I just released my first game on the market 2 days ago and I am very dissapointed with how it’s going. Got about 13 downloads so far. Can’t believe how difficult it is to promote an app on playstore if you’re not a big company but just an individual!
Please have a look at my game.
Play Jigsaw Puzzle Journey on your android phone.
Create your own puzzle or choose one from 167 existing images.
167 images to choose from;
lots of difficulty levels;
play a puzzle campaign or create your custom puzzle;
This is a really well made app, definitely deserves more downloads.
I find that as an indie developer it’s very hard to predict how successful an app will be before release. Once you release a few more apps, it will be a bit easier as you can cross-promote. Plus you’ll build a reputation on Google Play which will affect all your apps in the search results.
So just because this app is starting off with small numbers, don’t be discouraged! If you learn something from releasing the app, it’s already successful. All the experience you gain from this first release will help when you write and promote more apps in future. And with a little bit of time, I think this app could still pick up a significant following on its own.
I worked for about 3 weeks on this and spent some money out of my own pocket for the graphics (I am a programmer with no design skills).
It’s really frustrating to have 18 active out of 29 total installs in like 4 days.
I researched the market before starting the work on this game and there are jigsaw puzzle games out there with 50k - 100k installs that are far worse than this one I created. I don’t mean to brag but my game has more and better features than all the other similar games I played from the Play Store. I am sure that, if I get this game to have 10k - 20k downloads soon it will then have a great chance of being downloaded.
I am considering investing some money into some advertising but not sure what to choose. I have limited budget ($100-$200) and thinking about using admob or other similar ad networks to promote my game but the reviews I read online about using such a strategy are very disappointing. I did read success stories about such type of promotions but the budgets involved were something like thousands of dollars (which obviously I don’t have).
I submitted the game to lots of forums and review websites and when I got a reply it was related to paying for a review because they don’t have time to take your game into consideration for free. Should I invest in such a strategy? Any recommendations on what review websites I should pay for a review?
I also liked a lot of android related facebook pages with my Jigsaw Puzzle Journey page but didn’t get any likes back. I also posted the game on the timelines of other facebook pages (i might have been spamming but saw a lot of people doing it) and nothing!
Ads : The banner ads at the bottom of the puzzle are fine. The interstitial ones would make me uninstall your app! Why? Because I’d download this game for my child, and then a massive ad for an online casino pops up? Not cool, man. I know you’re trying to make some money, but these ads will actually cost you more than you ever get from them.
Leaderboards - since you’re tracking records and PBs, have you considered implementing Achievements and a global leaderboard using Play services? People seem to really like that stuff and will add to the value proposition of your app.
SEO - I’m no expert here, but have you hit all the right keywords in your app profile on Play? I searched for “puzzle game kids animals” in the store and didn’t see your app on the first page – that is what you need to aim for. I must say though, there are dozens of animal jigsaw apps competing for space on devices, and so I reckon you’re a victim of the ‘long tail’ i.e. If I’m a consumer, I just install the app that comes top of the search results, so the rich get richer…
BTW I’m in much the same boat as you, and so this may be just the blind leading the blind
It is a very well made app!!! But I think you can do sth more to prove the images…I mean you should narrow down your target audiences. e.g. If it is for children, the graphics should be more animatied or cuter…and if it is for young girls, it should be more fancy…and you also can use your budgets to do advertise and promote your app. GOOD LUCK!
Don’t waste your money on an admob campaign. I tried it once with $360 and only got about 300 downloads out of it. Thats over $1 per download. The best paid advertising I’ve found is AppBrain where you can get guaranteed installs for as little as $0.20 per install. The best time to use this is in the first 30 days of your app release. In the first 30 days you have a chance to rank in the top new categories which are much easier to rank in. If you rank high enough you will start to get organic installs. The first thing I would do is work on the SEO of your app. This will get you free installs. And like David said, don’t get discouraged. I’ve found the marketing of apps is harder than the making of them. You can have an awesome app, but if no one knows it exists it’s not going to be dowloaded. It gets better for me with each new app, so don’t give up.
Yeah, I’ve been using Appbrain to get paid installs and it’s working fine. I just released a new game actually and I think I learned a lot from the previous game. However, there are still things I need to learn.
For example, after releasing the first game I realized that the more installs you get, the more visible your app is and the more new installs you get. With my first game I reached Top Free and Top New Free Brain & Puzzle in around 15 countries and once my $200 budget for promotion was gone, I started getting around 700-800 organic downloads. My guess is that the game showed up in those Brain & puzzle lists and got me a lot more downloads. So I thought: great, for my new game, I will invest $500 in the first 2-3 days and it should work better than on the previous. I was wrong! My stats indicate that I am doing the same with my new game as I did with the original. Why? That is an extremely good question and I am trying to figure out the answer to that.
My guess is that the budget of $500 for my new game was spent on installs all over the world while the $200 for the first game targeted countries like USA, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain. Most of the installs for my second game (paid installs) were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq or Morocco but I only entered the “top brain and puzzle” for Egypt.
So question is: is it better to have a total of 10k installs from all over the world or a total of 1k all from Germany? I am starting to think that second is better because you enter the top charts and then start to get organic downloads.
After the first 3 days when I spent $500 with installs from Appbrain, my second game was showing 10th in the search for “jigsaw puzzles”. Which I was shocked to see and extremely confident at that point that I will reach first 3 spots in just few days (my first game is #50 when searching for “jigsaw puzzles”). I was wrong again: I am #55 for “jigsaw puzzles”, so worse than my first game. Why did I go down instead of going up? I have no idea!
