Deborah Liu – the Facebook executive responsible for Facebook App Install Ads

Buzzfeed recently wrote an in-depth profile of Deborah Liu, the Facebook executive responsible for Facebook App Install Ads.

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App marketing insight:

Facebook App Install Ads have generated 245 million app installs (that number has surely grown since the article was published on February 12).

Facebook’s gargantuan user base and mobile traffic is one of the company’s key differentiators for app install ads vs. competitors.

Facebook now has an ad unit for developers to “re-engage” with a user after they’ve installed an app.

Facebook is currently testing displaying ads in other apps.

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Fiksu Continues Strong Growth and Is Hiring Aggressively

A recent Boston Business Journal article charts the continued growth of Fiksu, one of the leading app marketing companies.

Boston-based Fiksu, which offers technologies for marketing mobile apps, expects to add about 100 employees over the next year — and half of the new hires could be in Boston, founder and CEO Micah Adler said in an interview.

The growth comes as interest in releasing mobile apps — including among major brands — continues to swell, and as app makers flock to Facebook’s mobile offerings as a venue for advertising their apps.

In June, Fiksu moved from a 13,000-square-foot office on Arch Street to a 26,000-square-foot space at 31 St. James Avenue in the Back Bay. The move was made to accommodate the growth of the company’s staff — Fiksu now employs 150 in Boston — as well as future hiring, Adler said.

Read the entire Boston Business Journal article.

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Have you used Fiksu for marketing your app? Let us know what your experience was – contact us for a Q&A or case study.

Lessons from trying multiple app marketing channels presentation – Stefanie Eisenschenk at App Promotion Summit Berlin

Stefanie Eisenschenk is the Marketing Manager at Zattoo, the leading international mobile and online TV and video service with over 11 million registered users. In this presentation, embedded below, from the recent App Promotion Summit, Eisenschenk charts the lessons learned from trying multiple app marketing channels and getting to the top of ipad charts.

The presentation, without the context of Eisenschenk’s discussion, is a little dense in places, but this is valuable information from a successful app promotion campaign.

'Lessons from trying multiple app marketing channels' – Stefanie Eisenschenk at App Promotion Summit Berlin from App Promotion Summit Conference

035 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Carter Thomas interview

The 35th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Carter Thomas of Bluecloud Solutions. Bluecloud is a USA based iphone app marketing company that specializes in iPhone application monetization. Carter built and sold over 400+ iPhone and iPad apps (mostly games) in his first two years as an iOS marketer

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Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

034 APPetite App Marketing podcast – JawCandy interview

The 34th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Leon Dorado and Arash Eskandari of JawCandy. Leon and Arash discuss the development process for their first app Bumify, and why they’ve made the decision to release future apps by reskinning existing apps. JawCandy’s forthcoming apps include Chicken Choke and Mustache Mojo.

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Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

033 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Greg Hickman interview

Full text transcript of podcast interview below.

The 33rd episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with mobile marketing expert Greg Hickman. Greg is the host of the Mobile Mixed podcast – a podcast I strongly recommend. In this interview, Greg shares mobile marketing tactics and strategies that app developers can use to drive app downloads and create engaged app users.

Greg Hickman

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Full text transcript of Episode 33 of the APPetite App Marketing podcast – Greg Hickman interview:

Jeff Rutherford: Welcome to the 33rd episode of the APPetite App Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Jeff Rutherford. Stay tuned for my interview with Greg Hickman. Greg is the host of the Mobile Mixed Podcast. He’s going to talk about a wide range of mobile marketing tactics and strategies to help you drive downloads and market your own app. Stay tuned for the interview.

Jeff: Welcome back to the APPetite App Marketing podcast. My guest today is Greg Hickman, the host of the Mobile Mixed podcast. Greg is also the mobile marketing manager at Cabela’s, the retailer. Greg, welcome to the podcast.

Greg Hickman: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Jeff: Sure. First, I just wanted to let my audience know that they should definitely go out and check out your podcast, Mobile Mixed. There’s a lot of great info there. They should take a look at it, download it, listen to it. Not everything will apply specifically to app marketing, but I think they’ll learn a lot, so I just wanted to throw that out there.

Greg: [laughs] Thanks, I appreciate it.

Jeff: I wanted to just start off and get a little bit about who you are, just your personal background and how you got into mobile marketing.

Greg: Sure. After graduating college, I got started working at a marketing agency in Connecticut that represented Pepsi and Unilever, very full service agency, doing everything from TV to radio, print, online, and my boss had actually left and went to a small promotional company that was focused on mobile.
This was in 2005 at the time. It seemed really interesting to me, so I chose to take a new opportunity and we were doing a lot of mobile promotions for professional sports teams like the New York Jets, the Florida Marlins, Carolina Panthers, as well as AT&T, promoting a lot of their third party content providers such as like Sony Pictures and EA Games.

You need to remember that at this time, there was no iPhones, so a lot of the marketing was definitely text message marketing based and how that tied to in person live events and also other online initiatives, was there for a handful of years and really just fell in love with mobile and believe that it was going to “the next thing” and really a great marketing vehicle to connect with an audience and customers.

From there, it had gone on to do some consulting, started my own text message marketing company, and then worked with a network of 300 shopping centers across the United States, implementing mobile marketing programs for them. Around that time, just it is, was 2008 or so, then do that for a handful of years and along that time, last year, we’re talking right now in July of 2013.

About June of 2012, I started Mobile Mixed, which was really just started off as a mission for me to connect with other people that I thought were doing really cool things in Mobile. It started off as this interview based show, and then it started adding blog content, editorial content, and really just started training people on how to be a better mobile marketer based off of my experience and the experiences of those that I’ve been interviewing.

It’s really just evolved. The site and podcast are taking off, and I’m super excited about those. Those actually led me into working with Cabela’s as well. I lead the mobile marketing strategy for Cabela’s which, as you mentioned, is a very large retailer in the hunting, camping, and fishing space.

All things mobile for them, I am kind of leading a team in an effort to make them more mobile.

Jeff: One of the things I’ve noticed with your podcast is that, recently, you’ve created some very specific niche content, an episode is directed at very specific businesses, like one that comes to mind is you did one, if I’m not mistaken, hair salons and how they could use mobile marketing.

Not necessarily for game developers who are listening to this, but definitely, developers of productivity apps, I think that the strategy that you did could be a good strategy. One thing that comes to mind that I’m familiar with is the company Evernote, which a lot of people are familiar with, they do a ton of blog content where they have what they refer to as Evernote ambassadors, where they’ll do blog things such as how to plan a vacation using Evernote or how to be a better parent using Evernote, et cetera.

I just wanted to talk about that for a moment in terms of your old decision and wondered how did you decide to create those specific niche episodes, and what has the response been?

Greg: That’s a great question. Basically, as I was building my audience in the blog and podcast, I get a lot of people that would essentially reach out to me and say, “Hey, this is my type of business. How can I use mobile? I don’t think mobile would work for me.” I got to a point where I was like I’m on a mission to basically do an episode that’s about all different types of business, and I call the podcast series, “How blank can use mobile marketing.”

I still have this long running list of topics that I’m making my way through, and I’ve really just been prioritizing based on the request that have come through. A lot of the people that tune in to my show are marketing consultants and small business owners that are providing services to a small business owner such as a restaurant or a salon.

I literally just got an email right before we got on this call from an eye doctor who wants me to do an episode about how eye doctors can use mobile. A lot of it just comes from request, which has been great, makes my life a lot easier because I’m just delivering the content that people are asking for. It really just stemmed from the fact that a lot of people have come to me and said that they don’t believe that mobile can work in their business, and I was basically on a mission to go out and prove them all wrong.

Jeff: I assume the response has been great to the wounds you’ve done.

Greg: Yeah, it has been great. I’m fairly new to the blogging and podcasting world and the online marketing world. I’ll be doing mobile forever, but building an audience and generating traffic and all that stuff has been fairly new to me. The site is a little over a year old now, as of earlier this month.

A combination between that series and the episodes where I’m not interviewing people, and it’s more just me, solo episodes, teaching people, things that I’ve learned, more that I’ve come across really is what has sparked a lot of the growth.

Again, it is very, very niche in the topic. If I’m doing an episode on restaurants, an app developer might be like, “That’s not for me.” Those that have chosen to listen to the episodes that maybe outside of their focus, I’ve actually received a handful of emails that are like, “Wow, that actually really helped me think about mobile differently in my business and knowing a restaurant or whatever.”

That’s sort of the point and from a content marketing perspective, if you’re not…This is really for all business. We can talk about this is how this relates to an app developer, but if you’re not talking to one specific person, it makes it really hard for people to follow the story and follow what you’re trying to say.
As you hone in on one person, so even though I’m just talking about restaurants in one episode, whoever is listening knows what a restaurant is. They’re able to at least put themselves in that position or put themselves in those shoes to at least relate to it, that even that relation is more powerful than media saying, “It really doesn’t matter what type of business you have, you can do all of these things.” It just makes it harder for someone to connect with it.
Just because of that alone, those episodes and that series itself has definitely done well for the site.

Jeff: How would you relate that to something that an app developer could do in terms of trying to gain that audience or content marketing?

Greg: I’ve been involved in a lot of apps that have been developed, and one thing I could say is that I think a lot of people fall short on is starting the planning of how you’re going to market it, when you start developing the app.

For most people, it’s a fairly long process to develop an app. It could take multiple months. As you start developing, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to market and who you’re going to market to.

If you’re building an app, just like if you’re building a restaurant, you should have a specific type of customer or user in mind. Starting to layout who that customer is, who that typical user is, what are their user habits, where do they spend their time, and really start training this persona of…My customer is Jack, and he has two young children, and he lives in the Southeast and loves to go fishing or whatever.

He always has his phone with him. He’s in his early 50′s, so he might not be as augmented to reality yet. Maybe he’s using some of these more basic features like text messaging. How can I create an app that’s going to resonate with him? Really identifying who that person is and creating something for that person is really the start. Then knowing where you’re going to go and where that person is that you can then market to them.

People get stuck in this concept of “the product will sell itself,” and yes, the product will sell itself one you put it in front of the right audience, but you need to find the right audience. If you’re not doing anything to build awareness about this amazing product, then who’s ever going to find out about it?

Jeff: That’s great. I think that doing those personas is really key and really valuable for marketing, because I’ve talked to potential clients before, not necessarily app developers, but just in the technology and software space. I ask them who their ideal customer is, and they say, “Everybody.” I’m like, “Oh.” [laughs]

Try to market everybody, you’re not going to be successful, so I think you’re right. Again, circling back to the whole content marketing and your idea of doing these niche podcast episode, again, I think app developers…I use the Evernote example. There are a lot of other examples out there, where you are talking to a specific audience of how they can use your app and you’re either writing a blog or doing a podcast.

As you mentioned, the eye doctor example, I’m sure there are lots of people out there doing a Google search, how can doctors use blank, use a productivity app? It’s something to think about in terms of your content marketing strategy.

Greg: Even this is not necessarily specific to, say, a mobile app developer, but look at HubSpot. They’re a software company and they have one the most traffic blogs on the Internet when it comes to marketing advice. They generate a lot of awareness about themselves and how to market, how to use their tools, not even just their tools, how to use the concept of their tools in more of a general sense.

I can imagine what type of traffic and awareness that has created for them. Really, just the lead generation that it’s created for them. They come with all of these amazing white papers that you have to download and provide your email address. I’ve downloaded a handful of them, and they follow up with you.

They’re like, “Hey, what interest you about this? How can we help? Are you looking for a software like HubSpot? If not, maybe we can point in the right direction.”
They’re just being helpful. They’re just creating good content, and that’s their marketing. They spent a lot of time and effort on creating that content, and in a lot of ways, aren’t spending probably as much money as other businesses are, in order to get the word out. That works for them.

Jeff: HubSpot is a great example, and I just want to emphasize what you just mentioned that they have a free blog, obviously, that tons of people are coming to. In order to get those emails, they offer white papers and case studies and eBooks, PDF eBooks, that are gated, meaning you have to give them your email to get it.

