Top steps tips viral mobile iphone success profit

Did that get your attention?

In the last day or so, I’ve seen a barrage of crap on this topic – much of it ACTIVELY destructive (it’ll make your iPhone apps less successful than if you didn’t do it!). I’m not going to hotlink most of them – they don’t deserve the attention – but some of them mix bad with good, e.g. a guest post from someone with some good points, but also glaring inaccuracies.

So, some myths:

Thursday is the best day to launch an app

No. It’s one of the worst days. Why? Because every idiot who ever read “Thursday is the best day to launch an app” … now launches their apps on Thursday. Duh!

Facebook and Twitter sharing will make your app “go viral”

Virality is based on value, not on the presence of a corporate logo. Find some *real* iPhone developers, and ask them what happens if you launch an app with sharing in it.

Only apps that are already spreading virally, and heading for major success, ever benefit from this integration.

i.e. don’t bother until you actually need it; in some cases, for big apps, where you’re confident of 100,000 initial downloads … you may need it at launch. Most apps don’t.

Choose carefully every word in your iTunes description

Nope. Ask any experienced developer how many of their users read the iTunes description, and they’ll probably laugh at you. There’s a really, really good reason for this (but this is a post on what NOT to do, not what to do).

Check-in makes your app as popular as FourSquare

Um … WTF? How stupid are you?

“You need check-in on everything. Let your users check in to articles, blog posts, events, places, shopping items, videos, or even slide share feeds ☺.

People love to tell their friends where they are and what they are doing, so just make it easier for them.”

Who’s that from? Oh, yes – a company that doesn’t actually make apps, but sells a product to churn out crummy identikit apps, where “check-in” is one of their features.

No. In general, it just annoys people. Unless it’s part of the app’s core activity – but in that case, you never had an option to “not” include check-in. (also: why are you even trying to compete with 4square? Have you any idea how tough that is?)

Chart ranking is everything

Again, this is from the school of:

“I am a marketing person who doesn’t make apps, and doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Nor do I bother to ask anyone who does”

…because this info is several years out of date (i.e. a lifetime in App Store terms). In fact, for the last 10-18 months, chart ranking has been largely irrelevant in a lot of sectors – largely due to the surge in FAAD and their ilk.

Engaging with “the community” will give you huge sales

Sad but true: first you need a success before you even have something we’d call “a community”. You need a substantial number of downloads – AND daily actives. “Ten of your mates downloading it once” does not a community make.

Variant: for games, pandering to the TouchArcade community

Ask a game developer how easy / successful it is to promote your game on TA.

Again: back when almost no-one was doing it, this helped enormously. But that was years ago. Now … good luck getting any visibility amongst the sea of other developers doing exactly the same thing.

And finally…

If you feel you want even more “gotchas” and things to avoid, have a look at Jake Simpson’s very recent (February 2011) experiences of trying many of these – and more! – and having them fail miserably.

NB: Jake’s experience was particularly harsh, and actually goes more negative than I think is accurate, in general. At some point, I’ll do a followup that looks at the good parts (things you SHOULD do, that never seem to get old).

But, let’s be clear: mostly, this is standard Marketing. If you’ve hired someone to do your marketing who even bothers to read these sites, you made a mistake. Instead, find someone who’s good enough at marketing to invent the tactics they need all by themself. Preferably, hire someone for their skill at marketing “strategy”, not for their knowledge of “tactics”.

3 thoughts on “Top steps tips viral mobile iphone success profit

  1. Mike

    I’m not an iPhone developer, but boy this post mirrors so accurate my experience. It shows that the same principles apply no matter it’s about iphone, mmo etc.

  2. adam Post author

    @Nicholas

    Yep, that’s next on my list. Although I can briefly say that the first item on your guest post was IMHO the most important (after, of course: “hire a good marketing strategy person”). It goes a lot further than that, but that’s the starting point.

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