Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.
One of the most high-profile features of the Amazon Appstore for Android is the free paid app of the day, or FAD. The primary benefit to you of having your app selected for a FAD spot is increased visibility. First off, there’s the 24 hours of visibility both on mobile and online. Each FAD promotion is complemented by a Facebook post and Twitter tweet the same day. After your app’s time in the FAD spotlight is over, it benefits from being included in the “Most Recent Free Apps of the Day” shoveler on the Amazon Appstore for Android homepage.
In addition to this direct visibility, your app will continue to get post-FAD exposure throughout the store. Because of the increase in app downloads typically associated with FAD, you app is more likely to show up on the product detail pages of other apps in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. The recommendations engine is one of Amazon’s strongest shopping features, helping connect customers with the right items across multiple categories. FAD apps also tend to register higher in Amazon Appstore for Android Bestsellers lists.
Apps that can be launched on Android exclusively at the Amazon Appstore for Android or that offer something extra to Amazon customers that they can’t get anywhere else make for particularly intriguing FADs. Developers with strong brands and a solid portfolio are eligible for multiple FAD inclusions. For some high-profile apps and games, we may send an e-mail to our customer base.
If you’re interested in recommending your app for FAD promotion, there are a few things to remember:
1. Only the most recent version of an app will be considered, and your app should appeal to a wide audience.
2. To maintain a positive customer download experience for non-wifi apps, only apps of 20MB or less will be considered, and no “stub” apps that require additional content download will be considered.
3. We want to make sure customers know which devices the app will work on, so the app must pass Amazon’s internal testing.
If you’re interested in recommending your regularly paid app for FAD promotion, please completely fill out the Marketing Proposal Form. Pay particular attention to the Proposal Description field, sharing any additional details you believe would help elevate your app in the selection process. In addition, let us know:
1. How many downloads your app has to date.
2. The list price of your app.
3. Any reciprocal marketing (social media, blogs, Amazon Appstore badging, etc.) you are able to offer.
4. That you understand the requirements for approval.
Our FAD calendar fills up quickly, so be sure to submit your proposal early. Letting us know about an app launch weeks or even months in the future will help us plan accordingly.
If your app is a contender, someone will contact you to offer more details about FAD inclusion and what to expect as your app goes through the approval process. You will only be contacted if your marketing request is under consideration. Please enter a specific marketing request only once.
Free app of the day – it’s more than just a passing FAD.
Since we launched, we’ve been seeing an influx of developers submitting their app(s) to the Amazon Appstore for Android – which is great! After apps are submitted, before they can be published in the store, we run the app through technical and content-focused testing. The vast majority of apps pass testing quickly and with no issues…to maximize the chances that your app will similarly move through our validation process quickly, we will be posting some best practices for helping your app fly through testing.
Let’s take a quick look at the most frequent reasons why apps don’t make it through:
Because many developers have their Android apps published in other stores and are simply re-using their existing apk, incorrect linking can be an area of confusion. Apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore must have links pointing to the Amazon Appstore (vs. other Android storefronts). To help your app(s) fly through testing, incorrect linking is an area you can validate and fix quickly before submitting.
Now, how do you ensure your links point to the Amazon Appstore? Easy, just follow these simple rules:
Doing a quick check through your code before you submit your app will ensure you don’t get delayed. In addition, there are a number of ways you can replace the actual String in the URI call so that you can keep one code base and not have to maintain separate code structures for each store you choose to sell your app in.
We hope you keep the scenarios above in mind as you code, and look forward to even more great apps being submitted.
Kevin Barry, the developer behind WidgetLocker, was one of the early developers to submit his apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android – and we’re glad he did!
WidgetLocker is an app that lets customers customize their lock screen. Users can select from various slider styles or place their own custom sliders and widgets. They can also configure which buttons, such as volume or trackball, are active when the phone is on but locked.
