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Showing posts tagged with monetization

December 24, 2013

Peter Heinrich

The Amazon Appstore for Android is spreading a little holiday cheer this week, offering a $5 credit to anyone who downloads the latest version of the Amazon Appstore and uses it to buy a mobile app or game from Christmas Eve through Saturday. The credit is good for the future purchase of any apps, games, or in-app items in the Amazon Appstore.

With millions opening brand new phones and tablets this season, there’s never been a better time to publish your mobile app or game on Amazon. The Amazon Appstore runs on all Android devices, and now customers will have an additional $5 to spend there on the great mobile content they love. Submit your app today to make sure it’s available for purchase when customers want to redeem their credit.

December 18, 2013

Peter Heinrich

The Amazon Appstore continues to see tremendous growth, and in fact selection has more than doubled in 2013 over 2012, offering more than 100,000 apps as a result of a growth of 95 percent in app submissions. This momentum would not be possible without the many developers who build apps and games for folks using Kindle Fire and other Android devices. Think of our ecosystem kind of like a pizza parlor.

In just two years since shipping its first Kindle Fire, the Amazon Appstore has established a platform that allows developers to reach millions of Amazon customers worldwide. Amazon also offers a unique discovery and marketing engine through Free App of the Day, Game Connect and other Amazon channels (like recommendations and emails).

 

December 18, 2013

David Isbitski

We recently launched the Mobile Associates API (MAA) for Amazon Appstore (including Kindle) and general Android devices. Since the launch, the API has been successfully integrated in hundreds of Android apps and has helped generate incremental revenue for developers. Mostly, developers use MAA to complement revenue generated from mobile ads. Using MAA, you can sell real products from the millions of items at Amazon, whether physical (i.e. toys, clothing) or digital (i.e. eBooks), from inside your apps while earning up to 6% in advertising fees from those purchases.  With wide variety of the Amazon product catalog, there are probably many items that are relevant to your users. Plus, you have complete control over the products you want to promote and the in-app user experience. 

In this post, we will show how to build “Relevant products” experience using Mobile Associates API. In this experience, you can offer contextually relevant products in your app by specifying a search term and direct customers to mobile optimized Amazon search result page. Customers can browse through the search results page, select products, and complete the purchase after signing in to their Amazon account. You earn advertising fees equal for qualifying purchases made during that session. Most developers can build this experience in 30 minutes.

“Relevant Products” Experience

For developing other experiences, please visit Amazon Mobile Associates API

Steps to Integrate                                                                                                  

1.       Identifying relevant products to promote

2.       API code integration

3.       Testing the app

Identifying relevant products to promote

Mobile Associates API provides four parameter, searchTerm, product category, Brand, and SortOrder, to search and promote most relevant products to your app users on search landing page. Please see the available product categories and compatible sorting and filtering options here.

To identify relevant products, begin by identifying the most relevant product categories based on your app category and your app user’s demographics. You can also use different product categories in different sections of your app.

Once you have identified the relevant product categories, identify a relevant searchTerm to find relevant products within your chosen categories. Now go to Amazon.com and search for products using searchTerm within your chosen categories. App users will see this list of products when using your app. Refine your searchTerm to identify the list of products your users are most likely to purchase. These items may not be the highest value item available under the given category. For example, most app users are unlikely to buy the most expensive running shoes.

You can also sort these items in different orders. We recommend sorting them by “relevance”. You may consider other sortOrder such as “highest to lowest price” under special circumstances. You can also specify “brand” as a filter if you believe that your app users are more likely to buy a certain brand.

Once you have identified the products you want to promote, you can use the appropriate searchTerm, product category, Brand, and SortOrder in the APIs to promote the relevant products.

Example: If your app belongs to the fitness category, you can pick product categories such as “Health and Personal Care” to promote vitamins, “Shoes” to promote running shoes, or even “Books” to promote fitness related books. You should promote context appropriate products such as barbells or protein supplements to a person who does frequent weight training. Use “men’s running shoes” in shoes category if the app user is male. You should refine the searchTerm based on your conversion rates and the products your users are purchasing.  Promote brands which are popular in your app user’s geographic location. For example, Adidas is a very popular brand in Germany.

API code integration

Update the Android Manifest

Making requests to the Amazon Mobile Associates API requires the INTERNET permission. These permissions need to be declared outside of the <application> tags in yourAndroidManifest.xml file.

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" />

Initialize the API

In your Activity.onCreate(), initialize the API by calling AssociatesAPI.initialize(config) using your Application Key.

protected void onCreate(final Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
   setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);
   AssociatesAPI.initialize(new AssociatesAPI.Config(APPLICATION_KEY, this));
}

To get the Application Key, log on to the developer portal, click on the "My Apps" tab and then select an existing app or click on the "Add a New App" button. When creating a new app, just fill in the "App Title" and "Form Factor" fields and click the "Save" button. The next screen will show the unique Application Key value, which is a 32-character globally unique alphanumeric string that is used to identify your app. The same Application Key can be used across platforms, but each distinct app must have a unique Application Key.

Direct to Amazon Search Result Page

To direct customers to an Amazon product search results page, construct an OpenSearchPageRequest by specifying the search keyword and pass the search request to the LinkService.openRetailPage method.

String searchTerm = "running";
String category = "Shoes";
openSearchPageButton = (Button)findViewById(R.id.open_search_page_by_term_button);
openSearchPageButton.setEnabled(true);
openSearchPageButton.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {   

    public void onClick(View view) {
       OpenSearchPageRequest request = new OpenSearchPageRequest(searchTerm, category);
       try {
           LinkService linkService = AssociatesAPI.getLinkService();
           linkService.openRetailPage(request);
       } catch (NotInitializedException e) {
               e.printStackTrace();
       }
   }
});

For more details on building “Relevant products” experience, please visit the Amazon Developer Portal.