For an app developer example, figuring out some type of content that you could create, that would have enough value, that you could work with a designer or a friend to design a really nice looking PDF and then you ask people for their email in terms of the download process. I agree with that. That’s a great strategy.
I wanted to talk about, you’ve talked a lot on your podcast and your blog articles about using mobile marketing, specifically text messaging, and as you talked about how you got into the marketing and mobile marketing industry around text, how could an app marketer, in your opinion use text messaging as part of their tactics and strategies to drive downloads or to find engaged users.

Greg: That’s a good question. I would say, you need to understand the channel of SMS, first. Obviously, SMS is a very immediate channel, over 90 percent of text messages are read within minutes. How does that become an advantage to someone like an app developer that’s promoting it? Maybe early on, as they start marketing it, they build their website, and they have people signing up to be kept up to date on when certain things released and update and stuff like that.

You can have them subscribe to a text message marketing [?] less, because when that thing goes live, you basically send out a text message with a link that takes them to the app store so they can download the app. That’s a lot easier than doing it from an email. It’s direct, it’s going to be read super fast, and it’s already on their phone, so you obviously know they’re looking at it on their phone.

It’s going to open up the app store, and they’re going to be able to very quickly get the app on your phone. That comes on to, “Where does that text call to action go? How do you incorporate it into your marketing?”

You need to think about all of the other channels, and I always say that mobile is one of the most complementary channels that exist and probably the most dependent channel that exist.

If you don’t add that text call to action to, say, a print ad, or your website, or a radio spot, or your podcast, there’s no way that people are going to know about it. If you’re creating that content as this app developer and you’re creating the content early, you’re building an audience talking about what problem is this app going to solve for you.

You’re constantly referring them to subscribe to this list to get more tips and to be kept up to date on when this product is going to release quickly. Send a text message with a link to download it. Other ways, I’d say that’s probably the main one, having that list, to be an acquisition source, but you could do some sort of text sweepstakes.

If it’s a paid app, maybe people could opt in to win a free version or win some sort of experience that the developer is giving away that maybe is going to enhance the app, something like that.

As you’re building it, people that are interested can follow along and they can opt in to have a behind the scenes view of you building this thing, or have small group chats to have your interested audiences help facilitate what features and functionality go into it.

This obviously all needs to be planned early, but it could be a way to acquire those that are interested in participating in that.

Jeff: That’s great advice.

I wanted to see if we could drilldown a little bit, because if someone’s listening who is a solo app developer.

Are there vendors or tools that you would recommend, or a place on your site where you have recommendations, so that someone could implement collecting those telephone numbers and sending out the SMS or text message blast when you announce the app? How does that work? Can you give us an idea around is it something that’s affordable for small developers?

Greg: Absolutely. I list a handful of solutions that a small business owner or app developer can use on my site in my Resources page. You can visit mobilemixed.com/resources and I go through all the resources that I use and recommend.

To name a couple of them, a good one for an app developer might be a company called Mogreet. They have a product called Mogreet Express. They just got acquired by a company called Tevia. If you go to mogreet.com, M O G R E E T, they do SMS and MMS.

The reason I mention them first is because one, their team is amazing, and two, their product is very affordable. The plans start at 30 bucks a month. You can also include picture and video messaging, in addition to the text part of it.

As an app developer, you can maybe give away sneak peak screenshots of certain things and have a link to a survey. In the wire framing stage, you can send out a message that says, “Check out this quick video. This is what we’re planning. Click the link below and give us your feedback.” Something like that.
You could start making it more of an interactive experience, and obviously more visual, since you are creating the app and it’s going to be something that’s in someone’s hand at some point. That could be a cool way.

Outside of that I would look at probably a company called Waterfall Mobile. They have a small business solution that’s pretty powerful as well, then there are some other cheaper ones that are out there that I have on my site. From an app developer perspective the Mogreet one could be pretty interesting, because of that multimedia messaging capability.

Jeff: That’s great. You mentioned earlier that you’ve been involved in the development of some apps. From your own perspective, have you seen any particular tactics or strategies that worked, in terms of driving downloads and finding engaged users?

Greg: One, I would say that a lot of the apps that I’ve been involved in were a part of the business, they weren’t the business.
What I mean by that, some of the app developers that are listening might be making an app where it’s, say, like Hotel Tonight, or something like that, where the app actually is the business or, say, like in Uber as a mobile first, started off as a mobile only, really is a mobile only business, whereas the companies that I’ve been involved with apps for the most part, have had other marketing channels.

App is now one part of the strategy. In those scenarios, I always refer to what I call asset activation. You have all of these assets already. You probably have an email list. You probably have other marketing channels. You have a website, so maybe you’ve been in business for a while. You have traffic. Maybe you already have a newsletter and things like that.

Leveraging the things that you already have. If you have an in store experience, having signage in the store. Leverage the things that you already have that are going to essentially be as close to free as possible for you.

Outside of that, some really good paid solutions that have worked are Facebook app install units are amazing. I would definitely recommend app developers looking to using Facebook advertising. You can target very, very, heavily in to the interests of people and what other things that they may have liked.
For example, if you’re building an app and you know that your ideal customer might be a HubSpot customer, you can create an ad that will be seen by people that have expressed interest and liked HubSpot on Facebook.

You can do that multiplied by however many other brands and products that are out on Facebook that people may have liked, and really, really, target who sees your app install unit. Basically, it puts, if you’ve seen it, at least on the mobile version, a big ad unit with a button that says “Install this app.”
It takes you right to installing the app. If you do it right, and again you focus on where your customer is and what other brands and products they might be interested in, it can be very, very, cost effective, so I’ve seen that be successful.

There’s a company. I’d have to look back to see what episode it was, but a gentleman by the name of Craig Palli was on my podcast. He works for a company called Fiksu, F I K S U. They are a mobile app marketing company. They help generate quality downloads and help you acquire loyal app users.

They have a lot of strategies. We dive in to a handful of them in the episode, from how you pay, paid solutions, and also free solutions for finding those loyal users. They actually have services that help you do so, depending on your budget.

I know they’ve worked with Hotel Tonight. That’s one of their clients. If you’re building an app that you aspire to be like a Hotel Tonight, I would definitely check out Fiksu, because that’s who Hotel Tonight used.

Jeff: That’s great. I interviewed someone from Fiksu as well. I think that’s great. They do have a lot of great offerings for app developers looking for downloads. That’s great.

Greg: Lastly, I would say one thing that you need to be thinking about is this day and age there are a lot of apps out there, so you have tons of competition. You need to understand that 80 to 90 percent of all apps that are downloaded are used once before never being used again, or being deleted.
More importantly, from your marketing, obviously, you need to make sure you have a good product that’s going to keep people coming back. When you do come out and launch, you need to have some sort of strategy for that initial, for a lack of a better term, welcome series.

What’s the experience that a new app user is going to go through in that first 90 days? How are you going to connect with them over the course of 90 days, once they’ve downloaded the app, to make sure they come back?

You can do all that you can to get people to download it, but if you’re not keeping them engaged, either with the app, obviously there’s a product problem.
If there’s a communication problem, you need to have something in place that is going to reengage them when they go idle for a certain amount of time, and things like that that I think a lot of people don’t think about when they’re building the app because they are just an app developer. Maybe they don’t have marketing experience or things like that.

It’s way bigger than just the app, although, again, if your app sucks, then no matter how good your marketing is, it doesn’t matter.
Thinking about ways to make a splash, one that comes to mind and, I’m not really sure how they did it but if your audience is listening they should look in to this. Did you hear of the app called Mailbox?

Jeff: Yeah, where they have a gated entry?

Greg: A waitlist.

Jeff: Yeah, waitlist…

Greg: There are hundreds of thousands of people on that waitlist, all of my friends that got in early. I don’t know how they saw it, some sort of social sharing. When you signed up, it said, “Share that you’re signed up.” I saw that and that’s how I signed up through some sort of social sharing.

It became this crazy viral thing that you got on, and every day you were checking to see where you were on this list. “How close am I to finally getting this thing that everybody’s talking about?” I will tell you I personally got frustrated with that after a long time because it didn’t seem like I was getting any closer at all. I complained a few times. They responded. That was great, and then they got acquired.

I got approved to use it, probably a few weeks before they got acquired, and I forget who they got acquired by.

Jeff: I think it was Dropbox.

Greg: Yeah, possibly Dropbox.

Jeff: Possibly.

Greg: Once they got acquired, I had friends that were 400,000 on the list and they were moving up over 100,000 spots a day. I was so frustrated they were moving so fast, because they had that bandwidth. That happened for a long time. That was months that they were building that anticipation. I’m sure it definitely turned some people away. They were like, “Screw this. I shouldn’t have to wait.”

That didn’t probably cost them anything. They got people engaged, excited about this product that looked super sexy, and something that was going to solve a problem that a lot of people were trying to solve, and then they let everyone share it for them and market it for them. It turned into this viral thing.

If you can think about ways to get people to become these ambassadors before the product ever even becomes available, you’re going to be in a much better position when you launch.

Jeff: That’s great advice. What apps, personally, have you downloaded and used, in the last six or eight months, that really impressed you and that you have gone back to?

Greg: That’s a really good question. I’m taking out my phone right now.

Jeff: [laughs]

Greg: I’ve had Mailbox for more than a few months, but I use that pretty much religiously. I use Evernote a lot. I didn’t, obviously, download that recently.
One that I’ve had for a while that I like, but I do use it all the time, is Camera Plus. It’s an amazing camera app, one that I’ve found that I like more than any of the others.

Have you heard of Cobook?

Jeff: I don’t think I have.

Greg: It’s like an address book, but it’s like an address book on steroids. I use it now. I have an iPhone, so I use it in place of the regular address book. I wouldn’t say I have to use it every day, but I do use it a lot.

One that I just downloaded that I have been using pretty religiously is Evernote Hello.

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Greg: I just came across that a couple of weeks ago at a conference. When I meet people, I take a picture of them, I add their contact information, and then it shows me a time line of when I met these people.

When I get home and I’m like, “Oh, remember that girl that did that thing that I met at that conference,” I could just go back see when I was at that conference and easily find them. I can scan the business card. That one has been a life saver.

Those are the most recent ones.

Jeff: That’s all the questions that I had. Did you have anything else that you wanted to add in terms of thoughts that you have in terms of how to drive downloads in app marketing?

Greg: Yeah, I would say one thing. When I worked with the shopping centers, we were rolling out applications for all of these malls across the country, and we did something I thought helped us create awareness. This was expensive, but this gives you an idea of the things you can do.

We created life size iPhone costumes. They were 32 inch LCD screens built into…We had professional costume designers build the most crazy…You wear this costume that is connected to wheelchair batteries that power this LCD screen that is connected to an iPhone. It looked exactly like a large iPhone that you could wear.
It was probably about 65 pounds. It was pretty heavy to wear for a handful of hours. But we built three of them and we took them around the country to all of these malls as the apps launched. We went out and solicited PR, local radio and local TV.

Imagine your little shopping mall in your town and you’re walking through the mall, like if it’s an outdoor mall, and there’s this life size iPhone walking at you and engaging you and handing you a flier to download the app with the URL and all of the information.

That drew a lot of attention. That’s one on one direct marketing. The people that we sent out there, we trained them on how to use the app. The app was on the screen as they’re walking around wobbling through the mall.

We went out and we got local TV so we had local stations like FOX, ABC, NBC come and cover it. You’re sitting at home at night in your local market and all of a sudden see a news spot where there’s this big iPhone walking around. It catches your attention.

It did cost money to build those things. You could probably do it much more affordable than what we did, but things like that where it’s not a lot of people are doing it, it connects directly with your customer.

Obviously, it’s a mall app. Where do we go? To the mall that has the apps. They’re obviously already customers to the mall, they’re in the mall. Now you’re just letting them know there’s this new way to engage.

You need to think about creative ways to stand out, make a splash, even if it’s in a very small local market. It doesn’t need to be this national thing. Start off small, and if you get picked up on local news stations that’s not going to hurt your promotion effort.
I just wanted to share that story because I think that once we did that, we literally had even app developers and other companies calling us saying, “Hey, can we buy the suit?” or “Can we rent out the suit?”