Kevin first heard about the Amazon Appstore in the Android rumor mill. Right around the time he picked up on the buzz, he received an e-mail from us asking him if he’d like to submit his app to our new store. “After I first started engaging with the Amazon Appstore team, I was already impressed,” Kevin said. “They were, and are, always responsive and were able to help me with technical questions. In the Android Market I need to rely solely on the forums for help.”
We decided to run a promotion with WidgetLocker. Here’s what we looked at before selecting this app for a promotion:
WidgetLocker is also “Test Drive” enabled. This is by no means a requirement for apps we select for promotions, but it is compelling for customers.
Although WidgetLocker doesn’t come with a hefty price tag, it is a paid app. We decided to mark the app down for a limited period of time to entice customers to act NOW. We marked WidgetLocker from $1.99 down to $0.99. When we do markdowns, it’s not because we want to slash prices – we want to drive behavior. In this instance, we wanted to drive downloads of the app.
After the promotion wrapped, Kevin told us, “To be honest, I didn’t think marking the app down would make a big impact. I’m happy to say I was wrong. The discount seemed to drive a lot of sales. I think if I had just lowered the price to $0.99, it wouldn’t have made the same impact – it was the perception of a sale combined with the marketing around the sale.”
On top of marking down the price, we sent an e-mail about WidgetLocker, along with a selection of other app deals, to a targeted list of customers who had already expressed interest in receiving information regarding Utilities and Productivity apps.
**the app was also #1 overall during the promotion.
On an ongoing basis, we’re monitoring customer activity to merchandise the site and select deals and promotions. Our goal is to keep our customers happy and coming back and to keep our developers happy by getting exposure for their apps as well as driving revenue.
Following on the heels of our Android exclusive launch of Chuzzle, today we released Plants vs. Zombies for Android which, for the next couple weeks, Android users can only get in the Amazon Appstore for Android.
If you’re not familiar with Plants vs. Zombies, it’s one of game developer PopCap’s most popular titles. A mob of fun-loving zombies invades players’ homes and the only defense is an arsenal of zombie-zapping plants.
In a blog post about “Marketing apps on Amazon.com,” we talked about how we occasionally market apps from our store in other Amazon storefronts, and gave TurboTax as an example. In addition to featuring apps for Android in other storefronts and, of course, automated marketing, we have a few marketing levers that help apps get discovered. The big daddy of them all is something we call a “Brand Store.”
Brand Stores are a collection of products by a given brand used across categories at Amazon.com. Because PopCap sells apps for Android, video games, and now digital video games on Amazon.com, we worked with them to create a destination to show all of their goods in one place thus making it easier for PopCap fans to find all of PopCap’s gems (and Chuzzles, and Zombies, and …) in one place.
Brand Stores are appropriate for bigger vendors. That said, we are constantly working to showcase lesser known vendors and their apps on the Amazon Appstore and other Amazon.com destinations. We are doing this through promotions, targeted emails, promotions on related items’ pages, and more. We are dedicated to helping expose small developers' apps.
So why do we keep banging the drum with these big vendors and better known apps? It’s simple – we think that by giving our customers exclusive content, great deals, and the brands they know and love, we’ll be able to drive more traffic to the Amazon Appstore and inherently to every app in the Amazon Appstore.
Yesterday PopCap Games, a worldwide leader in casual games, announced an agreement with – you guessed it – us, to offer their first Android games in the U.S. market, exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Today we’re happy to make Chuzzle (regularly $2.99) available for free.
For the few people not familiar with Chuzzle, it’s a non-stop explosion of game action. Chuzzles burst when they get together in groups of three or more. The only way to “make them happy” is to pop them. Chuzzle is already a hit with iPhone users. Now, Chuzzle for Android features on-the-go gameplay action including four different modes, a “trophy room,” scrambles, and dynamic level generation.
What’s in it for you?
We’re continuing a steady drumbeat of exclusives and deals to wow customers, thus bringing new customers into the store and enticing existing customers to keep coming back. As we mentioned in last week’s post about Angry Birds Rio, the more customers we engage, the more opportunities there is to monetize your apps.
