STUART HALL

Mobile app development and marketing. Appbot and Bytesize Apps.

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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iOS 7 Development Tips, Tricks & Hacks

September 18, 2013

Like with any new iOS version there are a bunch of new tricks and hacks to work out. Here are a few things that weren't immediately obvious to me, it's in no way a complete set, just things that I happened to come across.

If you've got any more then send them to me on Twitter or by email and I'll add them here with full credit to you.

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The App Store Is About To Change

August 23, 2013

Much has been written about the new 'cheap' iPhone that's going to be announced on September 10. If the rumors are true then there is one thing for certain, Apple will be selling a lot more phones. Before long it will more than likely be the most common iDevice.

More iDevices in the wild gives us as app developers a massive opportunity to get our apps in front of more people. But we must think ahead to what effect these cheaper phones will have on the App Store and therefore our apps.

Currently apps on the Apple App Store make significantly more money per download than those in the Android stores. It's true that a typical Apple user is more likely to spend money. There are many factors that contribute to this, including the ease of purchase due to Apple having so many credit cards stored etc.

But I believe the cheaper devices will mean the the App Store dynamics will move more towards that of Android's, in that we will see:

  • Greater download numbers due to more devices being available.
  • A drop in the average revenue per user.
  • An even greater increase on the free to paid downloads ratio.

We can look at this as a problem or a massive opportunity, I choose the latter.

I believe freemium (via In App Purchases) will become an even more common way to monetize apps, we will also likely see more apps using advertising due to more eyeballs being available.

Some things as app developers we need to consider over the coming months include:

  • Should we adjust our business models to take advantage of the new devices.
  • Review our server costs due to increased users but decreased revenue per user.
  • Renegotiate any current deals we have for data etc that are tied to downloads. We need to look at moving these to fixed cost or revenue share.

I am excited for the coming months, things are never dull as an App Store developer.

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An App Store Experiment - Part 2

August 14, 2013

As promised here is part two of my App Store experiment. If you haven't done so already then it's probably best to read part 1 of this experiment first. (Part 3 is also available here)

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iOS Developer Tool Belt - Essential Services and Libraries

June 24, 2013

As an iOS developer there are many products, services and libraries that you must consider when building, testing, launching, marketing and monitoring your apps.

Here are the ones I have chosen to use currently.

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An App Store Experiment

June 20, 2013

Update : You can also read part 2 here.

I've tried to write this blog post a few times. The essence of the post was always going to be:

  • How important it is to create a story around your product.
  • How the actual coding takes a back seat.
  • How hard it is to market your app.

Two things inspired me to commit to finishing this blog post:

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Stop Allowing App Reviews From Beta iOS Versions

June 13, 2013

Here is a selection of reviews collected in AppBot with people complaining about iOS 7 issues across different apps.

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Tips For Keeping Up With iOS Development

February 1, 2013

After my recent blog post iOS Development Tips I Would Want If I Was Starting Out Today I was asked the same question several times.

"How do you keep up to date with the changes in iOS development?"

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