We literally started a service where we were renting out this costume, one of these three costumes, and shipping it around the country to people that were interested in using it to promote their own app. That was interesting, too. It could potentially spawn this whole other business but it was a hassle to deal with that part.

It just goes to show you that app developers were interested and agencies that were building apps were interested in using this thing to promote their own app.

Jeff: That sounds great. It reminds me of actually in my PR business, I’ve talked to a few app developers who are developing apps for specifically the college market. What I’ve always told them is going back to the Facebook example.

Start with one campus because again if you…Going back to your persona, is if you say I’m going after a college market, it’s difficult to boil the ocean and reach the “college markets.” Start with one school and do everything that you can. Have people there on the ground, ambassadors getting other students to download the app. I think that’s a great example of that kind of real world.

Again, we’ve been speaking with Greg Hickman of the Mobile Mixed podcast. Definitely go and check out his podcast as I mentioned before. Greg, thanks for doing this interview.

Greg: Thank you so much, Jeff. I appreciate it.

032 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Luis Levy of NovyPR interview

The 32nd episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Luis Levy of NovyPR. Levy discusses how app developers and small app studios can best market their iOS and Android apps and games. Levy also reveals how app developers can use Reddit to help gain attention for their apps and games.

Luis Levy of NovyPR

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

App Marketing – Required Reading

If you’re trying to figure out the app ecosystem and how to market your iOS or Android apps, here are some recent articles that might give you some additional insight:

Five Essential Tips for App Marketing on Facebook (free eBook via Fiksu)

AppClover guest post: The 5 proven phases of app marketing research, part 1: Idea exploration, AppClover guest post: The 5 proven phases of app marketing research, part 2: Market validation, and AppClover guest post: The 5 proven phases of app marketing research, part 3: Revenue projection via the Trademob blog.

6 Cost-Effective Ways To Acquire More App Users via iMedia Connection

How to Lower Your App Development Costs by Chocolate Lab Apps

App Marketing Essential Series (Part 1) and App Marketing Essential Series (Part 2) by Appriqot, a company building a mobile advertising platform.

031 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Sam & Seth Coster, Butterscotch Shenanigans, interview

The 31st episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Sam and Seth Coster, of Butterscotch Shenanigans, developers of the new game Quadropus Rampage available for iOS and Android.

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 4.58.55 PM

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

030 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Trevor McKendrick interview, Salem Software LLC

The 30th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Trevor McKendrick of Salem Software LLC. Trevor discusses how he created a popular Spanish Language Bible app for iOS including determining a profitable app niche, hiring developers, and optimizing the app for discovery via the app store.

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 9.42.26 AM

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

iPhone 4 Home Screen – Jeff Rutherford

Sometimes app developers plan and design their apps in relative isolation. We happen to think it’s important for app developers know what popular mobile apps people are using on a daily basis. That knowledge is not so that you will design a knock-off app, but you need to know what apps do people come back to over and over again – and what can you, as a developer, learn from those popular apps?

Is there a feature or design in Instagram or Evernote that you could incorporate into the game or utility app that you’re building? With that said, we’re going to have a regular APPetite feature where we showcase someone’s home screen so that you can see what apps people are using and loving on a daily basis.

photo

Camera – even thought I increasingly use Instagram to take photos, I often resort to the iOS camera to take a quick shot or video.

iOS Messages

Facebook

Good Todo – Everyone has their own productivity system and apps. I happen to like Mark Hurst’s Good ToDo web service and apps.

Tweetbot – Still the best Twitter app, hands down, in my opinion.

Google+ – I know the tech press loves to hate Google+. If all my friends/family would move from Facebook and Twitter, I’d happily use Google+ as my sole social network. Until then, I’m an active Google+ user in addition to Facebook and Twitter. I also really like how the G+ app on my phone automatically uploads any new photos that I take – unprompted. I have the ability to share those photos any way that I’d like via G+ – there’s no automatic sharing – just automatic uploading.

Kindle – I use Kindle, but I also use and love ReadMill for eBook reading. I’ll be moving ReadMill to my home screen very soon. If you use your phone for eBook reading, I strongly encourage you to check out ReadMill.

Calendar – I should get remove Calendar from my home screen. I never use it. I’m constantly on the search for a perfect calendar app. Currently, I use Fantastical.

Instapaper – Use it all the time. More on my iPad than my iPhone, but I’m an Instapaper junkie.

Photos – I should delete this from my home screen. I never use it. If I want to look at photos, I either open the Camera and check my photos that way, or I use Instagram.

Shine – Another app I should delete. I never use it, but I don’t really use any weather apps. I’m always the last person to know about impending storms or bad weather.

Maps – this one I should really delete. I use Google Maps for everything map related. I’ve even started using Google Maps in my car instead of my Garmin.

Clock – use the timer every day.

Newsstand – Another that I could readily move off my home screen. I rarely use it.

App Store – I could probably move this to page 2 vs. the home screen.

Voice memos – yet another that I could move.

What’s missing? I need to add Evernote and Apple’s Podcasts app to my home screen. I use them a lot.

029 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Josh Frank interview, Collage Shaper

The 29th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Josh Frank, of Yunk Apps, the creator of a new photo app, Collage Shaper.

Collage

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

You can click here if you’re interested in learning more about App Traffic Academy.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

028 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Christopher Haag, Hamster Chase, developer

The 28th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Christopher Haag, developer of Hamster Chase, a fun game available for iOS and Android. Haag discusses how he got 10,000 downloads in 8 days following the release of Hamster Chase.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

027 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Steve Murch, BigOven, interview

The 27th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Steve Murch, CEO and founder of BigOven, a recipe and cooking app available on multiple platforms – browser, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

026 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire

The 26th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire, an app marketing and advertising firm. Barker and Haley are the authors of a new book – APPOWER: A Guide To Mobile App Marketing Success. Interview transcript below.

APPPOWER - A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Interview transcript

APPetite App Marketing podcast Episode 26

Jeff Rutherford: Welcome to the 26th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Jeff Rutherford. Stay tuned for my interview with Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire, an app marketing and advertising firm. They’re also the authors of the new book, “App Power: A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success.” Stay tuned for the interview.
[music]

Jeff: Welcome back to the APPetite App Marketing podcast. My guests today are Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire.me, a leading mobile app marketing agency. Appspire.me recently published an ebook about app marketing that’s available for the Kindle, “App Power: A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success.” Guys, thanks for joining the podcast.

Cliff Haley: Thanks for having us.

Carson Barker: Yeah, thanks for having us on.

Jeff: Sure. Given your knowledge of app marketing and the effectiveness of certain tactics and strategies. They obviously change over time. As you look ahead in 2013, what are the top performing app marketing tactics and strategies right now that you think developers should definitely consider?

Carson: The two top ones are in app advertising. That’s a big deal. You can get a lot of downloads and you can increase your rankings that way. Developers should bear in mind that when they’re in the developing process they need to make sure they get the SDKs installed, so they can do that in app marketing process. I would say social media, as well. It’s always been a big deal. If you get a good app, you can build a good, engaging social media campaign around it that just increases your chances for success.

Jeff: OK, go ahead.

Carson: I’m interested in to see how the Windows 8 thing unfolds in 2013, as that takes off. I use Windows 8 their app market seems a little bit limited, but I don’t think it’s always going to be that way. I’d say one thing to keep to keep an eye on is what’s going on there, and maybe you can be the first guy to market it in your particular niche with Windows 8. That’s an open playing field at this point.

Who knows? It may be horrible and crash eventually but not if enough people jump on board. I’m definitely keeping an eye on Windows 8 app market.

Jeff: That’s interesting. So, in terms of social media, are you specifically referring to social media around the app itself, or building in social media hooks for sharing and et cetera if that makes sense for your app?

Carson: Yeah, you have to do a little of both. If you’re going to do a social media contest, hooks and campaigns, they need to be focused around your app. They can’t just be win a free iPad, and that’s it. You have to tie it all together and make a brilliant package that will draw people back to downloading the app.

Jeff: Got it. So what is your experience been thus far with mobile app ads via Facebook, are they performing well? Is the costs going up?

Carson: Well, I would say that they’re performing well, but it’s as a direct response to direct ROI, as in app advertising is. Just because you get someone on Facebook, they still have to click the ad, they have to click and read your Facebook page, more likes. Then you have to convince them to download the app from there.

There’s just more steps in the process. It’s still a really good tool for mid to long term marketing. If you ever have updates to your app, you can announce it on Facebook, and so forth.

Jeff: Got you. In terms of the pay-per-download campaigngs, are there specific networks, exchanges, or players, in the space, you would recommend?

Carson: I’m a little hesitant to do so, because obviously, the app marketing world is changing every minute, every day. I mean some of our favorite ad companies that we use, I mean we may not use them next week, then we may use them again. Apple is always changing things. We got to stay ahead of the curve the best we can. I mean, our preferences change frequently.

Jeff: Sure, sure, if a developer is going to pursue a cost per install campaign for their app, are there general guidelines or best practices that you would suggest?

Carson: I would say shoot more for rankings than downloads because if you get higher rankings, you get organic downloads, not ones you’re paying for.

Jeff: In terms of that, how would that impact how I would do a campaign? In terms of focusing on rankings versus downloads.

Carson: Most people that do advertising campaigns, they’re more concerned about getting a few downloads here and there, in paying for those. That’s great, but I think the bigger picture is, you want to get higher rankings, so you have to pull together a more expansive campaign to pull in rankings than just downloads.

Jeff: Can you talk about store review optimization? SRO? What are some SRO guidelines that app developers should keep in mind?

Carson: We break ours down into a format. Keywords’ obviously a big one. I would say you have to sum up your app in one or two sentences, somewhere at the top of your app store description. That’s another big one as well. You have to make it creative and punchy and it grabs your audience pretty quickly, or else they’ll skip onto the next thing.

Jeff: Do you have any suggestions for developers and how they can increase the number of reviews of their app? What are some ways that…?

Carson: At in store app reviews? Is that what you’re…?

Jeff: Yeah.

Carson: You can always submit to review sites that will get people… Your app out there more often and get more people to review your site in the store.

As always, tell your friends about it, but really giving a lot of buzz up through press releases and social media so people can come check out your app and leave comments on there.

Cliff: Yeah. I also recommend that if you’re an app developer, that you are paying attention to what people are saying in the app review sections and you’re responding to that. If there are complaints, you’re addressing them in the open. You’re transparent about that. That can influence whether or not somebody leaves a review if they come to your page and they see that you’re interacting with people.

Even if they’re completely happy with your app at this point in time and they understand that it might get better, they maybe more inclined to say, “Hey, this is app is great on the first download. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

If they think that you’re an active developer and you’re going to listen to the feedback you get, you’re going to keep working on your app. Whereas if you don’t respond to anything and your app is not that great on its first run, then people might expect it will never be that great.

How you interact with people in the reviews themselves and through social media, of course, can kind of influence your overall image.

Jeff: I mentioned earlier your new ebook “App Power.” Can you talk about the ebook? What does it offer app developers?

Carson: Sure. Cliff and I decided to write that a few months ago. After talking with clients, we realized we had some kind of industry insight that not many other people have, and so we decided to divulge that and put that out there for app developers to check out how to make their app successful. Apps are being uploaded by the hundreds now to iTunes and Android. If you don’t any marketing behind it, your app’s just going to get lost in the dust, so to speak.
These are some basic guidelines on what to think about when you’re uploading your app and if you want to make it successful.

Cliff: Yeah, and we kind of wanted to reach an audience that wasn’t the developer audience as well, but maybe the guy who has a cool idea for an app. Obviously, the first step that they’re going to think of is, “How do I build it?” Once you build it, then what? It’s not only for developers, but conceivers as well.

Jeff: I know you mentioned in your book the importance of the app icon. Can you talk about why the icon is so important?

Carson: Your icon is pretty much your business card. That’s your handshake. That’s the first thing people see when they look at you in the iTunes store of the Android store, so if you don’t have a compelling icon that’s simple but has great design to it, you’re just going to get passed over.