We’ve launched a marketing campaign for the exclusive Android launch of Chuzzle on the Amazon Appstore, and, spoiler alert, we’re preparing one for the impending exclusive Android launch of Plants vs. Zombies. Both Chuzzle and Plants vs. Zombies have a large and loyal iPhone fanbase, and Android users have been asking for these games.
Why do we do exclusives?
At Amazon, we start with the customer and work backwards. By bringing new apps and games to the Android marketplace first, we’re showing our customers we work hard to deliver some of hottest titles before they’re available anywhere else.
We think happy customers will be repeat customers, so for developers this means more chances to get apps, including exclusive apps, in front of the right audience. On an ongoing basis we’re also working to drive traffic to our store – and your apps.
When do we consider exclusives?
We are always looking for the next best thing, which is part of why we love our jobs – we get to play! We’re also monitoring what customers are saying about apps and the Amazon Appstore, including what else customers want. We look at exclusives on an opportunistic basis; some of our considerations are:
Stay tuned for more on exclusives and cool opportunities – we’re just getting warmed up.
How to update your app:
To update details about your app (including images, videos, app descriptions, etc.):
To update your APK:
If you’ve seen or heard of the movie Rio, you may have seen that Blu isn’t in his cage anymore – no mirror, no little bell. He’s ready to hit the beach. And with Blu gaining his freedom, Rovio has released an updated Android version of Angry Birds Rio exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for Android with 30 new levels and, you guessed it, Blu is a playable character filled with feathered fury.
What does this mean for you?
The more customers we engage, the more opportunities we have to monetize your apps. When we launched, we had the Android version of Angry Birds Rio exclusively in the Amazon Appstore. As part of our launch marketing we advertised the Amazon Appstore and leveraged an Android exclusive of Angry Birds Rio as a hook across Amazon.com online, in mobile advertising, in social outlets, and more. The results have been tremendous.
There will also be another marketing campaign surrounding the update of Angry Birds Rio exclusive on the Amazon Appstore. Angry Birds Rio has a large and loyal fanbase, many of whom will come to the Amazon Appstore get the update and ultimately purchase other apps.
When to consider updates:
There are many things to take into consideration when updating your app. Here are some high level things to consider:
Next week we’ll be at the APPNATION conference in San Francisco on April 27 and 28 at Moscone Center South. The conference is intended primarily for developers and entrepreneurs like you to learn and share best practices about getting exposure for and monetizing apps.
Our very own Jon Fleming, head of business development, will be on a panel moderated by Noah Kravitz, editor-at-large for TechnoBuffalo, called “So Many App Stores, So Little Time” along with Jud Bowman, Appia CEO, and Trevor Cornwell, appbackr CEO.
We’ve negotiated a discount of 50% off the full-conference, all-access pass to APPNATION 2011. You can redeem this discount online with the priority code: “APDI50.” The code is good until Tuesday, April 26th at 11:59pm.
We hope to see you there!
Whether app development is your full-time gig, or a hobby you tinker with during nights and weekends, we want to thank you for making the Amazon Appstore for Android awesome. As with all things tech, the platform is changing quickly and we want to share with you some of our favorite Android development resources, so you can conquer whatever Android throws at you next. Whether you’re new to Android, or an old pro, we hope these featured titles will inspire you to continue making fun, useful, or quirky apps for all of us to enjoy!
Want to get started building applications for Android? Already building Android applications and want to get better at it? This book brings together all the expert guidance–and code–you’ll need! Completely up-to-date to reflect the newest and most widely used Android SDKs, The Android Developer’s Cookbook is the essential resource for developers building apps for any Android device, from phones to tablets.
“Excellent book, saved me many hours of development time”
– Customer Review of Android Developer’s Cookbook
Android in Action prepares the reader to embrace the Android mobile platform in easy-to-understand language and builds on this foundation with reusable Java code examples. It's ideal for corporate developers and hobbyists who have an interest, or a mandate, to deliver mobile software. The Android application framework is thoroughly explained and discussed within the current competitive landscape. Following the release of Android 2.0, this edition has been updated to cover hot topics such as Bluetooth integration, web development strategies, AppWidget framework, sensor management, the Android Native Development Kit, and localization.
