Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, July 11, 2011

App Discovery Evolving

With literally hundreds of thousands of apps vying for attention, and app stores falling down on the job of helping them get attention, it's little wonder that people have taken to gaming the system to get noticed. In Apple's App Store, that took the form of incentivized app installs, where you'd pay a company in the range of $25,000 to get your app downloaded enough times to make it into the Top 100 list, where presumably its sudden visibility would then result in enough sales for your expenditure to make sense.

Apple took a dim view of this practice and outlawed it, resulting in a short-term problem for the companies that offered such deals. As you might expect, though, they are coming up with new ways to get an app noticed while avoiding problems with Apple. And still managing to make a nice piece of change from the business, too.

W3i has come up with what they call the Mobile App Ad Network, which allows a developer to offer an app for a free download in a banner ad that appears in other apps. The idea is that since it doesn't work like incentivized app installs (where you'd get virtual currency in exchange for downloading an app), it shouldn't run afoul of Apple's rules. At least until Apple changes the rules again, of course.

Another company, TapJoy, which also had been running incentivized app installs, has now begun offering cost-per-action ads, where you can get virtual currency by watching ad videos.

The problem still remains unsolved, though, as evidenced by the fact that most app developers only manage to sell a few hundred copies of their apps, which is far less than some of these apps deserve. It's also true there are far too many me-too type games out there that don't deserve to sell very many copies.

Bottom line: Be very careful about spending money on app advertising campaigns.


  1. Sounds like a nice attempt to fix the app market, dunno how effective it will be.

    Thanks for the warning, I'll keep it in mind.