Testing the app

Once you have integrated the MAA APIs in your app, you should test your app by clicking through MAA links and validating that the users are presented with the relevant products. We also recommend that you validate application id and that the app has INTERNET permission enabled before publishing the app.

 

 

November 22, 2013

Rob Pulciani

Since the launch of Amazon Coins in the US in May, customers have already spent hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins, representing real dollars to developers, who still received their 70% revenue share. Check out our August blog post to read more about some of the results from developers so far.

Today, we’re extending Amazon Coins to the UK and Germany as well. As a thank you to existing and new Kindle Fire owners in the UK and Germany, customers will get free Amazon Coins deposited directly into their accounts so they can experience how easy it is to shop with Coins. Customers will be able to use Amazon Coins to purchase apps, games, and a broad range of in-app items in the Amazon.co.uk Appstore, the Amazon.de App-Shop, and on Kindle Fire.

Amazon Coins are immediately available to customers who pre-ordered the new Kindle Fire HDX 7” and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9”. Both devices are now available in the UK and Germany. This is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of Amazon Coins and the perfect time to submit your apps for the holiday rush. In 2012, we saw a 50% increase in the number of app downloads during Thanksgiving week as compared to an average week. During ‘Digital Week’ 2012, the week after Christmas, customers purchased and downloaded 600% more apps than any other week during 2012.

We have already seen developers like Halfbrick, PepiPlay, and textPlus benefit from customers using their Amazon Coins to try out and explore new apps and games. For many Indie developers, Coins has accounted for the majority of their revenue since Coins launched in the US.

If your app is available for sale for Kindle Fire in the Amazon Appstore, there’s nothing else to do. So submit your apps today and take advantage of Amazon Coins. For more information on making your apps available on Kindle Fire devices, check out these links:

1.    Create an account on the Developer Portal
2.    Download the Amazon Mobile App SDK
3.    Review the Kindle Fire development resources

 

November 19, 2013

David Isbitski

Over the last couple of years since our Amazon Appstore launch, we’ve talked with many unique and inspiring developers. Along the way we’ve learned quite a bit and wanted to pass some of those learnings back to our developer community. So to that end, we are excited to continue our Developer Spotlight series. This series will highlight developers’ experiences building apps, ranging from what inspires them and how they’re delivering innovation to consumers to the results they’re achieving.

For today’s spotlight, we’re excited to chat with one of the co-founders of ZeptoLab, a global gaming company whose game Cut the Rope has been an instant success since its debut in October of 2010. The game remains a top app throughout mobile markets, browsers and desktops, and has been downloaded more than 400 million times to date.

Below is our interview with Zeptolab co-founder and CTO, Efim Voinov.

Why did you start Zeptolab?

Creating games was a hobby for my brother and me since early childhood. We’ve started with the games for ZX Spectrum in the early 90s, switched to PalmOS in the 2000s, and jumped into iOS and Android development since the first days of those platforms. At that time we already had experience in several gaming companies, and thought it was the right time to start something on our own. The new platforms offered exciting opportunities for independent developers, and we believed they shouldn’t be missed.

When did you start Android development for Cut the Rope?

The original version of Cut the Rope was released for iOS only, since there were only two of us developing full-time, and we had to concentrate on a single platform. After the game was out, we started to receive feedback from the players that they would like it on other platforms, and Android was the most requested one. Once the company had grown enough, we started developing it and about eight months after the release of the original we had the Android version. The version for Amazon Appstore was released at the same time, and required very little adaptation.

What changes did you need to build into the game to make it available for the Amazon Appstore?

Since we released Cut the Rope, we’ve created other titles, like Cut the Rope: Time Travel, Cut The Rope: Experiments, and Pudding Monsters. All of our titles are available in the Amazon Appstore. The process of porting the app for Amazon is very easy; we simply swap out billing API’s for the Amazon API for billing, which is something we do for all platforms we sell our app on. In addition, we are using GameCircle to handle leaderboards and achievements for games in the Amazon Appstore, which we have built in.

What’s it like to work with Amazon?

We think the Amazon API’s are very well thought through, the implementation is efficient and it’s easy to find information on how to use them. Having this ease of use is very important to us because we have lots of different versions of the games and really value the quick turnaround time to support games. In cases where we need more information the documentation level for Amazon API’s is very good and compared to others it’s in many cases above the competition. We don’t have to communicate with the Amazon team a lot in terms of understanding how to implement.

We also really appreciate your developer relations team. Having these relationships with the team helps us plan for the future, so we can plan for our business and consider the best way to implement new API’s and improvements into our games. The level of technical features being brought to market is impressive.

What are you looking at doing next with the Amazon Appstore?

In our current titles we are actively using IAP and this is proving to be quite successful for us in the Amazon Appstore. They currently bring us more than 40% of our revenue, and this figure is growing. In general, our cumulative income in the Amazon Appstore is doubling every year, and we are looking forward to increasing this trend in the future. With the latest release of the Mobile Associates API, we are looking at various opportunities to sell physical goods for our games.

Do you have any tips and tricks for developers building mobile games and applications?

One of the things that we learned is that it’s really important to minimize the routine tasks during development, and optimize the process as much as possible. That’s why we have invested quite a lot of time into our own framework, which includes different tools that automate various tasks. For example, we have an animation system, which allows us to automatically export animations created in the Adobe Flash directly to the game.