Jeff: If a developer listening has released an app and it hasn’t performed as well as he would like, or he or she would like, and it’s just buried in the app store, are there any specific tactics or strategies outside of what we’ve discussed that you would recommend of how they could revive interest in the app and improve the rankings?

Carson: Yeah, sure. First of all, I would say that it’s never too late to get your app some more downloads and some higher rankings and make it successful. We’ve had apps that come to us that have been around for a year and they’re just kind of struggling. We’ve turned a great campaign around for them. As far as what’s wrong with it, most of our clients that are in that position, they just don’t do any marketing or advertising behind it so no one sees it.
The first step they should take is look at their app and say, “OK, is this something wrong with the app or am I just not doing any marketing behind it?” Once you get to that step, then you see where you go from there.

Cliff: Right, and what we said about listening to reviews and your users folds into that, as well. It’s surprising how many people have apps and they’re wondering, “Why isn’t my app doing well?” Then you point out to them, “Well, look. These people are telling you why it’s not doing well. Address these issues and then we’ll talk about getting you some advertising.”

Jeff: Sure. Let’s talk a minute about Appspire.me. What does Appspire.me offer app developers? What do you guys do?

Cliff: We do marketing and advertising campaigns for app developers to get them higher rankings, more downloads, and some buzz in the press. We’ve been doing that marketing since 2009. That’s our specialty. We figured out a few years ago that app marketing was going to be the next big thing so we jumped into it head first. We figured out pretty quickly that it’s a whole different animal than any other marketing out there.

We did some trial and error stuff and learned some best practices, and now we’ve got our services down to a T.

Jeff: Great. For app marketing specifically, what are the big differences that you see between Android and iOS platforms.

Cliff: Well your audience is different. We’ve noticed that the Android audience, I guess because they’re smaller and more dedicated, they’re a lot more responsive than the iTunes audience. You’re people that buy Android phones, usually you do a lot of research and thinking into buying their Android phone just because an Android can do so much, whereas just random customers will buy an iPhone just because they’re out there and they’re just kind of the majority.
But usually the people that have Androids are a little more tech savvy and therefore they’re glad to have this phone and they’re reading reviews and checking out more apps and so they’re an easier audience to reach out to.

Jeff: Got you. What apps have you downloaded and used in the last six to eight months that really impressed you?

Carson: One of the most recent ones that’s impressed me is KiteDesk. That’s a really cool app that’s a cloud server. Basically, it takes all the cloud services that you have, like Facebook and Google and DropBox, and converts them all into one streaming format. So it’s super convenient. We definitely like that app a lot.

Jeff: Any others or any games that you’re playing?

Cliff: You know what, as much as I would like to play games on my phone, I’m so busy right now. Games are not an option for me. [laughter]

Cliff: Well, games are an option for me, so there’s definitely one that I want to talk about and mainly, if they’re listening. I want them to understand that they have got to get their app on the Android system. Ever since I’ve switched from iPhone to Android, this game is the only one I miss. It is called “High Noon,” where you basically gun down an opponent in a Western street. It sounds horrible, but it’s awesome. They really should build that on Android and I’ve reached out and told them to do so, which means that they probably will if they care at all what I think.
[laughter]

Jeff: That’s great. Well, any current clients that you’re working on that you would want to mention and give a plug for an app for the listeners to check out?

Cliff: Yeah, we’ve started working with one that’s really cool called “TumbleWords.” It’s like “Scrabble,” and they’re actually based here in Austin, as well. They’ve just got a really compelling design to this app, and it’s a fun game to play and it has a little social media and group playing aspects on it, but the design, especially, just really blew us away when we checked it out.

That’s definitely one we’re excited to be working with.

Jeff: That’s great. That’s all the questions that I had. Did you have anything that you wanted to mention that we didn’t discuss?

Carson: It’s all I’ve got. How about you, Cliff?

Cliff: No, I think that’s it. Just for app developers out there, to really pay attention to all the clutter and noise that you’re going to have to cut through with your app. We’ve seen a lot of apps come across our desk that are trying to, in some way, replicate or be the next Twitter or Facebook. Iit’s better to take Twitter and Facebook and use that to enhance your app than try to unseat those guys.

If you do that, if you use existing social media technologies in your app you’re going to have a much better chance than trying to replicate social media again, just for the sole purpose of your app.

Long story short is if you can leverage any existing technologies to make your app better, it’s better to do that than to try to recreate. Reinvent the wheel.

Jeff: Right. One thing that I did want to ask. We talked about it earlier. Are there any specific social media campaigns or tactics or strategies that you’ve seen that you would recommend developers consider and think about?

Carson: Contests always do really well, but you have to tie that in with your app. Or else once the contest is over, you won’t have anything else to do with it. If you can bridge a social media contest with live events, like you put on a booth at South by Southwest, or if you have a music related app, you go to some music festival, and tie that in with the social media, that’s always a really good thing to do as well.

Jeff: Got you. Well, great. Again, we’ve been speaking with Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire, a leading app marketing agency. They have an ebook in the Kindle store, “App Power: A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success.” I’ll have links to all of that in the show notes that you can check out.
Guys, thanks for doing the interview.

Cliff: Yeah, thanks a lot, Jeff, it’s good talking to you.
Jeff: Yes, sure.

Carson: Yeah, thank you very much.

Jeff: Sure.

025 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Howard Tsao, CEO of Muse Games, interview

The 25th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Howard Tsao, CEO of Muse Games. Muse Games is a New York-based indie studio that uses the Unity game engine. Muse Games’ games include CreaVures (iOS and browser) and Guns of Icarus.

Full interview transcript below.

Guns-of-icarus-online-Title

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Interview transcript:

Jeff Rutherford: Welcome to the 25th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast. Stay tuned for my interview with Howard Tsao, CEO of Muse Games. [music]

Jeff: Welcome back to the APPetite App Marketing podcast. My guest today is Howard Tsao, CEO of Muse Games, the creators of many games, including the “Guns of Icarus” and “CreaVures.” Howard, welcome to the podcast.

Howard Tsao: How’s it going?

Jeff: Good. First, can you tell me about yourself? How did you get into the game industry and what led to the creation of Muse Games?

Howard: It’s a good question. I love games. I think that’s really what it comes down to. Earlier on, we were in…Me and a few other guys on the team were doing this other venture. That is, really trying to fuse virtual worlds with web content. It was pretty interesting. It was new at the time. We spent a lot of time, and that was really earlier on in the Unity. That’s like Unity 1.5 days, I think.
We were really trying to make that work. I thought we created some pretty cool visualizations, but it really wasn’t going anywhere, and there was no business model around it. We were passionate gamers. With Unity, with everything that we learned with Unity, we decided to focus on games, and that’s really when we started Muse.

Jeff: Do you code yourself?

Howard: I don’t.

Jeff: You don’t, but you love playing games, you said.

Howard: Yeah. [laughs]

Jeff: I know many of your games are available for Mac and PC, but CreaVures, your game was one of the first games of yours that was released on the iOS, and I know that Chillingo published the game. What has been the experience so far with CreaVures and releasing the game for iOS?

Howard: That’s a good question. We decided to work with Chillingo at the time where we really didn’t know what the iOS market was about. We didn’t really have any experience, really, in game with the iOS. We got to talk to Chillingo, we thought the opportunity was pretty cool. Working with Chillingo is great in that they will assign you a producer and the producer will give you a lot of really valuable feedback. I think they have experience publishing games on the iOS for, obviously, a long time now, with a lot of success. Taking feedback on them, do it on a development process, was pretty cool. Obviously, we need to, and a lot of times, when people give you feedback, you just kind of go, “Oh.”

On the other hand, we take, we’re going to take feedback from our player base, regardless anyway, players are our biggest supporter, but also our harshest critic. In that sense, we’ll be taking feedback from just about anybody and what not, Chillingo who has experience publishing the game.

I think, from that standpoint, the relationship was great. I think in terms of publishing, they obviously have a relationship with media and so on that we didn’t really have access to. I think, in a sense, they helped, as well.

Jeff: What has it been like, in terms of downloads and players? I’m not asking you to tell me exactly the number of downloads. But are you seeing enough to say, “We’re definitely going to release on iOS in the future,” in addition to PC and Mac?

Howard: That’s a good question. Our downloads… We’ve done fairly well. Part of it was being fortunate to have some featuring by Apple. In addition to, even though we’re in the US, we also were game of the week in Europe and had a big banner, which is really fortunate. That helped propel the game in the first couple weeks, in getting a lot of people checking out the game. Obviously, some of the write ups also helped. But from that standpoint, it really helps. With a lot of iOS, because the market is really competitive now, it’s getting the featuring and getting some awareness at launch. We were pretty fortunate to have that. As far as whether we want to release another game, yeah, definitely. In terms of iOS, we also learned a lot with CreaVures, throughout the process.

Really what players in iOS are looking for. We have a much better understanding after CreaVures. So, in the next game that we’re working for iOS, we’ll definitely make the game more conducive. With coming from a PC game… Granted, with CreaVures, we built it with iOS in mind. We just made it a hard port and decided to make the port on a whim.

But to be able to make the game conducive, especially with a platformer that is timing sensitive, there were a lot of challenges. And I think that we learned along the way. With the next game, we’ll definitely take some of the lessons we learned and apply it.

Jeff: From your perspective, do you think that the industry will continue with the native app download process for smart phones and tablets? Or do you think, at some point, that we’ll move more towards browser based apps, versus the downloading native app model?

Howard: Yeah. I think downloading mobile is actually growing and I think it will continue to grow. If anything, I might actually think that will move away from browser and have more…

Jeff: Native?

Howard: Exactly. More mobile present. Being a dev, though, right now we’re in a privileged position, especially when we use an engine like Unity, where we can actually look across platforms and hopefully support as many distributions, or as many platforms, as we can. Granted, as long as the game fits. So that was the idea behind CreaVures, anyway. Being a dev, at least for us, we wouldn’t be pigeon holing ourselves into one method of distribution.

Jeff: What has Muse done to market CreaVures or is the arrangement with Chillingo… Do they handle, primarily, a lot of the marketing, since they have such experience?

Howard: Yeah. With CreaVures on iOS, we’ve been doing marketing primarily through Chillingo. On the PC and Mac front, we basically just do as much as we can to, at least when they are at launch, try to get the word out through media or journalists and through some giveaways that we did. But largely, it was also Steam. Steam doing an awesome job of featuring it in new games. For better or worse, we were more dependent on publishing, such as Chillingo, and platform, such as Steam. As a result, we were pretty complacent in doing that and not doing as much as we can to build up a community of our own, through social media. That’s a hard lesson to learn, as well.

Jeff: [laughs] With that in mind, are you trying to build up your social media now?
Howard: Absolutely. With Guns of Icarus Online, we have definitely done a much better job of interacting with our community and trying to get the word out. We just have more interesting, more relevant and more current stuff that we’re constantly posting on our Facebook and Twitter, for example, in keeping fans engaged. We definitely do a lot. I think that’s hugely important. Early on, we were just like, “OK. We can get our game on Steam. That’s super awesome.” That was that. In reality, looking back, that was actually kind of dumb.

Jeff: [laughs] I’m curious. Outside of being featured on Steam and independent of what you’ve done, in terms of CreaVures, with Chillingo, with any of your earlier games where they were on Steam, did you do any kind of paid advertising, in addition to just getting the word out via social media? Have you ever done any paid ads? Whether it’s Google or even a more mobile specific, like Tap Joy or Fixu?
Howard: That’s a good question. We’ve never done paid advertising. With Guns of Icarus Online, which is basically a PC title, we are also on Steam. We’re exploring that, now. But up until this point, we’d never done any paid advertising.

Jeff: Given your experience to date, both on iOS via Creavures and the other games that you’ve done via Steam, if you were having a beer with a young developer or a small app development team that’s just finished their game, what kind of basic advice would you give them on things that they should think about, in terms of marketing?

