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February 17, 2015

Mike Hines

A post on what to implement from the 10 part-series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we wrapped up our study of what the top 50 apps do with IAP that the rest of us don’t.  Over the last 10 weeks, we delivered a significant amount of data and suggestions, and it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to start. This week we’ll give you some ideas on where to get started by highlighting the top 3 practices that might make the biggest difference in your game.

Know Who Your Best Customers Are

Use your favorite analytics package and learn about how your customers play and buy within your app.  It’s our experience that 80% of an average game’s downloads won’t be active after 7 days, and that 3% of downloads from the Amazon Appstore turn into paying customers. And it’s those customers who stay with you over one week that will drive 74% of your total game revenue. This exclusive group of customers is your loyal following. Treat them like gold!

What now?

Identify the players that:

  • Are still playing your game after 7 days (74% of your revenue)
  • Are still playing your game after 30 days (they will pay 60% more for IAP items)
  • Have made 3 or more purchases (they will generate 64% of your revenue)
  • First day purchasers (37% of all paying players will buy on day 1)

Differentiate the IAP Items You Show Your Best Customers

If you’re showing your best 30 day + customers the same IAP catalog that you showed them on day 1, you’re likely leaving demand unfulfilled, and you’re probably not making the best use of IAP.

When creating new IAP items for your good customers, do NOT just add these items to the same IAP catalog you show your first day users! You want to keep the catalog clear and un-cluttered for beginners, as well as offer the enticement of a catalog that changes for your veteran players.

To fine tune what items work best in each IAP catalog, find an A|B Testing API that you can use to get real-world data on each IAP catalog.

What now?

  • Create a new instance of your IAP dialog box that can you can show to your best customers.
  • In this new IAP catalog, put:
    • More expensive IAP entitlement items (weapons, armor, and other non-consumables)
    • Larger soft-currency or power-up discount packages
    • Unique skins available only to your best customers

Display the Value of Each IAP Item to Your Customer

If your IAP catalog doesn’t have a benefit (like BONUS % in this catalog), you may not be making the reason to buy clear enough for your customers.

If you’re selling a sword instead of coins, the customer will want to know how much more damage it will do, or what villains it will decimate as opposed to those enemies that their current sword won’t scratch. Make the benefit clear, and you’ll make more sales and have happier customers.

What now?

  • Look at your existing IAP items and of each item ask: Why would a player want to buy this?
  • Put the answer in the IAP dialog box (Bonus 50%, 5% more damage, etc)
  • Or put an information button on the item that will show more details

Wrap Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and are starting to see improvement in your IAP monetization as a result. For more insights on how to keep users engaged and boost revenue check out our free eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”.

In the mean time, I’d love to be working on the next subject you’d like to learn more about or see data about. Let me know, and ping me on Twitter @MikeFHines.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

February 04, 2015

Mike Hines

The final article in the 10 part-series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we looked at how lowering barriers to new app sessions paves the way for more sessions, and more minutes in the app per day. We also looked at how tuning the difficulty for a game can make a significant impact in user engagement, retention, and IAP conversion.  This week we’ll see how the top 50 see what to change, and how they implement change.

See Inside Your App

To address the right offers and messages to your customers, to know where you may have a retention issue, and to know other key metrics about your app, you need to be able to see inside, and see how your users interact with your app. App analytics packages are services put together by quite a variety of providers, and are  a great way to get started with the basics, as well as progress up through full custom instrumentation. To help scope an analytics implementation project or provider decision, you should start with knowing what you need to know to make smarter decisions. (like how long has this user had the app? How many purchases has this user made? How long did it take this user to complete the last task/level/milestone?) If you’re not going to use a metric to influence your actions, think twice about how much you really need to implement that metric.

Have Lots of Levers

Seeing inside your apps is critical, but it doesn’t do anything. Being able to do something about what you see is how your app starts performing better. In order to optimize your apps, you’ll need to have a lot of levers in you app that you can manipulate to change the behavior of your app (like difficulty).  These levers come in the form of A|B testing.  A|B Testing lets you find out if you should make your game easier or harder, and how much more so to make it to meet your goals. A|B Testing tells you which items are the most popular or profitable for you to offer your day 1, day 7, or day 30 users.  While I’m partial to the Amazon A|B Testing service because of it’s flexibility, ease of implementation, and price, you can get A|B Testing services from several vendors. Remember, the top 50 don’t guess. They know.

