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Showing posts by Mike Hines

November 03, 2016

Mike Hines

You work hard to convert your non-spenders (or at least I do in my apps and games). But have you ever thought about turning non-converting users into agents of positive change? Or did you realize that you could earn more money as a result of doing good. I didn't!

But then I learned about Seeds, and a discovery they made: giving non-payers the opportunity to make in-app purchases for good could be the most powerful conversion tool there is. Seeds found that non-paying users are 58% more likely to spend when their purchase is for good. And these newly converted payers go on to spend an average of $25.

The kicker: Seeds focuses on for-profit, sustainable forms of social good such as microloans. These microloans are a form of sustainable social good because they’re interest-bearing, and the capital can be lent out again and again as loans are repaid. In most regions, default rates are lower than 2%.

This sounded interesting, but when I discussed Seeds with my colleagues, we assumed it would be a pretty hard sell to convince developers who are already struggling with low IAP conversion rates to give up some of those earnings to support a for-profit organization, regardless of how noble the cause may be.

[Read More]

October 27, 2016

Mike Hines

There are a lot of considerations you want to consider when developing a game, from IAP design, to level difficulty and more. While some of the basic considerations, such as “fun and engaging” go without saying, there’s an additional requirement that successful developers are increasingly taking into consideration when designing a mobile game: longevity.

Incorporate ongoing, perpetual content

In a study of the top-grossing freemium games in the Amazon Appstore, we found that 56% of a game’s revenue occurs after the first 30 days. And the players that stick around past the 30-day mark are willing to spend 60% more for in-app purchase items.

The depressing news is that about 80% of the users in our study didn’t launch the games again after the 7-day mark.

So how do you encourage more of those 80% to stick around? One solution is to design your game with a strategic approach of perpetual content. In other words, carefully create a plan to deliver ongoing, changing content. This is the approach that Wooga takes with their hidden object games, and they have been successful in their design goal to “make games fun for a year”! As a result, their customers have rewarded them with significantly higher revenues.

What does perpetual content really mean? Consider adding new game modes, outfits, weapons, maps or whatever else your users want every week or month.

Here are some other things for developers to consider in the longevity arena:

[Read More]

October 24, 2016

Mike Hines

You’ve worked hard to create a new app—devoting hours to developing the concept, designing the user interface and prototypes, and coding your vision. But even the best app needs help in gaining visibility and awareness: If your customers don’t know about it, they can’t try it. The best way to put your app in front of customers who will enjoy your work is with MARKETING. A marketing campaign, including in- and out-of-store promotion, can be the difference between your apps taking off or staying stuck on the runway. This is why I want to invite you to a free live webinar with me, Mike Hines, Developer Evangelist at Amazon, to learn a few tactics that can be game-changing in your marketing

I will share with you not only what I’ve learned from my own startups and working at Microsoft and Amazon, but also what I’ve learned from studying the successful indies in the Amazon Appstore. 

You will learn five tactics that can make a huge difference in the distribution and adoption of your app. You’ll also learn the one key strategy, without which, these tactics will probably be a lot less effective.

Join us on October 27th to learn Five Key Tactics and One Critical Strategy for Marketing Your Mobile App. At the end of this webinar:

  • You will be able to make a better pitch to the tech media.
  • You will learn how improve your chances of getting featured by an Appstore and get more positive reviews.
  • You will be able to drive significantly more organic downloads from your product listing page.

Reserve Your Spot Today

Register for 7:00am PDT (3:00pm GMT) on Thursday, October 27, 2016

Register for 1:00pm PDT (9:00pm GMT) on Thursday, October 27, 2016



October 20, 2016

Mike Hines

One of the biggest challenges I have in my apps is keeping users interested. If you share this challenge, you might be interested in some things that we’ve learned in the Amazon Appstore, and some simple things we found that work well to keep customers engaged.

First and foremost: customer expectations are really high. No wonder, there are so many apps available—it’s easy for them to simply delete my app and download another.

Consider this: According to Google, the average user downloads about 26 apps on their mobile device. And because average users only spend about two hours a day using apps, there isn’t much time to convince customers that your mobile game is where they should be spending their time.

How can we keep the interest of users that are swamped with a million things to do and so many other apps to distract them?

[Read More]

October 13, 2016

Mike Hines

A free chocolate. Extra storage. A rare gem. A badge of loyalty. A new character or theme.

We can all agree: everyone loves an unexpected gift. And it doesn’t matter how big or small the gift is, it makes you feel good.

Whether it’s a bonus storefront item or a character upgrade, offering a free gift is a smart, surprise-and-delight monetization tactic that we see developers use to create “happiness in the moment,” as well as to strengthen a game’s loyal fan-base and bottom line over time.