Howard: Great question. With the original Guns of Icarus, for example, on Steam, we were trying to bite into too much, I would say. And not really spending the time polishing as much as we should have, or implementing as much as we should have on the core of the game. That sounds like crazy. Like really obvious. But in terms of release, especially when we were a small team with not a lot of resources or money, you can definitely get into a trap of wanting to release the game. Maybe before it’s really ready. Getting players playing the game as early as you can will be immensely helpful. Earlier on, we were just sitting in our room, closing our doors and working on the game. And really have more blinders on, and just work on the game until we feel like it’s at a state where we’re ready to show people. But, usually, from a development standpoint, that’s too late.

Having players check out the game, try the game. Even in prototype stage or early alpha or whatever. Checking out the game. It’s really important. Through people playing, we end up revising a lot of mechanics, as well. That will be the biggest lesson.

Jeff: To get that feedback early and at the same time, also in addition to getting feedback, you’re also building buzz?

Howard: Exactly. Especially for e dev. I feel like there’s no greater way to build a community than just to talk about the game yourself, really interact with the players for better or worse. Players can have really bitter complaints about your game. But those feedback are worth listening to, especially if those player pre order. Because for people who pre order the game, they really… It’s their hard earned money. They really have the right to give you feedback or criticism.

Jeff: Have you done a Kickstarter for one of your games?

Howard: Yeah. Actually, we’ve done a Kickstarters for both CreaVures and Guns of Icarus Online.

Jeff: Oh, you did?

Howard: Kickstarter campaigns.

Jeff: How was that process like for you?

Howard: It’s been amazing. I first learned about Kickstarter through a friend of mine who is doing this fitness thing, actually. It’s completely not game related. I want to say that’s almost two years ago, so when Kickstarter was in it’s I wouldn’t say infancy early days. We gave CreaVures a try. Initially, we were like, “What’s this thing? Kickstarter?” Don’t really know what it’s about. But once we’d done a campaign for CreaVures, we fell in love with it and realized how powerful it was at the time. With Guns of Icarus Online, the same way. We did our campaign late last year. It was September. So we finished by January, last year. Kind of unfortunate, in a way. It was before the double fine phenomenon.

Jeff: What were the rewards? If you could just mention one or two, if you can remember, from the campaign.

Howard: A bunch. A combination of digital and physical rewards. I guess we were brave enough to do the physical rewards. It’s hugely rewarding and it’s fun to design for them. For Guns of Icarus Online, we had a bullet USB, for example, or our book that we put together. Or a captain’s log book that we sketch in. They were really rewarding and, for the players, it gives that sense of collector’s mentality. It’s something permanent and a piece of memorabilia almost. We’re really proud of it and people who got it were really happy. But it’s hugely time intensive.

Jeff: What do you feel like you learned from your Kickstarter campaigns that you may do differently next time? Or if you spoke to someone you would say, “Keep this in mind?”

Howard: Good question. In terms of getting the word out, we did a lot. We put in a lot of effort on our own, trying to spread the word. Once you have some momentum going, Kickstarter do a really good job of featuring the different indie projects. We were fortunate enough to get featured. At the time, when we did it, what was viewed upon as good video is probably different from what is viewed upon as a good video now. With today’s level of polish for video, or what people do for video, looking back at our campaign, people would be like, “That’s actually kind of crude.” Video is pretty important, I would say. In terms of structuring your gifts, just be conscious of the costs and go through some estimating and hopefully get, ideally for free, from vendors. Make sure the quality’s good before you commit to the physical gifts.

Also, budget a lot of time for it if you’re doing it on your own. Cost wise, we did a good job of making sure that we budgeted the cost of the physical gifts right. But it was still more time consuming than we thought. I must have made like four separate trips to the post office, each time with 100, 200 items. So by the third or the fourth time, the post office lady just wanted me out.

As soon as they saw me…

Jeff: [laughs] That’s funny. What apps or games have you downloaded and played in the last six to eight months that really impressed you?

Howard: On iOS?

Jeff: IOS or even on Steam?

Howard: I finally played through Limbo. I checked it out. Obviously, during IGF. But since they didn’t really have a Mac build, I actually just played through it recently. I thought the build was phenomenal, as the whole world already knew. On iOS, I would say recently I’m playing some of my indie dev friends’ games like” Jack Lumber,” “Hubrix” or “One Tap Hero.” Each one brings something really unique to the market.

Jeff: That’s all the questions I have. Did you have anything that you wanted to mention that we didn’t discuss?

Howard: I don’t know if I can give a plug for Guns of Icarus Online. [laughs]

Jeff: Yeah, of course.

Howard: Guns of Icarus Online is available for pre order on Steam. Right now, if you pre order you can get 25 percent off and there’s a four pack where each copy gets a costume and the soundtrack. It’s a pretty awesome deal.

Jeff: I’ll have the link to that in the show notes as well.

Howard: Thanks.

Jeff: Again, I’ve been speaking with Howard Tsao, CEO of Muse Games, the creators of many games including the Guns of Icarus and CreaVures. Howard, thanks for doing the interview.

Howard: Yeah, no problem.

Transcription by CastingWords

024 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Adrienne Gauldie, Trademob, interview

The 24th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Adrienne Gauldie, Country Manager UK, at Trademob. Berlin-based Trademob is a data-driven mobile app marketing platform. As discussed in the interview, you can check out Trademob’s white paper Be The Best In Your Mobile App Marketing.

Be the Best In Your Mobile App Marketing white paper

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

023 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Archana Patchirajan, Hubbl, interview

The 23rd episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Archana Patchirajan of Hubbl – an app discovery app. More information about how app developers can work with Hubbl can be found here.

Hubbl is available for iOS and Android.

Hubbl

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

022 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Dexter Eugenio interview

The 22nd episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Dexter Eugenio, the developer of the new entertainment app Chooze.

As discussed in the interview, you can check out Dexter’s marketing websites for Chooze here:

App website
Blog section of App website
Facebook page
Twitter page

Chooze app icon

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

021 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Brian Wane, Smerc Design, interview

The 21st episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Brian Wane, CEO of Smerc Design. Smerc has developed many popular games, including Self’s Workout in the Park.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

020 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Kenneth Johnson interview

The 20th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Kenneth Johnson, founder of Zephyr Games, a NY independent game studio. Zephyr has two apps launching this week – Legend of Fat Ninja and Kirin Wars: Perilous Dawn. Zephyr Games recently participated in the New York Games Conference – a conference organized by Digital Media Wire.

Legend of Fat Ninja

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

019 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Pavel Mamaev interview

The 19th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Pavel Mamaev, President of Elka Palka Production, developers of the Elfishki storybook apps, including: Elfishki Game Collection, Elfishki and the Giant Cake, and Elfishki and the Unwelcome Guest.

Elfishki

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

018 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Playscreen interview with William Volk

The 18th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with William Volk, CCO of Playscreen, developers of the Crickler 2: Daily Word Puzzle app.

Crickler 2 screenshot

And here’s the Crickler 2: Daily Word Puzzle video:

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

017 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Checkmate Mobile interview with Robert Rositano, JR

The 17th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Robert Rositano, JR, CEO and founder of Checkmate Mobile. Checkmate Mobile just launched Dare Ya, a fun app designed to challenge and dare your friends.

Dare Ya app

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

016 APPetite PR’s app marketing podcast – Parallel6 interview with Brian Spracklen

The 16th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Brian Spracklen of Parallel6.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

015 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Appoday interview with Billy Shipp

The 15th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Billy Shipp, VP of Growth at Appoday. Appoday is a popular app that offers one great app – free – each day.

Appoday icon

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

014 APPetite PR App Marketing podcast – UIEvolution interview with Chris Ruff

The 14th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Chris Ruff, President & CEO of UIEvolution, Inc.. UIEvolution is a global leader in connected services for Mobile, Tablet, TV, and Automotive applications. UIEvolution has a proven track record with clients like ESPN, Toyota, AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Hikari-TV, and many Fortune 500 companies.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

013 APPetite PR App Marketing podcast – Apptentive interview with Robi Ganguly

The 13th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Robi Ganguly, Co-Founder and CEO of Apptentive. Apptentive offers easy in-app feedback mechanisms for developers to communicate and hear from their users.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Click here to watch a video of the interview with Robi Ganguly:

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

012 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Hello Vino interview with Rick Breslin

The 12th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Rick Breslin, Founder and CEO of Hello Vino. Hello Vino is a popular, free wine recommendation app available for iOS or Android. Rick has a lot of great app marketing wisdom, including how they used SEO to market Hello Vino.

Hello Vino app

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Click here to watch a video of the interview with Rick Breslin:

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Wired – Five Best Social Voice-Messaging Apps

Story about the five best social voice-messaging apps included APPetitePR’s client QWiPS.

Wired UK logo

Tell the story behind a photo or video by annotating it with a QWiPS voice tag. The app lets you record up to 30 seconds of audio that you can share. QWiPS will let you tag SMS messages or add it to an email like a voice signature. Like other apps you can use the map function to search for nearby voice messages.
iOS

Read the entire story.

011 APPetite PR App Marketing Podcast – Trivi.al Interview with Matt Hudson

The 11th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Matt Hudson, co-founder of MobileFWD, the developers of the popular new iOS game Trivi.al.

Triv.al iOS app

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Click here to watch a video of the interview with Matt Hudson:

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

010 APPetite PR App Marketing podcast – GreatApps.com interview with Aron Aharonoff

The 10th epsiode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Aron Aharonoff, Director of Business Development, at GreatApps.com.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Click here to watch a video of the interview with Aron Aharonoff:

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Welcome Microsoft Surface. Now, about that tablet breaking mid-demo . . .

It was simply inevitable.

With Apple selling 67 million iPads in April 2012 alone, Microsoft wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines forever and watch a massive sea change in PC hardware – and not offer a Microsoft version. Despite the 20+ year debate about the merits of Apple’s software-hardware integrated approach vs. Microsoft’s software focus, Microsoft has decided on an integrated approach with the Microsoft Surface.

Why an integrated approach? The articles are yet to be written about Microsoft’s development path for Surface. The decision was probably pretty simple. Microsoft execs looked at the market share numbers for Windows Phone and realized they had to pursue an integrated approach if they had any hope of success with Surface.

Regardless of the first month’s sales numbers for Surface or even the first year’s sales numbers, the launch of Surface is a great thing in the long run. Competition will spur Apple and Google to further improve their software and devices. Competition is good.

And, for those immediate doubters, Microsoft can probably succeed with Surface for several years without a single consumer purchase of the device? How can that be? Enterprise sales. There are many, many larger multi-national corporations that are Windows only companies. With employees demanding tablet computers, Microsoft has a ready and eager sales channel that will buy a lot of Surfaces – especially as Windows-only developers start adapting their software for Surface.

But, about Microsoft’s press conference yesterday.

Numerous business writers have opined at the difficulty other companies have had in seeing how Apple operates and replicating that success. That difficulty includes product announcements. Apple has perfected the art of the product announcement and demo – and no one – absolutely no one can match them.

If Surface doesn’t succeed, many writers will dig through the Internet in a couple of years and post the picture above. Unfortunately, for Microsoft one of the Surfaces stopped working mid-press conference and they had to run off stage and grab a new Surface. But, that wasn’t the only problem. No on sale date, and no pricing info. Compare that to Apple’s press conferences – product announcements. Pricing is prominently discussed vs. dribbling out weeks or months later. And, Apple’s massive supply chain has been firing on all cylinders long before their public announcements, and the products typically go on sales weeks or a month or two later.

So, why the announcement yesterday with no pricing and no on-sale date? Microsoft had their hand forced. The one thing that may have tipped their hand is the rumored Google tablet device. Some tech writers have predicted a summer announcement. Did Microsoft learn of a planned Google announcement sometime soon? Who’s to say, will there be a Google tablet announced by the end of the summer? We’ll have to wait and see.

Until then, welcome to the app ecosystem Microsoft Surface.

Photo via @Austin Carr

App Marketing Is Broken, according to the Wall Street Journal. APPetitePR disagrees

In a Wall Street Journal article published today – Tin Pan Valley: The Coming Shakeout for App Makers (subscription required) - reporter Dennis Berman compared app developers (especially independent app developers) with early popular song writers – Tin Pan Alley in New York City. Berman stretched the analogy as far as he could – too far in my opinion.

