luni, 31 decembrie 2012

Important Android 4+ (post ICS) Tools

Android is a platform that for better or for worse runs on wide variety of devices and causes a lot of “fragmentation” complaints by less experienced developers. And while the screen/resolution issues can be decently solved by having a competent designer (see: web development), version fragmentation poses a more significant problem – only 6,7% of all Android devices run 4.1.x versions, while the rest are suck on older Androids with little hope for update.




Android version distribution

Ice Cream sandwich (and Honeycomb before it) brought significant improvements to the Android API, which significantly ease cross-device development and thanks to efforts of several developers a large part of those changes were backported in form of libraries for Android 2.x.

Below you can find a list with some of the most useful such libraries which are also used in some of our apps.

Android Support Package

This is official Google library which backports Fragments and Loaders.
Fragments add a way to manage only part of displayed activity life-cycle and are critical part of tablet user interfaces – especially if you want to develop apps which work on phones and tablets without publishing separate APKs.
Loaders are a high-level interface for retrieving data from slow sources (network or database). Android runtime caches the loaders by their ID across Activity life-cycle, which means easy management and caching of remote data without writing boiler-plate AsyncTask code to keep state across orientation changes.


Action Bar Sherlock

ABS is a library by Jake Wharton that backports the Action bar API to Android 2.x.

Action bar is a new Android paradigm, which is composed of a top bar with application name and implements tab navigation, menu replacement and “up” navigation. Pretty much any Android app has an action bar (or at least should have) and this API is the easiest way to implement it. It also handles tab navigation with optional split mode (you should not use TabHost anymore) and menu buttons on devices without physical keys (e.g. Galaxy Nexus) and moves icons to menu when screen space runs out.

Pull-to-Refresh

Pull-to-Refresh allows you to implement the iOS-ish paradigm of pulling a ListView to refresh content.



NOTE: Pull-to-refresh is a distinctly non-Android way of refreshing content, I suggest adding a separate “Refresh” option to the menu (e.g. like Boid Twitter client) to avoid user confusion.

ViewPagerIndicator

Android Support Library also adds support for horizontally scrolling ViewPager, which allows you to put several fragments side by side and allow user to swipe between them. However, the API is missing a position indicator similar to the one in Google+ and Play Market apps. Such customizable indicator is provided by ViewPagerIndicator library.
View pager indicator tabs

vineri, 28 decembrie 2012

Stay away from push ads!

Are you using Airpush? If you are, how's your CPM been doing? Ever since you started?

And if you are not, and you are planning to use it, what is attracting you to it?


Big Bang
Airpush came onto the scene pretty big. Offering a unique (at that time) mobileadvertising implementation, and a super high CPM. That was great really, when you started. It is not great anymore.


Angry Bird
What really pissed me off was, in the email, it was written that we could achieve a CPM of $6 - $15! Are you  kidding me? I have hardly even gotten 50% of the lower end during the better days! These days it is at around $1.5 - $1.6 range. I am making even more from my banner ads than I am from Airpush!


There is something totally wrong with Airpush. They hook new developers with very good CPM when they start, slowly dwindling down. I have Leadbolt notification ads in my apps too, but Leadbolt's revenue has been growing continuously.


Questions
So many questions need answering:

1 - My installs are growing every day, yet my pushes from Airpush is stuck around a set  range. Why?
2 - Why does my revenue for each day fluctuate throughout the day? I would see, for example, $19 one moment. Re-check a little later, and it is down at $18?? Did some pushes get un-sent? Returned to sender?
3 - Why is my CPM going lower by the day? Yet Airpush can send a mail out to attract me with $6- $15?
4 - The "Live Chat" on the dashboard has been stuck at "Offline" since ever!
5 - Today's average CPM has been stuck there since forever.
6 - Airpush is known to send out ads that auto download apps into user's phone. Not cool really.

I've checked with some other developers, and they too are having similar results. They get so excited when they start off with Airpush, but over time, it converts to Airbull.