I’ve been looking at other games in the brain & puzzle category and I noticed several games that have similar number of downloads as my game and far worse and less ratings than my game (I mean like 3/5 stars out of 50 reviews) but were positioned around #50 in the top new brain & puzzle. While my game is currently placed #120 in that category. Any explanation for this?
I would like to continue the talk in this direction: is it better to have a lot of downloads from all over the world or to have 10 times less from only 1 or a few countries? What’s the best tactic to get into the charts?
In my opinion it’s better to have downloads in specific regions that earn more money than downloads from all over the world. Two reason’s I could see this is better: Concentrating your downloads to certain regions will at least get you higher in the rankings in those regions. Say you buy 2000 downloads in Germany, versus 10 downloads in all countries. You will not get any push in rankings in all those countries, but you would in Germany. This is supposing you have a limited budget. If you had 100k’s of money to spend, then yes it would be worth it to target many countries. Second reason, these countries will earn you more revenue than most other countries. Another thing, AppBrain doesn’t charge more by the country! You will get installs slower, but the price you set is not limited by country. Appflood does charge more for country targeting.
How about choosing some countries where there is not a lot of competition and pay for installs in those countries? I think a lot of money is needed to hit the first spots in countries like Germany, UK, France or USA. So how about trying to hit the top spots in countries like Austria, Romania, South Africa, New Zealand, etc? I mean getting 10k installs in Germany will probably rank your game lower than getting 10k installs in Serbia.
Is there a way to check the play store in a specific country so you can see how your app is doing in that country?
This is a good point. There are countries other than Germany and US that give good ecpms. South Africa gives me the highest ecpm in admob, and I imagine the competition here is less. How to view the rankings by country I do not know.
Have you experiencing problems with admob statistics updates? My numbers haven’t been updated for more than 24 hours.
I am trying to understand some stuff regarding the rankings in google play.
This is a similar game to mine: less than 5000 downloads, 1 rating: 5/5, released on 15th of May: ranks 75 in top new brain & puzzle;
This is my game: 4950 downloads, 73 ratings: 4.86/5, released on 28th of May, ranks 176 in top new brain & puzzle.
What is the explanation behind this? Obviously my game is more appreciated than that one, probably has more installs and has been released later. My only explanation is that that game got more downloads from Romania than my game. Any other reason?
Yes, admob reporting has been down for me since yesterday. There is a thread in the forums here where everyone is saying it’s down. Probably just a temporary reporting problem. Here is an interesting video on how google ranks apps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Od2SuL2igA
If you watch the whole thing, they tell some what they use to decide play store ranking!
Thanks for the link, there is some valuable info there.
I am considering lunching a new game soon that will be specific to my country, Romania. I already know I will be using house ads from admob and will run a campaign with appbrain to get Romanians to install my game. Is there any other that will charge less than $0.20 per download for such countries?
What I am still thinking about is if I should have the game released world wide or only in Romania. I am interested in getting it high in the Romanian charts but don’t know if I will get a specific help from google in doing that. I mean will the algorithm be similar to what it is worldwide, meaning that the number of downloads from a specific country will make a difference or will I also get a “boost” if I have a game created especially for Romanians? The description on the play store will be in Romanian (should I write one in English, too?) and the language inside the game will be Romanian (I am considering adding an option with an English button - not sure if it’s worth the trouble - if users from other countries will download it, I might get a bad rating for not having an English version… there are a lot of crazy people out there ).
So what I am interested in finding out is if I will get any other boost from google except for the general algorithm that is used for all countries. If such a boost exists, I should invest some time in easing it for google know this is a game targetting Romanians.
If you want a game to be only in Romania, when u will publish it untick all the rest countries and leave Romania only. Also, add app description in Romanian. And inside the app also put the interface language in Romanian, like values-en, values-fr. (find out what is for Romania). This is the algorithm that Google uses. If it see that your app is only in Romanian, it will promote your app in Romania more then other apps.
In the video I posted they talk about targeting specific countries if your app is made only for those countries. They say it is better to limit the app to only the countries it was made for. Because you will get less uninstalls from users it was not targetted for. This will boost your play ranking, having less uninstalls.
I think tapjoy offers installs for as little as 0.10. But these are incentivized installs and a lot of them will get uninstalled as soon as the user gets paid his coins.
I tried several ad networks using CPI campaigns, but they all ask me to integrate their SDK so they can track the installs. Don’t know how appbrain does it, but they don’t need any sdk implemented (in the early stages of any of my games, I got the feeling they are showing more installs than there actually are - based on my own stats).
Another question: do you think it’s better to spend $1000 in the first day or spend it across the first 10 or first 30 days? I figure it would be best if you spent as much as you can in the first day, that way you’ll go up in ranks a lot faster, but maybe google has an algorithm that keeps track of that and notices you had tons of install in the first day then it dropped. Don’t know which is better…
I think download accelleration rate affects your ranking too, not just total downloads. So probably best to get them as fast as you can rather than spread throughout the 30 days. Thing with appbrain the more you bid per install the more installs you will get per day. So you have to find what will give you the most installs for your money the fastest, but also not cost too much. I haven’t released a lot of new apps to to try it much. Will take some expierementing.
Looks like appbrain has made some drastic changes in their systems: “NEW: Country reporting for app promotion and CPI bids per country”. This is a disaster for anyone that was hoping in getting installs from top countries at affordable rates. I ran a campaign for UK with a bid of $0.30 per install and got 5 impressions the entire day.