Berman mentions, in passing, app reviews in his article. But, the primary focus of the article is on pay-for-download marketing and more shady manipulation of the app rankings. And, Berman keeps hinting at a great shakeout that’s on the horizon. Will there be a shakeout? Certainly. Will app developers who dreamed of building a viable business from their app, throw in the towel and go to work developing apps for a larger company or game studio? Without a doubt, that will happen.

But, as long as the Android and iOS ecoystems (and possibly Windows Phone) continue their growth and evolution, there will be many, many, many large media companies, independent developers, and small game or app design studios building a plethora of apps – games, productivity, camera, social networking, etc..

And, how will those developers market their apps? A variety of ways:

Pay-per-download marketing – In his article, Berman writes about pay-per-download with a tone as if there’s something dirty behind the model. Yet, if app developers want a download, and the digital advertising ecosystem has developer a cost-per-click model, it only makes sense that pay-per-download marketing exists. The publisher or ad network is delivering a result – a download – and the developer is paying for that result

The key with pay-per-download – as companies such as Fiksu has discussed – is the value of the download. Are you paying for a download from a customer who is likely to be a repeat user of your app.

Mobile-advertising marketing CPM – Beyond pay-per click, mobile advertising for apps on a CPM basis.

Price promotions – discounting the price of your app to drive downloads.

PR-earned media – Obviously, at APPetite PR we’re strong proponents of “earned media.” Not paying for app reviews, but securing genuine reviews of your app by heavily trafficked app-review sites.

And, one key area that we emphasize with app developers is what we like to refer to as “beyond the app ecosystem” PR. The readers of app-review sites are early adopters, and they’ll download and try many apps, but they’ll also quickly abandon apps. And, the reality is, those early adopters aren’t reflective of the greater app audience. To reach those potential users, you need press coverage of your app in vertical niches beyond the app-review sites.

If you’ve spent three months or longer developing a running/fitness app, you want reviews on fitness blogs and Runner’s World magazine. If you’re a movie app, you want your app written about in the entertainment section of major newspapers when they write a round-up column about the latest movie apps. If you’re a productivity app for entrepreneurs and small business owners, you want your app written about by small business and entrepreneur writers.

The Wall Street Journal article on app marketing revealed what we see every day – the path to a best-selling app is a tough road. But let’s save the doom and gloom. With the app ecosystem’s torrid growth, the future is very, very bright – for app developers large and small.

Startup Stories – Failure

If you’re an app developer, this video will be of interest. Just replace the word “startup” with “app developer” when you’re watching this.

009 APPetite PR App Marketing podcast – Molecube interview

The ninth episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Pierre Tanguay and Simon Roof of Molecube, a mobile game studio in Quebec. Molecube conducted an app marketing experiment to market their app Justin Mac Fart, and Molecube blogged extensively about what marketing strategies and tactics they tried and the results. You can read about Molecube’s app marketing experiment, and we discuss the experiment in the podcast interview.

Molecube’s games include: Justin Mac Fart, Monsieur Monsieur, Monstruction, and Binja.

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

008 APPetitePR App Marketing podcast – Eric Dyck interview

The eighth episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Eric Dyck, co-founder of Tap for Tap, a free exchange for mobile app promotion.

Eric Dyck, co-founder of Tap for Tap

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

007 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Ouriel Ohayon interview

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The seventh episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Ouriel Ohayon, co-founder of Appsfire. Appsfire’s apps include Appsfire for iOs, Appsfire for Android, Appsfire Deals for iOS, Appstream for iPad, and Apps for Kids.

Ouriel Ohayon, Appsfire co-founder

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

006 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Rob Walch interview

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The sixth episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Rob Walch, the host of Today in iOS, the longest running iPhone-iOS-specific podcast. You can check out the the tii app here.

Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

005 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Jeff Hughes interview

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The fifth episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing – Secrets to Selling Your Android App. Hughes’ Xcelme offers programming courses and marketing resources for app developers.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

004 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu, interview

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The fourth episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu. Fiksu helps leading brands boost iOS and Android mobile app ranking and secure large volumes of loyal users. Fiksu’s FreeMyApps offers consumers with iOS devices free access to a growing selection of full-version paid apps in exchange for trying free apps.

You can download Fiksu’s eBook – 5 Mobile App Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them.

003 APPetitePR App Marketing podcast – interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The third episode of the APPetitePR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games, a game studio located in Tucson, AZ. Kihon’s first game was Baby Monkey (Going Backwards On A Pig). Stay tuned for Kihon’s second game Dojo Danger which is getting early buzz.

Mark Grossnickle, CEO, Kihon Games

Here are links to the two recent apps/games that Mark mentions in the podcast that the’s playing a lot – Zuma’s Revenge and Triple Town.

Finally, here’s the viral video that inspired Kihon’s first game – Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig)

Home Screen – Ashleigh Schroeck

We spend a ton of time here at APPetite PR talking about, using, downloading, and discussing apps – and how people use apps in their daily life and work flow. We thought it would be good to take a look at what apps people having on their home screens and how they’re using them.

First up is Ashleigh Schroeck. Schroeck is a 23-year-old PR & Marketing professional, and an account executive at WISE PRAPPetite PR. She works in NYC and lives by the beach in Belmar, NJ.

Here’s what Ashleigh had to say about her choice of apps:

Message- This is the one app that I use throughout the day, every single day. My friends and family are big texters.

Calendar- I like having the date right there at-a-glance. I also use my calendar to remind me of appointments, events, etc.

Photos- I don’t review my photos often after I’ve taken them, but I will send them to people once in a while. I usually upload them to social media immediately.

Camera- I use my camera on an almost daily basis to send things that I find entertaining or interesting either to friends or my social media sites.

Videos- I never use this, but kept it on my home screen for some reason.

YouTube- I hardly ever use YouTube, but when I do it’s usually to find a specific song that I want to listen to.

Weather- The weather app is one of my favorites. I check it before I go to sleep so I know what I’m in for the next day, and when I wake up it helps me decide what to wear.

Maps- I would be lost without this app… literally. I use it in place of a GPS whenever I’m driving somewhere and its been helping me navigate my way around the city!

Notes- I use this pretty often to jot down reminders for myself, grocery lists, songs that I want to download, etc.

iTunes- I didn’t transfer my music to my phone so I never use this app. But again, I left it on my home screen anyway.

Pandora- Since I didn’t want to take up space with my iTunes library, I use Pandora anytime I want to listen to music. I have tons of stations saved that I listen to mostly in the car, but it’s also great to plug into speakers at a party or get-together.

Utilities (Clock, Calculator, Reminders, Settings, etc)- Things I don’t use that often, but I like to have them handy on the home screen. The alarm clock is really the only one I use on a daily basis.

Phone- The only necessary app- I tend to use my favorites and recent calls lists more than my actual contacts when making phone calls.

Mail- Another important app that I use throughout the day as I receive e-mails.

Safari- I look at least one thing up on a daily basis so Safari is up there with texting on my list of most utilized apps.

Music- Yet another useless app that takes up space on my home screen since I don’t have any music on my phone.

We’d like to see what app you use on a daily basis. Send us your home screen and your thoughts about the apps you use. Email us.

Have you heard the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast yet? If you’re an app developer or want to hear how other developers are marketing their apps, check out the podcast

002 APPetitePR App Marketing podcast – interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone. Click here to download the Mp3 file.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The second episode of the APPetitePR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch, an independent game studio in the suburbs of Atlanta Georgia. Adrenaline Punch is the developer of two fun iOS word puzzle games – Little Riddles and Rebuzzle. Foster has gained notoriety in the last week for an infographic that he created about his decision to quit a full-time job, quit college, and teach himself how to develop iOS games.

Nick Foster, Adrenaline Punch

001 APPetite PR’s App Marketing podcast – Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Click here to play on the iPad or iPhone.

Click here to download the Mp3 file. Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the podcast via email.

The first episode of the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast features an interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of the popular iPhone/iPad game Pizza Vs. Skeletons. See below for a transcript of the interview.

 

Show notes:

Here are links to various sites and apps mentioned in the podcast.

Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Cash Cow

RiverMan Media

App Annie

Touch Arcade

TIGSource

Deathfall

IKAROS

Fat Roll Santa

Space Frak

 

Interview Transcript:

Welcome to the first episode of the Appetite PR App Marketing Podcast. I’m your host Jeff Rutherford.

Stay tuned for my interview with Jacob Stevens. Jacob is the Co-developer and Co-designer of the very popular and unique new iPhone and iPad app Pizza vs. Skeletons.

(Intro Music)

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Appetite PR‘s App Marketing Podcast. I’m excited today to be talking to Jacob Stevens of Riverman Media, a small independent game studio in Tucson, Arizona.

Jacob, Welcome to the podcast.

JS: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

JR: Riverman media’s latest game, which has been receiving a lot of attention in the App review press and, if I’m not mistaken, was chosen as an App of the week by Apple. The name of the game is called Pizza vs. Skeletons. Yes, you heard that right. Pizza vs. Skeletons. From personal experience, my sons are 8 and 4 years old and my 4 year old is in love with this new game Pizza vs. Skeletons.

First why don’t you describe the game for listeners who haven’t played it yet. I would encourage anyone who is listening to go and download the game and give it a try.

JS: Sure. The basic premise is exactly like the title sounds. You’re a pizza and you’re fighting skeletons. But in this case, you’re a gigantic pizza. You’re 20 feet tall. You’re basically the height of the entire screen and you’re smashing skeletons in all sorts of different scenarios. Sometimes it’s just a gladiator style level where you’re smashing them over flat terrain. In one level, you’re sort of a wrecking ball and you’re smashing skeletons that are in buildings or sky scrapers. You ski. You do all sorts of things. You’re a huge pizza smashing skeletons in a lot of different ways.

JR: That’s a great description. Before we talk more about Pizza vs. Skeletons, and we definitely will, I wanted to find out a little bit more about your personal story. Things like when did you first start programming games? I wondered if you could remember a specific memory when you coded or made your first game and realized “Oh wow, I can not only play video games but I can make my own games?” Can you give us a little bit of background about yourself and how you got into game design and coding?

JS: Sure. I’ve always loved drawing and I’ve always loved music. One Christmas my grandfather got us a Nintendo Entertainment System. I’d never really played games before but I got really in to the classic titles like Mario, Duck Hunt and stuff like that. At that point I knew that I wanted to make games but obviously I was pretty young and I had no idea how. I would draw a lot of ideas and stuff like that but obviously I wasn’t really making games. My first experience coding was in my fourth grade class. My teacher, Mrs. Larsen, had kind of identified that I was probably a bright kid but wasn’t trying my absolute hardest. She would encourage me to do extra things if I finished assignments early or something like that.

In her class we had two chances to take every spelling test. If you got everything right on the first try, then you could have free time on the second try. She would set me up on her old Apple 2 computer. At first I would just play Oregon Trail or whatever during that free time. I started programming in BASIC after the spelling tests. I realized that I could make simple games with that. Do you want to go north or south? Yes? No? Things like that. Obviously what I made was very simple but at the time it made me realize that I could probably do this for a living. That’s my first experience coding.

Later in life, around high school, I learned about Digipen which is a school that’s either sponsored by or affiliated with Nintendo. Vancouver had a summer program for high school students and I went there and continued to learn to program games at an amateur level. I met up with some friends late in high school. They were in college and they were into games. I learned a lot from them about programming and I actually mostly did art.

I would say my first real professional experience was as an intern for a company called Way Forward. Their most prevalent title is probably Contra F, which they did for the DS; which I also worked on. All through college I would do art for them as opposed to coding; for whatever reason. That’s just what they happened to need.

After that, I sort of got scared, I guess you could say. I got concerned that game things were not a stable enough career. I had graduated college and I needed money. I took a job down in Tucson and it was a great job. I enjoyed it but immediately I started missing the idea of making games. Coincidentally, my brother had just moved down to Tucson to go to the University of Arizona. He’s about 4 years younger than me. I said we should make a game because he was learning computer science as well. That was when we made our first game, Cash Cow. I guess it was about 7 years ago. He was still a freshman. He barely knew any programming. That was our first game and we’ve just taken it one game at a time from there.

