Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.
Farkle Dice - Free and Farkle Dice Deluxe (Ad-Free) are two popular and well-reviewed apps in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Developed by Smart Box Games, the apps present a fast-paced dice game and offer both solo and social gaming experiences.
Smart Box Games was one of the first developers to join the developer program after the Amazon Appstore launched in March.
Why did Smart Box Games act so quickly to join a brand new store? Todd Sherman, president of Smart Box Games, said that as a small, independent game company, “Our priority is to make sure the games have beautiful art, professional sound effects, and music, and are programmed to be stable and responsive. We typically have limited resources for marketing. The Amazon Appstore gives developers like us a chance for success by offering customers multiple ways to explore and find games.” He added, “For example, you can navigate the store by Top 100 Games, or by category, or through widgets powered by Amazon’s recommendation engine such as ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.’ Plus, the first year fee for the developer program was waived.”
Within a few weeks of its publishing, Farkle Dice - Free skyrocketed to the top of the Board Games category and soon climbed the charts under the Top 100 Free Bestselling Games.
Amazon featured Farkle Dice Deluxe (Ad-Free) on July 23 as the Free App of the Day, a daily promotion in which we make a premium app available to our customers for free and prominently promote the app on Amazon.com and in the Amazon Appstore.
We set an expectation of approximately 75,000 downloads for the Free App of the Day promotion with Farkle Dice - Deluxe. “Our actual downloads far exceeded that expectation, and we were thrilled by the exposure and the comments from new players,” Sherman said regarding the result of the promotion. What does it mean for Smart Box Games to have so many new users? “As part of a long-term monetization strategy, we plan to contact those newly acquired users via the messaging function within Farkle Dice - Deluxe when we release our new game later this year.”
Why are release notes important?
Release notes are a valuable developer tool that can be used to provide a better customer experience. Customers are becoming more aware of and interested in changes to their apps—they want to know why they should take the time to download app updates and what changes may be happening on their device(s)!
Release notes let your customers know what changes you are making to your app and it keeps them in the loop regarding bug fixes, app enhancements, permission changes, etc. Providing release notes may also speed up the turnaround time on app updates as it advises our testers what to look for when testing your update.
Where do release notes show up?
The release notes appear on the product detail page for your app in a section titled “Latest Updates”.
Where do I enter my release notes?
You can enter release notes for your app through your Developer Portal account. Go to the App Details Page for the app and you will find the Release Notes field in the section titled Upload Binary. (Note that the field will not appear until after you have uploaded your APK.)
How do I format my release notes?
The Release Notes field will automatically make each new line a bullet on your product detail page. Simply enter each release note as a new line and we’ll do the rest.
Recently, we announced a new improvement to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal: User Permissions (Developer Portal User Permissions). This feature allows your organization to assign roles for different responsibilities on your team. One organization that has fully embraced this tool expansion is game developer DistinctDev, Inc.
DistinctDev, Inc., is a small and energetic development house creating highly-addictive casual game titles – most notably, The Moron Test.
Recently, DistinctDev Co-Founder and CTO, Steven Malagon, and his brother, Berkeley Malagon – also the President and CEO – took advantage of structuring their organization using the new permissions. The only rivalry that existed between these two siblings was one that revolved around Developer Portal access: Berkeley, a self-described “data junkie,” was completely reliant on his brother Steven to “get signed in using his personal Amazon account.” Without global visibility to all the great functionality of the Developer Portal, it became Steven’s role to debrief the team. Needless to say, the entire team was very excited to receive the announcement for User Permissions.
Steven said, “The setup was super easy, and it literally took me seconds to enter email addresses and send out the invites for assigned roles.” Berkeley Malagon sees this as “a scalable solution as we move forward and grow as a company…adding new users and assigning access.”
The team at DistinctDev also sees the new User Permissions functionality as a great sign for things to come with the Amazon Appstore. “The improvements really make it even simpler, organizationally, to upload new titles, and it makes us feel like our feedback is really taken seriously,” stated Berkeley.
This is all good news for Amazon customers as well, who have taken a liking to great quality games, like The Moron Test. The DistinctDev team cannot wait to see what new enhancements are to come and encourage everyone participating in the Amazon Appstore to take advantage of setting up their permissions. Berkeley said it best, “User Permissions is spot-on.”
In addition to merchandising your apps in our store, we often work with media outlets to market Android apps published in the Amazon Appstore for Android. AppStoreHQ is running a promotion in which they’ll be looking at all new apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore today, July 13th, through July 22nd and selecting five apps to feature on their homepage, in a future AppStoreHQ newsletter, and in their AppESP Android app. AppStoreHQ’s website has more than a million monthly visits.
Submit your app to be elligible on the Amazon Appstore here.
Tired of having to give colleagues on your team access to your Amazon Appstore Developer Portal account? Worried about sharing your Amazon.com password for access to the Portal? Based on developer feedback, we have released a new functionality that will make managing your account even easier: User Permissions. We understand the need for each organization to have sets of access levels and visibility to the Portal’s functionality. Now, you will be able to set these permissions for multiple users of the same Developer Portal account.
If you are the Administrator on the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal for your company’s apps, you will have the unique ability to manage permissions and payment information, and oversee all activities which occur under the users authorized for the Developer Portal account. The assignable roles under the Administrator include:
While there is only one owner-designated Administrator, there is no limit on the number of additional Administrators or sub-roles. Only the Administrators can easily see all other users associated with the account. Have a small team where the person handling submissions also oversees marketing strategy? No problem, users with Administrator privileges can be assigned to more than one role.
The process for assigning roles is simple. Once you identify everyone who requires access, go to “User Permissions” and enter their email addresses and we will send an invitation email for them to accept access and their role. Once everyone has accepted, we make it easy to sort by name and role on the Permissions Page for everyone on the team.
Finally, we realize that some users do work for more than one organization. So, we have added a new Account drop-down menu on the Home Page of the Developer Portal—allowing you to manage multiple organization accounts from the same Amazon.com user login.
There you go - User permissions granted! Begin setting up your team today.
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
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.