Push yourself away
So, if you're a developer and are planning to use notification or icon ads, I strongly urge you to look elsewhere. Give Leadbolt a try. There are other options too out there, like appenda or startapp, though I have not tried them.

It would be really good for Airpush to start playing fair with their developers, we are, after all, helping them with their business, risking our apps to get 1 starratings because of the push ads. We will pack and leave if we have no reason to stay on!

Conclusion
Even though you might get some extra revenue using push Ads we highly recommend that you do not make use of such obtrusive ad formats which will only make your user base angry without seeing a real increase in the monthly revenue.

Installs and Ratings improvements


Ratings

When it comes to two equal apps, the app with a better rating will receive a better ranking. When your app does not have any ratings yet, it will internally get a composite score representing the quality of the apps you published before. This means: Ratings are important. But how to get lots of positive ratings? Well, there are several methods, one of them is to buy them via certain dubious websites (I ‘ve never tried that), another way is to simply ask your users for ratings. This step is actually pretty simple but it can and most likely will improve your ratings a lot, provided that you are making it right:
  1. Ask your users using an AlertDialog. While a beautiful little button in your main menu may be nice, users have the tendency to ignore things that want something from them (like they do with banner ads) and keep them from doing what they actually want to do (explore your app). This is why a one- or n-time alert dialog will catch much more attention than a button that is just always there. Personally I prefer the one-time to the n-time version.
  2. Don’t ask them the first time they use your app. That’s pretty obvious. How should a user know how to rate your app when he didn’t even use it? Instead, wait until he used it five or six times or played through the third level or so. When a user uses an app a couple of times, this is a good indicator that he actually will give you a better ranking.
  3. Give them a chance to opt out. You shouldn’t force your users to rate your product but give them a chance to say ‘later’ or ‘don’t ask me again’. When a user decides not to rate a product but gets annoyed by repeated dialogs, there will come a time when he ranks it with very little stars.

Installs

Installs are important. They are important for you, because many users equals many dollars. But they also are important for the Android Market Search Algorithm. To be more precise: The ratio of active installs to total installs, respectively the refund rate. This will have special weight when your app is published the first time and there are not enough comments to give your app a ranking and no other apps to give your app a composite score.
Since gaining installs and keeping active installs is very important, it’s important to have a well designed and tested app. Boosting user numbers by force can be a very expensive task, that’s why it’s even more important not to lose existing users. To increase the number of downloads of an app, the well known classic methods like writing blogs, creating viral content, paying for ad space or ASO can be applied.

The the Google Play Store Search Algorithm

The search algorithm of Google’s website is known to be a black box of which nobody except Google knows how it works exactly. Guess what: With the Play Store search algorithm, it’s exactly the same. Still, by try and error and a lot of observation, patterns can be recognized. Here’s what the Play Store search algorithm roughly looks like:
temporary relevance * t + keyword frequency  in the title * u + keyword frequency in the description * v + ratings * w + composite score * x + active installs in per cent * y + black magic * z
Temporary relevance here means the acceptance of the users over a small time period, or in other words the download rates in the last days and weeks. As you can see there is a little ‘black magic’ involved, this is a synonym for uncertain influences like the +1-button, the percentage of solved known bugs with every new update, the relevance of keywords used in the recent changes-description and all the other small and uncertain things.
After various observations, the following rough order can be assumed:
w >= t >= y > u > v > x
z, representing the weight of various factors, is ignored.
Now, when optimizing your app for the Play Store, you can try to improve your app’s environment based on this order, meaning for example: “Let’s put our main effort into a solid UX, a non-annoying dialog with a high conversion rate asking users to rate us high and a good description.”

Conclusion

You maybe noticed that the Play Store search algorithm changed a lot in the last 18 months. ASO is very dynamic. New changes need to be observed and classified as soon as possible, so it always stays exciting.