JR: Just to back up a minute; when you were doing the summer program? Where did you grow up? You said you moved to Tucson. Did you grow up in Canada?

JS: No. I grew up in Flagstaff which is a small town about 4 hours north of Tucson in Arizona.

JR: When you did that summer program with DigiPen, did you go to Vancouver for the summer?

JS: Yes I did. I happened to have a cousin who was getting married so I just spent an extra two weeks up there for the summer program.

JR: Gotcha. What kind of platform were you programming on at that point? Was it PC?

JS: It was actually Visual Basic on PC’s; even though the degrees you get from DigiPen, I think they work a lot with Nintendo platforms. For the summer students, I think that would have been too much so we just did PC stuff.

JR: So you said that your brother moved down with you and you made Cash Cow and you started going from there. Are you still working at IBM now or is this full time for you?

JS: I actually left IBM employment about a year and a half ago. I had slowly been transitioning out. After Cash Cow did decently well, I went to part time at IBM- 3 days a week. Then as our other games, some of them didn’t do well, so I was glad I stayed on. Some did start doing really well so I transitioned out. But they have recently convinced me to do a little bit of consulting for them as a user interface designer.

JR: What kind of work were you doing at IBM? Were you doing just coding or art or UI?

JS: I started off as a coder because that’s what my degree is in but within about 2 weeks I was identifying what I thought were usability issues with their web-based user interfaces. I had a group of people that were hired around the same time as me, and they had a sense of what a good user interface versus a bad one was. We actually were sort of this mercenary team that would go around and overhaul user interfaces. IBM is great at making the guts of something but at the time they hadn’t yet really figured out how to make great user interfaces. We would go around and overhaul the front ends of these products. It was very similar to making games. It was more serious, obviously, but you’re thinking the same things; trying to guess what the user will do; what they will think when they see a screen and trying to make it look nice.

JR: That’s great. I’m glad to get that background. I want to talk about Pizza vs. Skeletons. Can you take us through the development of the game? How did you come up with the idea and did it start out as Pizza vs. Skeletons? I’m just curious about how it may have changed during the development process and then finally if you can talk a little bit about the programming tools you used in designing the game.

JS: I’ll give you some background that very few people actually know. We released our first iPhone game which happened to be a part of our first game Cash Cow. We made Cash Cow the absolutely best iPhone game that we could and it came out and didn’t really pay for its development. It did well compared to most other titles but we were realizing that the app store was so incredibly competitive that even the best games didn’t necessarily have a guaranteed chance of success. So Paul and I were thinking “What can we do to get the juices flowing and make sure we’re earning money?” We started a fake company that we didn’t want anyone to know who it was. We didn’t want it to be associated with us in any way. The point of that company was to make games in a month and publish them and see how they would do relative to Cash Cow which had taken a year. The games that came out of that; which we have now made public as ours; are the game Space Frak, Deathfall, IKAROS, and Fat Roll Santa. Those are all very small fast projects for us.

JR: Did you meet your goal of doing it in a month?

JS: Yes. We actually did and they made more money relative to the time they took than Cash Cow did which was very encouraging to us. The funny thing was the 4th or 5th game idea was something I had blurted out and made a sketch of called Pizza vs. Skeletons. It was intended to be this really small kind of throw away gimmicky game where you’re throwing pizza and smashing skeletons. But we realized that to do the concept justice, we couldn’t make it one of these one-month games. We realized that we had so many ideas for it that we couldn’t compress it in to the development cycle for this fake company.

So we put it on the back burner. We did some other things. We did some contract work for Disney; a game called Blackout. When that was done, we kept coming back to this idea which was really funny to us. Whenever we told our friends about it, they would laugh. Whenever I showed the pictures to anyone; the little sketches I had made; people thought it was great. We said, you know, we know we can make money with these short games. Let’s try again with a big project.

So we embarked on Pizza vs. Skeletons which took about 9 months.

JR: What was the deciding factor or was there one when you decided to pull the trigger and say okay, we’re going to do Pizza vs. Skeletons?

JS: I think, honestly, it was both of us had this gut feeling that with such an unusual name and sort of an unusual layout with the screen, with the character that’s the size of the screen, and it’s kind of a funny character, we just thought this might be the one that really pushes us over the top as far as a big project. Luckily, that ended up being true; with just a gut feeling to go on.

JR: That’s great. What are some of the programming tools that you’ve used when you’re designing Pizza vs. Skeletons or that you did use?

JS: I’m not the programmer but my brother is. He handles everything from scratch; mostly in C+ and just in ObjectivecC where he needs to. We don’t use any external engines like Unity or Coco’s2D. The only thing we do use; which we love; is Box2D for the physics.

JR: Has Pizza vs. Skeletons been your most popular thus far in terms of downloads?

JS: In terms of downloads, Cash Cow is still beating it. A lot of those downloads were free. In fact, I would say 99% were free because we signed a lot of deals early on that allowed it. We shouldn’t have signed but we didn’t know better. It allowed it to be given away as promotional game or something like that. Also, the way the casual game market worked, games are free to download and then you pay 20 bucks if you want to play more than an hour. We’ve had millions of downloads of Cash Cow but in terms of sales Pizza vs. Skeletons surpassed it within a couple of weeks.

JR: Gotcha. Since you’ve developed and published multiple games for IOS, what did you do specifically to market your earlier games and what have you done thus far to market Pizza vs. Skeletons?

JS: Paul and I are really bad marketers and we’re also purists so we are kind of known amongst our friends for doing a terrible job of marketing and almost doing no marketing whatsoever. Our core business philosophy is very simple. If we’re making the best 2D games in the world, then they will sell enough without us marketing them. That’s not to say that a great marketer wouldn’t be able to make them sell more but we feel that we should be focusing our energy on the game itself. That’s probably a bad business decision.

For Pizza, what we did was very simple. We posted screen shots on a couple of message boards. Tigsource which is an Indie game site and Touch Arcade which is an IOS site. It really snowballed from there. Someone from Touch Arcade saw the post and contacted us. The only sneaky thing that we did was we knew a guy from a company called Sunken Media who happened to have some contacts at Apple. We gave them an early copy of the game. You never know. I think that might have helped it become game of the week. They might have just liked it anyway. I really don’t know how their internal process works. That was really the biggest marketing move we made and we actually didn’t reach out to any sites for reviews. We didn’t do anything except those two things.

JR: Interesting. Have you ever spoken to anyone or has anyone at Apple contacted you directly about the game of the week?

JS: No. They contacted us through that friend I mentioned in California who had given them the early copy. I had never spoken to anyone at Apple about it.

JR: Have you ever done; I think probably the answer is no but I want to ask anyway; have you ever done any kind of paid advertising like Pay Per Click for downloads?

JS: No. We never have.

JR: How were the free deals that you’d mentioned for Cash Cow? How did that come about? You were talking about the casual game market.

JS: A lot of sites on the iPhone; there are several apps. Free app a day.com, I think, that will promote your game if you make it free for a few days. During the course of that time, you get maybe 50 to 100 times more downloads of your game. It’s really great for exposure. I will say that it doesn’t always actually translate into sales once you’ve made your game not free. Let me make a big caveat to that statement which is I think games that have in app purchase probably benefit enormously from it. None of our games have in app purchase so it’s not something I think that works quite as well for us.

JR: Pizza vs. Skeleton is priced at $2.99. Was there any kind of great thought put in to that price point or did you look at a specific game at that price point that made you think $2.99? What was the decision process behind that?

JS: We watched the app store very closely. Have you heard of a site called App Annie?

JR: Yes.

JS: It’s a site that aggregates pretty much every piece of public data about the app store. Some things we were noticing were that if you’re inside the top 25 charts, you’re selling maybe 5,000 units a day; if you’re 25 in games. 5,000 units a day is pretty good but at .99 it’s maybe only $3,500 or whatever. We also noticed that games that played around with their price point, if you’re infinity blade and you go from 7$ to 1$- it makes a huge difference. But we also noticed that games that played with their price point going from 3$ to 1$. It didn’t always make a difference. Nor, when they raised the price, after sale, did it have quite as big of an impact. So that plus a little bit of insider knowledge from our friend in California who happened to know that between 1 and 3 dollars doesn’t seem to make a huge difference in terms of units. We realized we could be making 3 times more revenue at the 3$ price point. I’m very glad we did that. There were people who said you should have dropped it while you were game of the week and soared up the charts. The thing is, when we did our calculation, even though we topped out at 27 in the charts, we were actually making as much revenue as the top 10 games because we were at $2.99. That was a calculation we made and I don’t know what would have happened at .99 or 5$ or whatever but I’m very happy with the price we did settle on.

JR: I’m curious, given what you were talking about on watching all of the publicly available app data and stats around the app store, is there anything that frustrates you about the app store or the app discovery process that if you had a wish list and Apple was listening you would say you really should do this, this or that?

JS: I wish I could say that I had specific recommendations for Apple but there’s absolutely a frustration that I had. It’s pretty simple. I think Paul and I have really got a handle on how to get your app noticed during the first two weeks that it’s out. We’ve gone from basic featuring through Apple to as good of featuring as you can get. To Apples’ credit, I will say that it is the quality of the game that makes your launch. That’s really fantastic because that’s really not true on every platform. We’ve always managed to have that great first two weeks. The problem is once you’re out of Apple’s specialized feature area; the sales almost immediately for all of our games go down literally to about 1% of what they used to be. I would love to know how to change that; whether through action that we can take or through the actions that Apple can take to extend those sales so that the game you worked a year on maybe might be selling copies for a year. I think that would be fantastic. There might must be way too many games for that to be a reality but I think it would tremendously help developers that put time and effort into their games so they could derive a steady source of income from them beyond the two weeks that the game is launched in.

JR: Something like some way of spotlighting; for the lack of a better word; the long tale of games that are out there that are quality games that for the reasons that you’ve just touched on are not on top of the charts because they’ve been out for six months.

JS: Exactly. I think there are a couple of issues. Number one; there is just a huge number of games coming out. Number two is the only real visibility that you have is when you’re on those charts and basically in the top 50. If you’re not one of those 50 games and you’re not in the launch window or Apples feature, there’s basically no way for anyone to find your game. It’s sort of lost in the cloud; literally and figuratively.

JR: Okay. That makes sense and it certainly echoes things that I’ve heard from other developers; both games and other types of apps.

JS: There are games that some have defied those odds. Obviously a game like Tiny Wings is from a small developer and it’s hung on a long time. I would say the vast majority, you better sell a lot of copies in your first two weeks or you’re not going to make any money.

JR: Interesting. Right now Pizza vs. Skeleton is available for IOS. Any plans for an Android version?

JS: Actually, we’re in talks with Amazon and some Android developers to see what we could do there. I have no familiarity with the Android market at all. I’ve heard it’s even tougher than IOS but I want as many people to be able to play this as possible so we’re looking in to it.

JR: So what’s next for Pizza vs. Skeletons? Do you have plans for a major update? What’s your thinking along those lines?

JS: We’re making a small update right now that just addresses some minor issues; people want a mute button so they can listen to podcasts or translate any of it into French, Italian, German and Spanish. That’ll be the most immediate update. We are planning a number of level pecks depending on what the demand of the game is over its’ lifetime. We’ve already got sort of a new game play variation in the works and 10 more levels. We have plans, loose plans, for up to 50 more levels.

JR: Great! Obviously Pizza vs. Skeletons has had a lot of success as we’ve talked about. Have you and your brother started thinking about other games that you would hope to work on in the future?

JS: We have started thinking about it. To be honest with you, my creativity has run so dry from putting everything I can into Pizza. This is the first time in recent memory I can recall having really no ideas for a game but I’m sure that’s going to change in a week or two. We haven’t started anything serious but we’re definitely always looking ahead.

JR: That’s great. I think that’s all the questions I had. Any last thoughts on your part?

JS: No. I really appreciate doing this podcast and thanks to all of the players out there for the tremendously positive response. We really appreciate it and we hope you’re enjoying the game.

