Right now I have four Android application on the store: Interval Round Timer, Facts No Yes, Loop Player and Snowflakes Fights Back!. I started working on them about 6 months ago in my spare time, shortly after I bought my first Android phone. Soon after I launched my first app, I decided to learn more about application promotion.
I started by reading tons of websites and Quora posts such as this. I decided to ignore my intuition, and try everything suggested by these websites and see if it works. Why? Just for fun 🙂 . I did this for all four applications and in my case, most of these tips have not worked. I would say some of them are pure bullshit, but hey, maybe I simply, had bad luck, with all of them (four times in a row!!!).
What haven’t worked for me!
I knew from the first moment that this is a hoax. I chose the user with the best reviews and I requested the promotion job. The deal was that he will promote my app on one of his very popular Facebook pages. These are the results:
WOW! 1556 clicks in a few hours and then….absolutely nothing! Almost all clicks from Windows and almost all from a desktop computer in the same region, no Android phone, no IE, no Edge. Hmm, it smells like he used some kind of clicker robot. When I asked him about this, he instantly refunded my money, so I guess he’s a guilty little bastard! Obviously I obtained zero downloads.
Share Play Store links on Google Plus and Facebook communities
For each and every application I searched about 30-40 Google Plus/Facebook popular communities/groups related the the application’s industry (for example Fitness communities for Interval Round Timer). I also searched the most popular 20 Android related communities/groups. I posted promotional texts and links to my apps, several times. I also searched for development and design groups and asked for suggestions related to the design of my app. The results?
About 40-50 clicks, most of them from desktop computers and 0-3 downloads per app. I suspect that all these clicks were from fellow developers who where interested in my questions, not my apps. So I would say about 500 link shares and maximum 3 downloads per app, total waste of time!
Promotion with YouTube comments
I searched new videos and popular videos related to my apps. I posted the promotional text and links in the comment sections. Obviously I obtained absolutely no clicks and no downloads. Why? Common sense! Who in his right mind would click on strange links from YouTube video comments?
Private messages to YouTube channels and emails to review blogs
I searched Android application reviewers and sent them private messages. Obviously nobody ever answered me. I don’t say this doesn’t work, but you need a huge amount of luck and free time. I have neither. And yes, I sent review requests to the magic lists you find on the Internet such as this. Total waste of time!
Review exchanges websites
There are some review exchange websites such as favorr.io where developers exchange app reviews, hoping that the positive ratings they get, will boost their apps. My brain told me that this is crap, but I said that I should not reject an idea only because it seems stupid to me. Well, I was wrong, my brain was right, this is indeed pure horse shit . I got only copy-pasted reviews that were deleted by Google in a few hours! This experience has a good side, it proved me that Google is actually really careful about the quality of the reviews :).
Promoted Posts on Facebook
I wanted to use Android App installs promotion from Facebook but it was pretty expensive so I decided to be clever! I made a Facebook page for my app and promoted Facebook posts containing some nice screenshots and the store link. I mostly obtained likes for my page and only a few downloads. It makes sense, because Facebook promoted my posts to all users including desktop and IOS users so I wasted my money on people who simply doesn’t care about my apps.
What worked for me
Share to my personal Facebook
The first success was sharing my apps on my personal Facebook. I have the nicest friends who downloaded my apps, some of them even gave me positive ratings 🙂 Thanks friends!
App Store Optimization (ASO)
When you put an app on the store, it’s practically invisible for most users. You can’t find it by searching the store, because it is not indexed yet. The first thing you can do to increase downloads is to make sure you have a great app description and title. The searching keywords should be repeated multiple times in your app description. For example I increased the downloads for my Facts No Yes game by changing the title from: Facts No Yes to Facts No Yes -Trivia Quiz Game. Why? Because apparently people search a lot for: trivia, quiz games 🙂 .
Icons and Screenshots
The icon is the first thing a user see when searching for an app. If the icon is good, the user will tap on it. For example the icon change for Facts No Yes dramatically increased my downloads from 1-2 to about 20-25 per day. Sadly I had the opposite effect for Interval Round Timer. I was “clever” and changed the icon with a “better” one. My downloads drastically decreased, after I changed the icon back, the downloads are up again.
I had a budget of about 33 euros per app. The results? About 2200-2500 downloads per app, increased store visibility and continued number of downloads after the campaign ended. For me this was the absolute best way to boost my apps in the beginning. It wasn’t expensive but it was very effective. The exception is Snowflakes Fights Back! This game is so sad that even with ads it barely reached the 100 downloads point.
This blog is a hobby project for me: I love programming and I love writing about it. I never wanted to use this blog for promotion, I just wanted to share some ideas and tips with fellow developers, but writing about my apps apparently helps a lot. Considering that I write on this blog for the sheer joy of it, I think it counts.