We also try to keep things as abstract as possible while designing a native OpenGL application for the Android platform. We try not to rely too heavily on a list of pre-defined resolutions, even if the list is extensive, because hardware specs are always changing. Instead, we try to invent a system for adopting current graphics to any imaginary screen proportion and only switch version for graphic assets depending on a real resolution. The one constant that does not change is the size of a user’s finger. We try to estimate an optimal physical size for a gesture and calculate using real measures like dpi and screen size in inches on every device.

 

November 14, 2013

David Isbitski

We’re excited to announce a new tool for developers called the Developer Promotion Console (DPC). DPC gives you a self-service way to manage the pricing of all your apps with pricing campaigns. Want to run a 24-hour special holiday sale or discount all of your apps to celebrate the launch of a new game? It’s now much easier.

The Developer Promotion Console is available just in time for the holidays and it’s a great time run a special offer. In 2012, we saw a 50% increase in the number of app downloads during Thanksgiving week as compared to an average week. During ‘Digital Week’ 2012, the week after Christmas, customers purchased and downloaded 600% more apps than any other week during 2012.

What is it?

DPC allows you to create campaigns that run from 24 hours to any amount of time you choose, up to a maximum of 27 consecutive days. Pricing is worldwide so you can set discounts by Amazon marketplace. Best of all, you can run campaigns for the price of your mobile apps and any of your mobile in-app items.


 

What does it include?

Set temporary price drops: Create price drop promotions for your mobile apps and mobile in-app items to incentivize your customers to purchase your products. 

ReportingEasily view your ROI during your price drop promotion. Compare the performance of your promotion with your performance prior to the promotion.

Ease of use: Creating a price drop promotion is simple. Typically, it will take no more than five minutes and three steps to go from start to a scheduled promotion.

How do I get started?

Inside of the developer console, you will see a new tab called ‘Promotions.’ Clicking on the tab will display a new button to create a ‘Price Drop,’ as well as a list of your existing campaigns.

You will be able to set a discount for any of your apps and in-app items available for purchase.

For this example, we are going to create a new campaign for one app and set a price discount for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. We start off by giving the campaign a name, in this case the ‘Thanksgiving Holiday Promo’, and then selecting the app (currently blocked out in the image for privacy reasons) that we want to include in the promotion.

We then select the Amazon marketplaces we want the campaign to run in. Since Thanksgiving is a US holiday, we will only run it in the amazon.com marketplace.

Next, we can choose the dates for our campaign, with the minimum being one day and the maximum being 27 consecutive days. We are going to run this campaign for Thanksgiving Day only, on November 28, 2013.


We then click ‘Next’ and define the discount we want to apply to our app. We are going to do a 50% off sale with the price being rounded to the nearest 9. Selecting the amazon.com marketplace from the dropdown shows us that the list price for our app will go from 2.99 USD to 1.49 USD when the campaign is active.

Again, note that the app name in the above screenshot has been hidden in this example for privacy reasons.

Clicking ‘Next’ will give us a final confirmation of our campaign’s details. We have the ability to edit any of the sections before hitting ‘Submit’.

We’re finished. Our campaign is now ready to run on Thanksgiving Day in the amazon.com marketplace, where our app will be available for sale at 50% off.

How much did we increase sales?

Rather than guessing if we made more money with increased sales at a discount, the DPC reports will show us our net results of our campaign sales compared with our normal app pricing.

To view the results of the campaign, we just click on the ‘Promotions’ tab again (the same one we used to create our campaigns), and we will see a list of the campaigns that have run or are planned.

In the above example, we can see that we ran a campaign from October 29th through November 3rd (campaign name hidden for privacy reasons), and we have the option to click ‘View’ to see the results of that campaign.

We can see that during the campaign period, we sold 21 units of our app at 50% off.

The ‘Effect’ column takes the guesswork out of the ROI for our campaign and gives us the net results. Based on sales during the period of time before the campaign ran, we have increased our revenue for the period by 84%, resulting in a nice boost.

We can also click on the CSV icon, which will create a detailed view of daily sales during the campaign period and compare them with previous run rates.

Conclusion

The new Developer Promotion Console helps you manage discounted pricing which can lead to increased sales and customer engagement. Creating a new campaign is easy through the Developer Promotion Console, at no cost to you. With detailed reports that will show you the ROI of your campaign, you can feel more confident experimenting with discounts on your apps and in-app items.
 

-Dave (@TheDaveDev

 

September 25, 2013

Peter Heinrich

 

 Following up on the latest in a series of webinars covering Amazon devices, game services, and mobile applications, here’s a list of questions we collected during and after our presentation on the Amazon Mobile Associates API.

Q: Is the advertising fee fixed (6%) for all products?

A: Products belonging to certain categories have fixed fee rate ranging between 4-6%. Products in the General products category have a volume based fee rate between 4-6%. See Table 3 and 4 at the here.
 

Q: Do you plan to serve also the non-US users in the future?

A: Great request. We’ll be sure to pass this along to the product team.
 

Q: Does this mean we will not get credit for mobile users making purchases through our websites which use the regular api?  Can we use the new mobile API on our websites where we have both mobile and desktop users making purchases, and get credit for both?

A: The Mobile Associates API is available only for Native Android Apps. Mobile Associates is linked to a new Associates account that we create for you when you accept the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Agreement and create your developer account. Reporting for your Mobile Associates account is only available on developer.amazon.com. You can continue to use Associates Central to access your pre-existing Associates account information. If both your Mobile and pre-existing Associates account earn advertising fees, they will result in separate payments.
 