JR: Again, people can download the game in the iTunes apps store. That’s Pizza vs. Skeletons. It’s a whole lot of fun. I definitely recommend downloading it and checking it out. Jacob thanks for taking the time to do the interview.

JS: Thank you very much.

Thanks for listening to the first episode of the Appetite PR App Marketing Podcast. If you’re interested in what Appetite PR offers App developers, you can check it out at appetitepr.com. Stay tuned for more episodes of the App Marketing Podcast. We hope to be talking to many app developers about their app marketing experiences; what they’ve done that’s worked; what hasn’t worked and their thoughts about app marketing.

Thanks!

 



Android Activist – App Review: Epix HD

Ed Waters at the Android Activist enjoyed the Epix Android app.

“I watched several movies using Epix HD and found the quality to be unmatched. Users stream video to their Android device using the Epix HD player include in the app. The picture and sound were fantastic and at no time did I get the dreaded buffering message while watching my movies. I really was amazed by the quality of Epix app and service.”

Read the entire review.

AFP – Chips and Apps on Tap for The Super Bowl

Football Connect app was featured in this AFP storyChips and Apps on Tap for the Super Bowl.

Millions of American football fans will be watching the Super Bowl on television Sunday with one hand in the potato chips and the other holding a smartphone.

The “second screen” experience will be fueled by Facebook and Twitter and a host of Super Bowl-related applications for mobile devices providing everything from recipes to game statistics to re-runs of the celebrated commercials.

Read more.

Fast Company – LunchMeet review

Fast Company featured the LunchMeet app in their article – 5 LinkedIn Apps For Better Networking

From the review:

“This app is particularly useful to hardcore (and adventurous!) LinkedIn users. Let’s say all your office colleagues are busy during the lunch hour, or maybe you just want to make some new connections. LunchMeet lets you broadcast your mealtime availability and wait for someone within LinkedIn (who’s in the same city) to agree to meet up.”

New York Daily News – LunchMeet review

In the article, New year’s resolutions failed? Try these 5 mobile apps, the New York Daily News reviewed the LunchMeet app.

“Many job websites like Monster.com have apps, but our favorite is LunchMeet which allows users to network with people in their area — and at companies where they may want to work. The app uses people’s LinkedIn accounts to connect compatable users — and even allows them to send and receive invitations through the app. Added bonus: The meetings can be added to users’ calendars to help keep track.”

LunchMeet – Lifehacker review

Lifehacker reviewed the LunchMeet app in their article – Use LunchMeet to Arrange Networking Lunches with Your LinkedIn Contacts

“Utilizing the principles behind the book Never Eat Alone the free app LunchMeet helps setup lunch dates with professionals you’ve connected with via LinkedIn. All you have to do is fire up the app and input when you’re free and where you’d like to meet. LunchMeet will search for any LinkedIn contacts that are also free during the time period. Select one or more people and the app will send out a lunch invitation.”

Mashable – LunchMeet review

Mashable wrote about the Lunchmeet app in their article – Boost and Expand Your Professional Network with LunchMeet

“This is the idea behind LunchMeet, a free application tool that helps people strengthen and expand their professional network by having face-to-face, meaningful conversations in their free time. Known as “an app to never eat alone,” LunchMeet allows you to search for other professionals in your area, or a city you plan to visit, who are also available when you are.”

Lunchmeet review – iLounge

iLounge reviewed the LunchMeet app – LunchMeet expands professional networking opportunities

“LunchMeet is a new iPhone app designed to help busy professionals find new networking opportunities by easily facilitating business meetings at convenient free times and locations. Inspired by the best-selling book “Never Eat Alone,” LunchMeet integrates with LinkedIn to find professional contacts nearby who are available and willing to meet up for a meal, coffee or drinks.”

The App Lifecycle of User Engagement

MediaPost recently reported on a MTV Networks study that looked at how consumers discover and engage with entertainment apps on their iPhones and Android devices. The study determined that an app’s lifecycle with users goes through four stages: discovery, adoption, trial, and abandonment or long-term usage.

For app developers and marketers, these stages and the specific findings of this study are vital; they provide insight into what is important to consumers and how to best reach them, so that the apps they design and market can become popular favorites.

Discovery

According to the study, the most important factor when it comes to discovering apps is a recommendation from a friend. Another factor that is just as important is user reviews and recommendations. Respondents also discovered apps by seeing their friends or acquaintances using them.

It is clear from these findings that consumers often rely on others’ experiences in their own discovery of apps. However, respondents also reported that they discover apps through simply browsing the App Store and Android Market on their own, though they are likely to come into contact with others’ reviews in doing so.

iPhone apps - marketing apps for discovery

Adoption

Once a consumer discovers an app, what drives him or her to actually start using it? The findings vary for free and paid apps.

For free apps, consumers consider user ratings—and specifically look for high ratings—and recommendations from friends. Additionally, they consider whether the app sounds entertaining and useful based on its description and whether the app fills a specific need.

Although these findings also apply for paid apps, other factors become more important when consumers actually have to shell out cash. For paid apps, the most important factors that users consider are price and whether a free trial is available. Ultimately, money—and whether an app is worth that money—is key.

Trial

After consumers have downloaded and begun using an app, they move into the trial stage. The trial stage ultimately determines whether the final stage of that particular app’s lifecycle will be abandonment or long-term usage.

The MTV study found that people love apps for a few key reasons. Ease of use trumped all of the other factors as the most important during the trial period. However, consistently fresh content and clean looks also influenced respondents’ liking of apps. Another important factor was whether apps are fun and entertaining. But if an app’s content, looks, and entertainment value are not supported by an easy to use interface, the app eventually fails in the eyes of consumers.

Best Android Apps book

Abandonment vs. Long-Term Usage

An app doesn’t have a exact or long window to make an impact on consumers. Specifically, The study found that if respondents deleted an app, 38% did so within the first 3 weeks after downloading it. Although deletion of an app can come from loss of interest, 55% said they deleted because they found a better alternative.

Some consumers don’t actually delete apps, but abandon them nonetheless. 74% of respondents indicated that they keep old apps on their phones even when they no longer use them. And 78% were able to replace these old apps with new ones that better fit their needs, even though they kept the old apps without using them.

However, if an app makes it through the trial period and becomes a favorite, it can become an important part of a user’s daily life. 44% of respondents reported using a favorite TV or movie app several times a day. And the majority would rather give up their favorite reality TV show, news source, or coffee before giving up their favorite apps.

When consumers find an app they love, they really love it and even identify it. The majority of respondents said the apps they use are a reflection of themselves. Additionally, respondents said that apps are gifts they give themselves. And 91% of respondents agreed that apps expose them to and help them discover new things.

Such positive attitudes toward apps indicate their ability to become a part of people’s lives and spread virally as users recommend and share their favorites with others. What are your favorite apps? Which do you consider vital, and which do you recommend to your friends?

The App Ecosystem is Only Starting To Explode

The numbers are mind-blowing. Wall Street analysts, people who are paid hefty salaries to cut through the fanboy hype and make well-researched estimates on sales, totally missed Apple’s explosive iPad sales in 2010.

Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads in 2010, blowing away analysts’ estimates, which averaged 3.3 million and topped out at 7 million, TechCrunch noted, citing a post on Asymco.

That’s 15 million sold in 9 months. Who knows how many iPads will sell in 2011, especially with the rumored iPad 2 on the horizon. Apple is also closing in on the 10 billionth app downloaded from the App Store.

And that’s just Apple. Every headline out of Vegas earlier this month trumpeted 2011 as the year of the tablet. Android, webOS, Windows, and Blackberry tablets. In addition, Amazon’s Android App Store will surely make the app purchasing process for Android much more simplified.

Meanwhile, the mainstream press this week has jumped on the Bubble Ball story – app developed by an 8th grader pushed Angry Birds off the top of the App Store charts.

But, we’re not talking just tablets here. Everyone has seen the growth projections for smartphone sales – Android and iPhone. Out of sympathy, we won’t spend any time discussing Windows Phone 7. Every one of those device owners will be looking for apps that meet their needs – creating an App Ecosystem open to all developers – indie and large developers alike.

What are your app development plans for 2011? How are you going to take advantage of the exploding app ecosystem?

Apple Adds Personal Hotspot Feature to all iPhones

According to several articles, the personal hotspot feature that debuted on the Verizon iPhone yesterday will, in fact, be making its way to all iPhones in iOS 4.3. There will likely need to be carrier support for this feature, and for AT&T users it is entirely possible we might not see this right away.

However, for those of you with more lenient carriers, you will be pleased to learn that you’ll be able to connect up to five devices over Wi-Fi to the iPhone’s cellular data connection. We are told the OS version will be 8F5148b, the baseband will be 04.08.00, and technical acceptance is planned for March.

This is one of those features that’ll really make the iPhone sizzle.Apple iPhones – Personal Hotspots

Disney, AdMob We’ve Got A Problem. Why are you Targeting Adult-oriented Ads to my 3 year-old via the Disney Up app for Android?

As the parents of a six-year-old and three-year-old, my wife and I have realized the usefulness of an iPhone, an iPod touch, or my wife’s new Samsung Captivate, when our children are restless and irritable while waiting for food in a restaurant. We closely monitor their total screen time, so we gladly use our various smartphones for selective distractions with no parental guilt whatsoever.

However, after my wife recently downloaded the UP Jigsaw Puzzle Android game, a game based on the recent hit Pixar movie UP, we were both surprised that Disney and AdMob were delivering ads for Flirtomatic to our 3-year-old via the app.

Here’s the explanation of Flirtomatic direct from their website. “Flirtomatic is basically a great way to meet and flirt with strangers.” Hmmm.

My 3-year-old son isn’t above smiling or waving at fellow toddlers. But I seriously doubt he’s in the market for a flirting website.

But more importantly, a website that he’s not even allowed to use. Again, straight from Flirtomatic’s website, “Anybody over the age of 18 can be on Flirtomatic. If you’re under 18, we’re sorry. Hang in there and come back when we’re ready for you.”

Okay, I’ve heard of long sales cycles, but a 15-year sales cycle for a flirting website is a bit extreme isn’t it? What’s the deal here?

Can AdMob’s technology – which is owned by Google – truly not identify that they’re serving inappropriate ads to an Android app expressly designed and marketed to kids? How many over-18-year-olds are downloading and playing Pixar’s UP game on their Android device? Not many, I’d reckon.

Sure, mobile targeted ads are in their relative infancy – or toddlerhood – but AdMob you certainly do a better job of targeting than this.

Note: sorry for the crappy quality of the photo of the UP puzzle game with the Flirtomatic ad. The procedure to take a screenshot of an Android phone requires a Ph.D. in computer science, which I unfortunately don’t have.

App of the Day Instant Fixes Slow iTunes store

http://appoftheday.com/instant/

How could iOS developers sell a lot more apps? If the iTunes store wasn’t as slow as Christmas, Apple and developers would be selling a lot more apps. Jeff Bezos’ famous line, which I’m recounting from memory so it may not be perfect, “Our biggest problem is the start time for most PCs” meaning that Bezos and millions of other ecommerce companies could sell a lot more stuff if computer start-up times didn’t take so long.

In the age of instant-on iPads, that start-up time is a thing of the past, but the iTunes store is still far from perfect. We’re assuming that Steve-o realizes this fact on some level and there’s a swat team of programmers hard at work in some sub-basement secret Apple lab.

Until a soup-to-nuts revamping of iTunes and the iTunes store appears, Appoftheday’s new AppoftheDay Instant is filling the void very, very well.

Based on the recent Google Instant that displays search results in real-time as you’re typing a search query, AppoftheDay presents a visitor with a very large search box labeled App Store Instant. Type in a query for an app, and bam as soon you type the letters “Ang” you’re seeing Angry Birds, the super addictive game. Another example, type the letters “wea” and you instantly see a variety of iOS weather apps – Weather Channel, Weatherbug Elite, etc.

Take a bow AppoftheDay team. While Steve-o is in a pissing match with a Long Island journalism student, you created the iTunes store that Apple should have.