Wrap Up

That’s it for the series What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t.  For more insights on how to keep users engaged and boost revenue check out our free eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”.

In the mean time, I’d love to be working on the next subject you’d like to learn more about or see data about. Let me know, and ping me on Twitter @MikeFHines.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

February 03, 2015

Simon Howard

The Amazon Mobile Ads API allows you to monetize apps and games across the Android, Fire OS, and iOS platforms by displaying ads to customers in the US, UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Ads can be banner or interstitial and will advertise products or services coming from Amazon or other well-known brands. You are paid on ad impressions served whilst some other Ad networks only pay on clicks. To get more information on the benefits of using the Amazon Mobile Ad Network, check out the Success Stories.

This blog is about how you get started with using the Amazon Mobile Ads API in your Android Java based app or game that is running on an Android device, Amazon Fire OS tablet or phone device.

How Do I get Access to the APIs?

The Amazon Mobile Ads API is part of a single SDK (the Amazon Mobile App SDK, which you can download here) that also provides access to other Amazon mobile services and APIs such as GameCircle and In-App Purchasing.  The same download also includes the necessary files to use the Amazon Mobile Ads API in apps developed for iOS.

You can use the Android Java version of the Mobile Ads API in projects that have been created in Eclipse or Android Studio. First, download the SDK and extract the zip file to the appropriate location on your development machine. Here’s what the SDK folder looks like on my machine…

Obtain an Application Key

Before you can use the Amazon Mobile Ads API in an app, you should create an Application Key that is unique to the application. This key is used by the Amazon framework to identify your app so it’s essential that you use the correct one so that you will be paid.

To create a new key you need an Amazon Apps & Games Developer Portal account. If you don’t have one, you can create a free account by clicking here. Also note, because you will be receiving income into the account, you will need to add your payment and tax information details to your developer account profile.

You can bypass this step for now if you want to just try out the API using one of the sample apps. Just make sure you create your own key (and account) later.

Check out the Samples First

Before you start including the Amazon Mobile Ads API in your project, I recommend that you first build and play with the three samples that come with the SDK. You can find these samples in the /Android/Ads/Samples folder and they are as follows:

SimpleAdSample

Displays a banner ad and is a good introduction to the APIs

FloatingAdSample

Builds upon SimpleAdSample

InterstitialAdSample

Displays a full-screen interstitial ad

Building the Samples in Eclipse

To build the samples in Eclipse is pretty straightforward. Once you have imported the projects, you just need to add the mobile ads JAR file library to your project and ensure that the library file is included in the build process.  There are some good instructions in this Quick Start Guide about how to do this but do note that you need to check the JAR library file in the “Order and Export tab” so that it is included in the build. The screenshot below shows how to do this:

This step is quite easy to miss and unfortunately, if you don’t complete the step, the project will still build successfully but you will get runtime errors saying that methods in the API cannot be found!

Building the Samples in Android Studio

The Mobile Ads API samples were created using Eclipse but you can also use the samples in Android Studio very easily. As this is currently not described in the Quick Start Guide I’ve written some instructions below on how to do this…

  1. Run Android Studio and from the Quick Start pane select “Import Non-Android Studio project”. An import wizard begins
  2. Locate the Eclipse project folder for the desired sample and click “OK”

  1. In the “Import Project from ADT” dialog, first choose a destination directory for the Android Studio version of the project and click “Next”

  1. Various import options will appear in the same dialog – just click “Finish” to start the import

  1. Once the import has completed, the project will open in Android Studio
  2. To add the Amazon Mobile Ads API library file to the project, first create a folder called “libs” under the “app” folder in your project. Use OSX Finder or Windows Explorer (as applicable) to do this
  3. Next, find the file “amazon-ads-x.y.z.jar” which located in the “/ads/lib” folder within the Amazon SDK folder and copy it to your new “/app/libs” folder
  4. In Android studio, refresh the project view so that the libs folder appears