Q. How do I select and specify products I want to offer in my app?

A: You can either offer specific product(s) in your app or offer product(s) that fulfill certain criteria.

To offer specific products, first you need to select the products that you want to offer. You can do that by going to Amazon retail website, determining the products you want to offer, and looking up their products IDs. Product IDs are also called ASIN. You can find details of finding product IDs here.

You can also offer product(s) that fulfill certain criteria. You can do this by specifying a search keyword, and product category. The API will return product(s) that fulfill that search criteria in the given category. You also have the option to sort and filter the search results.
 

Q. How can I get product information including properly formatted price of a product?

A: You can retrieve a product information using search and searchByID(..). Search API allows you to search for products using keyword and category. As part of the search results the API also returns product information that includes productID, title, description, image URL, price, and rating. searchByID allows you to lookup product(s) using productID. As part of the response, the API returns product title, description, image URL, price and rating.

The product information returned by both methods, search(..) and searchByID(..) are part of the Product class. You can call Product.getPrice to get the Price object. You can use the Price object to retrieve the monetary value, currency and the properly formatted price.

Note: search and searchByID APIs are only available if you app is distributed though Amazon Appstore for Android
 

Q. Can I offer digital products like ebooks, digital video etc. in my app?

A: Yes, you can offer digital products like ebooks, digital video etc through the Mobile Associates. Digital products are available for sale through DIRECT_WITH_DETAIL and DIRECT_WITH_PREVIEW purchase experiences. Digital products are not available for digital bundling feature i.e grant a virtual item based on a purchase of a product from Amazon.
 

Q. How can I check if a product is in stock and available for sale?

A: You can check if the product is in stock and available for sale by calling searchByID API. You can specify the productID of the product you want to offer in the SearchByIDRequest. SearchByIDResponse object will be delivered to your app through the ShoppingListener.onSearchByIDResponse callback. You can call SearchByIDResponse.getUnavailableProductIDs to check the products that are unavailable in your SearchByIDRequst. As a best practice you must always check if the product is available before offering it to the users in your app.

Note: search and searchByID APIs are only available if you app is distributed though Amazon Appstore for Android
 

Q. How can I get information on products that are available in different colors and sizes?

A: Products that are available in different shape and sizes are called variations. You can find product ID of a specific variation of a product on Amazon retail website. You can offer variations of the same products in your app by specifying the product ID of each variation in your app.

The Amazon product detail page handles variations. If a product has variations, users will be able to find and select variations on the Amazon product page. The Amazon Product detail page is presented to the user when you call the purchase(..) API and with IN_APP or DIRECT_WITH_DETAIL purchase experience.

You cannot retrieve product variation programmatically through the Mobile Associates API.
 

Q. Can I search for certain class of products using the API?

A: Yes you can search for products by specifying keyword and category. You can programmatically retrieve search results using the search API. Note: the search API is only available if your app is distributed through Amazon Appstore.

You can direct users to a search result page on Amazon site using LinkService.openRetailPage method and OpenSearchPageRequest request object.
 

Q. What are the available search categories?

A: Available search categories and list of available sortType and filters are available here.
 

Q. Can I filter and sort the search results?

A: Yes, you can specify the sort type and filters for search results. The available sort types and filters depend on the product categories. You can find the complete list here.
 

Q. Do I need to track the current user?

A: If you are implementing a digital bundle, you should keep track of granted virtual items based on the current logged in use. If the user changes you should retrieve the purchase receipts for the current user by specifying offset.BEGINING in the getReceipt call and make sure that you grant the items owned by the new user. You would also want to ensure that the new user does not have access to items owned by the previous user. 
 

Q. When should I grant the digital item if I am implementing a Digital Bundle?

A: You should grant the digital bundle when the receipt for the purchase is delivered to your app. You will have to request for the receipt as part of the purchase call by setting the receiveReceipt flag to true. You should only set this flag to true if you are implementing a digital bundle.

When you set receiveReceipt to true, if the PurchaseResponse.Status is SUCCESSFUL in onPurchaseResponse, you can call PurchaseResponse.getReceipts() to retrieve the receipt for the purchase and grant the digital bundle. 

If you receive PurchaseResponse.Status as PENDING, you will have to rely on ShoppingService.getReceipts(..) to get the receipt for the purchase. You must call getReceipts in the onResume method of the main activity and also in onResume of any activity that implements the Mobile Associates API functionality. This will ensure that when the transaction goes through, your app receives the receipt and grants the digital bundle.

 

Q. What if the customer cancels the order or returns the product that has a digital bundle?

A: If a customer cancels the order or returns the product that has an associated digital bundle, the receipt for that order is marked as canceled and delivered to your app when you call ShoppingService.getReceipts(..).You may want to revoke the granted digital item in this case. Hence, when implementing a digital bundle, you must track the receipts (preferably on your server) for which you have granted a digital item. You must also de-dupe the receipts using receiptID to ensure that you do not grant or revoke a digital item multiple times.
 

Q. On a successful product purchase, how can I check the product that corresponds to the purchase request?

A: Note: You can only find the product corresponding to the successful purchase if you are implementing an IN_APP shopping experience and you specify receiveReceipt to true (i.e implement a digital bundle) in the ShoppingService.purchase(..) method.

If you are implementing an IN_APP shopping experience and you specify the receiveReceipt to true, you will be able to retrieve the receipt for the successful purchase by calling PurchaseResponse.getReceipts(..) in ShoppingListener.onPurchaseResopnse callback. By calling Receipt.getProductID(..) you can retrieve the product ID of the product that corresponds to the purchase request. 
 

