*This is not an official post from Amazon.com, just my own personal opinion
As a business development manager for the Amazon Appstore my job is to help app developers get integrated into the Amazon Appstore and become successful within the Amazon ecosystem. Part of my job is recruiting new developers to our platform and another is working with my marketing team to highlight great new apps for the Amazon customers.
With the assumption that you have actually built a quality app, the next question is, “how do I get discovered?” Most people think with the mentality of “If I build it, they will come” and unfortunately that is far from the truth. I have seen thousands of quality apps out there but when you are competing in such a large space the likelihood of success is depressing to say it nicely. Let’s give a little more context to the space you are entering:
When you are dealing with such large numbers, the real-estate within the appstore is priceless. Mashable did a case study earlier this year about what happened after Duolingo was featured by iTunes and their number of downloads went from tens of thousands to hundred of thousands the day after being featured: http://mashable.com/2014/01/03/apple-app-store-features/
From Amazon’s perspective, here is how we break down merchandising within the appstore.
1. Billboards or what we call Single ASIN’s are the largest and most coveted space within our appstore.
2. Group billboards. Sometimes were run marketing campaigns that highlight themes, for example “Back to school apps”, and we bundle some of the top apps that fit into that theme to highlight. A user clicks that “Group Billboard” and is taken to a list of apps that we feature.
3. Lastly there are what we call “shoveler pieces”. As you scroll down the appstore we have different sections such as “Featured Games” or “Top Free Apps”. Typically on the Amazon Appstore if you are looking at it from a Fire phone there are 7 sections where 4 “shovelers” can be discovered at a time without any additional swiping. Each section allows for 3 swipes without having to click to highlight a total of 12 apps per section featured in the Amazon Appstore.
Now if we were to look at just the Android market alone, here are some shocking stats on the number of apps submitted throughout 2013:
(chart from AppBrain.com)
During the peak month of December there were over 80,000 Android apps submitted just to Google Play. With the assumption that there are roughly 100 slots for merchandising within an app store that use a similar breakdown like the one shown above (billboards, shovelers, etc.) and with the assumption those 100 slots are given a 1 week marketing campaign, that would mean only 400 apps are available to be featured within that given month. That is a .5% likelihood your app will get picked up without even taking into account a majority of that .5% is given to the top tier app developers such as Facebook or EA. You have a far better chance of getting into Harvard than you do getting picked up for featured placements.
So this circles back around to the question of “how do you become one of those app developers to get selected for featured marketing?” In the long tail of apps, how do I make myself standout amongst the crowd and get noticed by the decision makers at these companies? Luckily now you have at least one name from someone who makes that exact decision. My personal pipeline of apps is north of 30,000 apps who are all bidding for marketing from me. Everyone of these apps are telling me “…I am the next big thing” or ” I know this sounds similar to other apps but we are different…” I have heard every reason why YOUR app should be marketed but I thought I would share some specifics on what I look at when prioritizing all the potential apps out there that should be featured in our appstore.
This is the epitome of the chicken and the egg problem. One way to think about app stores giving featured placements is almost like investing. With limited spaces to market apps on our devices, we need to make sure the apps we highlight to our customers are ones that they are going to have the best experience with. Ways to help us hedge our bet with data is by having lots of downloads on other marketplaces, great reviews, high ratings, or being a trending app. We want to highlight apps that aren’t a flash in the pan but will be ongoing valuable experiences for our customers.
Optimization for our customer.
Each marketplace knows their customers the best. At Amazon, just like Apple and Google, we have built out our software, APIs, technologies, and features to maximize the customer experience on our devices. Anytime a developer is willing to step outside the box and add elements within their app to optimize for our users we love to highlight them. A great example of this is how the TechStars Seattle company Wire really went out of their way to fully optimize for our new Fire phone. They added the elements of our “Hero Widget” and gesture control (navigating to a left and right panel by just flipping your hand). They saw the value in adding these features to have an optimized experience in our device so we invested marketing into them.
Create a Buzz.
I am constantly scouring the web for the next hot thing. Places I often tend to watch are:
Probably the perfect example of this and I know you are all probably sick of hearing it, but it was the growth of “Yo”. I first came across them on Product Hunt and didn’t really think that much of it until I noticed the amount of upvotes it was getting. Then soon after Business Insider broke the story they had raised $1.5MIL and it seemed that it was the only thing TC was talking about for a while. I couldn’t NOT reach out to him and soon after we got “Yo” on the Amazon Appstore and Or (the founder) has been a great relationship for us.
I welcome referrals. Now this isn’t a guaranteed marketing placement but when I am looking against the 30,000 other developers that I am in charge of, this will definitely surface you to the top. Feel free to find similar connections via my LinkedIn:
I hope this shed a little bit of light into what is always looked at as a bit of an unknown and mysterious marketing space. Take these 4 things into consideration when you are launching your next app and let me know if there is anything I can do to help you become to next big thing! Good luck!