Sharing our experience on Android App Marketing

Introduction 

The ultimate target for Android App marketing is to make your app appear in the top 5 Apps in any market list (ex: Top Free, Trending, Top New Free ...etc) and for this to happen you need your users to do the following

1- Install your app (many installs daily)
2- Review your app +rating
3- To +1 your app
4- Does not uninstall your app soon

All factors above are used by the market to decide whether to add/push up your app in a list and whether to show your app in the top search results or not

Saying so we reach the conclusion that most important part of app marketing is the App itself, is it valuable for the user, will he/she keep it installed, does it have a good UI/Icon/Name is it related to a trending topic at the moment , do you think the user would show your app to a friend ?

Also note that "Games" when are well created are easier to market than other apps


Google Play Store SEO

Choose proper catchy app name
Create a good looking icon
Write a description that is easy to read by users and in the same time contains as mush relevant words as possible, more words means more users will find your app through search
Choose proper category
Screenshots should be beautiful and convincing
Warning: adding duplicate or irrelevant words will be noticed by google and you will be warned about it

It may not be the best example but you can check what we have done for Septica here:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ro.bgx.septica

Social Networks

Add you app link in all "Relevant" facebook public pages, Groups and on your wall
Post it on twitter with "#android" included
Post it on Google+
Any other social network you have access to.

Create a facebook page and try to engage users. Always make sure to please the initial users demands if possible.

AdExchange

AdExchange networks provide you with the ability to show ads in your app and in return your app Ad will be shown in other apps in the network, this way every time a user will open your app, there will be another app promoting yours - a free win-win situation

Providers: tapfortap


Forums

There are many benefits from posting your app on the forums, first you will get both install spikes and contentious install stream in addition to feedback from people other than your friends


Add a post containing a good description and screenshot for you app on as many forums as you can
Don't use url shortner in forums
Use the following convention in titles [APP][version] your app name
Some forums requires that you do some activity before you can add links to your posts
Best Android forums

AndroidCommunity
XDA Developers
Androidcentral
AndroidPIT
Androidforums

Also don't forget to post on local forums


App Review blogs/websites

Contact all blogs and app review websites and let them know about your app, find below a list of Android blogs and review websites


PR

PR refers to Public Relation and Press Release, there are some specialized companies which have relations with Magazines, Blogs and android websites such companies could reach out and spread the word easily about your app on your behalf

Providers:
http://www.mobileprwire.com

Cross-app promotion

If you have other relevant apps, you could change the code to add either a splash screen, banner or a notification about your new app


Other things to do

Update your App regurarlly (after updates your app is listed again in the top new free list)
Things NOT to do

Handling Google Play Promotional Graphics


Promotional Graphics
Promotional Graphics are the big graphics shown on top of your app’s screenshots and description in the Android Market. If you want to get featured, this graphic is required. So although it’s optional in the developer console, you should always upload your promotional image. For an overview on how this graphic should look like, I recommend reading this post from the official Android Developers Blog.
The promotional graphic is 1024 * 500 pixels in size, so you have a lot of space you can fill. Still, your graphic should not be packed with huge text since it will be scaled down to different sizes. Let me demonstrate this by an example used on the Android Developers Blogpost mentioned above:
Big promotional graphic
Big promotional graphic
This is the size a promo graphic has on the Android Market website.
Scaled down promotional graphic
Scaled down promotional graphic
This is the same image scaled down to the size it would have on a small phone or in one of the smaller feature places in the Android Market app. When taking a look at the image, I think they could have used a different font type since the ‘U’ is not completely visible anymore when down-scaled.
This scaling is the reason why your promotional image should be used to place a high resolution graphic that fits to your app. A big writing of your slogan or app’s name is also appropriate.
It is recommended to use colors other than black or white as a background to differentiate between your image and the Android Market’s design. Personally, I like those graphics that fit into the Markets own color scheme and float over to the description and screenshots, so I think this should be treated in the way you like best. Nonetheless, your background and foreground colors should have a good contrast so that your graphic can be captured by the viewer easily.
What you never should do is reuse content that is provided by the Android Market anyway. So don’t use screenshots, icons or your app’s description in your promotional graphic.
Personally I think that for both the icons and any promotional graphics a custom font should be used. You can find some cool free fonts here http://www.creativebloq.com/graphic-design-tips/best-free-fonts-for-designers-1233380.
We have decided to use the font from the picture for all our promotional stuff including icons in order to create a brand identity. Honestly I believe that the current graphics are a little over filled with content. e Please us the comments to let us know what do you think of our current promotional graphics.
Screenshots
Screenshots should represent your app. When your app is not beautiful, then your screenshots aren't  This leads to the biggest problem most developers have: They are experts in programming, but not in design or usability and are not able to write beautiful apps. When this is the case, there are two ways you can go, ideally you combine them.
The first way is to hire a designer, tell him what you need and implement that design. The second way is to implement a design on your own and do some Bambi tests. Bambi tests are done in this way: You look for someone of your potential target group that never tried your app, the Bambi. You give them a device with which they can try out your app without any advice. Don’t say a word, just let them try. Be careful about the way they use your app, about what’s intuitive to them and what’s not. 
There are a lot of things you can study when it comes to app design and usability, but in the end your app has to be as useful and intuitive as possible to your users. Your screenshots should look exactly like your app does and represent the functionality your app provides. However you should avoid displaying ads in the screenshots.
You can check some of the screenshots we included for our Septica app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ro.bgx.septica
or from the Macao app:

