More Of Tapstream To Love

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Today we’re expanding the reach of our platform further than ever.

For the first time your campaign data will automatically sync with the freshly released iTunes Connect App Analytics, just in time for iOS 8 release. This is an industry first, and will make both your Tapstream dashboard and the new iTC App Analytics a lot more useful.

We are also working with several ad networks specializing in native ads to provide accurate attribution and performance tracking for this growing ad trend. One of the early partners is Appsfire: “We’re really excited that native ads are taking off,” says CEO Ouriel Ohayon. “Having attribution providers like Tapstream provide direct performance measurements gives our advertisers the data they need to see the value in these new ads.”

Unlike regular mobile ads, native mobile ads trigger app install without leaving the confines of the host app, making tracking URLs irrelevant. This is where Tapstream’s server-side clicks come into play, giving you the same data you get from a non-native ad campaign.

These features are already live in your account - and if you don’t have one, it’s high time to get started for free.

Dylan Jones on the Paid App Ecosystem

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There’s no value in free. On the surface it looks like the great free app gold rush is nothing but a race to mediocrity. It wasn’t that long ago paid apps were topping the app store. While most app store revenue is currently coming from free apps, Apple is pushing paid apps in their featured collections. In spite of free apps being today’s business model du’ jour we’re curious if there’s a movement back to a paid ecosystem.

We caught up with Dylan Jones who is part of the team that just launched Battle Group 2 onto iOS. Being a paid game, we recently had a great conversation with Dylan about the state of the paid app business.

Last year Sarah Perez announces in TechCrunch "It’s Over for Paid Apps, With a Few Exceptions". Is she right? Why?

“The industry has proven that the race to the bottom is far from hyperbole. In 2013, developers got a scrumptious taste of a market that proved that the content devs created was worth different amounts to different consumers. Why limit a kid from enjoying the app if he tells his friends or keep an investment banker from pouring money into an experience they view as a fair trade? The free pricing strategy will continue to dominate. However, this won’t mean the quality of the experience will decline, rather the experience of paying will decline. The reality is that we’ve already seen developers shifting resources from goals of solely creating a great product into how to properly ’nickel and dime’ customers.”

Obviously not all apps are created equal, so does this mean more developers are good with mediocre rather than putting the time into creating exceptional? Is there shelf life and demand for exceptional?

“Building an app or a game is like building a sailboat. You’ve got to build the hull and hope it floats. With F2P or free pricing strategies, you’ve now got to sail it, comparable to the journey of analyzing post-release analytics. Some incredibly successful developers just want to build boats, or are most skilled in hull construction and can’t hire a crew to sail it. Thus, we’ll never see 100% of developers embrace this trend of monetization, out of lack of resources or simply moral objections to the “ruined experience” when microtransactions get introduced. Very recently, we’ve even seen Apple itself shift to featuring and highlighting premium games. This change could be as high-level of preemptively addressing concerns held by the European Commision that are quickly growing internationally or as low-level as the increasing education of their consumers in the market.”

Has the consumer come to accept free is ok and good enough?

“Do you want a fast food patty or a locally farmed burger? A question certainly not exclusive to the app space. I know casual iPhone users who played both Flappy Bird and Monument Valley. These days, it takes larger and more experienced teams to gamble on creating a profiting free priced app. Free is no longer associated with a loss in quality, but rather that one must keep pumping quarters into the machine.”

Are apps for the most part simply a disposable feature of our smartphone… almost like razor blades?

“We’ve got to be careful when we generalize apps, while it’s tempting to group such an expansive space of experiences together, such dialogs turn undescriptive and lacks practical use. The answer to this question quickly changes depending on the category. Poorly executed note taking apps vs incredibly visceral interactive narratives will spread the spectrum. For every forgettable throwaway app I download, there’s 2 life-altering-habit-forming apps I can’t live without.”

As a developer what are the 3 biggest reasons I should create an app people will pay for?

“Personally, as is often the case with game developers, I create so that others walk away with a meaningful experience. If that’s your goal with premium games, you can hopefully avoid distractions that break player’s engagement like ads or paywalls. The last thing you want interrupting the emotions you are trying to convey is one of anger during a needed cash grab.”