  1. Right click the .jar so that you see the context menu as shown below. Select “Add as library”

  1.  Click “OK” in the “Create Library” dialog that appears

  1. At this stage the library will have been added and you should see the following newly added lines in the build.gradle file under your ‘app’ folder:

dependencies {

    compile files('libs/amazon-ads-x.y.z.jar')

}

Where: x, y and z will be substituted with the actual version numbers

Running the Samples

Once you have added the library file to a sample project, you should be able to build the code and try it out on a device. In the SimpleAdSample project, for example, you should see something similar to this when it runs:

Including the APIs into Your Own Code

Using the Amazon Mobile Ads APIs in your own code is relatively straightforward and this Quick Start Guide goes through the steps that you need to follow. There are, however, a few things that are worth delving into a little deeper which I discuss below.

Additional Permissions

To use the APIs, you need to add a least one permission to the project’s manifest file. You have to add the permission android.permission.INTERNET as this enables the app to communicate with the ad server. Additionally, it is advisable to add the other permissions suggested in the Quick Start Guide as doing so will give the ad framework a better chance of delivering ads that are more relevant to the user - see also section “Loading the ad” below.

Loading the Ad

There are two main ways in which you can request an ad. The simplest way is just to call the version of the Ad object’s loadAd() method that takes no parameters. However, the problem with this approach is that you will get ads delivered to your app that might not be applicable to your user’s geographical location. A better approach is to use a different version of the same API that takes some parameters…

 final AdTargetingOptions adOptions = new AdTargetingOptions();       

 adOptions.enableGeoLocation(true);

 this.adView.loadAd(adOptions);

In the snippet above, the code uses the Mobile Ads API to send the position of the device to the Amazon Mobile Ad Network so that potentially more targeted ads are delivered to the host app. Note that the user may still choose to disable this feature by disabling location awareness on a system level in the device settings.

Debugging

During development, it’s a good idea to enable logging and testing using the associated methods in the AdRegistration class. Doing so will for example make it easier for you to track the messages sent to the ad framework in the logcat window. Just make sure to disable logging and testing before launching your app to production.

Handling Ad Events

Once an Ad object has been created, it’s possible to hook into events that are generated by the API. This is done via a special listener class from the Mobile Ads API called DefaultAdListener. When you do this, you can trap several events related to an ad and these result in calls to methods that you override. For example, the onAdFailedToLoad() method is called when the ad has failed to load and in that scenario you could determine the possible cause of the failure and if applicable choose to fill the advert using an alternative ad network.

See this article about event tracking and error handling for more details.

Conclusion

The Amazon Mobile Ads API provides you with additional ways in which you can monetize your mobile apps and games via ads relating to products or services that come from Amazon or other well-known brands. Integrating the API into your Android Java app or game is quick and easy. Once you have integrated the API, you are paid for ads on impressions rather than on clicks.

Here are some more links to useful articles on using the Amazon Mobile Ads API in your Android Java based app:

In upcoming blogs, I will discuss how you can use the Amazon Mobile Ad API in games or apps running on iOS and those that have been developed using popular frameworks such as Unity and Marmalade.

Simon Howard (@SimonH109)

 

January 29, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

A good first impression is critical for getting downloads for your app. In the past, we’ve talked about making good icons, how to grab app screenshots  & video, and getting the submission details right. 

In this post, we’ll cover how to add localized screenshots.

To Gain a Global Audience, Speak the Language

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to grow internationally, speaking to the customer in their language is important. Imagine that you have a top selling app in Germany and begin to expand into Spain or France or Japan or the US but you always use German text in the promotional materials – I think we can agree that potential customers in those locations won’t convert well. People want to understand what they’ll get when they download the app. So, beyond having language specific versions of the app content, make a great first impression and entice downloads by making sure that your screenshots and promotional images are also localized to the proper language.

Adding localized images is straightforward in the Amazon Appstore developer portal.

To do this, sign in to the Amazon Appstore developer portal, choose your app from the dashboard, then choose  “Add Localized Media” from the “Images and Multimedia” tab and change any of the images that you need to.