Gifting: a closer look

You want your users to feel good, right?

Of course you do. But you also need to meet your game’s revenue goals by having players visit and buy your in-app-purchase (IAP) items.

Here are three ideas on how to engage users with nice gifts and transform that gift into meaningful revenue down the road:

  1. Increase Player Retention: Sending a small “gift” to your game’s users on a random basis can be a great way to encourage players to return frequently—while adding an exciting element of surprise. This also plays into what social psychologists call the law of reciprocity. Giving an unexpected gift encourages players to respond to your positive action with another positive action. It’s nice to be nice!
  2. Encourage Future IAP Purchases: When a new player finishes their first session of your game, give them a free IAP item as thanks for having tried your game. Many users will recognize the kind gesture and will return to the game later to try the new items, and may be even more likely to check out your IAP store upon their return. Note: Do NOT make this gift contingent upon their visiting your store or buying something first. Experienced players can be cynical when it comes to the “the first one is free” method of marketing IAP items. Make it a genuine, no-strings-attached gift for the best response.
  3. Encourage Re-Engagement: If you want to remind inactive users that your game still exists, consider creating incentives—like extra lives for characters or eye-appealing cupcake toppings—for your customers to encourage them to re-connect with your game. Doing this can remind them why they liked your game in the first place, and can bring them back to re-engage.  

Turning a free app into meaningful revenue

Developers who use the freemium model must first focus on building an innovative, engaging game, and then also create high-value IAP content that will delight players. Offering special, unique gifts to introduce players to the value you’ve added in your IAP content is one smart way to showcase that value to potential customers. It could even encourage players to make future purchases and engage for longer, generating meaningful revenue for your game.

The Amazon Appstore is designed to make it easy to manage your IAP catalog, and we have enhanced our In-App Purchasing API to make it easier (and faster) than ever for you to integrate Amazon IAP into your game.

To learn about why IAP should not be an after-thought in game development, but rather a key factor in your design requirements, check out our recent eBook: In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”. The eBook highlights the top five actionable insights we uncovered in our recent study focused on the top 50 freemium games in the Amazon Appstore.



September 30, 2016

Mike Hines



According to Newzoo’s Mobile Games Market Landscape report, there are approximately 49.3 million mobile gamers who can be classified as Big Spenders, spending more than $25 per month on or in mobile games.

As a developer, you no doubt aim to attract these Big Spenders to your game, as well as keep them engaged—and spending. In our new eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”, we share engagement and retention strategies we have learned from the top 50 revenue-grossing freemium games in the Amazon Appstore. We found that when compared to a sample set of other freemium games, the top 50 generated on average 24 percent more average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) per day. Part of their success came from catering to those potential Big Spenders.

[Read More]

September 08, 2016

Mike Hines


new amazon fire hd 8 tablet

Amazon today announced the all-new Fire HD 8, the next-generation Fire HD tablet designed from the ground up for all-day entertainment. With an 8” widescreen HD display and quad-core processor, Fire HD 8 now offers an incredible 12 hours of battery life, 50% more RAM for faster performance, and 2x the on-device storage, plus support for up to 200 GB of additional storage via a microSD card—all for only $89.99. Fire HD 8 also introduces Alexa, the cloud-based voice service, for the first time on Fire tablets—just press and ask—Alexa can play music, launch games, read audiobooks, and more—coming soon. The all-new Fire HD 8 is available for pre-order beginning today with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage starting at $89.99 at Fire HD 8 comes in four fun color options: black, magenta, blue, and tangerine and starts shipping September 21.

The Fire HD 8 is powered by Fire OS 5 which starts with Android Lollipop, and improves upon it by deeply integrating Amazon’s hardware, platform, software, content, and cloud. For developers, if an app runs on Android, it can run on Fire OS with little to no work. Since Fire OS is based on Android, it’s easy to bring your Android apps and games to the Amazon Appstore. 85% of the Android apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore just work. Click here to test your app.

[Read More]

August 31, 2016

Mike Hines

Congratulations! You are building a great game, and you’ve decided to enter it into an indie prize competition! Before you apply, it’s important to remember that you’ll be one of hundreds of games that will be evaluated by judges. Your goal is to be noticed, to stand out, and reduce any friction for the judges playing your game.

Getting and keeping my attention as a judge actually starts with how you fill in the application form. Let’s take a look at some common aspects of an indie prize application form.

Available Platforms

Almost always, one question relates to the platforms for which you’ll have a build for judges.

[Read More]

June 03, 2016

Mike Hines

So What Is a Game Accelerator?

