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March 13, 2011

amberta

If you love those birds and hate those pigs like we do, you will be pleased to hear that an all-new installment of the quirky bird pack is coming soon. The Android version of Angry Birds Rio, the follow up to the smash hits Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, will launch exclusively in the Amazon Appstore. 


What does this mean for you?
More traffic, more customers! The Angry Birds franchise has been downloaded over 100 million times – the Android installed base is over 30 million . When we launch the Amazon Appstore, we will be teaming with Rovio to drive those customers to the store - which means more traffic to the Amazon Appstore and more customers for you.


In preparation for our store launch, we launched the Amazon Appstore for Android Facebook page and @amazonappstore Twitter handle today.  We’ll use these communication vehicles to engage customers, and we encourage you to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay abreast of our consumer-focused messaging.  We will continue to post developer-centric news you can use on this blog and the @amznappstoredev Twitter handle.


The Amazon Appstore is launching very soon.  If you have not yet submitted your app, we encourage you to do so now to ensure your product is ready for launch!

AngryBird_Rio_AmazonAppstore_Android_Exclusive
 

February 16, 2011

amberta

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon.com, you’ve likely seen items show up throughout the site based on what you recently browsed or purchased, as well as what other customers have browsed or purchased.  The same thing will be true for apps – they will show up on Amazon.com based on algorithms (which are based on customer behavior).

Let’s take a look at three of the automated placement types and how they work:

  • Search results
  • Browse based results
  • Bestsellers


Search results:
Out of the gate, your app will show up in search results across Amazon.com.  That’s the no-brainer.  Amazon has also come up with quite a few algorithms that display items relevant to the browsing customer – meaning, we deliver a more targeted audience to developers and vendors.  Simple, right? 


Browse based results:
On the Amazon.com homepage we’re constantly striving to help customers find what they’re looking for.  To do this, we often present items that are similar to what a specific customer has been browsing, or what’s in their cart or on one of their lists. 

We present these items in sections such as “More Items to Consider,” “New For You,” “Related to Items You’ve Viewed,” and more: 

Homepage-auto-marketing

Throughout the site, we also display items based on other customers’ past purchases.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  Let’s say I buy an Android tablet from Amazon’s tablet store.  Then I visit the Amazon Appstore and download the IMDb app, the Audible app, and a few games. When another customer is looking at the Android tablet in Amazon’s tablet store, they may see the apps I downloaded in a section called “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”:

Customers-who-bought

Other places your app may show up include “What Do Customers Ultimately Buy After Viewing This Item?”

What-customers-buy

As the name implies, this shows what customers browsed and then actually bought. 


Bestsellers:
Another interesting spot is Bestsellers within the Amazon Appstore.  We will be displaying Bestsellers separated by “Free” and “Paid” apps to make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.  This also helps avoid “Paid” apps getting buried under all of the “Free” apps that may be downloaded more often because they’re free.

Bestsellers

We’re constantly striving to make the customer experience easy and to help vendors and developers get more than just a spot in a store. 


Stay tuned for more great ways to get your app(s) exposure. 

February 04, 2011

amberta

Last week we talked about what a detail page looks like over the fold in the Amazon Appstore for Android.  This week, we’re going to dive into what customers see when they scroll down.  Before we talk about what’s under the fold, here’s a look at the Airport Mania: First Flight app detail page over the fold.

Airport-mania-detail-page-top

While the first thing most customers see when they’re looking at apps is the title, icon, and price, what cinches the deal is often what’s in the details.  So what does this mean for you?  The content under the fold is invaluable in helping customers make decisions about what to buy/download and what to skip.  It’s important to provide details including images and appropriate descriptions that show what your app can really do.

There are 5 key components of a detail page “below the fold.”  The first two are are:

1.  Product Details
2.  Product Features

Airport-mania-detail-page-product-details-features
 

Product Details
This is the “just the facts ma’am” section where we bottom line what the customer is getting, ASIN (Amazon Standard Item Number - this is your unique Amazon app ID similar to what a barcode is for products in stores), dates of note, and average customer rating.   You’ll see we encourage customers to tell us what they think.

Product Features
Here’s where we bottom line what your app is all about – we take this information directly from what you put into the Developer Portal, so it’s important to list accurate, helpful features.  If a customer doesn’t have time to read the detailed description, they can get the gist from the Features.

