Entries in apps (2)


My favorite iPhone and iPad apps

It would be rather silly to put my own apps or wildly popular apps in the list, so I limit my choice to third party apps I like a lot and that deserve a bit of extra attention.

Easy Calendar (iPhone) - $1.99

Without a doubt the most used app on my iPhone. A calendar app on steroids. The main focus of the app is to get a task done in as little taps as possible. Solid as a rock and regular useful updates. I can't imagine ever going back to the default Calendar app.

Articles (iPhone) - $2.99

Wikipedia in your pocket with a beautifully designed interface. The developer of this app won a well-deserved Apple Design Award for Articles. Haven't tried the iPad app yet, but it's probably as awesome as the iPhone one.

Snapseed (iPhone & iPad) - Currently free but be fast

There are a gazillion photo editing apps available, but Snapseed is certainly one of the most intuitive. It features a minimalistic, touch-oriented interface. Personally I favor the iPad version. In the first place because that's where I import my photos (via the Camera Connection Kit).

Trainyard (iPhone & iPad) - $0.99

The only game in the list. I'm not into gaming at all, but this one caught my attention when I saw my children play with it. It's a highly addictive puzzle app that does a great job in the learn-as-you-go section.

Shazam (iPhone) - Free

Amazing piece of technology that recognizes any song you hear on the radio in a couple of seconds. With a useful link to the iTunes Store if you're interested in buying the song. Free with ads. Also available for iPad, but I haven't used that version yet.

Lonely Planet Guides (iPhone) - $5.99 a piece

Not really one app, but a huge collection of apps. The perfect travel companion. If you are into traveling certainly check them out. 

FreezePaint (iPhone) - $0.99

Only available since a couple of weeks but I beta tested this app and had a lot of fun with it. It's hard to describe FreezePaint, you have to see it. It's a one of a kind app that's only limited by your imagination. 

Remote (iPhone & iPad) - Free

This one's made by Apple, but doesn't ship with an iPhone or iPad by default. If you hate cables like me, you're going to love Remote. Browse your iTunes library from anywhere in the house. With the built-in AirPlay support the possibilities are endless if you have an Apple TV or any other AirPlay enabled device.


Ad impact

About 2 years ago I promoted my apps with ad banners on some websites and my conclusion was that it doesn't work that way. So why did I do it again?

In January, after working full time on my apps for about 4 months, app sales remained flat despite multiple major app upgrades. I decided to give online ads another try.

What did I do differently?
1. I carefully selected just 2 sites with a specific target audience in mind.
2. A friend of mine (a marketing guru) helped in determining the ad content
3. I hired a designer to make the ads
4. Each ad promoted 2 apps (using animated GIFs) instead of 1
5. Ads were only shown to people who own at least 1 iOS device

For a period of 6 months, Scotty and GeoTagr are promoted on iPhoneography, the no. 1 site for iPhone users interested in photography. In April, PhotoMeta and GeoTagr were promoted on Digital Photography School (DPS), a wildly popular site targeting advanced amateur photographers. Ads on DPS (250 000 impressions) were only displayed on iOS devices.
Both ads had a clear impact on app sales, but not the huge spike I was hoping for. I spent about 3000$ on the ads (that includes the designer) and that's roughly what I made on my apps the past 2 months. It's impossible to measure what percentage of those sales are a direct result of the ads, but I assume that in the long term the ads will have a slight positive effect on sales.