Q. How do I test my implementation?

A: You do not require any additional tools to test your implementation for LinkService or DIRECT_WITH_DETAIL and DIRECT_WITH_PREVIEW purchase modes. However, to test IN_APP purchase mode and digital bundling functionality, you will need Amazon App Tester. Amazon App Tester enables you to test you IN_APP shopping and digital bundling feature in a production like environment.
 

Q. How do I get Amazon App Tester?

A: You can get the Amazon App Tester from Amazon Appstore for Android. See details here.
 

Q. What reporting is available for the Mobile Associates API?

A: Earnings and Payment reports for the Mobile Associates API are available through the Amazon Mobile App Distribution portal. You can view the earning reports based on shipped units, revenue, and net earnings. You can view sales, returns and net earnings for each of your app that integrates with the Mobile Associates API. You can also view this information for individual products that are sold through your app.
 

Q. How can I check at runtime what features of the Mobile Associates API are available?

A: You can check the available features at runtime by calling ShoppingService.getServiceStatus(..) method. This will result in a callback ShoppingListener.onServiceStatusResponse(..) with ServiceStatusResponse as a parameter. You can use ServiceStatusResponse to

  • Check if receipt functionality (digital bundles) are supported by calling ServiceStatusResponse.canGetReceipts()
  • Check if search functionality (search and searchByID) is supported by calling ServiceStatusResponse.canSearch()
  • Check the available purchase experiences by calling ServiceStatusResponse.getSupportedPurchaseExperiences()

Q: I am using b4a IDE to create android apps. The group using this IDE is considerably large. Can I use your API in our apps using this IDE.?

A: We do not provide specific support for b4a IDE. However, the Mobile Associates API is a standard JAVA library that should work with any IDE supporting Android development.
 

Q: Is it possible to integrate the API into non-Android devices like the iPhone/iPad? Or is there any way to do mobile affiliate linking for iOS? 

A: MAA does not work on iOS. We’ll be sure to pass this along to the product team. You can monetize your mobile website on iOS devices through our standard affiliate program.
 

Q: Most apps are trying to reach global market.  Would like to hear that Amazon is starting to think about how MMA can work in more countries.  Maybe even plans to support e.g. Europe & Japan once MMA is working smoothly in USA.

A: Great request. We’ll be sure to pass this along to the product team.
 

Q: Are there any plans to allow shopping with MA API for digital goods, or is there a process in place for applying for that ability today?

A: Mobile Associates provides the ability to offer both physical and digital goods
 

Q: Any more detail on using the war file to test receipts?

A: Please see the section on Testing you App here.
 

Q: Is there an Adobe AIR native extension available?

A: Not currently. We’ll be sure to pass this along to the product team.
 

Q: Is it possible to interact with wish lists via the API?

A: Great request. We’ll be sure to pass this along to the product team.
 

Q: If we have sales through our regular website using our regular api and the customer is using a mobile device will we still get the same fees?

A: The standard Associates Program now allows affiliates to earn advertising fees by referring traffic from mobile optimized websites in addition to traditional websites.
 

Q: Can we see sample apps that are making money with the Mobile Associates API?

A: Please check out the Mobile Associates API site for more information.
 

Don’t miss out on our next webinar event: 
Best Practices: How to Integrate Amazon Maps in Your App
on October 3rd, 2013 @ 10:00 AM
Pre-register here! 

 

 

September 24, 2013

Peter Heinrich

If you’re a developer, you know that practically everything has an online component today, including mobile applications. Going online is so fundamental to mobile development, right down to how apps are delivered, it’s no wonder that innovation in the cloud should so closely track the rise of mobile computing devices.

It may also explain the fact that mobile has already redefined software monetization, since mobile apps can reach an audience orders of magnitude larger than traditional software and take advantage of a network connection to keep them engaged. In-app purchases are cheap and convenient for customers, while developers can rely on cloud services to process transactions and make money at scale.

The landscape is always changing, though, which is one of the reasons we developed the Mobile and Gaming track at AWS re:Invent this year. It allows us to dive deep into new technologies that drive (and are driven by) mobile development like the Amazon Mobile Associates API, which extends In-App Purchasing to any physical or digital product sold on Amazon. The service creates new opportunities to monetize in your app, but it’s not the only one. Taking In-App Purchasing to the Next Level: Selling Physical Goods through Your App & Other Monetization Strategies will demonstrate through case studies and code samples how you can use this and other Amazon services to generate more revenue on mobile.

AWS re:Invent 2013 is fast approaching, so I hope you’ll take a moment to peruse the great mobile and gaming content available this year, then sign up before registration is full. It will be a fun and informative week in Las Vegas, November 12-15. See you there!

 

September 10, 2013

Peter Heinrich

Does your mobile app or game offer in-app purchase? Did you know that you can easily add support for any physical or digital product available on Amazon? The new Amazon Mobile Associates API makes it possible, whether you distribute your app on the Amazon Appstore or elsewhere.

Join us live at 10am on Tuesday, September 17 for a webinar explaining Mobile Associates and how to integrate it into your own mobile Android applications. We’ll cover topics such as direct linking to Amazon product and search pages (optimized for the mobile experience), in-app product preview, and bundling virtual digital items with physical purchases. Be sure to stick around for live Q&A following the presentation.

Don't miss out:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
10:00-11:00am PDT
Pre-register here!

 

 

 

September 06, 2013

Mike Hines

 

Another follow-up in the series of webinars covering Amazon devices, services, and mobile applications, here’s a list of questions we collected during and after our presentation on the Amazon In-App Purchasing API.
 

