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Unread 19th May 2014, 02:04 PM   #1
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My venture into Android and iOS
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Hey guys, not sure this is the right section for this, but it is related to mobile marketing so I figure it's ok. Anyhow, I'm new and just want to share my journey in this thread. I'm a software guy, and have been doing it for the last 14 years, working on mostly windows/unix apps with an emphasis on back-end processing. I've always been interested in doing something on my own, and with everything shifting to mobile I wanted to see if I could jump on the opportunity to start my own business. So 2 months ago I left my $83000/year job to pursue this. My business idea is focused on providing marketing/advertising opportunities for clients who want to tap into the mobile audience. I won't go into the details, but I see huge problems in the way advertising is done in mobile apps, and I'm trying to find innovative ways to address and fix these problems.

Since I have 0 experience with mobile software, I decided I should get my feet wet and just start making some apps to get a feel for the market. I intend to incorporate my advertising ideas into them and use them as case studies. To learn the whole app dev process, I decided to start making games. Games are actually quite complex pieces of software (i.e. they have a ui, back-end processing, third-party extensions, etc.) so I figure I'll take away most everything I need for developing apps in doing this.

In April 2014, I started making a game called Soldier Bird Dash. I felt I should do a quick game, since my intent was for this to be a practice run. I basically took the Flappy Bird concept and put a twist on it to make it a bit different yet still familiar. It's actually a bit more complicated than Flappy Bird, as this one has enemies with AI and attacks instead of pipes. I know a lot of people hate this type of game, but realize again, that this is just a practice game to learn the art of app development. I'm not trying to get rich off making games, as there's too much competition in that department to compete with, but if I can make some money on the side from it, I'd consider it a bonus. Anyhow, I finished the game in about 2 weeks with AdMob and Google Play Leaderboard integration. The artwork could be better, as I'm no Rembrandt, but I guess it suffices. The first version was released on April 15 on Google Play.

A week after release, I realized how hard it it is to rank in the app store. I only had about 50+ downloads (mostly from family and friends). I naively thought it would be easier to get downloads because you regularly see even crappy games top the charts for some reason :/. Those guys must be working the system somehow I figure... Anyhow, in order to use this game as a case study, I needed to get more people playing it. So I spent $500 on a non-incentivized pay-per-install service to get some installs. I finally got some eyeballs on it, and it's gotten good reception. The retention is good (60% of people have kept the game for over a month) and I've made $130 from it to date. I'm tempted to shift my main focus to promote this game more, as I feel like if it had more eyeballs on it, I'd make a pretty decent chunk of change. Also, I'm sensing more kids have iOS devices, so I may be hurting myself by not releasing the game to iOS. Anyhow, this is where I'm currently at. Right now, I'm making progress on porting the game to iOS and hope to have it there within the next couple of weeks. I will keep everyone posted on this journey!
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Unread 19th May 2014, 04:24 PM   #2
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Thanks for posting this. That sure was a bold move to leave a high paying job and start your own venture.

Why aren't you using Facebook ads to get more installs? I would also suggest to create a group for your company/games and ask the players to post their highest scores(images) to compete against one another.

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Unread 19th May 2014, 07:57 PM   #3
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Thanks for sharing. I would definitely try it!
Let us know how everything goes, good luck!

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Unread 19th May 2014, 10:01 PM   #4
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

@imsirigiri - Yes, I'm trying out Facebook ads and am getting decent results as of yesterday. The average cost to acquire a download has averaged about $.16. The new users seem to be pretty active, so so far FB has been the best bang for my buck. Next on the list would be Appbrain, which charges a minimum of $.20 per install. TapJoy charges only $.10, however it's complete garbage, since the quality is poor (most don't even open your app). It's worthless unless you have a ton of money and are using it solely to get to the top ranks .