This video shows you step by step how to add localized images on the Amazon Appstore.

Ready to Submit Your Game?

  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

-Paul Cutsinger (@PaulCutsinger

 

January 27, 2015

Mike Hines

Article 9 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we saw how making it easier to buy resulted in a lot more sales; a conclusion that is not rocket science, but can be challenging to implement correctly. This week, we’ll take a look at some strategies that the top 50 have used to increase the number of minutes users spend in each session, and increase the number of sessions the users have per day.

Encourage More Sessions

Updating game content frequently keeps users engaged and coming back to see what’s new. While we didn’t see a demonstrable trend differentiating the top 50 from everyone else with regards to content updates, the developers we’ve interviewed are all fairly unanimous in this regard. Stale content kills long-term retention. And if you’re going to update your content, that might be a good time for a sale on IAP items.

Have a Sale

If you can, time your sales and content releases together. Playtika plans IAP sales when aggregate hard currency balances are low. Playtika also plans new content releases to go live during sales to give the purchased hard currency somewhere to go.. If customers don’t have a place to use their newly acquired IAP items, customers will just keep them in inventory, and you will see a resulting post-sale slump in purchases.

Reduce Barriers to frequent use

The first thing to do is reduce barriers to entry of additional sessions. Flappy Birds is a great example of how easy it is to get started.  You simply tap on start and start flying the bird.  And when you crash, you tap start once more and you start flying again. Compare that to apps where we’ve got to go to a splash screen, welcome menu, and options screen before we can even start playing.  That’s a lot of work, particularly if you’re standing in line at the grocery store.

Another barrier to entry is not starting where you left off. If you’ve gotten to level 14 of a game on your tablet at home, and then pull out your phone when you get to the grocery store, will you really be willing to start all over again at level 1? Or will you  close the app and play a different game? That developer has just lost a re-entrant customer.  They just lost a potential re-order. What you want to do is use one of the game engines that will synchronize your progress across devices. I’ve got a screen shot of Amazon GameCircle here which has an active sync API that synchronizes the customer’s progress so that when a customer gets to level 14 on their tablet, they pick up right on level 14 on their phone; no barrier to entry.

Encourage Longer Sessions

One way to increase session time is to tune game difficulty. Imagine if you’re the small guy here. You’re going to do this once, and you’re to give up. That would get un-fun really quickly. But it’s not fun if you’re the big guy either.  After crushing the little guy a few times it just gets boring.  The top 50 do A|B testing religiously to tune the difficulty and find the sweet spot that keeps users in the game and increases IAP purchases. So absolutely do A|B Testing on the difficulty assumptions or other assumptions you make in your app. It’s free, and it’s surprisingly easy.

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at what you can do to see what’s going on with your customers inside your app, and how the top 50 use that data. For more insights on how to keep users engaged and boost revenue check out our free eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

January 21, 2015

Mike Hines

Article 8 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we saw how differentiating offers to users based on their time in game works well for the top 50. We also saw that doing your best to eliminate confusion is not only a good customer service tenet, but a profitable one as well. This week, we’ll look at other ways the top 50 make it easier to buy.

Keep it Simple

Above is an example of a good IAP purchase screen. Not too many items crowd the page, no items are off the screen (customers just don’t scroll to get to those…), there are a reasonable number of price points, but it’s a bit unclear what the value is.

Take a look at this IAP dialog:

I really like two things about this screen. One is that it doesn’t mix different kinds of things on the same page. The page has one thing; soft currency purchases. If I want to buy a different kind of thing, I can use a different tab/page. The second thing I like is that the value is clearly identified by the BONUS labels. The value is clear. I don’t have to do any math in my head to see why I’d want to buy $9.99 instead of $4.99.

Make It Easy to Buy

Making ‘Easy to Buy’ part of the design requirements is very important. Adding IAP functionality after you have designed your game is a mistake. Take a look at this example of the Ninja Kiwi game Bloons Tower Defense 5, a game in which adorable monkeys toss darts at balloons trying to escape the maze. The game is challenging but not impossible, yet occasionally, as the balloons approach the exit, and you are at a loss to stop them, you can’t buy anything to help you! You can’t purchase anything that will pop all the balloons on the field or make one of your dart throwers a turbo-manic dart thrower for a few seconds. The fact that I can’t buy anything when I need it makes it really hard to give Kiwi Ninja my money. 