Q&A

Q: How does amazon recommend implementing restoring IAPs for device re-installs or multiple devices?

A: For Entitlements and Subscriptions, you can use PurchasingManager.initiatePurchaseUpdatesRequest(Offset.BEGINNING); to get all the receipts for the currentUser, and you can validate any receipt against the Receipt Validation Service (not discussed in the Webinar.)
 

Q:Can I host website files on S3 for app program?  How will only legitimate app purchasers access the website? Mobile app program needs more info/examples. e-book publishers can't relate.

A: Yes. IAP does not care where entitled content is fulfilled from. You can fulfill content from an S3 server. Your app would be responsible for validating entitlement or active subscription for currentUser, and then pulling down the S3 content and granting currentUser access to that data.
 

Q: Could you show how it looks visually in some app?

A: See ButtonClicker, a sample in the IAP section of the SDK download
 

Q: I mean specific recommendations implemented inapp purchases with ANE.

A: For information about IAP and Adobe AIR ANE, please visit:
https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/in-app-purchasing/documentation/adobe.html
 

Q: Can one test in-app purchases through emulator?

A: Yes, you can use the SDK Tester to test in-app purchases through emulator. You can learn more about the SDK Tester at:
https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/in-app-purchasing/documentation/testing-iap.html
 

Q: Anything specific for Adobe Air ANE?

A: For information about IAP and Adobe AIR ANE, please visit:
https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/in-app-purchasing/documentation/adobe.html
 

Q: We are looking to restore saved game data using the userID, is this a sensible use for the ID? If so what is the maximum length of this string, does it contain only ASCII characters?

A: Good question. We recommend using the userID (player name and alias) from the GameCircle API. Using this, you can not only get an identifier for saved game data, but you can also sync game state, store high-scores and register achievements.  If you don't want to use GameCircle, getUserID will return an app-specific ID of the currently logged in user, meaning the result will be different for different apps, even on the same device. The UserID will, however, always the same for the same package name, even across devices.
 

Q: What format is the userID field? (length, character encoding, etc)

A: userID is returned as java.lang.String, see API reference for details:
https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/in-app-purchasing/reference/api-reference.html
 

Q: Is there any way we can test a real IAP before launching the app? We have been bitten by minor differences between IAPs made in dev and production environments in the past.

A: Unfortunately it is not currently possible.
 

Q: We submitted our app, but we are told the app crashes, but no device logs are provided to help us identify where it is crashing…how could we get device logs when a crash it detected?

A: I'm sorry to hear that. Please submit a Contact Us with the details of your app:
https://developer.amazon.com/help/contactus.html
 

Q: Can you also add a few more samples of html5 code for us to check so that we know our content will work on multiple devices. 

A: So far, the only HTML5 samples we have are in the SDK. Amazon Mobile App SDK . This is a ZIP file that contains the JavaScript files that are required for your application to access the Amazon services it needs. I recommend using the Web App Tester (free) to test how your content will work. 
 

Q: Will the emulator work on my desktop?

A: Yes, you can learn more about the emulator at:
https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/fire/arch-emulator.html
 

Q: For apps that are html5 with css, you mentioned on Aug 7th press release that we could take mobile websites and turn them into apps.  How do I set that website so that it is secure to purchasers?  

A: We have a quick security overview here: https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/webapps/webappsecurity.html. More detail should really be provided on a case-by-case basis with a developer.
 

Q: Will you accept a .htmlz file?  Or only html5? 

A: They way you submit a web-app is by putting a manifest.xml file at the root of your web app and submitting the path to that manifest, so submitting a file is not required.
 

Q. We submitted our in-app billing application, but it keeps getting rejected because of various reasons.  We are not receiving any device log, so it complicated to debug and resolve.

A. Please submit a Contact Us with the details of your app, our engineers will be able to assist you:
https://developer.amazon.com/help/contactus.html
 

Q. When we complete an IAP item in the dashboard do we submit it before we submit the app or at the same?

A. Entering the IAP items in the developer portal before or at the same time is okay. It's not okay to wait for some time after the app is submitted to add your in-app purchase items to the portal.
 

Don’t miss out on our next webinar event: 
Monetize Your Apps With Physical Goods Using Amazon's Mobile Associates API
on September 17th, 2013 @ 10:00 AM PDT.
Pre-register here!

 

August 26, 2013

Mike Hines

Until today, developers have only had three methods to monetize their apps or games: selling them outright, going “freemium” with in-app purchasing or subscriptions, or using mobile ads. Starting now, Amazon has created a new method for developers to monetize: the Amazon Mobile Associates API, currently available for Android (including Kindle Fire). The Mobile Associates API allows developers to sell real products from the millions of items at Amazon, whether physical (i.e. toys, clothing) or digital (i.e. eBooks), from inside their apps or games while earning up to 6% in advertising fees from those purchases. The Mobile Associates API is an extension of Amazon Associates, our successful web-based affiliate program created in 1996, paying advertising fees to hundreds of thousands of affiliates worldwide.

With the Amazon Mobile Associates API, you’re now able to:

Sell a single item from Amazon in your app or game: The boss at the end of a stage in your game is a giant three-headed wolf, sell the popular “Three Wolf Moon” t-shirt from Amazon

Showcase a category of goods from Amazon in your app or game: Your app is based on improving nutrition over time, offer health-related products like vitamins, supplements, etc. or the Kindle edition of The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss from within your app

Bundle a purchase of a physical product from Amazon with digital content within your app: Sell a toy version of one of the characters in your game, then automatically enable them to play as that same character

Here’s how it works: a customer initiates a purchase from within your app and is then presented with a dialog box showing the product details and cost. The customer can then complete the purchase using Amazon’s 1-Click purchasing, and then the items will be shipped directly from Amazon to the customer’s doorstep. You’ll earn up to 6% of the total purchase, added to your app distribution earnings.

