In the old days, back when people watched television and had to sit through countless laundry commercials on the horrors of static cling and “ring around the collar”…
Well, that’s the point. Back then, there were television commercials to promote all manner of products. The more visibility the product got, for the most part, the better it sold in the stores.
But that was then and this is now. Or is it? No. Times may change, but most things remain the same. The more visibility you get for your product, the better it will perform. The one BIG difference is that back then, producing and running television commercials involved a good chunk of change – a chunk of change that most app developers do not have… and should not be spending on television commercials.
Today, we have all manner of cheap cams, free video editing and screen capture software, and sites to place them on, like YouTube. There’s even free special effects with the likes of Looksery and voice modification.
I’ve even been able to produce a few amateur test videos, and while not bad, nothing worth showing off – but with free resources and a nominal investment in time. That is to say that anyone seriously interested in producing a video could have something nice for show with a few weeks of effort. Or, you may already have friends able to assist you – no expensive, professional video shoot or studio required.
That is to say with virtually no money you can produce a video and get it distributed “for free” to anyone and everyone willing to show it. Odds are that this will not generate a lot of traffic or downloads for your app, but it could. Under a completely free, bootstrapped scenario, it will be a matter of a focused effort or the chance it goes viral – but fundamentally, you will be relying upon someone with viral capacity to make that happen.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of players have channels on YouTube where they feature reviews, walkthroughs, tutorials, explain game mechanics, feature game play, show-off different “builds”, so on and so forth. Some of these players have thousands of channel subscribers; some of their videos have hundreds of thousands of likes. Nothing precludes you from contacting these video-savvy players to give your app a review or some playtime – if you are confident that your app has merit.
This approach can be taken several steps further to include hiring a player to play and produce videos. That would not be too different from how things used to be. Being open about the video being a paid production or that the player is being paid to show the game play is important for transparency. Reviews should be impartial, and usually are if they are free, but paid reviews must carry a disclaimer.
While anyone could produce a video, obviously high-profile gamers, game reviewers, or even “celebrities” will prove more effective. Most major brand names have been doing exactly this in one form or another for as long as anyone can remember. Point is that anyone who endorses your product, even on a paid basis, most likely considers your product worthy enough to not be detrimental to their reputation and future earnings potential. It’s about as simple as that. Endorsements carry a lot of weight.
For as much interest as there is in games, there is as much interest in “What is the Best …. ?” and “What are the Top 10 …. ?” There are countless versions of these types of videos spanning most game genres on YouTube and other video hosting services. People listen to what others recommend:
In short, that’s lots of extra free advertising to boost your apps – going from a very broad perspective to very niche specific – sometimes on a monthly basis.
Coupled with this is the additional need to promote your videos via your web site, in-app messaging, emails and newsletters. Videos presenting new features, demonstrating interesting or complex game mechanics, superior plays and “funny stuff” is a great way to get inactive or infrequent players to come back and play your game some more.
The Black Sea SummIT took place last Saturday, the largest IT conference in Odessa. While I rarely write on events in Ukraine, this provides a special opportunity. While the conflict in Eastern Ukraine continues, it is mostly a “contained situation” which does not much impact the rest of the country. It could be said that the conflict has served to catapult Ukraine into the forefront of a lot of investor interest.
Ukraine is a tech-savvy country, having the fourth largest population of certified IT professionals in the world following only the United States, India, and Russia – all with much larger populations. There’s a lot that can be said for Ukraine (favorably), but Odessa is of specific interest as a strategic logistics hub and for its “historical” relationship with corruption and organized crime. There’s a lot more that can be said about that, suffice that it is now center stage in an ongoing aggressive anti-corruption war. To facilitate its economic realignment, a considerable effort is also being made to attract foreign investors, businesses and start-ups.
So, that’s a bird’s eye view of landscape behind the Black Sea SummIT – and “all of that” under the auspices of the EU-Ukraine “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement” (the DCFTA) likely to go into effect January 1, 2016. Opera Mobile Store maintains an office in Odessa started by former Vice-President Victor Shaburov, who started Looksery (also with an office in Odessa) – making the news this past weekend for getting picked up by Snapchat for $150 million.