Well they figured that out, and in their next tower defense game, SAS Zombie Assault TD, they got it right (below).

In this game, I can build towers with my soft currency using the menu items on the left. But if a horde of flesh-eating zombies is rushing towards the exit, I’ve got hard currency items on the right, so I can spend $0.99 to get 3 Nuclear Hand Grenades and vaporize that mass of zombies.  Soft currency on the left,  hard currency on the right, no confusion. Hard currency items are obvious and available for purchase when my need is greatest. Perfect. When the apps in our study made it easy to shop, ARPPU increased by 75%.

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at what the top 50 do to increase the time their customers spend in the app and how they maximize repeat sessions. For more insights on how to keep users engaged and boost revenue check out our free eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

January 14, 2015

Mike Hines

Article 7 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we saw how teaching customers about your IAP items and how showing them how to use those items makes a big difference for the top 50. In this article, we’ll look at how the top 50 arrange their IAP offers to maximize customer satisfaction and revenue.

Offer Variety

You need to give customers something to order. Certainly you need to give customers items that are appealing to them, but what we found was that as you add more items your catalog, you start making more money. For example, if you have 12 items in your catalog, chances are you’ll make about 45% more money than you would if you only had 6 to 10 items in your catalog. But it’s easy to get the wrong take-away from this data. I don’t want you to think “Holy cow, if I just put 10 more items in a catalog I’ll be in the top 50!” It doesn’t work like that. It’s true that the top 50 have larger catalogs, but they don’t show the entire catalog to the users all at once. They show the right offers to the right people at the right time. They show different items to people on day one than they show to people on day seven or day 30, and they are using their larger catalog to get that breath of offers. Again we see the top 50 differentiating offers to different groups of users. 

Now while variety in terms of offers is great, variety in terms of price points is not so great.

Clarity About Value is Critical

Take a look at the data and you’ll find that the more price points you have the lower your revenue is going to be.  This doesn’t happen because they aren’t good prices, this because they’re confusing. It is really hard to communicate the value difference of items between $.99 $1.99, $2.99 and $3.99. A confused customer doesn’t go out and buy the most expensive item. A confused customer doesn’t go out and buy the cheapest item. A confused customer doesn’t buy anything.  If you have too many price points competing for a customer’s attention it can be hard to determine the value difference between the price points.  

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at how the top 50 make it easy for customers to buy what they want. For more insights on how to keep users engaged and boost revenue check out our free eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

January 07, 2015

Mike Hines

Article 6 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we saw some stats that help drive smart app design, including the importance of securing day 1 customer orders. This week we’ll look at some of the smart things the top 50 do to increase their order and reorder conversion rates.

IAP Tutorials

One way the top 50 make buying on day one (or any day, for that matter) is through tutorials. The top 50 apps introduce hard and soft currency in their tutorials, and show customers how to make in-app purchases.  Across the board, we found that apps that described in-app purchasing in their tutorials have about 2 1/2 times greater conversion rate than apps that don’t. And what do you do after someone buys something? Teach them how to use it!

Get More Repeat Orders

Apps that have instructions on how to use an item that was just purchased have 65% more repeat orders than apps that don’t.  We know that if a customer don’t know that an IAP item exists, they can’t decide to buy it. It makes sense that if a customer doesn’t know how to use what they just bought, why would they ever want to buy more? The top 50 are remarkably consistent in their inclusion of IAP in tutorials. Think about whether you want to do that in your app too.

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at how the top 50 make sure they have the right things to sell to the right people.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

December 31, 2014

Mike Hines

Article 5 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we saw how important the 20% of customers who stick with us past 7 days can be. To maximize that number of users, and to make sure they are having good experiences, the top 50 app developers design their app experiences and marketing plans around some crucial stats.