You may have heard of game accelerators like the Dutch Game Garden, GameFounders, or iVentureCapital. But what do they do? And do you really need one?

Well, maybe you don’t really need one.  Kadri Ugand from the gaming accelerator GameFounders spoke at Casual Connect Asia in Singapore mid May. She let the audience know that they might not need an accelerator; you really can do it all yourself if you have the time and connections. An accelerator facilitates and accelerates the following functions:

  • Collecting Mentors from world-class studios, publishers, investors and appstores to give you feedback on your game and marketing.
  • Providing location, staff and participants for Game Testing sessions so you can see just how your game goes over with players.
  • Arranging pubic speaking practice and tips, and providing effective strategies for Pitching Sessions, so you can be confident when talking to a publisher or investor.
  • Arranging participation in Conferences, Demo Days, and other opportunities to get your game in front of players and potential investors and publishers.
  • Many accelerators also provide Capital to help the venture along.

To get a deeper look, I spent three days as a mentor with the teams at GameFounders.  It all started with Casual Connect Asia in Singapore…

[Read More]

May 05, 2016

Mike Hines

Have you been thinking about creating a t-shirt with the Merch by Amazon program? In case you hadn’t heard, Merch by Amazon is Amazon’s new print-on-demand t-shirt service where you get to design a t-shirt and collect royalties from the sales on your very own page. (learn more here)

[Read More]

May 02, 2016

Mike Hines

Here is a recap of new posts for the week of April 25th on the Amazon Developer Blog:

MARA Makes Running Data Hands-Free and Brings a New Skill to Alexa

MARA announced their new skill for Alexa. To use the MARA skill on any Alexa-enabled device, customers simply enable the skill in the Alexa App, and enable Alexa integration in the MARA Running Assistant app.  Then they can ask Alexa questions like: “Alexa, ask MARA how many miles have I run so far this week?” or “Alexa, ask MARA, what has my average pace been this week?”

Invoxia Launches Triby, the First Non-Amazon Device to Be Alexa-Enabled

Invoxia introduced Triby – a new connected family-friendly kitchen device that magnetically sticks to the fridge and can play music, make calls, display messages, and is voice activated. Triby is one of the first ‘Alexa-enabled’ devices built with AVS, which means that you can do almost everything with Alexa on Triby that you can do with Alexa on Echo.

Big Nerd Ranch Series: Developing Alexa Skills Locally with Node.js: Submitting an Alexa Skill for Certification (Part 5 of 6)

In this post, we guided you through the submission process and helped you get your skill published as quickly as possible. All you need to do is prepare your skill for submission, get an application ID for your skill, create a Lambda function for your skill, complete the iteration model for the skill, link the skill to your lambda function, and publish information for the skill.

Indie Developer, JH Digital Solutions, Makes More Money on Amazon Underground than on All Other Platforms Combined

Zen: Coloring book for adults now makes more money on Amazon Underground than on all other platforms combined. We sat down with Jari Huomo, an indie developer and self-proclaimed “coffee addict” working out of his home basement to build apps for all ages, to discuss the success his app is having on Amazon Underground.

Advertise Your App: Introducing the Ability to Bid by Ad Format

Advertise Your App introduced a new feature—the ability to bid by ad format. Set the same or separate cost-per-click bid by ad format. Advertise Your App offers two ad formats: Full screens (interstitials and Fire Tablet Wakescreens) and banners.

Want Amazon Developer blogs delivered to your inbox? Stay in the loop on the latest industry best practices, Amazon promotions, and new launches by subscribing to our weekly blog summary here. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.


April 21, 2016

Mike Hines

Did you know that some developers make more money in Amazon Underground than on any other Android platform? Gerard Piqué’s Final Kick saw over 1500% more revenue in Amazon Underground and Goat Simulator made more money on Amazon Underground in December than on any other Android Platform?

In most app store models, developers are paid a revenue share based on the initial purchase of the app or the in-app purchases. With Amazon Underground’s monetization approach, Amazon pays you for every minute a customer uses your Amazon Underground app, and customers pay nothing meaning that Amazon pays developers based on the amount of time your app is used. With Amazon Underground, you can turn 100% of your Android users into revenue generating customers. You get paid starting from the very first minute your Amazon Underground app is used, and you will continue to be paid for every minute of use by every customer in exchange for you waiving your normal download or in-app fees.  With Amazon Underground, you can focus less on monetizing and more on creating great user experiences.