– Customer Review of Android in Action
Providing in-depth coverage of how to build mobile applications using the next major release of the Android SDK, this invaluable resource takes a hands-on approach to discussing Android with a series of projects, each of which introduces a new feature and highlights techniques and best practices to get the most out of Android. This update to the bestselling first edition dives in to cover the exciting new features of the latest release of the Android mobile platform.
“Great book for someone trying to break into app development”
– Customer Review of Professional Android 2 Application Development
Pro Android 2 shows you how to build real-world and fun mobile applications using Google’s latest Android SDK. This new edition is fully updated for Android 2, covering everything from the fundamentals of building applications for embedded devices to advanced concepts such as custom 3D components, OpenGL, and touchscreens including gestures. While other Android development guides simply discuss topics, Pro Android 2 offers the combination of expert insight and real sample applications that work.
“Outstanding deep dive into Android 2.0”
– Customer Review of Pro Android 2
<p>We’d like to clear up some confusion about conflicting versions of our developer agreement. There are both PDF and plain text versions on our developer portal, and these versions didn’t agree. The PDF version was correct; the plain text version was old. This has now been fixed. The old plain text version was outdated and didn’t show the updates we made to the agreement last November, including that the definition of list price applies only to the app’s current price on a similar store. Thanks for making the store a success.</p>
In a previous post, we talked about automated marketing for apps in the Amazon Appstore for Android. On top of automated marketing, Amazon is constantly striving to achieve an excellent customer experience through timely merchandising of relevant products across Amazon.com.
Occasionally, we can market apps from our store in other Amazon storefronts when the content is compelling and the right fit. This placement is a win-win for customers and developers. It brings relevant information to customers and can increase impressions and hopefully downloads of an app for developers. Here is an example of a “right roto,” or an ad that appears on the right of a page, for the TurboTax SnapTax app in Amazon’s tax storefront.
On top of showcasing the TurboTax SnapTax app, we incorporated a “shoveler,” or a grouping of apps, onto the page where we’re displaying other tax-related apps that we think customers may find useful. Here is a look at the entire page:
So what makes an app the right fit for placement in other Amazon stores? Bottom line, the app content must be relevant to and/or complement other content on a page in another Amazon store.
The manifest of your Android app provides essential information about the app to the Amazon Appstore for Android. Your app must include an “AndroidManifest.xml” file in the root directory.
The Amazon Appstore uses the app manifest file to ensure we merchandise apps appropriately. Prior to submitting your app to Amazon, please ensure the manifest is packaged with your app and includes the following elements and data:
• VersionName: A string value that represents the release version of the application code, as it should be shown to users. The value is a string so that you can describe the application version as a <major>.<minor>.<point> string, or as any other type of absolute or relative version identifier. There is a hundred-character maximum on the length of the version name string.
• Uses-sdk: Tells us which OS the app runs on.
• Uses-configuration: Tells us which configuration is required by the app. (This element may be left empty if nothing is required.)
• Uses-feature: Tells us which features of the phone are used, such as the camera. (This section may be left empty if there are no required features.)
• Supports-screens: Tells us if the app supports large and/or high-intensity screens
• Uses-permissions: These are Android permissions and are required by the platform. (This should NOT be present if your app does not require permissions.)
Below is an example manifest structure with required elements in red:
<intent-filter> . . . </intent-filter>
<intent-filter> . . . </intent-filter>
<intent-filter> . . . </intent-filter>
If you do not have any data for a certain element--for instance, if your app does not utilize any permission--you should remove that element entirely instead of leaving it empty. Empty elements can cause issues in the ingestion process. Also, make sure your app only requests permissions that it actually needs to function properly. Unnecessary permission requests can cause a spyware or malware concern from a customer’s perspective.
If your manifest does not comply with this set of rules, it may be rejected directly by the Developer Portal or in the app approval phase.