Why make a premium app one that’s ad free, spam free, all about kick ass content and a premium user experience?

“I’ve enjoyed the F2P space for the psychological rooted approach to design. However, there’s something to be said when a creator can focus on the core of the product. People want entertainment, even just sitting on the bus commute, they want to spend their time engaging in content and not dealing with interrupting ads. While the race to the bottom is a common one, some developers benefit from circumstantial less risk with going premium that includes a marketing plan or feature. One of the bigger benefits of premium pricing is the instant trust from the consumer who knows that the business has been attended to, and it’s now smooth sailing.”

There’s no simple answer to this free versus paid quandary. It’s a lot like comparing commercial TV and Radio to PBS or NPR, filler taking up space between commercials versus dialing into premium programming with negligible interruptions. As a developer know your audience, deliver value and it could be the difference between mining diamonds or chasing Fools Gold.

Each developer needs to figure that out for themselves, but for the industry as a whole it’s not going to be absolute either way. Beside the thin sliver on the high end of price (training apps etc that can go for $10.00 or a lot more than that) there will as Dylan points out always a certain number of developers interested in focusing on their expertise- building great apps, not doing behaviour economic trigger design to drive monetization.

Distribution is at least one order of magnitude on free apps, but that doesn’t mean it’s remotely easy, so if you haven’t “solved” that the value of going free may be wasted on most apps.

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Mobile App Growth Tool For Websites

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Tapstream is the only mobile analytics company that tracks mobile web visitors as they move into the app. With our tracking, mobile developers can see how many of their mobile web visitors end up installing and engaging with the app.

Today, Tapstream’s website tracking is getting a substantial upgrade. Now, our customers can see not only the number of visitors per each tracked web page, but also the number of clicks to the app store from those visits.

This gives mobile marketers a full-funnel view of how their website drives app installs and revenue:

  1. Number of website visits
  2. Number of download clicks
  3. Number of app installs
  4. Total revenue from each web page

Combined with our Onboarding Links that personalize what users see when they first start the app, Tapstream customers can now get more users from their website, and substantially reduce churn of those new users.

Tapstream’s Website Install Tracking is absolutely free, sign up today.

How A Top Recipe App Drives Growth With Onboarding Links

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A Delicious Partnership

As one of the top recipe apps on iOS with 15 million monthly unique users, Yummly continually looks for new ways to improve the app on-boarding experience for new users in order to increase engagement, reduce abandonment, and grow its user base. When Ethan Smith, Yummly’s VP of Product heard about Tapstream’s industry first Onboarding Links, a new partnership was in the making.

From Mobile Web To In-App

Yummly properties boast over 500,000 recipes and the company wanted to actively transition users from browsing recipes on the mobile web to viewing content through the Yummly iOS app.

In order to drive new app downloads, Yummly began showing interstitials to mobile web visitors as they moved from recipe to recipe. Initially the results weren’t good as new users would download the app and immediately lose the recipe they were looking at only to be funnelled into the apps default first run experience. Frustrated new users would have to ‘re-find’ the recipe they were just looking at on the web. Engagement fell and abandonment rates skyrocketed.

The main challenge Yummly faced was figuring out how to actively drive new app downloads from its mobile web property while ensuring high engagement rates, low first day abandonment, and a great experience for new users.

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The Latest from Tapstream: Word Of Mouth

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Everyone wants their app to go “viral”. They want it shared and talked about. We at Tapstream are in a unique position to help this process along.

Encouraging users to share app through social media can be a slog - people dislike recommending apps in public forums like their Facebook wall, spamming many friends to reach the few that might care about it. And even worse, these shares are very ineffective, as people develop a type of blindness for recommendations and likes.

But our data told us that one type of social sharing is very effective: messaging.

Text messages (be it SMS or iMessage) have open rates of over 90%. They’re fiercely personal. What if your users could spread the word to a few friends via a text message, and get a reward for every install?

And what if you could measure exactly how effective those shares are in terms of click-to-install rates, engagement of new users or even the average revenue per new user?

Tapstream’s Word of Mouth solves all these problems.

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