better to go straight to when you copy the link.

Affiliate is a little app that sits in the menubar and intercepts links, automatically adding your affiliate codes whenever you copy a relevant link to the clipboard.

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Flipcase Bounce In UIKit Dynamics

October 21, 2013

It was fun to make a little game like Flipcase with Dave in UIKit Dynamics. I have been blown away with the amount of press it has received, with many of the major tech and app blogs covering it. The YouTube video has received over 350k views.

I wanted to share how I created the physics in Flipcase to show how easy simple animations can be thanks to iOS 7 and UIKit Dynamics.

So here are the basic steps to recreate Flipcase:

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