Android Icon Improvements


Icons are undoubtedly one of the most important factors when a user found your app on the Android Market. He typed in the right keywords and received a list of apps showing only two things: The app’s name and its icon. While some users might read the text first, others only see the icons, most of them both.  
How?
Here are some tips that might be helpful to you (or your designer):
The very first tip is: Never ever use the auto-generated icon for your app! This gives your app the appeal of a construction site which is definitely not what most of your users are looking for.
Never use this icon!
Never use this icon!
Second: If you are absolutely not familiar with android Icons, read the Android Icon Design Guidelines. You can see the difference between pre and post Android 2.0-icons there. What you can learn on this site is:
  • Your icons should be front facing, not in a 3D angle.
  • Your icons should have a save margin (6 pixels for each site for a hdpi icon)
  • You should start to work with an at least 512 x 512 pixels art board  864×864 is recommended. This gives you the ability to work more on the details. Later you will need icons in four sizes (512 x 512, 96 x 96, 72 x 72, 48 x 48, 36 x 36) for the Android Market website and the four different screen densities (xhdpi, hdpi, mdpi, ldpi). An icon that has been scaled up looks frayed, especially on the edges, whereas HD graphics on a HD device look just great and polished. You can also use vector graphics using programs like Inkscape.
  • Your icons should be simple. This is a really important point. Your icon needs to be visible in 36 x 36 pixels, so it should focus on the key message: Display what your app is all about in one simple image.
Third: You can use the Android Asset StudioIt can give you a help on designing your apps. It can nottake the burdon of making a good design from your shoulders. What you should not do with this program is:
  • Use the glossy-option, it will make the half of your icon close to invisible
  • Use the text-option
That brings me to my next point: Don’t use text. First of all it is unlikely that a user can read it, especially on small devices. Second, there is enough space for text in the app’s description. The icon is your chance to bring a message to your users eye memory, don’t waste it on letters! Use simple images that are carrying positive emotions to the user. There are exceptions when your brand is already well known and connected to a certain string like ‘Y!’ for Yahoo!
Another point is consistency. Your app shouldn't be a chess game and have a tank on its icon. The design of your icon needs to be in the same color scheme and style as your app is.
Next, you should be careful with the emotions connected to colors. For example red is usually a color of warning for most people, while green is connected to life and growth. Some male people are not able to see the difference of red and green colors, that’s also a point you might want to consider.
You might want to consider creating such a scheme too, also for your apps screendesign itself. This gives them a consistent look and strengthens your corporate design (CD).
Finally, and that’s the most difficult thing to achieve: Make your icon be outstanding! Don’t accept that it is one of many, make it the only icon in the list that immediately arouses the user’s interest (in a positive way). That’s really difficult and can take a lot of time. But, if your app in itself is good, it will be worth it.
Negative example
Here is an example of an icon I just made. It’s been done in one minut using the asset studio.
The don't button
The don't icon
How are your feelings?
What do you think is the app doing? Maybe it is about learning the ABC? Maybe it’s a dictionary? Or a puzzle game based on letters?
How do you feel about the red color? Do you like it or feel positive about it?
How are your feelings about the quality of the app? Polished? Or done-in-a-day?
Before-After
Now here’s another example. I know it’s still far from perfect, but I think you agree it has already improved.
This is how the Septica icon looked like in one of the first versions after the initial release:
After some minor research and some involvement of the engaged Septica facebook fans we decided to use this icon for our Macao application.
Here, the main feature of the app, the ability to play card games, is even more in the foreground. 
I hope you liked this one. I’m not a designer, hence your tipps and experiences are very welcome in the comments.

