In the world dominated by Facebook and Twitter you’ll often hear that if something is not on social networks it’s the same as if it didn’t exist. Today we will be investigating how those who are successful on App Store are using their online presence to boost their app sales and keep their businesses growing. We have taken the Top 10 paid apps from the store and compared what kind of websites they have and how they communicate on Facebook and Twitter in hope to draw a pattern which could be used by other developers.
To get you started, we want to share the best examples among these Top 10 apps:
In our opinion, Twitter is best used by the guys from
- tap tap tap, developers of Camera+ who provide interesting content to their followers on regular basis
- and by Words with Friends who engage followers by providing words of the day.
Now continue reading for the further analysis.
Webpages: special landing page or incorporate within the company site?
If you have ever read Copyblogger or Unbounce blog for tips on how to write a copy for your app’s webpage, you have learned that it should be more than just another page of your site. It should be focused only on converting your visitors into customers (app buyers) through a conversion-optimized landing page with compelling copy, attractive design, illustrative screenshots and a good how-to video, free of any distracting elements. When we analysed the webpages of the Top 10 paid apps we learned that more than half of them (6) followed this advice, out of which:
- 5 were specially designed landing pages for the app with great copy text, screenshots, etc., while
- one had only links to iTunes and Android Market with social share links.
Among the other four pages there were:
- online versions of the game (in 2 cases),
- a company website with application lists without special pages for the app
- and an online shop of the game-related products (Angry Birds cases, toys, etc.).
(The apps on the list: Angry Birds, Words With Friends, Tiny Wings, Doodle God™, Fruit Ninja, Where’s Waldo?, Full Fitness, Cut the Rope, Camera+, Pimp Your Screen were on the last week’s Top 10 paid apps chart)
There are two possible interpretations for this variety: either the advice heard from the app promotion experts is not always the right way to go or these apps are already so successful that they want to utilize such popularity to promote other products they make. And perhaps the combination of these two approaches would be the winning strategy: at the beginning of the app’s life cycle do your best to convert your website (landing page) visitors into app buyers – in combination with paid advertising and other promotion strategies. And when you come to the point when the app store economics start to work to your benefit (if you are one of the lucky few developers everyone wants to be) try to use the app popularity to promote other apps you are making and thus catch the wave and try to get back into the charts with a second app as the first one is going towards end of its life cycle.
Facebook: Not all customers ‘like’ your app
However, websites are usually a one-time thing: the user will come to it once, install the app or not, but it is not likely that they’ll come back to the same page often. Yet, everyone has Facebook account these days and as the research shows – they check it several times a day (in many cases from their smartphones). So, it’s even more interesting to see what developers do to boost their presence on social networks. Having in mind the positive effects for app promotion, we were very surprised to see that one of the Top 10 paid apps did not have a fb page and that three others haven’t posted anything for almost one month. However, some care a lot about their fans and post regularly, give feedback on comments or use their Facebook page as an arena to set up games among people from all over the world (which is great as a promotional strategy).
The number of fans who ‘liked’ the app also varies very much – the creators of Pimp Your Screen, the 10th app on our list (since Angry Birds appear three times in the Top 10 we counted it only once) has only 100 likes, while Words with Friends have almost a million (and Angry Birds have already surpassed 2 mill a long time ago), which is a consequence not only of the relative popularity of the apps, but also of the fact that while all others have created a special page for the app, the guys from Apolon have a company page (which is not a great approach as I will explain later). Also the number of fans is in direct proportion with the engagement on the page – the more you interact with the fans and the more exclusive content you provide to them, more of them will ‘like’ your page, share the content and thus promote your app among their friends. In simple terms, having in mind that the average sphere of influence of a fb user is around 130 friends this is a great as a tool to keep your user base growing, but only if you are ready to invest some time in it and provide additional value.
Twitter: Keep your users posted
As you can see from the graph, Twitter is used differently by the best players in the app arena – as means to promote the company/developer and keep the user base updated with interesting content. In this way it’s much easier to create buzz about new apps and updates.
For the best reach, combine promotion of the app itself through Facebook and promotion of the company – or yourself as a developer – through Twitter. On Facebook they like the product itself, want to hang out with people who use it (especially if it’s a game), post their high scores and comment while Twitter community wants to hear something interesting from you and be up-to-date with the developments (so it’s great if you have a new update or a new app) or want to tweet you directly with a question or a problem and know that you will see it. Therefore, use Twitter not only to promote one app, but to promote yourself and keep that followers base growing so that you don’t end up as a one-time-wonder on the App Store, especially if you develop games or apps with more limited life cycle. This will allow you the opportunity to post interesting content which will keep your followers interested so that they don’t unfollow you as soon as they stop playing the game.
So, to wrap up: compelling landing page which can be transformed as (if) the app gets to the top plus obligatory Facebook page for the app in combination with the company/developer’s Twitter account with the steady stream of interesting content to keep the users close to you. Or you have some other ideas?
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