Also, on your other comment, I have leaderboard integration for high scores, but will start encouraging/incentivizing people to compete and post their scores through other means (i.e. instagram, fb, etc.). Will keep you all updated...
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Unread 19th May 2014, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Translate your app in different languages, don't just have English as the only language. Advertise in other languages as well, get more downloads that way for future games that you create. Also don't worry about flappy bird because most upcoming clone games of flappy bird don't really get that many downloads anymore, so focus your next game on something a little unique, you can build a brand that way.

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Unread 20th May 2014, 12:44 AM   #6
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Glad you shared the info here. I'm surely gonna try the game.

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Unread 20th May 2014, 01:03 AM   #7
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Originally Posted by clpride View Post

Hey guys, not sure this is the right section for this, but it is related to mobile marketing so I figure it's ok. Anyhow, I'm new and just want to share my journey in this thread. I'm a software guy, and have been doing it for the last 14 years, working on mostly windows/unix apps with an emphasis on back-end processing. I've always been interested in doing something on my own, and with everything shifting to mobile I wanted to see if I could jump on the opportunity to start my own business. So 2 months ago I left my $83000/year job to pursue this. My business idea is focused on providing marketing/advertising opportunities for clients who want to tap into the mobile audience. I won't go into the details, but I see huge problems in the way advertising is done in mobile apps, and I'm trying to find innovative ways to address and fix these problems.

Since I have 0 experience with mobile software, I decided I should get my feet wet and just start making some apps to get a feel for the market. I intend to incorporate my advertising ideas into them and use them as case studies. To learn the whole app dev process, I decided to start making games. Games are actually quite complex pieces of software (i.e. they have a ui, back-end processing, third-party extensions, etc.) so I figure I'll take away most everything I need for developing apps in doing this.

In April 2014, I started making a game called Soldier Bird Dash. I felt I should do a quick game, since my intent was for this to be a practice run. I basically took the Flappy Bird concept and put a twist on it to make it a bit different yet still familiar. It's actually a bit more complicated than Flappy Bird, as this one has enemies with AI and attacks instead of pipes. I know a lot of people hate this type of game, but realize again, that this is just a practice game to learn the art of app development. I'm not trying to get rich off making games, as there's too much competition in that department to compete with, but if I can make some money on the side from it, I'd consider it a bonus. Anyhow, I finished the game in about 2 weeks with AdMob and Google Play Leaderboard integration. The artwork could be better, as I'm no Rembrandt, but I guess it suffices. The first version was released on April 15 on Google Play.

A week after release, I realized how hard it it is to rank in the app store. I only had about 50+ downloads (mostly from family and friends). I naively thought it would be easier to get downloads because you regularly see even crappy games top the charts for some reason :/. Those guys must be working the system somehow I figure... Anyhow, in order to use this game as a case study, I needed to get more people playing it. So I spent $500 on a non-incentivized pay-per-install service to get some installs. I finally got some eyeballs on it, and it's gotten good reception. The retention is good (60% of people have kept the game for over a month) and I've made $130 from it to date. I'm tempted to shift my main focus to promote this game more, as I feel like if it had more eyeballs on it, I'd make a pretty decent chunk of change. Also, I'm sensing more kids have iOS devices, so I may be hurting myself by not releasing the game to iOS. Anyhow, this is where I'm currently at. Right now, I'm making progress on porting the game to iOS and hope to have it there within the next couple of weeks. I will keep everyone posted on this journey!
So your game is a same little concept with flappy bird? and you try to rank your game on playstore with "flappy bird" keyword or something else? first you must know and learning what is ASO. ASO is verry important to get high rank your game on playstore. and get high rank on playstore is verry important too for increase more download to your android game
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Unread 9th Jun 2014, 10:30 PM   #8
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Haven't done an update in a while, so I just wanted to let everyone know where I'm at. The port of my game Soldier Bird to iOS went without a hitch and I released my game to iOS two weeks ago. Additionally, I did a graphics makeover on it to make it more appealing. As for marketing, I've been doing a lot with social media, and I've found Instagram to be the most useful tool of all. I think my game caters to a younger audience, so Instagram is a goldmine for that market. The only downside to it is that clickable links aren't allowed, but these kids are still finding their way to the game.

Although, I'm getting more traffic for my game, it's still nowhere near the level that I need it to be :/. I've learned that the app industry is one tough egg to crack. There's too many developers and too many clones, making it difficult to get visibility. Even innovative and unique games get buried under it all... To succeed in this market, what I've learned is that you either have to have one or more of these things:
A) An innovative, unique, or revolutionary app/game and lots of luck (i.e. if someone reputable posts for you on Reddit/YouTube, you're probably in the money)
B) Lots of money for pay-per-install(ppi) through Facebook/Tapjoy/Appbrain, etc. to get up in the top charts. At a ppi cost of $.20, which is pretty low for an install, you'd need to drop a minimum of $2000/day to maintain a top 50 ranking. My head spins just thinking about what it would cost to maintain the #1 position. Anyhow, the good news is that once you get in the top rankings you'll start getting tons of organic installs meaning you can start to ween yourself off the payed downloads.
C) Good ASO. Just like in the web search engine world, people tend to find their apps through search most of the time. You miss this, and you'll miss tons of opportunities to get downloads. Additionally, I have yet to see any studies on this, but I think offering your app description in multiple languages would boost downloads immensely.

I've gotten a little discouraged and I'm rethinking my strategy. My game is not interesting or deep enough to go viral and I don't have a huge stash of cash to bring it up in rankings so failure is pretty much imminent. I think the game has a lot more potential, and I plan to add some new elements that will make it more appealing (Story Mode and Multiplayer). This is kind of a last ditch effort which I'm still unsure of, so I'll be trying to raise funds through kickstarter this month. I estimate it will cost around $25000 to do this.

If the kickstarter doesn't work out, I'll have to drop the whole game dev idea altogether, although I'd hate to do that. Since my ultimate goal was to use this experience as a launching platform for my mobile advertising idea, I think my only alternative is to approach mildly successful developers, having a minimum of 10000 daily active users, and pitch my idea to them.

I hate having to do this as this adds a new layer of complexity... All I know is, all this will take time, and time is money...
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Unread 11th Jun 2014, 02:17 AM   #9
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Hey, thanks a lot for sharing your experience so far! Since it looks like you didn't have much trouble building the app to start with I'd say, before you "give up" - why don't you try building a few more apps, maybe simpler in concept (a game to be successful needs to be very good or at least addictive and that's not something you get easily) but useful in everyday tasks.

The idea is to try and go after the "long tail": less traffic from a larger number of sources...
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Unread 12th Jun 2014, 10:33 AM   #10
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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Originally Posted by Silvio Porcellana View Post

Hey, thanks a lot for sharing your experience so far! Since it looks like you didn't have much trouble building the app to start with I'd say, before you "give up" - why don't you try building a few more apps, maybe simpler in concept (a game to be successful needs to be very good or at least addictive and that's not something you get easily) but useful in everyday tasks.

The idea is to try and go after the "long tail": less traffic from a larger number of sources...
Yes I could do that, but I'm a little pressed for time. What I've learned from those who've been successful with their apps is that it takes time to grow. The rule of thumb is about a year, if you're putting out good stuff. If I had the luxury of waiting that long, I'd do it, however my goal is not to become an app tycoon (at least not right now), so I need to to seek other alternatives... Thanks for the suggestion though
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Unread 19th Jun 2014, 07:44 AM   #11
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Re: My venture into Android and iOS
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I have a similar story, so I can completely relate.

Google Play is very anti indie developer and definitely designed to help the big companies succeed. I heard most spend over $100,000 to get enough downloads to get them on the front page. My next step will be to release for the Windows Phone, since their platform seems to be more fair.

I'm curious about whether you're making more money on iOS than Google Play. Was it a good move?

Also, Google just recently released a video discussing their algorithm factors for GP. It's worth watching. You can guess most factors, but there are things you probably didn't know.

Check out my games for Android: INTP games
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