Know the Numbers

We found the top 50 know the numbers. They have internalized the data on this graphic. They know that 64% of the revenues they get come from customers third or later order, and they market and target specials accordingly. They know they need to give the users a reason to keep coming back into the game, because they know that almost ¾ of their revenue will come from users after they have been in the app for 7 days, and just over half of their revenue will come from users in the app for 30 days and longer.

They also know that 40% of their repeat orders are going happen within one hour of a previous purchase. (Okay, I’ll bet that some of you remember the graphs showing you that the average session length was a little over seven minutes. It’s fair that you should ask how this data fits into that data.)  They key take-away from this data point is that the repeat order comes from a completely different session! That’s why the top 50 make it a very low-friction experience to enter their game and start playing right away. How easy it is to start engaging in your app will make a big difference in whether or not you capture that repeat order.  The top 50 also get that 37% of the customers who will every buy anything will spend money on day one. And to that end, the top 50 make buying on day one really easy. See how they do this in the next article!

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at some of the smart things that the top 50 do to increase their orders and repeat orders.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

December 24, 2014

Mike Hines

Article 4 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we finished looking at what being in the top 50 looks like from a raw data point of view. In this article, we start to look at how the top 50 got these results, beginning with why the top 50 care so much about the small number of users still with a game after 7 days.

IAP Purchasing by Hour

If you were under the impression that day 7 was a big cutoff for customers and apps, you are partially correct. After 7 days, about 80% of the customers who installed your app will not launch it again. But the 20% of customers that remain can mean a great deal to you.  The graph above is how purchases break down by hour.

The first day of sales is a pretty big spike! Obviously the first day is really important to you; you’ll get about 18% of your revenue from that first day. But what I want you to take away from this graph is the 82% of the revenue that’s left.  This graph has a long tail, and while it doesn’t go out for 30 days, the pattern continues even well beyond 30 days.  So let’s go ahead and take a look at seven days. Seven days is 168 hours, and it’s true that by seven days you may have lost about 80% of all of your active users.  Buy you should know that after seven days, you still have 74% of your potential revenue on the table.  After 30 days, there is still 54% of your potential revenue left on the table.  That’s what a long tail means, so please a lot to pay attention to the users to stay with you after seven days, and stay with you after 30 days.

Price Increases Over Time

One of the reasons that taking care of the long tail is such a big deal is because the average price a customer is willing to pay for an in-app item goes up significantly over time. If you were wondering how the top 50 were able to increase the prices paid for their IAP items?  They are offering a different array of items with more expensive selection to users who’ve been there longer.  Once an average customer has been using an app for 30 days, they will typically purchase items that are 60% more expensive than they did when a day one customer.  The top 50 app developers get this, and you would do well to take a closer look at this as well.  If your apps are offering the same in app purchase items to your customers at day 30 that you did at day zero, you may be leaving some money on the table and leaving your best customers unsatisfied by not filling needs they have in your app. 

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at some of the stats that the top 50 app developers know that help them make smart decisions when building and promoting their app and in-app purchase items.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

December 17, 2014

Mike Hines

Article 3 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we took a look at retention, usage and IAP results of our participants for the first two weeks. Now we start to see where the expertise of the top 50 comes into play.

2 weeks

Two weeks after first install, the retention numbers are getting a little ugly for the rest of us. Now the difference is about 40% in favor of the top 50, and the top 50 are also seeing increased advantages in both time in app and average revenue.

1 month

A month later, and the retention differences are overwhelming. This is a 100% advantage for the top 50. Not only that, but the top 50 app users are spending a lot more time in the game giving them just about a 60% advantage in minutes spent in game, and they’re spending a lot more money buying a lot more things from the top 50.

I have read several articles that state that most apps have lost 80% of their users at day 7, so worry less about performance a month out; there is just not the volume of users to make a difference. Even Playtika (interactive division of Caesars Entertainment) had believed this. That is until they analyzed the data. So does day 7+ matter? Well, it matters a lot. 

Next Up

In the next article in the series, we’ll break down when purchases happen, including a look at purchasing by hour, and see just what kind of revenue is still on the table after 7 days.

Ready to Submit Your App or Game?

