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November 08, 2011

johnjord

Recently, the Amazon Appstore for Android featured Read It Later Pro as the Free App of the Day. The extremely popular and useful application allows users to save what they find on the web to watch and read on any device and at any time – a “DVR for the web,” states The New York Times.

Founded in 2007, the company already boasts 3.5 million users and sees millions of articles saved each week through their very user-friendly and seamless service.

Also, the company “runs the entire Read It Later operation on Amazon Web Services [AWS],” states founder Nate Weiner. “We take advantage of EC2 for our servers, ELB for load balancing, S3 and EBS for storage. We also use Amazon Simple Email Services [SES], which has simplified our e-mail communications and made them more effective.” Although very excited about the Free App of the Day promotion, the Read It Later team expressed some concern over the large number of expected new customers and the impact on their 50K daily e-mail limit through SES.

According to Read It Later CTO and Engineer Matt Koidin, the internal teams at Amazon moved quickly to address a solution for this use case. “We initially thought we would need additional development to work around the e-mail limit… but our account manager was able to coordinate with the AWS team to increase the limit for the day,” Koidin said.

Koidin and team see this as another example of the Amazon Appstore’s ability to provide an advantage through its network of services for developers. “Having Amazon not only run the promotion, but work with the broader Amazon organization (i.e. AWS) to provide some assistance so it didn’t overwhelm us or require additional work, shows they are aligned as a partner to make this a success for everyone involved,” added Koidin.

The team at Read It Later was happy to report that the promotion resulted in “one of our largest days of new user acquisition ever” and “we’ve seen our transaction level sustain at a higher level than prior to the promotion.” They see more exciting opportunities down the road to incorporate additional Amazon services for developers.  When asked if they would run the Free App of the Day promotion again, Koidin replied with a simple, “Absolutely.”

Learn more about AWS online here.

April 21, 2011

amberta

Appnation 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!

April 14, 2011

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

<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>

April 14, 2011

amberta

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

  Snaptax-roto

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:

   Tax-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.  

March 31, 2011

amberta

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:

Customer Discussions
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.
 

March 10, 2011

ehansen

We’ve been sharing a lot of information about best practices for uploading your app(s) to the Amazon Appstore for Android, along with details on what the store will look like when we go live (which is soon).

Among the tools developers can utilize are the Amazon SimpleDB and the recently released Amazon Web Services (AWS) SDK for Android.

Developer Carmen Delessio’s success story may offer inspiration on how to take advantage of these two resources and submit new apps to the Appstore. Delessio is an Android app developer who has leveraged Amazon SimpleDB and AWS SDK for Android to build some of his apps.

In September of 2010, Delessio heard about the Sprint 4G App Challenge and decided to enter his updated version of BFF Photo Pro. Two months later, Sprint sent him an award notification.

Mainscreen
 

"At first, I literally did not believe it and began to check the info," Delessio said."I verified and was incredibly happy to learn that I was one of the five winners of $50,000."

His success has propelled him to continue developing new Android apps, with AWS providing a crucial backbone for his code. Along with BFF Photo Pro, Delessio has leveraged the AWS SDK and SimpleDB to build BFF Search, which allows users to easily search for people, topics, and events on Facebook. Both of his BFF apps will be available on the Amazon Appstore.  CarmenNatalieBFFPhotogalleryshot

He's also used the AWS services to build NYC Parks, an app based on the XML datasets available to the public by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. While swearing he's not contest crazy, Delessio entered the app in the NYC BigApps 2.0, a competition that seeks to make New York "more transparent, accessible, and accountable."

"We are in a place right now where your work, and the recognition for your work, defines your opportunities more than any other time that I can remember. It's a real meritocracy," observed Delessio, who is currently working with a Major League Baseball (MLB) data set to build an app that allows users to search for all the MLB games they’ve attended and share their stats over their social network. "This plays into the strengths of AWS; you have a great opportunity to make great apps with low expense. Structured data fits into SimpleDB well, and the AWS SDK allows you to access it and build (your app) with integrity: I don't have to think very much how it works, it just works."

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!”

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