Getting back to the SummIT, it was partitioned into three areas – 1) Main Speakers, 2) Start-ups, and 3) Tech, each covering a lot of ground making it impossible to cover everything here. Some will make into future posts.
Here, I want to highlight a number of business incubators and accelerators available to aspiring Ukrainian and Eastern European entrepreneurs, with some follow-on notes. Each of these were participants of the Black Sea SummIT.
Simply – these are the people and types of organizations you want to connect with if you are looking to seriously start a business.
Business Incubators and Accelerators help start-ups with office space, facilities, networking, collaborative development, classes and work groups led by experienced business people. Connecting with an incubator or accelerator is almost always a good step for developing your business. These groups help you develop your business plan, refine your products/services, can facilitate access to investors and definitely help with all manner of professional networking.
Access to facilities, including high speed internet access, high quality printers, copy machines, conference rooms, work space and more helps minimize your earliest startup costs, but these all pale in comparison to their networking functions.
While not exactly an incubator, I would like to give a shout out to the Hillel IT School in Odessa (English and Russian) – as a great place for picking up a wide range of tech skills – java, iOS, web project management, QA testing, CC++, Android, etc. For investors and businesses looking to start an office in Odessa, that’s probably a school you want to have on your short list for hiring your entry level technical staff.
Many startups were present, but two of them have my avid, personal interest.
Educator.io – A Learning Management System (LMS). I was pleased to meet Pavlo Grebeniuk, CEO of this start-up, and learn about his company. What makes his idea and company especially promising relates, in part, to the EU-Ukraine DCFTA. A large number of companies will need to educate a very large number of people, rapidly – across a combination of English, Ukrainian, Russian and other European languages. This will involve everything from ISO compliance to language-specific training across almost all business professions. His company has the platform, the specific languages, and the networking backbone most capable of supporting Ukrainians assimilating the relevant portions of the 2,135 page document — and everything else associated with it. Best of luck Pavlo! I will be following allowing, attentively!
MMOne Company - Virtual Reality, 360 Degree, Full Motion Machine. I’ve been following this one for a while, and it is getting significant traction. Ubisoft has gotten behind this start-up and the machine will make its primary debut at the 2015 Paris eSports World Cup featuring game play with Trackmania² Stadium. These work with Oculus Rift to take VR to the next level. In addition to entertainment uses, I see these as being useful for a variety of specialized training for civilian and military applications. Seriously, considering the number of drone crashes we’ve seen over the past year alone, we might want to make sure that the drone pilots have a freaking clue about how to navigate.
Solitaire, FreeCell and Spiderette – all in one app! You know them, you’ve played ‘em , but do you have them on your mobile app? These are games you can play against yourself when you are bored or simply waiting for something or someone. In fact, before these games were called Solitaire, they were called “Patience” – going all the way back to 1765!
There’s something strangely hypnotic and soothing about any of the different versions of Solitaire. This was even recognized by Microsoft which started including Solitaire as part of the Windows Operating System starting with Windows 3.0 back in 1990. Solitaire is the kind of game that helped people intimidated by computers to warm up to them – easy to play, requiring attention to detail – and a lot of luck!
The game has been so popular that it was even referenced by The Statler Brothers in their 1966 song, “Flowers on the Wall” which spent four weeks as Billboard magazine’s #2 Hot Country Singles chart and #4 on its Hot 100 – but the Statler’s version was “a card short of a full deck” —
Counting flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothing to do.
Now, you can get all three of these versions of Solitaire for your mobile device for free – save a dollar and be guaranteed to have something help you pass the next time your bored or need a quick distraction. Download 3 in 1 Solitaire now from Opera Mobile Store and make sure that you will ALWAYS have something to do!
What’s the most important part of your app to optimize for revenue? If you said, “Mark, it’s not my app, it’s my product page that is most important to optimize!” Then, you would be right! While “everything else” is important, your product page is your “packaging”. This is what people see before people go to eat your app.
Yes, eat it, in allegorical fashion – as if the customer was in a pastry store. When a customer does see your product, you want to make a favorable impression. It is up to you to deliver it to them.
Your app product page is the #1 easiest thing that you can improve upon to have the #1 impact on your revenue. It’s probably the smallest line item in the entirety of your whole app development cycle. It correlates directly to the third application of Pareto’s Principle where (loosely) 1% of your work is likely to be responsible for 50% of your revenue.