You can find more information about the AndroidManifest.xml File on the Android Dev Guide:
If you have ever shopped at Amazon.com, you’ve likely seen “Customer Discussions” associated with features such as the Gold Box Deal of the Day, as well as individual items. Customer Discussions connects customers with each other to ask questions and share insights and opinions on Amazon.com about different products and services.
As an app developer, you can benefit from the great opportunity Customer Discussions offers for interacting with customers who are interested in your app. You can answer customer questions, provide support, and collect feedback for futures releases.
While product detail pages give an overview of the app itself, and star ratings and reviews give high-level insight into what customers think, Customer Discussions is a place where customers can interact and talk about both the app and topics related to the app.
Here is an example of the Customer Discussions happening on the Shazam Encore app:
You’ll see the various discussions focus on music in this case, as the app is music-centric, and aren’t as much about the app itself. Even though the discussions are about the music and not about the app itself, they can provide valuable information about your customers’ taste, which you can use in marketing your app. Customers may also talk directly about the app in the Customer Discussions threads – here’s where you have the opportunity to glean information for potential app updates.
Wondering how to get started? To post on Amazon forums, all you need to do is sign in to your Amazon account (the account must have at least one purchase on it) and start posting. We expect all of our customers to follow Amazon.com’s Conditions of Use and adhere to the discussion guidelines at all time. If you haven’t created a pen name already, we suggest you use a name that clearly indicates you are the creator of the app. To build customer trust, it is important that they be able to differentiate you from other customers. Finally, please keep in mind that Customer Discussions is not a place to start verbal wars. We want our developers to be a friendly, helpful resource for our customers. You can learn more about Customer Discussions online here.
With the rise in popularity of bar code-reader apps, QR Codes have become a convenient way of transferring text from media to mobile devices. A report published recently by MGH indicates that a growing number smartphone owners use the two-dimensional images to gain access to products and promotions.
A QR Code is a square, black and white image that contains standardized patterns to store text, in the same way that bar codes contain patterns for alphanumeric characters. The amount of encoded text can vary depending on the size of the QR Code image, but typically the text encoded is relatively short and takes the form of a URL. You may have seen the following options on our Get Started page to quickly give you access to the Amazon Appstore on your Android device:
As mentioned in a previous post, you can link directly to apps in the Amazon Appstore with a mobile-friendly URL. The URL can be represented as a QR Code, which can then direct potential customers on your website or blog to your app on the Amazon Appstore mobile client. For instance, the following link and corresponding QR Code will send users to the detail page for the Amazon MP3 App for Android:
The following URL will invoke a search to find MP3 related apps on the Appstore:
Any QR Code generator that meets the ISO requirements will suffice. Some websites that can do this for you include Delivr, bit.ly, the URL shortening site, and Google.
We are excited to announce the US launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android. If you’ve already submitted your app(s) – thank you! We couldn’t have launched this store without your support. From Games to Utilities, we have apps to suit our customers’ many Android app wants and needs.
Over the past few months we have been sharing quite a bit of information about what you as a developer can utilize in the Developer Portal and in the Amazon Appstore itself. As you can see, we built the store to make it easy to find, discover and buy Android apps. We believe a more compelling customer experience will in turn result in better monetization.
Amazon Appstore highlights:
In true Amazon fashion, we’re making discoverability easier, which gets your apps in front of more customers. Specifically, we are offering a few unique features such as recommendations based on customers’ browse and purchase history. This is one of the automated marketing features we discussed previously. Automated marketing includes placements in search results, browse based results, bestsellers, and more. We will also be doing ongoing promotional activity designed to attract new and repeat customers to the Amazon Appstore like the paid app for free promotion on the homepage. We have been working with many of you to line up quality apps for these programs, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to promote your titles.
Reporting in the Developer Portal:
Now that we’re live, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with Amazon Appstore reporting. You can find reporting once you log into your account in the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. To view your reporting, log into the Developer Portal and click on the “Reports” tab. You will see a page that looks like this: