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The First 22 Days on the App Store

3 min read

Originally published April 08, 2014

22 Days is a weird time frame I know, but I didn't want to wait another 8 days to post this just for semantics. If you have been following my blog recently you will have heard about the Sencha Touch application I released called RunTap. You can check out that link for more information, or this one to follow its development. But this post is all about what has happened in the first (almost) month it has been available on the iOS and Android app stores.

The Data

First up, let's take a look at the downloads for each platform and then I'll talk through some interesting points, and methods I've been using to increase the amount of downloads I was getting. If there's one things I've discovered it's that getting people to find your app through the app store is hard.

iTunes Connect Sales Data

Google Play Sales Data

One thing that will be immediately obvious from the graphs above is that the iOS downloads far outweigh the Android downloads. This is due mostly to the fact that I was featured in the #1 position for new apps in the Health & Fitness category Australia wide. I used App Annie, which gives you all kinds of insights into apps on the app store, to find the following:

App Annie Feature Screenshot

Now, I have no idea how my app found its way to the #1 position. In fact I didn't even know it was featured until one night my girlfriend tentatively said "Did you know your app is featured?". Immediately I thought, surely it can't be featured in the #1 position perhaps it was just showing that way on our phones? But sure enough, it was indeed featured Australia wide.

I wish I could give you some golden nugget of information that could help get your app featured, but I'm just going to have to chalk it up to luck and an application that's at least half decent. The UI is quite different to a normal application so perhaps that helped to get it noticed. Check out David Truongs presentation below for more advice on getting featured.

The feature lead to about 20 downloads a day, and the feature is still ongoing as of the time of this post. The amounts of downloads are by no means huge, but they are certainly very welcomed. The big lesson from this for me is that, even though I had almost the best possible circumstance by being featured, it lead only to a trickle of downloads. If I only get that many downloads for being featured in the #1 position, then I'm certainly not going to get many, if any, downloads being further down the charts. So the lesson: you can not rely on being discovered through the app store.

Initial PR Burst

Another thing you will notice right away is the big spike at the beginning of the graph for iOS. This was due to the manual promotion I did on the first day which managed to net me 63 downloads. These tapered off almost to 0 a day until the app was featured. In promoting to app I:

  • Posted to my blog
  • Posted to my social media accounts
  • Emailed friends, family & contacts and asked them to download & share
  • Posted to social media sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon

Interestingly, through doing this there seemed to be a lot more downloads for iOS than Android. In fact there was almost 10x more downloads for iOS initially. Perhaps in the area I live in (Adelaide) iOS devices are more prevalent this does seem to be the case from anecdotal experience but I'm not entirely sure what to put this down to. There are a few bugs in the Android version but this should not have affected the initial downloads.

Lessons from an App Store Marketing Expert

I've been lucky enough to have contact with David Truong of Broccol-E-Games and app.io. David knows a lot about marketing apps, and you can check out one of his presentations here:

How to grow your mobile audience

When I first found out that my app had been featured, David pointed out the following:

  • I would see an increase in downloads, but nothing crazy huge since it's in a secondary category
  • I should utilise Facebook installs to gain more exposure through the Facebook App Center
  • The app will slowly fall down in rank on the feature roll, i.e: #1 -> #10 -> #50
  • Remember to update the app. A major update could mean your app will be featured again

Strategy moving forward

This is not purely a money making venture for me, which is probably obvious by the fact that the app is in no way monetized. I just wanted to get something cool out there to show what I can do, what Sencha Touch can do and to give people something they could get a little enjoyment out of. From the point, I will most likely be trying to get a few reviews on some blogs and get a few shares on Facebook through RunTap's page and through the Facebook integration in the app.

I've probably raised more questions than answers in this post so if you have any insight you could give, or any more questions, please leave them in the comments below.

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