That may be hard to believe until you look at the numbers and logically think it through. It applies to just about anything that is sold (or distributed for free) online.
Advertising scales relative to your budget. Marketing scales relative to your time and effort, with a rare and incalculable viral element. If you are not engaging in either, you are effectively left with organic traffic. The figures used below, (10k, 1k and 100) are simplistic approximations of the direct impact of these three sources of traffic where download rate is the only variable.
This chart shows how everything else can remain constant, but by just improving your download rate can radically influence your revenue. That’s the core objective of your product page. While you can also (and should be) trying to optimize all of your other efforts, so much depends upon this single, small component that it is frequently overlooked and sometimes dismissed outright.
There are many businesses that overlook their content and focus, usually, just on advertising. In many cases, they are doing well enough even when their content is distinctly subpar. When they did start working on their content, they were quickly able to realize at least a 2-3x improvement in sales, and with effort, 4x and better.
Over the next few articles, we’ll explore in depth what you can do to optimize your app’s product page.
For now though, I am looking for volunteers for a “Supreme App Description Makeover.” Find more details in my post on LinkedIn. Note you already read this article, so you don’t need to follow that link, you only need volunteer!
Do you like city-building? Strategy? Games where you can compete against other players and against a computer opponent? If so, you will find this Massively Multiplayer Online hybrid RTS an interesting and exciting mobile app for Android and iOS by Gameloft.
World at Arms is cast in a modern, slightly futuristic, “world” where you take on the role of the United States military rebuilding after a devastating attack by Russian and North Korean Forces, the “KRA”. While an exaggerated theme, Hollywood also produced several movies with a similar theme – Red Dawn (1984), Red Dawn (2012). This is a game though, so it needs to be evaluated more on entertainment value than geo-politics and authentic operational capabilities. A “TLA” would be knocking on my door if I did otherwise...
World at Arms is Free to Play but has an in-app store as should be expected. As with all games produced by Gameloft, you can expect very nice graphics, an intuitive user interface and smooth gameplay.
You start out with a small military base with only a handful of buildings. Your first task will be to build a place for your soldiers to eat – a messhall.
Expanding your base, expanding your production capabilities, building your army and fighting enemy forces (and other players) is the meat and potatoes of this game and entire genre.
Progress in developing your base is guided through the customary “quest” type system. By completing buildings, training units and fighting, you get rewards of many different types. You’ll be setting up barracks, oil production, mechanized factories all the while collecting their production so that you can buy more buildings and units.
Your forces start off with some infantry and a few Humvees with heavy weapons, but will eventually include tanks, helicopters, aircraft, naval vessels and higher tech “mech” units. There are special buildings and units which can be acquired mainly through in-app currency. You also receive a daily “random drawing” which can reward you with extra units, resources, or other items only available through the in-app store.
There are lots of games of this type all with different themes – but very similar playstyles.
You can earn in-game currency at a decent rate.
In this free-to-play all-out modern-war strategy game, you will battle across the globe, in the sea’s depths, on the ground, and in the air, following a deep solo campaign and fighting in an exciting multiplayer mode. Take advantage of the rich social features to find allies and chat to devise a cunning battle plan, for free! Join or create your own Faction to combine forces! Make your name known on the leaderboards by challenging rivals and stealing their resources and by becoming the best player in this immersive game!
√ A free war simulation game with brilliant graphics, stunning animations, and realistic units & buildings
√ Collect resources, build, upgrade, and fuse units, construct facilities, and complete numerous achievements to earn free bonuses
√ Engage in innovative battles across the globe and on various terrains (desert, urban, underwater & more)
√ Immerse yourself with the only modern-war strategy game on the market that offers deep-sea exploration and battles!
√ Construct the new super unit, Atlas, and use it as a game-changer in battle!
√ Join Factions with other players or form your own to wage war, dominate, and win rewards
√ Connect with your friends via Facebook and borrow their units during battle
World at Arms is suitable for fans of strategy games, modern warfare games, tank games, submarine games and tycoon games. Download World at Arms for free and enjoy probably the best modern-war strategy game on the market!
A few weeks ago, Operahttp://www.operasoftware.com/press/releases/mobile/2015-03-18