Personally I like the Android Asset Studio icons, even with the gloss option. But it’s certainly not a replacement for good design principles. And it really needs some tweaking to get beyond the default red & black, border less layout.

Android App description


Description and keywords share a strong relationship, still there are differences. While keywords are used for saying your app is top to the search algorithm, your description needs to say the same thing to the human user. Other than for your keyword placement, the complete description of your app has to be summarized in one sentence. This is because the Android Market is build in a way that wants to give the user a fast overview over the app and its use. The user gets to see the first three lines of text and if he likes it, he will press the ‘More’-button and read your whole description or at least the next three lines. That’s why the first three lines of your description have to be catchy and create a desire for the app. An example:
“The most intuitive, useful and simple to use File Manager on the Android Market”
There you got it: One sentence that says what the app is all about and why the user should install it. Plus ‘File Manager’ as keywords. Of course, some users might disagree with the description, but that will always be the case. Furthermore, to make a judgement, the app has to be downloaded first. I will talk about users in the last part of the ASO-series.
The next lines are also important but can describe the app in more detail. The closer to the end of the description text, the less users will read it, the less important it is (you can place a FAQ here if you want).
So to sum the description part up: Make it human readable, make the first sentence catchy and let it describe the app in three lines (max).
Septica example:
Septica is the most popular card game from Romania , it is simple, fun and addictive.It is perfect when you have to wait a few minutes, you can play it everywhere.
The rules are simple and straight foreword and you will compete with your Android phone, a very challenging AI, you will have to be very careful on how you play or you will most likely lose.
Sedma and Şeptică are Czech and Romanian for seven and little seven, respectively (referring to the wild cards), and zsírozás or zsír is Hungarian for to fatten (referring to the play of aces or tens into tricks). This game may have originated in Hungary or Poland and found its way to Czechoslovakia in the middle of the 20th century or it may have come from Russia It quickly became one of the most popular games in the country.


