Apple’s App Store and the Android market now boast over half a million apps each and continue to grow. Not surprisingly, those with developing skills are often lured to this vast market, pulling Red Bull-fueled all-nighters and chatting code on the iOS Dev Center in between work projects, university courses and family time. Unfortunately, their hard work developing an app isn’t enough to get their apps noticed let alone making money. After all, the cost of acquiring a single loyal user stands at $1.26 (Fiksu, 05/12)… imagine having an app that lists for $0.99 and you can begin to appreciate just how expensive creating a popular app actually is.
Enter appromoter. Realizing that developers don’t often have the time, money or know-how to adequately promote their own apps, this tidy new platform does the dirty work for them by putting apps front and center. How? As you might imagine, journalists and bloggers who cover the app market tend to be inundated with requests for reviews from developers every day. appromoter connects the right media sources with the right apps. For our latest Q&A, we spoke with appromoter co-founder Ed Vause from his London office about the intricacies of the platform and how it addresses the most crucial needs of developers today. (This Skype interview has been edited for clarity).
ACR: Ed, thanks for participating in our Q&A today. Tell us a little about appromoter and the impetus behind it.
EV: We started talking about appromotor in the beginning of 2011 and launched the site on a soft launch in November of last year. We’ve taken a slow, steady approach to ensure our software wasn’t buggy and that we were ready to go. We’ve been going full speed now for the past several months.
The impetus behind it was really a meeting of minds. I founded this business with three partners and we all have separate but complimentary skillsets. My partners are mobile marketing and PR specialists and they identified that a vast majority of developers are in the (app) market without the benefits of a marketing department or specific expertise in-house. Many simply develop their app, get their app assets and list it immediately on the market. My co-founders often had developers approach them for help marketing their apps, so that started the ball rolling. There are thousands of apps that go unnoticed because the developers don’t have the expertise or means to market them.
ACR: You allow developers to essentially market their apps while journalists and bloggers discover them?
EV: That’s right. Media is the best way for businesses to spread the word about their product or service. We are facilitating that as a communication channel. My background was in the fashion industry creating a network between fashion media and the fashion companies so this area is my expertise. I’m doing the same thing here with appromoter.
ACR: The app market is enormous. It’s a bit of a Gold Rush out there for developers that are competing to get noticed amidst big fish (and their marketing departments) like Zynga or CapCom, isn’t it?
EV: Right. The truth is it’s all about discovery. You might have created the next best app since Angry Birds, but if it’s unnoticed in the app store you won’t make any money and no one will ever download it. There are some best practices to help get noticed and we’ve developed a list for developers on appromoter that help address some of the things they can do.
ACR: Can you share with us a tip or two that devs should consider to get their apps noticed?
EV: Timing of release is something that we recommend everyone thinks about. Developers also have a tendency to get their app assets and immediately put the app on the app store. We recommend that they stop, breath, strategize and use that time- maybe 10-14 days- to generate media buzz around the upcoming release instead. Get buzz going on social networks, reach out to specific bloggers and reviewers and give them a promo code- which appromoter allows them to do, by the way. This generates anticipation for the app so when you hit go on launch day, its chances of success are much higher.
ACR: What industry trends do you see on the horizon that they need to be aware of?
EV: Certainly, the projections are about continued growth for the global market so being prepared for that competition is imperative. At the moment, the market is dominated by Apple and Google but I think it’s worth keeping an eye on what Microsoft is doing. This Windows tablet will be interesting. At appromoter, we’re currently working only with iOS and Droids but I don’t think it will be too long before we see Windows, as well.
ACR: What is your pricing scale for developers, Ed?
EV: One of the things we have discovered is that everyone’s needs are different and you can’t slot developers into one of three verticals that is commonly found (free, upgrade, premium). We have solutions that range from free on up. We have the services & expertise to help them, as well. Anyone who needs more can buy more whether it’s writing a press release or creating a video for their app. We want to ultimately be in the position to become the marketing department for these developers.
ACR: Lastly, what has been the response from journalists and reviewers so far?
EV: The response from media so far is brilliant. They are very supportive. For them, it makes their lives much easier. Some get as many as 200 requests a day to review an app! Maybe 10 or 15 are actually relevant to them. We provide the filter so that they see the apps that are relevant to them and their reporting. There’s no point in sending an iOS reviewer information on an upcoming Droid app.
On top of that, they can find everything they need in one place 24 hours a day. Journalists really like our promo code feature which we’ve built into our software so they can test drive an app at any time.
ACR: We look forward to following appromoter as it progresses! Thanks for the insight, Ed.
ED: Cheers, Bonnie!
Check out more interviews at The Animation Career Review Interview Series.