Alt12 is the developer of “Pink Pad” and “BabyBump”: “Our custom solution to sell physical products within our apps took us 6 months to develop, and required complex relationships with more than 20 vendors. With the Amazon Mobile Associates API, it took us only 3 days, and provided us a better in-app shopping experience for our customers, while allowing us to offer a greater selection of products.”

Days of Wonder integrated the API into their game “Ticket to Ride”: “Customers are now able to purchase a physical expansion pack of our board game and then are delighted to get the digital version now for free. We can do this through the digital bundling functionality provided by the Amazon Mobile Associates API.”

Integration is simple. Initilize the Mobile Associates API, and tell us what you’re selling--you can choose to supply a specific set of ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Number), search terms, or use the Amazon Product Advertising API to query a list of ASINs and product information. Then, initiate the purchase. We’ll take care of the rest!

We’ve posted a Quick Start Guide, sample code, and documentation here—start earning more with the Amazon Mobile Associates API today!

 

Want to learn how to integrate the Amazon Mobile Associates API? Don’t miss out on our next live webinar event: 

Mobile Associates Program: What It Is And How It Can Boost Your App Profits
on September 17th, 2013 @ 10:00 AM.
Pre-register here!

 

August 15, 2013

Mike Hines

Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.

Occasionally, we'll have a developer ask if the financial benefit of participating in the FAD program is worth it. Will it help them ultimately grow their app revenue?

Below is a guest post by Tasharen Entertainment, a small independent developer in Toronto that created Starlink – a strategy game – available in the Amazon Appstore, Google Play and the Apple App Store. They recently issued a blog post highlighting their success with the Free App of the Day program and we thought we’d share it with you.  It’s always compelling to see a developer try something new, measure the actual results across several app stores and find out their test was successful. The article was originally posted on Tasharen’s blog post here.


Starlink has recently participated in the Free App of the Day promotion on the Amazon App Store. Before joining the promotion I did my research, and saw that there was some controversy about it, but I went for it anyway. Two weeks later, I am happy to share the results.

With Starlink being a rather obscure strategy game released with zero marketing a few months ago, its player base has been expectedly small: of the 2500 players before the promotion, around 80% were pirates who got it for free. Number of daily players was around 100 — which was actually a fairly high percentage, all things considered. The sales died down quickly after the release. I think the “best” day earned around $65 in sales, but the average daily income since release has been around $10 — a rather sad amount. Nonetheless, factoring the fact that Starlink is a first game I’ve released on the mobile platforms, and that an average first-time release is only expected to earn around $500 during its lifetime, Starlink’s ~$1400 lifetime income was actually already ahead of the curve.

Enter the Amazon’s Free App of the Day promotion. The process was started by Amazon themselves who got in touch with me and asked if I’d be interested — I said of course. After some emails back and forth, the date was assigned: July 19th — a Friday. Perfect for a game!

On that day, over 102,000 players have downloaded the game. North American rating of the game averaged at 3.5/5, with the majority being along the lines of “I don’t get it”, complaining about the sparse tutorial and the game being too difficult even on the beginner difficulty. Curiously enough, Japanese players rated the game 4.5/5.0 (over 7500 downloads). Apparently Japanese players had an easier time understanding an English-language game than native English speakers!

After the promotion I wanted to wait two weeks to see the effect the promotion would have on the sales of the game on all of the platforms it was available on. Now, keep in mind. I myself did nothing. I didn’t say the app would be promoted, didn’t release any news about it, no new videos, nothing! I wanted to see the raw effect the promotion would have. Some of you may go “wtf” at this, but keep in mind — Starlink for me is, and always has been — an experiment. My goal has never been to make it the next Angry Birds, but to experiment with the different platforms, methods of monetization, cross-promotion, etc.

So here is the raw effect of the promotion. Before the 19th, the statistics looked like this:

  • Amazon sales: 3 units per week
  • Google sales: 5 unit per day
  • iOS sales: 1 unit per day
  • Daily players: ~100

Two weeks later, the statistics seem a lot healthier:

  • Amazon sales: 34.5 units per day (almost 8,000% increase)
  • Google sales: 22 per day (340% increase)
  • iOS sales: 10.2 per day (920% increase)
  • Daily players: 2,041 (almost 2,000% increase at exactly 2 weeks after promotion)

Total estimated income for the 2 week period immediately following the promotion: $1,385, or almost the same amount of money they game has earned in the 3 months leading up to the promotion.

  • $646 from Amazon
  • $464 from Google
  • $186 from iOS
  • $69 from Desura
  • $20 from PayPal

So the obvious question is — from my point of view, was the promotion worth it?

And the answer is a resounding “Yes“! And if you are an indie dev who’s considering participating in the Amazon’s Free App of the Day, here’s a small suggestion for you: don’t concern yourself with the players who will obtain your game for free. Instead, think of all the players that will follow and will buy your game based on the attention it will receive and the word-of-mouth talk that will follow.

Or in other words, think of it as free marketing done right.

Thanks, Amazon!


If you have an interesting story or experience to share with other developers through a guest post on our blog, email us at mobile-app-marketing(at)amazon.com for consideration.

July 31, 2013

Daniel Winner

On July 9th, the Amazon Apps UK team was very pleased to present at Develop Brighton, one the leading events for the burgeoning UK games community, attended by over 1,600 games industry professionals from CEO’s to Student developers.