Android App Keyword optimisation


When you are not featured and don’t want to rely on the Android Market’s ‘just in’ section, keywords are all you have.
They are essential for your app to be found when the user is searching. Keywords are of special use to you, when
  1. they are used often in search queries
  2. your app appears in the top part of the result page
The importance of the frequency of keywords was very high until December 2010. Since then, the Market search algorithm has been changed and the frequency of keywords in an app’s description is not that important anymore. Nevertheless, keywords are still essential for your app’s visibility. How the Android Market is determining the position of your apps will be part of another post.
When you are really serious about optimizing your app for keywords, you will look for good keywords first, and implement your app afterwards.
What are good keywords
Some keywords are bad because no one is querying for them. So how can you find out which keywords to optimize for?
The first step should be: Take a look at the Android Market. Type in some Keywords and see what will happen. When looking at the first apps you will see whether they are found by ‘accident’ and don’t really fit the keywords or if they are in a real correlation to them. When there is no app whose content matches to your search terms, your keywords are either weak, or your idea is unique. When you are convinced the keywords of your app and hence the app itself are unique and useful to millions of people, go ahead and build it! If you are not, you might want to reconsider your idea or release an early candidate, produced after Pareto’s law (80:20).
If there are lots of apps that fit your keywords, you should take a look on the download and rating rates to determine whether the apps found with your keywords are successful  This again is an indicator on whether your keywords are queried often or not. You can also search Google or prominent android forums for apps often wanted and keywords often used.
Keywords: How?
Now that you know which keywords you want to optimize for (it can be an array of keywords, e.g. not only ‘voice’ and ‘recorder’ but also ‘recordings’, ‘speech recorder’, ‘sound’, ‘media player’ and so on), you need to put them into your text. As I said frequency is not as important as it was in the past anymore. Still, your description should include your keywords repeatedly. You should make sure your text is human readable, putting the same keyword as every second word will definitely destroy your description and scare users. You should make sentences that are useful and don’t make it too obvious that you are using keywords. A bad example:
“Keywords: angry birds, birds are angry, rio, bird, …”
A good example (out of the Farm Tower‘s app description):
“… will love the cute animals (pig, cow, chick, chicken, sheep, horse, bull, cat, no angry birds though ;) ) and the funny sounds …”
I think you can see the difference. To benefit from other well known brands like Angry Birds is a way to go, as long at is not too obvious.
As a rule of thumb you can say one keyword string per sentence is a good way to go.
Keywords: Where?
It seems as if the title of an app had a higher relevance than it’s description. If it’s possible, you should also place the most relevant keywords of your app in the app’s name. If possible, you can also choose your developer’s name in a way that it includes keywords (though I don’t do that for self marketing reasons).
Keyword spamming
When you do this too obvious things, what will happen some day is: Your app will be kicked out of Android Market and that’s not what you want. Some popular apps still have a part in their description beginning with ‘Tags: …’ or ‘Keywords: …’ but as I mentioned in another blogpost, one day either these passages or these apps will vanish.
Keywords in a nutshell
To put it in one sentence: Determine good keywords and use them wherever you can, but use them in human readable sentences. The good thing about the Android Market is that you can see the effect of your changes in a day, other than when you are doing website SEO and the spider comes along every two weeks or so.

How to get traction

Target Influencers
  • Focus on influencers within specific communities to drive WOM and evangelism of the product
  • Almost every product starts with a core audience (Crossing the Chasm)

Indulge Early Adopters and Listen
  • Promote early adopters and make them feel special
  • Engage with early adopters and listen to their feedback wherever they leave it (ex: Twitter, forums, blogs, Get Satisfaction, etc.)

Make it Useful w/o Users

  • Early adopters' friends won't be on the service so it must be useful w/o them
  • The initial user experience may not be focused on friends (Hashable as an address book, Foursquare as a game, Instagram as a way to publish photos across various social networks)

Ride Waves
  • New technology opens up opportunities for disruption (ex: iOS and the app ecosystem, HTML5, smart phones)
  • Cultural changes limit but also introduce new interactions and user behavior (ex: location sharing/checking in, increased internet video consumption, gamification)

Provide the Pickaxe
  • Similar to riding the wave, provide the tools needed for publishers (ex: YouTube's video publishing, Soundcloud embeddable audio player, Wordpress blogs for writers)

Create Exclusivity, Scarcity, Urgency
  • Private and invite-only betas increase user's desire for access and can help generate some hype
  • Emulate a land grab by providing users the ability to claim "land" on a first-come-first-serve basis (ex: About.me's vanity URL registration before launch, Convore's chat room creation/moderation)

Give Users Tools to Evangelize

  • Embeddable widgets that allow users to distribute content across the web, particularly powerful when its their content (read: expression)
  • Make sharing easy, fun, and intrinsic

Fake It
  • Fake user activity early on to make the product feel desired and active (ex: Dating sites w/ fake user profiles and messages)
  • Fake technology before its built in order to validate the value of the feature or interaction - allows for faster iteration (ex: Aardvark manually categorized and directed questions to users initially)

Seed Content and Communities
  • Seed user profiles with personal content to add immediate personalization and usefulness (ex: fflick aggregates Twitter user's movie mentions, Squarespace provide blog importing tools)
  • Create communities around a specific entity (person, brand, etc.) to encourage those entities to claim ownership and engage (ex: Get Satisfaction, LinkedIn company profiles)

And of course, create a badass product with effective engagement, re-engagement, and viral design.



