Downloads, Advertising/Promotion and Time

Richard just asked a good question on the income report #1 post:

“how long did it take, to get that number of downloads for your free apps? What kind of advertising/promotion did you consider? Have you advertised them? Would be interesting to read about the ascent of your downloads over time…”

I think this might be of general interest, so here are my answers.

The AL Voice Recorder started on 4th of July 2010, so it has been in the Market for about a year now (~335.000 downloads). 3D Invaders was released on 29th of November 2010 (~80.000). For both apps I did not do any paid advertising. What I did was App Store Optimization and social media marketing (blogs, forums, twitter, etc.).

I recorded the downloads of the AL Voice Recorder for five of months, here is the result:

AL Voice Recorder download stats

AL Voice Recorder download stats

On 07th of November 2010 I made an App Store Optimization and the app was ranked #1 for the search query ‘voice recorder’ since then. You can see the huge increase in downloads on the chart.

My impression on advertising is that it is only usefull when you are able to spend enough money for being present for a longer period of time. This will sure have an effect on your download rates. Most developers spend $50 on their apps and then say “AdMob (normally it’s AdMob) burned my money!”. Of course you wont see big results when spending $50 for an ad campaign. Assume that one click costs $0.05 and the conversion rate is 10%, than that’s 100 new downloads for $50 (or $0.50 per download). I think advertisements in mobile ad networks are necessary as a part of huge ad campaigns, including social media presence, ASO, viral marketing and so on. When relying on ad networks only, the success will probably not be that sustainable.

I hope this was helpful, please feel free to leave comments.


  1. indeed helpfull, thanks for the urgend reply. exspecially the ASO seems to be an interesting option…

  2. Do you know of any type of services for developers to help each other with cross promotion?

  3. You hit on exactly what I have been thinking about. There needs to be a website or something for Indie developers to exchange house ads. The only problem I see with this is how to be sure the developer your sharing with is showing your ads and at the same rate.

  4. I could only find a few services that do anything like this, one of them is the EverBadge network, but it’s not exactly what I’m looking for. So..
    I’ve started a post on a popular android forum, calling for developers to post if they would like to cross-promote. Here is the thread

  5. great article – i managed to advance my apps to the first 3!
    – alagant

  6. Over the past 6 weeks I have seen substantial drops in my active installs. Up to 500+ in one day. Any ideas on why? We haven’t changed anything on our end. In the past 2 years we have only experienced this with the algorithum changes in October of 2011. Any ideas on what may have changed in Feb/MArch of 2012?

  7. Pardon the ignorant question…but how does using AdMob work?

    You mentioned individuals feeling frustrated by paying 50 bucks and not getting their money back.

    I am assuming you pay for ‘x’ amount of weeks on when your app is advertised?

    When looking at AdMob, I got the vibe they have a service to write ‘positive’ reviews on your apps. That an additional fee? :)

    • Something like that. A daily budget (min $10) is defined and a bid on clicks (min $0.01) is placed.

      I haven’t heard of that service but I doubt they offer it since it’s against Google Play’s TOS.

  8. Sorry to sound dense :)

    Can you explain further the daily budget and bid on clicks?

    Is the budget the amount you fund and the bid on clicks money you get if a user clicks on an ad within your app?


    Is the bid on clicks of say .01 is users clicking on an ad featuring your app and once your daily budget amount has been reached, your app isn’t advertised?

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