22-Jun-2014

Circle Art App Marketing

After completion of the Circle Art app, I now face the biggest challenge of any app project - marketing and promotion to present the app to people who are interested. The app will generate attraction through organic means via the app stores and Web search. However, with the vast number of apps in the app stores and the vast number of search results, getting noticed is a major hurdle. Top-10 search results get 95% of the clicks, as covered in my Link Building Insights article. Occupying the top positions in the app stores has the same implication, though the click percentages may vary.

Search Engine Optimization will help in the attempt to gain higher search engine results placement, however, attaining top-10 position for the set of keywords (e.g. circle art, spirograph) is a task easier said than done. Paying for advertising is a certain way to gain attraction, however, sales conversion is a significant question. Google AdWords provides good click-through and generally provides good sales conversion due to the inherent "relevance" factor associated with search engines. People who reach search engine results got there because they initiated the search. Seeing ads before the top-10 search results is a sure way to attract relevant attention.

In contrast to ads appearing in search results, social media ads tend to be less effective in terms of the click-through-rate and sales conversion. The article The Most Successful Facebook Ads compares Facebook ads with Google AdWords. There are many articles written on the effectiveness of social media marketing which takes time and money to execute. Anecdotally, Facebook ads are not as effective as Google AdWords in terms of attraction, click-through and sales conversion. Facebook does have the power of the sheer number of active users. Awesome Facebook Statistical Facts is dated but illustrates the point. I find Facebook ads to be a nuisance and I have developed "ad blinders" while I am trying to read Facebook status updates.

Advertising spend must be considered against projected revenue. The cost of Google AdWords is high due to competition. For a $0.99 app, the net proceeds to the developer is ~$0.70 after the app store take. Spending anything above this amount seems like a certain loss leader. Even spending a lesser amount, if the ad cost is available, there is no guarantee that clicks will bring sales - that's the sales conversion factor to be considered.

The traditional CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) and CPC (cost per click) models are falling out of favor in the mobile world which is seeing a shift to CPI (cost per install). A search for mobile ad providers reveals there is significant challenge to find a CPI rate that accommodates my $0.70 net revenue on each Circle Art app sale.

Circle Art Spirograph

View larger image A friend suggested the use of the Spirograph name to promote my Circle Art app. There are a couple of concerns with this. 1) Hasbro owns the trademark on Spirograph. 2) Mathematically and algorithmically, my Circle Art app is not Spirograph, although it can generate Spirograph-like patterns. So, between the concern of being sued by Hasbro and the contention by those who know that my Circle Art app is not technically Spirograph, I must use references to Spirograph carefully.

Despite Hasbro owning the rights to the Spirograph toy, I see many references to Spirograph apps, so I surmise Hasbro is not enforcing its trademark (they can't sue everybody).

I suppose it does not hurt to reference Spirograph in my marketing collateral but then I'd be competing against the 1,740,000 Google search results. And you know how hard it is to get top-10.

The biggest challenge of any app project is marketing and promotion to present the app to people who are interested. Right!


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