1.      Create a good, simple product that solves a need in the market -  No matter how great your marketing is and how thoroughly you follow each one of the steps written below, unless you have a good product that is clear to understand and fulfills a real need which exists in the market, you won't be able to succeed in growing your network of users. Make sure the basis is there before going forward.
2.      Do one thing well rather than doing a few things not so well - make sure your product offering is good. Really good. It's better to do one thing well than spreading yourself too wide. Have a simple product that does what it proposes to do and does it well. In many cases this will also enable you to focus on a niche market first before conquering the whole world. Once you figure out that your value proposition works in one niche, you can take on the whole world. Too many startups try to take on the whole world too quickly. Take it one step at a time.
3.      Invite all your friends and acquaintances. Once you've determined that your product is good and provides a solution to a real existing need, invite everyone you know to it. This should get you your first few hundred to a thousand visitors/users. Not only would this phase get you your first set of users, but it will also give you valuable feedback regarding what sort of response you get for the product, how to improve your offering and valuable time to fix bugs that are found. If even your friends are not entering the site, then you know that you're not in the right direction.
4.      Word of mouth. When a site is good, people tell their friends about it even if the 'viral loop' isn't yet perfectly optimized. If you see that this 'viral loop' is not occurring, you need to determine why. Go over your site offering, see what can be added/changed/integrated in order to make this viral loop a reality. Have you integrated enough social incentives in the product in order to make it viral? Have you added gamification features that will make the landscape more competitive and 'sticky'? Are all the sharing options in place? This is very important. Make sure that you're enabling your users to evangelize your product easily and spread the word.
5.      Blog and media coverage. Make sure to be where the early adopters hang out. This includes: Social networks and top tech blogs. If you're going to pitch to a blogger for coverage, make sure you know what you're doing. Otherwise you will probably damage your brand more than help it. If you're not sure that you know how to pitch, hire a professional to do it. In the same way that you wouldn't fix your car in-house, unless you're a mechanic, you shouldn't do your own pitching in-house unless: 1) You know how to pitch to perfection and  2) You have the personal connections with bloggers who you desire to write about your product. Make sure to nurture those media connections and be in contact with them on a regular basis.
6.      Buying traffic/users. Facebook ads and Google AdWords are some of the most common ways of bringing traffic to your site/product. No other company on earth knows more about you than Facebook. Facebook knows your age, your marital status, your hometown, your friends, your job, your likes, your dislikes, your hobbies, etc. Therefore there's no better way to bring the correct target audience to your site/product, than via Facebook.
7.     SEO. Even a 'social' site can be structured to generate a bunch of content pages that will do well in search engines. Yelp is great at this, and it looks like Hunch is going that way too.
8.      Viral Growth - Invites. Your user flow and service need to be optimized so that users are incentivized to invite their friends. Add in an invite-structure that will on the one hand, give your site a feel of exclusivity (a limited number of invites), but on the other hand give the first users/influencers the power to invite up to a certain number of contacts so that they can better enjoy the service and feel " a part of the founding team of members".
9.      Viral Growth - Content Creation. Sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Posterous grow largely because users create content that draws in visitors, and some of those visitors convert into users that create more content, which draws in visitors...Take a look at your site/app. Does it require users to upload interesting content? If not, maybe you should rethink your strategy. New fresh content is what's going to keep people coming back to your site.
10.   Retention. The oft-ignored aspect of growth is keeping your old users around. If they're leaving, then you have a leaky bucket and your true active user count lags behind your registered user count. Try to find the source of your leak . Ask users for their feedback, ask people who have never been on your site to come with a fresh pair of eyes and tell you what's wrong with your current offering. Don't trust your own judgement. You've been around this product for way too long and are already blind to seeing what a fresh pairs of eyes can catch in seconds. Once you figure out what's wrong with the process, you can start brainstorming on ways to stop the leak.  Once users love the service enough to stick around, then you can take the time to figure out the right way to get them to invite others.

