Digital Marketing and Its Impact on Small Time Game and Mobile Application Developers

Stephen DiMarco has hit a very valid point in his post about how online marketing needs to start to assess some of the more qualitative side of marketing in terms of a brand rather than just Google Analytics or PPC, etc. In a world that’s primarily driven by unique page views, PPC campaign numbers, CTR rates, and other hard facts, it’s an interesting thought. As a gaming company, we offer post-marketing services which includes this marketing and it’s driven by numbers. We’ve yet to see how this affects us a brand, and Stephen’s got us thinking.

There are a whole slew of developers that are online at the App Store, but there’s an inherent problem with trusting a single developer. Many developers have delivered a product that’s a stand-alone app that is basically a flash-in-the-pan while others have consistently turned out mediocre but reliable apps. Who do you trust; the company that turns out one stellar app after a long hiatus or a developer that just needs some new direction or energy in their creative processes? There’s no real concept of a brand, there’s no Unilever or P&G for the App Store and therein lies the problem for marketers for iPhone development.

Although many people would argue that apps are products that have a repeat purchase cycle, etc, there’s yet to be a single developer that’s built a very successful brand using just their apps. People view apps like a utility and look to promote them as such. Very rarely does anyone ever hear about the developer but rather the app itself. This is a problem in an industry where the first firm to truly brand itself will gain a massive first-mover advantage. Indeed it will be difficult, but if a firm is able to do so, they’d easily take over the App Store.

The problem, to a certain extent, lies in the tools that are geared towards quantitative metrics rather than qualitative metrics. For example, Twitter following dictates whether you are a thought leader or follower, a PPC campaign shows how well SEO or ad placement is working. Yes, they do provide numbers which can help translate into potential leads, but there’s no concept of a brand.

Resultantly, firms are looking to use their marketing dollars to build a brand. For us, as game developers, there’s an added challenge. Although it may be easy to build one stellar app and continue to tweak it over time, such an effort doesn’t build a brand in the long run. At this point, firms need to realize how their marketing channels are being used besides the metrics they provide. Do you use your Twitter account to talk with customers? What type of a Twitter following do you have? Does your website show how committed you are to your vision? These questions begin to emphasize how qualitative metrics become important. It’s great having numbers, but as companies grow there’s a need to build a relationship with customers outside of the traditional client-vendor concept.

For example, in the case of gaming studios, a loyal group of customers translates into many benefits. Beta testers are easily found from your Twitter following or customers that have written great reviews for your titles. Ultimately these are the people that will promote you for free. They don’t show up in the metrics, you find them by talking to them. This is a brand building activity that many firms ignore. Again, for small startups it’s difficult to find the right people, but most of the time they’re hiding right under your radar. Yet many firms ignore the potential of these testers and continue to push out apps without sufficient testing. There’s no reason when there’s a small group of dedicated followers that you need to deliver a game without proper testing. These people will be the life line for your game as you need the critical honest feedback about gameplay, controls, graphics, user interfaces, etc. Without these people, you’d never get the proper feedback which helps develop a truly outstanding title.

Nonetheless, many firms do use these techniques but need to realize that there’s a brand to be built using these types of activities. Reward your beta-testers with promo codes for free games so that they spread the word about you, their recommendation to other gamers will go a long way in making your company stand out amongst the army of developers on the App Store. As mentioned by Stephen, there’s a need to change from the quantitative towards the qualitative side of marketing to build brands similar to IBM, Apple, or Microsoft for app development companies. Firms need to get away from the purely numerical side of marketing and start to see where they want to be in 10 years time.

A New Way of How to Make Apps and Games And Make Big Money Without the Experience

One of the most burgeoning markets out there today is in software design, more specifically in the app and game market for downloads, web based, and mobile phone/smart phones.

Angry Birds moved over 50 million units across all of these different platforms since it first came out just over a year ago in December of 2009! The people behind that game are now multi-millionaires in download revenue for their game, and a lot of people are starting to jump on this bandwagon and are using a new simplified method of how to make apps and games.

Games like FarmVille and Angry Birds are simple in design but are massively popular. This is because it seems like everyone has a smartphone these days or if they’re home they’re online and much of this time is spent playing these games or using helpful apps to make things easier. This easy to make software is extremely popular and is selling well as the iPhone Apps store alone is nearing it’s 10 billionth download.

People are taking smart ideas for games and useful apps and turning them into huge paydays without a background in programming. Instead, they’re outsourcing the programming itself to freelance programmers for cheap so that all they need to have is an idea to see their software become a money making reality.

Once the software is made, it’s just a matter of effectively promoting it and putting it in front of the eyes of your audience. If your software is unique and good enough then it will go viral.

How Android App Development Seems Monstrous But Surmountable

Introduction

Android is an operating system (OS) from Google. Android is open source. Android has a huge market share. Smartphones running on Android sell more than other operating systems. Android is app friendly. The hosannas sung in favor of Android can fill an earth mover truck! Android is touted to be app dependent which is good news for smartphone users who can download apps by the cartload. However, the development of apps is not without any pitfalls, in fact some severe.

Disadvantages? Nay, Challenges!

The overwhelming Android presence has triggered a market for application development which is getting bigger by the day. Google Play Store, the online shop hawking app wares is awash with apps of all hues and sizes. Users are aplenty and challenges encountered in Android app development are of equivalent proportions. So what are these challenges?

Multiple vendors: Many smartphone manufacturers use Android as the operating system, albeit with many modifications. Libraries, features et al get modified or deleted leading to a pesky increase in fragmentation issues.

Lack of Usage policies: Android’s originator, Google, has been rather lenient allowing app developers to tweak and twist it to suit their purpose. This no rules approach has let every Tom, Dick and Harry developer run riot resulting in bumpkin apps sharing silo space in Google Play Store. How do we ensure that quality apps alone gain entry to Play?

Software and Hardware Diversity: Multiple versions of the software launched in quick time pose an issue in compatibility of the app for more than one version. As concerns hardware, the market is flooded with smartphones of all screen sizes, operating mechanisms and processing speeds increasing the headache of app developers to ensure satisfactory performance of their apps in these devices.

Commercialization blues: Once an app is ready for sale, the app developer has to pay Google a fee upfront to host his/her app. Google scrutinizes the app to detect and remove any malware, causing considerable delay on the commercialization aspect. The temptation to include advertisements in apps can incur users’ wrath. One also has to keep an eye on the patent aspect, lest anyone sues for plagiarism.

Workarounds

While all the challenges may not be doused with long lasting solutions, workarounds are available that should help one to get by.

Software and Hardware: It must be accepted that a single app may not satisfy all the mobile devices running different versions of Android. Diversity in hardware and software is a reality that must be accepted. Fortunately hardware nowadays show flexibility in running different Android versions based apps. App developers must do a research on the target devices and versions and decide the best fit to target their apps.

Commercialization: Again research plays an important part. Identify the target users and devices so you may derive revenue through app usage of this targeted group. This would also free you of the need to use advertisements in you app driving away your users. Or, make you app so user friendly that users will not mind encountering a couple of small advertisements on the side.

Conclusion

Challenges may be endemic or spread out but those involved in Android application development do find ways to surmount these issues. Diversity in Android can be a boon as well a bane depending on how we approach app development. To reiterate, a thorough research and passion for achieving the intended goal will enable one to sail through teething problems and launch their app successfully. Ready Steady Go!