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app

 

December 16, 2014

Corey Badcock

According to a new report from Newzoo, gamers using the Amazon Appstore are the most likely to spend money.  More specifically, 64% of mobile gamers that use the Amazon Appstore spend money on mobile games, versus 37% for Google Play.

The report also digs into the profile of the mobile players versus mobile spenders.  According to the report, mobile games equally attract male and female players but when it comes to spending money, the demographic skews male.  The majority of big spenders on mobile are male and have kids, have a large income and more than a third play together with their children regularly, spending a large share of their gaming budget on their kids. 

CEO of Newzoo Peter Warman says:

“Game developers should consider shifting marketing resources towards the Amazon Appstore for two reasons: gamers using the Amazon Appstore are the most likely to spend money and Amazon is best at reaching the big spender, which is typically a family man with a full-time job.”

To download the full report, click here.

Ready to submit your game? 

  • To learn more about the Amazon Appstore, click here
  • Click here to register for free as an Amazon Developer. 
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile SDK. 
  • Click here to submit your app.

 

December 15, 2014

Mike Hines

Sometimes seeing is believing. Certainly that’s true for me and the games I might want to play. Take Spheriod Cyclone, for example. It’s $0.99, so it’s not risk-free. if I get it and I don’t like it, I’m out a buck. But Alex Swan, the developer, gave me a way to see what it would be like to play the game by posting game play video to the app detail page.

Take a look at the video on this detail page for yourself and see if you think the video does a much better job of selling the game than the static images do.  Interested in having your own video? Here is how to do it!

Taking a Video of Your App

Don’t pull our your phone and take a video of your app running on another device; that makes your detail page look a bit like amateur-hour. Instead, you can record the gameplay directly from your Fire OS 4.5.1 devices and KitKat Android devices using Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Here is how you do that:

Connect your Fire OS 4.5.1 device or KitKat Android device to a computer with ADB installed (currently Gen 3 & 4 Fire HD and HDX tablets).  From the Terminal app on your computer, run the following ADB command:

adb shell screenrecord --bit-rate 4000000 --time-limit 15 /sdcard/vidcap.mp4

This command creates a 4mbps video 15 seconds long in your sdcard directory called vidcap.mp4. This gave me a file 7.7MB on disk with acceptable video quality. When I want better quality, I use bit-rate 8000000 and get a 12.5MB file.

You can then upload that video to Amazon via the instructions below:

Adding HD Video to Your Detail Page

If you want to submit up to 5 videos for your app on your detail page, do the following:

In your developer portal, go to the images and Multimedia tab.

Scroll to the bottom of the page, click the Upload Video button, and select the MP4 you created in the steps above.

What kind of file do you need to submit?

The ADB command I list above will create an acceptable file for you to use. If you have video from other sources, it needs to follow these requirements:

Files need to be either:         MPEG-2, WMV, MOV, FLV, AVI, or H.264 MPEG-4

Resolution:                             720 - 1080px wide (4:3 or 16:9)

Quality:                                   1200 kbps (1.2 mbps) or higher
Size:                                        Up to 150MB, use the portal control.

(for files larger than 150MB, you will need to use SFTP instead of the upload control. For instructions on SFTP, see: SFTP instructions and naming convention)

No Time Like The Present

So capture some video of your game and post it to your detail page today! Customers will be happy you did.

  • Click here to register for your free Amazon developer account.
  • Click here to download the Amazon Mobile App SDK.
  • Learn more about how to market your app on the Amazon Appstore

 

December 11, 2014

Mike Hines

Article 2 of 10 in the series: What the Top 50 Games do with In App Purchasing that the Rest of Us Don’t

By Mike Hines (@MikeFHines)

In the previous article in this series, we took a look at how we built the cohort study we’re sharing in the series, and described what day 1 looks like in terms of retention, usage minutes, usage sessions, and IAP transactions. This article looks at the rest of the first week.

Day 2

When we last left our study participants, retention data was statistically equal, and the top 50 had an edge in usage and ARPPU. A day later we still have about equal user retention data (represented in the top part of the illustration above). Notice in the time data (the pie charts on the bottom), that the top 50 still have advantage in minutes per session and number of sessions per day. Over the month, you’ll see Total Session Length go between a 40% advantage up to an almost 60% advantage for the top 50 apps. In terms of Items sold per paying user, the top 50s advantage will stay in the single digits and won’t really move around all that much over the month.