On one of the hottest days of the year, Matt Hatherly from the UK Apps team and I enjoyed meeting so many games developers the Hilton Metropole, at the Hotel Du Vin and on Brighton’s famous beach.

During our presentation we took the opportunity to share insights on how to develop, market and monetize mobile games that use In App Purchasing. 

The theme of our talk was that Games publishing is evolving from an art to a science, as so much more data is now available. We shared a number of tips & insights on how to monetize Freemium games, including:

1.     The more time you can keep customers engaged the more money you’ll make.

  • If you create a purchasing hook early on in the game you will take advantage of customers who want to spend on day one
  • Give customers a reason to come back by providing lots of content, depth and regular updates – Customers that come back, come back time and again and carry on spending not only days but weeks after the first download

2.     Finessing your range, selection and pricing of IAP items and the way you communicate to customers makes a big difference to monetization.

  • The more IAP items you offer for sale, the more orders you will get
  • Games with tutorials monetize much better than those without
  • The way you merchandise IAP items also makes a big difference – if you merchandise IAP items like a catalogue (with tiles for each item) your app will monetize better

Thousands of UK based game developers have added their Apps to the Amazon Appstore, including hit Freemium titles from Developers including New Star Games (New Star Soccer), Endemic ( Plague), Stick Sports (Stick Sports Cricket), and we look forward to welcoming many more to the store. 

The UK team will be participating in more Developer events during the course of the year and we hope to connect with more of the UK Games community then.

 

July 17, 2013

Peter Heinrich

Some of the most exciting feedback that we’ve heard from developers is the fact that paid apps are a bigger percentage of total downloads on the Amazon Appstore than on Google Play. The latest great example is from Zinkia in Spain.

Zinkia is the creator of entertainment brands such as Pocoyo, a popular kids' character in Spain. Zinkia's goal is to develop global brands on all mobile app platforms.

When we told Zinkia that Amazon Appstore was already available in Spain, they immediately decided to submit their “Pocoyo” apps. One of the factors in their decision was the low cost to get from other Android marketplaces to the Amazon marketplace. However, they didn’t have high expectations in terms of revenue because of how new the Amazon Appstore is in Spain.

Zinkia was pleasantly surprised, however, when they saw the first results in March: in absolute terms, their paid apps made almost the same money on Amazon Appstore as on other Android platforms.

Compared to other Android application stores, for Zinkia, the Amazon Appstore has a much higher proportion of paid downloads, which accounts for this positive result. When downloading “Talking Pocoyo” from Tienda Apps, for example—a game with free and paid versions—customers purchased the paid version more than 15% of the time, compared to less than 1% on other Android app stores. So while Amazon Apps is still ramping up the total volume of downloads for Spanish developers, it already leads to impressive paid vs free app downloads.

Why do customers using the Amazon Appstore purchase paid apps at a higher rate than in other Android app stores? It’s because of  the Amazon Appstore includes popular Amazon features like personalized recommendations, Customer Reviews, 1-Click payments and the fact that Kindle Fire devices purchased from Amazon are pre-registered.

% of paid (Pro) and free downloads of Talking Pocoyo

 

July 02, 2013

Daniel Winner

UK Developer Meetup

The UK Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program team was delighted to host its first developer meet-up for London’s thriving tech community with the outstanding team at The Skills Matter Exchange in Clerkenwell. Developers and publishers P2 Games, Deluxe Media Europe, Miniclip, and Future Games of London provided insight into the strategies that have made them successful. They shared a lot of fantastic tips on how to design, build, and distribute apps and games in the UK (and the nearly 200 other countries we support worldwide).

Peter Sleeman, Director of P2 Games, was first to break cover in what was to become an insightful and energetic Q&A session. For Peter, creating great digital content is the first key to success.

“At P2 Games, we hold the license for Peppa the Pig, but even if you don’t hold the license for a popular character, content is king. Build a great app or game with great content and customers will discover it.”

So once you have a great app, what next? You might get 5-star reviews and your Twitter feed might be blowing up with the buzz, but developers don’t work pro bono, right? Well, Henry Bennett from Deluxe Media Europe, makers of seminal British TV show apps Catch Phrase and Bullseye, has good news.

“Amazon is a key distribution platform for our apps. The platform offers our apps high visibility in terms of promotional space along with very good monetization. Amazon has now become our second most profitable distribution platform.”

Quick to second this was Saad Choudri of Miniclip fame, creators of Extreme Skating HD, Fragger, and iStunt. He said:

“Amazon has been a strong partner for Miniclip. The revenue return we have seen through Amazon means that it is important for developers to consider Amazon in their launch strategy.”

Future Games of London, makers of the successful Hungry Shark series, were represented by Ian Harper. Ian discussed what’s required technically to generate revenue, highlighting the Amazon platform because it monetizes well and is easy to develop for. Besides supporting standard Android apps, it also provides a suite of developer tools.

“Amazon offers excellent developer tools, robust APIs, and strong monetization”.

Once the formalities had concluded, we ensured everyone had some food and a refreshing beverage. Ninety minutes of frenzied networking ensued, with the good and the bad, the wise and the young furiously chomping down on some excellent pizza, swigging beer, and trying to find a spare hand to pass a business card whenever possible. This was briefly interrupted for the moment that everyone had been waiting for… drum roll… and the winner is… “Would Tom Mleko of Dataspin.io like to make his way to the stage? You are the lucky winner of a Kindle Fire HD 8.9”.

We’ll be doing plenty more of these events and look forward to seeing you there soon!

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