How to promote an Android App?





Most app makers start with an attitude of ‘if you build it, they will come,’ so they start by building an app. Then they start the public relations trail, and build up an audience. It’s a great way to build an app, gain a following, and start making money.

A different way to do it is to create a ‘placeholder’ app. Offer an app for download, but when users download it, offer them a place to register, some information about the app’s possibilities, and no app. That’s right, don’t give them an app right away. While eventually, you will have to get the app made, it’s easier to commit to a project that already has customers. Likewise, it’s easier to get seed money when you already have customers.

Just submit to the android marketplace!

Make sure the package name is keyword relevant Good title. Max out the description, stuff keywords. Max out all the assets, including a youtube video. Update once a week to show more installs to push you up the search results.

Submit a press release to pr sites.
Write articles on fast indexing sites like xomba.

Submitting to the marketplace though is pretty much self promoting. Your app will appear on dozens of websites without having to do a thing.


Before you make any sort of promotional effort, you need to do the following:
1) Make sure you have a good rating. Get 10 friends to give you 5-stars. Nobody wants to download an unrated app (or even one with less than 5 ratings).
2) Add a video on the app store. It doesn't need to be pro, just something that gives a good indication of what your app does.
3) Make sure your screenshots are good and your description is accurate. The first sentence is the most important for describing what the app does.

After it's on the store (free version):
1) Post in forums
2) Submit it to review websites
3) Write up a press release (catchy headline, what your app does, why is it better - have a good angle) and send it to every news / tech / related website you can find. Who knows, 1 or 2 websites out of the 100s might write something about you, which can get you 100s of downloads. It's worth the hours it takes to do this. Also, use some Mail Merge software to make it personal (as simple as "Hi [name]").
4) Find influential twitter users that you think would use your app. Send them a message - dont harass them though. Be sincere. If they like it and they haven't tweeted about it, ask them to.

Summary

Video Marketing:
The video marketing is important tool for internet advertising. We can explain the features of our apps by creating videos. The videos can be placed on various websites to attract the audience. This can serve as great tool for promotion of android apps.


Use of Social media:
We can use various social websites such as Face-book, twitter, linked-In, You-tube for promotion of android apps.


Publish apps reviews:
You can have reviews in the form of small description about your app,
ratings of the apps, review date. This will help people know aboutthe android apps.


Forums & Blog posting:
We can participate in the forums & blog posting for the marketing of the android apps. It will help to share the information about our apps.


Swap banner ads:
You can publish your ad on other website giving same service as you, ask him to place his ad on your website. The banners will help to direct the audience to app stores.


Free trails:
Serve some of the features at free of cost. So that the users can analyze the features, ask user to put feedback. This will help to promote your apps .


Showcase app in website:
If you existing website for the service you provide then you can showcase the apps there and redirect the users to the main description page of apps.

Press Release:
We can share the information about the apps by having press release.


Email Marketing:
This can serve as great tool for promotion. We can share our apps information by sending emails to people , groups.Mass email all your users and friend, and encourage them to download the app and give it a high ranking.


Advertising outlets:
Advertising is a great idea for any kind of app. Get to know the sites where the website fits to your app category and buy some ad space to promote app .You can even contact few bloggers who are willing to put up ads for your app or even for review it. Popularizing app through advertising promotions is a great way to reach large number of people and get a good user base.


Newsletters:
Publishingnewsletters for the apps promotion will help in increasing the
audiencefor your apps.


Appdirectories & article posting :
This can serve as great tool for generating quality traffic
forthe android apps.