Not so with the average selling price.  On day 2, the advantage the top 50 have in average selling price has closed a bit, but it’s not because the top 50 did anything wrong. The gap has narrowed because the rest of us started selling more things for higher prices. As a result the margin of average revenue per paying user shrank to only 14%. But this doesn’t last long.

Day 3

On day three, the retention data is still roughly equal, and the session time gains favor the top 50. But the top 50 have made some gains on average selling price. Like the day before, this is not because one group is making a big mistake, it’s because the Top 50 are moving higher-priced items in their IAP catalogs, and they are starting to differentiate offers to different groups of users.

1 Week Later

A week later, we start seeing some of the difference in retention data becoming significant. There is now roughly a 25% active user advantage to being in the top 50. As far as time in the app is concerned, we are moving a lot closer to a 60% advantage in total minutes spent for the top apps. Regarding revenue, we see a 24% difference in average revenue per paying user. No doubt this is a tipping point for our study participants. Check out how they fare moving forward.

Next Up

In the next article in the series, things start to change dramatically, and we see what it looks like to be top 50 in the long run.

For More Information

Learn more about the Amazon Appstore here.

 

December 09, 2014

Paul Cutsinger

Like people judge a book by its cover, people judge an app by its icon. I met with Liz Myers, a UX designer focused on mobile app projects out of London, and we were talking about this very thing. It came to light that while we’ve covered the importance of great icons for first impressions, monetization and app submission, we haven’t gone more deeply into the process of creating icons.  Many app developers don’t make great icons and once they have one, they don’t have a good tool chain and art pipeline for getting the range of sizes needed.

Liz has made a wonderful 20-minute tutorial and set of tools that I’d like to share with you now. The first two videos cover creating icons. These can be used to launch any kind of app or game and they can also be used for buttons and menus inside your app. The third video covers exporting those icons to all the proper sizes needed. In fact, her tool will take one icon and export for all of the fire devices in one click. So, you can start from scratch with the “Setup” video or skip to the “Export for Devices” video if you’ve already made an icon.

Thanks to Liz for this tutorial. You can learn more about Liz and her upcoming book on making app publishing easier, “appGRAFIX”, at www.myersdesign.com.

@PaulCutsinger

Getting Started
 

  1. Download/install Illustrator CC 2014 (FREE trial): http://www.adobe.com/downloads.html.
  2. Download templates & scripts: http://myersdesign.com/app-icons-101
  3. Make a new directory for your icons and place the two .ai files inside.
  4. Place AMZN-FIRE-EXPORT folder in: Illustrator > Presets > Scripts directory:
    /Applications/Adobe Illustrator CC 2014/Presets.localized/en_GB/Scripts/AMZN-FIRE-EXPORT/
  5. Restart AI and view File > Scripts > AMZN-FIRE-EXPORT to see the new scripts within AI.
  6. Open Amazon-Fire-Create.ai. Well done! You’re ready for the first video.

Setup

In this video, Liz will show you the templates and scripts she uses to batch-produce all app icons for Fire Devices in just one click! She will give you a brief overview of the process, as well as help you organize the workspace in Adobe Illustrator CC.

AppIcons101 Part1of3 from Liz Myers on Vimeo.

Making Icons

In this tutorial, Liz will dive into the art and science of making easy app icons for a wide range of screen sizes and pixel densities. By leveraging just a few tools and techniques, she shows you how to combine a variety of shapes to form recognizable glyphs - without actually drawing! Along the way she also shares her favorite tips and shortcuts to help you “see” solutions and keep ideas flowing.

AppIcons101 Part 2 of 3 from Liz Myers on Vimeo.

Export for Devices

In this video, Liz will use a handy script to produce and export app icons for all Fire devices in seconds! Also included is a demo of how to export app icons in three separate sizes: Large, Medium, Small - for those who want to fine tune subtle details of their app icons at various sizes.

AppIcons101 Part 3 of 3 from Liz Myers on Vimeo.

 

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