3.  Product Description

Airport-mania-detail-page-description
 

Product Description
We use the Description you provided in the “Description” section on the Appstore Developer Portal as well as information that’s on your website (if applicable) to create a detail page with rich, helpful information about your app.  We also like to include images in the Description when available (we pull these from the screenshots you provide with your app submission).  An abbreviated version of this description is included on the detail page in the mobile store itself (stay tuned for a peak at a detail page on the mobile store!).  If your app doesn’t sell itself, we hope the product description helps.   

The final two sections are really all about you and the app requirements.  They are:
4.    Developer Info
5.    Technical Data


Airport-mania-detail-page-dev-info-tech-details
 

Developer Info
We want to boost your brand.  Here’s where you can talk about who you are and what your expertise is.  We pull this directly from what you put in the Developer Portal.

Technical Data
As the name implies, this is where we put the technical info including app size and version.

January 28, 2011

amberta

During the process of submitting your app, you are required to submit information that will eventually show up on the site.  We wanted to give a little more detail around where all this information actually goes, so we’re going to dive into a real detail page and lay it out for you.

Here’s a look at a real live detail page – this is the detail page for the IMDb app in the Amazon Appstore for Android (don’t get too excited, it’s not live … yet).  Why is it called a detail page might you ask?  This is the page where customers can get details about your app – hence, detail page.  Pretty straightforward, right? 

Over the fold there are three primary places you’ll be providing content for.

   Detail-page-amazon-appstore-for-android

 

  1. Title and Vendor information: This is where we put the title of your app (in bold).  We’ll also put your vendor name here.  A nice bonus is, if you have multiple apps in the Amazon Appstore, your vendor name links to a search page that reveals all of your apps.
  2. Price: Here’s where we display how much your app costs.  If there is a promotion going on with your app, the promotion price associated with your app will be reflected here along with the original price (so customers see what a great deal they’re getting).
  3. Your app icon, video, and screenshots: Remember how we said it was important to submit compelling images?  Here’s why!  They’re up front and often the first thing customers see.  Also, customers can click into the image to see a bigger size.  

But wait, there’s more!  The scrolling part that you see at the bottom of this screenshot is a slot that is automatically created as purchases of your app pick up.  This slot is called “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought” and as the name implies, when appropriate, your app icon, title, rating, and price will show up on other item’s pages if customers bought that item and your app.  Even non-app pages!  Here’s an example: a customer buys an Android phone and then buys your app (they need to stock their phone, right?). Your app has a good shot of showing up on the bottom of that page to future customers!

January 20, 2011

amberta

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Use that picture (and those hypothetical thousand words) to effectively market your app. 

When you submit your app to the Amazon Appstore for Android through the Developer Portal, you will need to submit an icon, a thumbnail, a promotional image, a square version of the promotional image, and screenshots.  Having compelling images help get your app noticed.  Also, great looking apps look great on our store – if you look good, we look good!

Here are details and recommendations for creating great images for all your submissions:

Image-grid
Some dos and don’ts.

Do:

  • Create separate app icons and thumbnails. These images should be the same with dimensions being the only difference between the two.  This will be the first image customers interface with, so keep the image simple, vibrant, and most importantly clear.
  • Fill the space required with all images.  For icons especially, if your image is not a perfect square, or if it has a curved border enclosing the image, add a transparent background.  Icons show up against both a white background and a black background in our store.If you have a non-transparent white background to fill the dimensions for the required image, it will look broken against the black background.  
  • Provide screenshots that really show what your app can do – put your (app's) best face forward.  This is your opportunity to show-off your app's best features.
  • Make sure you own the rights to the images you use.  Think the top selling apps have cool images?  The developers behind those apps think so too.  So, if you want to use someone else's images you must prove that license-free images are indeed free, you own rights to and/or can use the images without a license, or have permission to use licensed images.  
  • Use high resolution images only – stretching and morphing images just to fit our required dimensions will look … well, stretched and morphed.  Aka, not great.

Here’s an example of a “do” icon image:

Mp3-icon-do

Don’t:

  • Use whitespace to fill the required dimensions
  • Cut out important parts of the image (think about all those old family pics where no-one has feet.  Looks funny, right?) 
  • Watermark the image or try to alter the colors from the real color (this is especially important for screenshots.  Altering the colors and/or image for screenshots alters the customer’s expectations.  Altering the colors for the icon leaves customers with an inconsistent experience and they’re not sure if this is the “real” version of the app.
  • Squeeze words into the image or icon – remember, your picture is worth a thousand words!  You don’t need to tell a story on top of the picture.  If there’s text you think is important to include with your app listing, include it in the details about the app so we can use it on the detail page for that app.
  • Add a wannabe iTunes app sheen (you don’t need to put a glossy 3D effect over your icon)
  • Add a drop shadow to the bottom or around your images.  When the images are small, the drop shadow can look like a mistake or smudge.
  • Stretch your images to meet our requirements – stretching just makes them pixilated and looks bad.

