Sunday, 29 April 2012 0 comments

Marketing and Revenues - Week 1

I thought I would disclose a warts and all appraisal week by week of my success of each game I launch.  Being that Astavoid was my first game there was little blueprint to work to other than read around and get a sense of what others were doing.

I released Astavoid on the 19th April 2012, a Thursday.  I am led to believe that this is important as far as the Appstore is concerned as this is their changeover day so launching on a thursday allow you to build up downloads, recognition etc over the week so more chance of getting featured the following week.  A wives tale I'm not sure.

I wrote a very basic website to support the launch on my main Parachuting Frog website as well as create a gameplay teaser on YouTube.

To be honest I'm not that happy with it as I don't have anything more than an iPhone 4 and a GorillaMobile tripod so the quality is pretty amateur but heh I'm learning.

For prerelease I also have two twitter accounts mygamingproject and parachutingfrog that help spread the word and keep people you to date.

For launch I released to Google PlayGetJarAmazon App Store for Android, Amazon Appstore for Kindle, as well as the Appstore for the universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod including Retina support up to IPad 3.  So I had most bases covered apart from Nook Color which I am still waiting on administration.

I started off with a soft launch because there were some key upgrades I wanted released and approved by Apple before telling the world. Alas there review process takes so long (7 days for first version and a further 6 for the update) makes a coordinated multi platform release quite tough.

So on day of launch the only marketing was tweets and the trigger process that kicks in over the internet when new apps are out.  The weekend of 21 and 22 April I did two things.  I submitted my app to about 30 sites android review and probably 20 for Apple.  The frustration I have found with review sites it would appear is that nobody is prepared to write a review for free unless you have connections or prepared to pay for it, or wait a long time for it to become popular.  A little chicken and egg.

The reason I didn't want to pay too much in marketing in the first instance is that my game is free so I needed to understand what the click rates would be and recycle it into marketing.  The exception to this was a PR release I did via prMac.  prMac has various packages but for a reasonable $20 you can release a press release which can be distributed to over 700 press agencies. So I did that and here is my press release.

So now you know my prerelease and marketing efforts lets have a look at what the first week's downloads look like.

19th April 20th April 21st April 22nd April 23rd April 24th April 25th April
iOS 1130 379 157 130 75 36 18 1925
Android 3 1 1 5 2 5 2 19
Kindle Fire 1 6 2 0 2 4 0 15

1134 386 160 135 79 45 20

As you can see, and to my surprise, I had a massive launch day surge.  I can only assume this came about from twitter accounts and "watcher" services that broadcast when new games are out.  I have quite an eye catching icon logo and unusual name so seemed to catch the imagination of some.

The interesting thing is that iOS tailed off dramatically after that first day.  Android, however, given the same marketing efforts has had pitiful downloads.

So this is all very interesting but what does this equate to in terms of hard cash.  Well as I mentioned I am doing the first one as free so revenues are purely down to advertising revenues.  I have positioned ads on the front menu screen, pause menu as well as the game over screen.  This should mean that even the shortest of games should put in two ad requests.  The problem however with ad revenues is you get nothing for impressions but only for those that are clicked on.

The next area of analysis of how the people are of my app are engaging with it.  This is where Corona SDK provides a very useful tool called Launchpad that is by default is switched on for pro subscription developers that provide insight into these trends.

The first is the session length.  You will see that from this stat that iPad is by far the most popular device and that most are only playing my game for a maximum of 39 seconds.  The very nature of my game being a quick pick up and play is working against me in making it sticky enough to get those additional ad rotations in and therefore money.
The next is sessions.  The peak of sessions corresponds by day to the downloads and again supporting that the most popular device was iPad.
As for unique users this kinda shows that there isn't a great deal of return visits going on.  In my mind people are playing it, trying it and then deleting.  A concept of course which is well supported by having a free app as they have nothing to lose but ultimately not great for revenues.

So what does this look like for revenues.  As you'd imagine nothing life changing! I have implemented an aggregator into my code which first uses Admob and if this can't fill for whatever reason trickles down to Inneractive.  The reason for these two being used is in some part limited to what Corona SDK supports but also those that are around most countries.

As you can see from the stats again its supporting the the number of downloads to ad requests. But what is important is that there is only about one impression per download.  This means some people may not even be playing the game which seems a little odd.  Most important though I have only made $6 in revenue which is the equivalent of roughly having about 14 paid download apps. As you'll see from the clicks there weren't a great deal despite the reasonable impressions.

The final thing is to look at how the downloads faired across the world.  I am using the excellent Appannie to give me stats.  Also try the excellent Majicrank for realtime stats if your app reaches a rank of 200 or better.

For iPhone I had a reasonable spread across countries if not ranking that high ...
# of top 500 stores67
# of top 1000 stores1919
Turkey166Apr 19, 2012375Apr 20, 2012
Mexico385Apr 20, 2012341Apr 20, 2012
Cyprus465Apr 19, 2012403Apr 19, 2012
South Korea479Apr 20, 2012394Apr 20, 2012
Sweden481Apr 19, 2012593Apr 20, 2012
Spain485Apr 20, 2012437Apr 20, 2012
France513Apr 20, 2012472Apr 20, 2012
United Kingdom599Apr 20, 2012380Apr 19, 2012
China602Apr 19, 2012549Apr 20, 2012
Netherlands641Apr 19, 2012634Apr 20, 2012
Brazil654Apr 22, 2012603Apr 22, 2012
Armenia705Apr 21, 2012599Apr 21, 2012
Italy706Apr 20, 2012670Apr 20, 2012
Japan724Apr 19, 2012643Apr 20, 2012
United States747Apr 20, 2012664Apr 20, 2012
Germany759Apr 20, 2012611Apr 19, 2012
Canada760Apr 19, 2012688Apr 19, 2012
Switzerland805Apr 20, 2012728Apr 20, 2012
Egypt945Apr 19, 2012844Apr 19, 2012

and for iPad a little greater success where in 4 countries got into top 100.  This of course is supported by the stats in the other graphs

# of top 100 stores04
# of top 500 stores1015
# of top 1000 stores1015
Turkey104Apr 19, 201286Apr 19, 2012
Ireland104Apr 20, 201288Apr 20, 2012
Italy104Apr 19, 2012195Apr 20, 2012
Romania109Apr 19, 201280Apr 19, 2012
Denmark116Apr 19, 2012110Apr 19, 2012
Spain130Apr 20, 201288Apr 19, 2012
Japan172Apr 19, 2012-
Brazil173Apr 20, 2012153Apr 20, 2012
Sweden187Apr 19, 2012171Apr 19, 2012
Israel194Apr 20, 2012167Apr 20, 2012
Netherlands-170Apr 19, 2012
Mexico-176Apr 20, 2012
El Salvador-177Apr 24, 2012
France-180Apr 20, 2012
Saudi Arabia-190Apr 21, 2012
Switzerland-197Apr 20, 2012

As I said at the outset this is a warts and all reality of indie development.  I have learnt a lot in this second week about how I could have done it differently for next time but not sure I can retrieve the situation without some investment in a marketing budget.  But that is for another week.