Join us on April 29th to learn how to Generate Revenue from 100% of Your Android Users with Amazon Underground. At the end of this webinar you will know:

  • What is Amazon Underground?
  • Who is eligible?
  • How to submit your app to Amazon Underground
  • How developers are doing in Amazon Underground

Reserve Your Spot Today

Register today and learn how you can monetize 100% of your Android users with Amazon Underground. I will tell you everything you need to know about Amazon Underground, how to get started, and how developers are increasing their revenue and downloads with Amazon Underground.

Register for 7:00am PDT (2:00pm GMT) on Friday, April 29, 2016

Register for 1:00pm PDT (8:00pm GMT) on Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Easy to Get Started

If you want to submit your own app or game for Amazon Underground, simply follow these three easy steps:

  1. Prepare Your App – Learn how to get your app ready.
  2. Register for Free – Sign up for your Amazon developer account.
  3. Submit Your App – Opt in to Amazon Underground during the submission process.

- Peter


March 14, 2016

Mike Hines

This past week, SDKBOX launched Amazon In-App Purchasing (IAP) within its revolutionary live game operations platform. With this announcement, Cocos developers will be able to enable frictionless Amazon payment options such as in-game currency, expansion packs, upgrades, and more for purchase within apps. SDKBOX is a live operations framework that supports major services for mobile game production and operation, in the areas of analytics, user acquisition, monetization, advertising, including platform support for Cocos2d-x.

Over 700,000 registered developers leverage the award-winning Cocos2d-x open-source game engine, which currently features over 50,000 published titles to date, including some of the world’s top grossing games like Clash of Kings, Puzzle & Dragons, Monster Strike, Fantasy Westward Journey Mobile, Big Fish Casino, The Legend of Mir 2, and The King of Fighters' 98. Kai Zhao, Head of Operations for SDKBOX, said:

“We are continuing to expand our platform leadership with seamless access to key services such as Amazon’s In-App Purchasing API. Cocos developers will be able to enable fast, easy purchasing to increase engagement and monetization within their apps.”

With the addition of Amazon IAP to the SDKBOX platform, Cocos developers can enable simple, secure, and trusted 1-click purchase experiences, resulting in increased engagement and conversion rates for purchases within apps.

Publishing to the Amazon Appstore

For more information on Amazon IAP for SDKBOX, please visit If you are a first time game developer or a seasoned pro, the Amazon Appstore is the perfect place for your latest creation. We offer some great tools and services to help make your game more successful like Amazon IAP, Ads, Merch, Underground and our collection of Fire OS devices. Here are some additional links to help you gets started:


March 01, 2016

Mike Hines

I do a lot of judging for indie game competitions around the world and I’ve had the unique pleasure of seeing hundreds of very strong entries at the Casual Connect Indie Prize Showcase in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago. (Check out this great video!) In a typical indie competition, I’ll see half a dozen un-inspired, non-differentiated match-3 clones and other clones that don’t even meet the bar set by much older games in that category.  Yet occasionally, I see a refreshing twist on one of these classic games. Or in the case of the Indie Prize at Casual Connect Amsterdam this year, I saw several.  I’d like to share two of those with you here.

The first is a sliding block puzzle game where you move blocks around to create a path out of which you can exit. I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of these kinds of games, if not more; but this one is different. It’s After Loop by Sebastian Le Touze. (currently available in iOS, Android coming soon; monetization by unobtrusive IAP).

Handsome graphics and a loveable little protagonist (a robot named PR8) are already enough to make this game stand out, but it also has unique puzzles and a functional and engaging in-game menu system with which you choose new levels and challenges by guiding PR8 down the path corresponding with your choice.

[Read More]

January 25, 2016

Mike Hines

Today, there are trends to drive adoption that include integrating social sharing and engagement features into an app. Tomorrow’s trends will take social marketing to a more professional level. Soon, top apps will have a fully realized fan base that will drive user acquisition, engagement, and alternate streams of revenue that occur entirely outside the app itself. That fan base will include users, content creators, advocates and new customers. Learn how top eSports apps are already driving more engagement and revenue with a fan base, and learn how to you can do this with your own app.

Join us on January 28th to learn How to Turn Players to Fans - Top Techniques to Build a Fan Base and Increase User Engagement. At the end of this webinar you will know how to:

  • Build a fan base by tapping into early adopter’s enthusiasm and increasing retention
  • Turn your VIP players into your key product advocates
  • Sell physical goods to lower user acquisition costs and increase revenue with Amazon Merch on Demand

Reserve Your Spot Today

Want to learn more? Register today to learn how to lower your user acquisition costs and increase customer retention by building a fan base.

Register for 7:00am PDT (3:00pm GMT) on Thursday, January 28, 2016

Register for 1:00pm PDT (9:00pm GMT) on Thursday, January 28, 2016



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