making money with android apps

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A session at Portland Code Camp 2011 about making money with Android Apps.


  • 1.Making Money with Android Apps
    Nathan Mellor
    CritterMap Software
    Signup for links at

2. Agenda
About you
About me
Ways to promote paid apps:
Android Market
Paid advertising
Internet Marketing
How to get this work done
Software Tools
Human Labor
3. Is this you?
I heard about some high school kid that wrote an app in a weekend and is now a millionaire
4. Is this you?(licensed from
5. Is this you?
I write Android Apps just for fun.
Would it be less fun if you made a profit?
I make $50 a month with my app I spend a few hours a week on
Is your time worth more than $2/hour?
I mostly do apps for the experience
Nothing wrong with that.
Getting some experience with marketing apps is also helpful
I have a solid, fulfilling, well-paying day job
Will that always be the case?
6. About me
Worked for a major printer manufacturer for 12 years
Feb 2009: routine meeting with boss
Downsizing announced
New house, new mortgage.
March 27: Last day at work
March 28th: Third child born
April 2009: Outplacement counseling
7. Outplacement outcome
My true passion:
Become a successful online business owner.
8. Getting Started Nov 2009
Trade ACT reeducation.
Enrolled in University of San Franciscos Internet Marketing program
New phone operating system called Android
Got a G1 on craigslist.
Wrote first lines of Android code
9. Can you write an app this weekend and be rich next week?
June 2010: First released to Market
I was aiming for 56 sales / day
I got 5 on a good day
In 2010, I paid zero taxes AND got a refund
10. Would you rather someone else paid you?
Fall 2010: some recruiters call.
My house
Easy commute
Nice Android Job
Columbia River
11. There is always more marketing to do
400,000 Android activations per day.
1% might be target customers
If 100 buy my product, thats
.25% of target
Or .025% of Android users
12. Marketing through Android Market
You will probably do this.
13. Do you want to be at the top? Factors
Total number of downloads/sales
Recent number of downloads/sales
Active Install Percentage
Number of ratings
Average rating
Number of comments
Since December 2010,these factors affect search ranking also
14. To Rank High in the Android Market . . .
Sell a lot of apps (you want to do this anyway, right?)
Stay installed
Keep users happy
Keep users engaged.
15. Why the comment system *is* against you.
You cant respond to comments.
You wont get enough information to fix the problem or improve the UI
You will be blamed for:
Limitations of hardware
Glitches in the Android Market
Imperfections in Public domain data
But you can always make your app free and get more positive comments, right?
16. Which App would you buy?
Buena Vista
Mojave Desert
The maps are outdated.
Poor quality, drains battery.
Horrible interface
Useless after trial period
UK map is rubbish
is better and free.
Extremely useful, with many features
Best app ever!
Well worth the money!
Super program
Saved me from getting lost
Great for UK maps!
Better than anything I've found so far
17. To (try to) get good comments . . .
Avoid confusion
Increase the price?
Continually improve User Experience
Be clear on what your app does
Get more of the right people to comment !
18. How can you engage the right people?
Have a weekly email newsletter.
Subscribe users of your app
Can use autoresponders
19. What can you cover in a weekly newsletter?
New features you just put out
Response to comments in the Market
News and topics of interest for your target customer
Ask users to take action:
Leave a comment in the Market
Respond to an important survey
See and comment on your YouTube Video
Like your fan page on Facebook
It also serves as a reminder to buy.
20. Reaching the top of your category
Is it everything?
When you do:
Take a screen shot it can fluctuate
When you dont
Be sure and complain about the algorithm!
Think of it as a lagging indicator of success.
21. Tracking Performance
Analytics (Google/Flurry) can track your users behavior
For marketing, two things are important:
Source of traffic: how the user arrived at installing your app
Conversions: does the user take action you want them to take. Subscribe, upgrade, buy extras.
22. Google Analytics for Android Apps
Conversions can be tracked as goals.
Android Market Referral Tracking allows you to tag urls that link to the Android Market.
Tag your urls:
23. Referal data Google Analytics
(direct)/(none) is traffic from Android Market
Tagged urls track through.
Boring, isnt it?
24. After some proprietary hacking . . .
We can see the keywords being used to find the app in the Android Market!
25. Thats not all. . .
How about. . .
Referrals from a Market category (ie Travel and Local) with the position number
Referrals from Just in
Referrals from Similar Apps and which competitor they came from!
Referrals from AndroLib, AppBrain, BestApps (they tag their urls.)
26. Sources of Downloads- January
27. What can you conclude?
Top of category *isnt* everything.
Keyword Search generates up to 100 times more traffic.
Action items:
Dont fret if you are not top in your category yet.
Concentrate on being found for important keywords
Make sure the searchers find what they are looking for.
28. What about alternative App Stores
I get an email every day about a new one.
Mostly a waste of time.
Amazon gets about 2% of my sales on Android Market.
Most are much less than that.
29. Paid Advertising
If youve got money to burn
30. Rule of Thumb
Dont spend money if you cant track the amount of money each customer costs.
Not meaningful:
We spent a $1000 on advertising last month and we increased sales by $2000
Based on our analytics, we are spending $62.67 to acquire each paying customer that buys our app for $1.99 and then spends $4.39. Umm, we better stop.
31. Avoid: Untargeted Advertising
Example: Admob
Dont push this button.
32. Beware: Supposedly targetted advertising
Example: Adwords
33. Consider: Pay Per Install
Much easier to accomplish the money per customer rule of thumb.
Some Analytics will be needed.
Consider charging more than .99 for your app.
Some options:
Flurry AppCircle
34. Internet Marketing
35. Web page marketing
36. Keyword Research
A keyword is generally a multi word phrase
You want keywords that:
Are RELEVANT to your product
Have lots of TRAFFIC
37. Example: Traffic
38. Attainable: The Top Ten
Do any spammers contact you and tell you they can get you into the *second* page of Google?
39. An Optimized Page ..
Mentions the phrase (ie Android Topo Maps)
In the url
In the tag
In the tag
In an tag
In the first sentence
In the first sentence of the last paragraph
2-3 times in between the first and last parag
Has about 250-750 words (ave 500).
Thats all!
40. Getting links
The most creative part of internet marketing
The best links:
Have keywords in the link (anchor text)
Are from important websites
Are from relevant websites
Have traffic
How can you get them?
Article Marketing
Social Media
Non hosted blogs
Guest blogging
41. Getting links
The most creative part of internet marketing
The best links:
Have keywords in the link (anchor text)
Are from important websites
Are from relevant websites
Have traffic
How can you get them?
Article Marketing
Social Media
Guest blogging
Get app reviews
Press Release
Look for what links your competitor has
42. Check Results
43. Rinse and Repeat
Establish a blog with wordpress
Add a post every day
Get some links
At the end of a year, you will have 200+ keywords in the first page of Google.
44. What is the worlds second biggest Search Engine?
45. What is the worlds second biggest Search Engine?
46. How can you make videos?
Camcorder pointed at phone
Emulator Screencast
Parody of hitler movie new subtitles
3D After Effects rendering
Cartoon from xtramagic
47. How to optimize them
48. Get views and traffic
YouTube is a social network.
Get your newsletter subscribers to watch and comment
Find friends
Find subscribers
Consider tools like TubeToolbox.
49. Benefits include:
Blended search
Embedding in other websites.
50. What and how often?
Videos can:
Be instructional for your product.
Discuss concepts related to your product
Be fun
They should always:
Target keywords
How often?
Once a week would not be overkill.
51. Can you do all this and still have time left to co