You can learn more about image guidelines and best practices in the Appstore Developer Portal online here.

That’s it!  So go tell your app to “say cheese!”

January 13, 2011

amberta

It’s well known that Amazon is all about customer experience.  With a growing developer customer-base, we’re constantly striving to make it easier for developers to do just that – develop!  Last month, we launched an Amazon Web Services (AWS) SDK for Android.  “We’re really excited about the launch of the AWS SDK’s for mobile,” says Jeff Barr, Senior Web Services Evangelist, Amazon Web Services.  “As a developer myself, I’m looking forward to seeing all sorts of cool and creative AWS-powered applications show up on mobile devices in the future.”

Some highlights of the AWS SDK for Android include:

  • Storage – developers can store and retrieve any amount of data using Amazon S3
  • Database – developers can add a highly available, scalable, and flexible non-relational data store using Amazon SimpleDB with little or no administrative burden
  • Messaging – developers can integrate reliable, highly scalable mobile-to-mobile communication into applications using Amazon SQS and Amazon SNS

The SDK includes a library, full documentation, and some sample code.  You can get the library on GitHub.  Also, in true open source fashion, AWS is open to and encourages external contributions.

Check out this blog post on the AWS blog for more details about the AWS SDK as well as an iOS SDK.  You can download the AWS SDK, access documentation, and participate in the discussion forum online here.

Finally, right now Amazon has a free usage tier available to new AWS customers to help get started in the cloud.  As of November 1, 2010, new customers can run a free Amazon EC2 Micro Instance for a year, while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer.  AWS’s free usage tier can be used for anything you want to run in the cloud: launch new applications, test existing applications in the cloud, or simply gain hands-on experience with AWS.  Learn more here.

January 06, 2011

amberta

You’ve taken the first step in submitting an app to the Amazon Appstore – you’ve created a compelling app or game for Android!  Either that or you’re reading this post to learn more about what’s to come in the store itself – we understand, it’s exciting.  Regardless – if you’re an app developer or you’re just plain old curious, we’ll bottom line the submission process for you.  It’s straight forward – you did the hard work and we want to make submitting to the store easy.

There are three steps to getting your app into the Amazon Appstore for Android: create an account, submit your app, and make your app available.

The first step is creating an account.  This is the easy part – you can create an account directly on the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal For a limited time, we’re waiving the $99 program fee to make getting started even easier (or at least cheaper … free) . It’s free to register for a developer account. Go to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal to create your account. 

You’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Profile Information: this is the information we’ll associate with your account and use to talk about you, the developer; in the Profile Information section is a “Developer Info” field – this is public facing and should be a short blurb about who you are
  • Acceptance of our agreement (you can also print and save the agreement from the Portal)
  • Payment Information: this is what we need to be able to pay you based on app sales

After setting up your account, you’ll need to submit your apk file as well as marketing materials that complement your app.  Marketing materials include details about your app, images, and video.

We will ask for the following details about your app:

  • Application Information: The application title, category, and description will help with the marketing of your app and may show up on product detail pages.  If there are keywords you think will help with the discoverability of your app, include them!  Do make sure the keywords are relevant, though (don’t put multi-player if it’s truly a single player app).
  • Product Availability Schedule: This information lets us know the earliest we can display an application in the store as well as when/if we need to pull the application down. 
  • Application Support: The contact that Amazon should work with to troubleshoot any problems with the application.  This information will not be listed with your app.
  • Content Maturity: When you post your app, you will select different content ratings as applicable.  We’ll also check these when we’re testing the app.  Some developers have ESRB ratings for their app – if you have one, include it!  That too will help with the marketing of your app.

You can find out more about what’s specifically required for images and video online here.   It’s important that the images and video you submit are yours (you have the rights to use these images and video) and that they’re reflective of the app itself.  An image with some upset birds for a finance app that helps with taxes wouldn’t do anyone any good.

That’s it – after you open up your account and submit your assets you’re app and details will be in review.  You can track the approval status of your app at any time by logging into the Developer Portal and finding your app in the “Dashboard” on the portal home page.

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