@Reks (also known as AtReks), a company that designs and creates iOS applications, is celebrating five years since the launch of its first iOSapp. In the last five years the company has released 42 educational apps in iTunes with over 1.9M downloads and $270K in sales. The market and iOS devices have changed a lot since the beginning affecting app developers.
Over the years, @Reks focused on designing educational applications. The group of 10 most successful apps consists of both paid and free apps. The two spelling apps Build A Word – Easy Spelling and Build A Word – Easy Spelling with Phonics have always been paid apps with full or occasional discounted price making 92.3K downloads.
App Store Fluctuations Vs. One Determined iOS Developer in Five Rounds
In 2011, there were 19 new @Reks apps with $73.2K in sales. The very next year, there was a 20% increase in sales with 31 @Reks educational apps. At that time there was much talk of schools purchasing iPads. Educators communicated with developers and Apple about improving educational applications and refining downloading procedures for schools. Things looked promising. Free apps were then introduced as sample apps for teachers and parents offering limited features.
However, as the myriad applications kept pouring into AppStore app visibility has become an issue. The ten @Reks most downloaded apps were designed in 2011 and 2012. Newly released apps are struggling to reach these numbers. Based on @Reks experience in iTunes, the older the app is, the better exposure it had. This covers instances of minimal investment in marketing or no marketing at all.
On the other side, iTunes worked on improving their search engine algorithm as well as software for educational purchases. Also, Apple has updated its operating system (iOS) several times. It was iOS 4.0 when the first @Reks app was launched (Tick Tock Clock – Learn How to Tell Time Using Digital and Analog Clock with Roman and Arabic Numerals – Nov. 10th, 2010). We all have iOS 9.1 now. The screen resolution has changed with every new iDevice released on the market.
@Reks team, although rather limited in numbers, worked hard to follow the changes over the years. Constant updates of numerous apps took up most of our time. At times it was incredibly hard to keep pace with the incessant iOS improvements, AppStore changes, etc. @Reks kept adjusting to the app market shifting its focus to adapt to the new environment and user demands. The app downloads have always shown an upward trend as seen on the picture below.
How do we cope with the constant market fluctuations? Marketing @Reks apps, discussing strategies with other app developers and good customer support seem to have been the three major business strategies employed since Fall 2010.
It should be noted that marketing might not have been thoroughly exhausted as a source of app visibility. There is always something new to learn about marketing promotions.
In the past 5 years @Reks has sparsely invested in banner advertisements that were shown for a while on different websites:
- Smart Apps for Kids: www.SmartAppsforKids.com ,
- The iPhone Mom: www.theiPhoneMom ,
- The iMums: www.theiMums.com ,
- AppyMall: www.appymall.com/ ,
- Teachers With Apps: http://www.teacherswithapps.com/
Banners offered almost no downloads.
We decided to gradually introduce ‘MORE APPS’ section within @Reks apps to cross promote other @Reks apps.
FREE or Lite version iOS apps occasionally would offer banners advertising other @Reks apps.
The best promotion and contact with ‘promoters’ and other iOS app developers was through social media:
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reks/134779223208224
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/atReks
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114653916146768062182/posts
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/atreks/
- Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/atReks1
The website (www.atreks.com) contains all the information about @Reks apps. It also offers answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sent to us by users, as well as instructions on how to use our educational apps in the classroom. In addition to that, there is a section with Printable Worksheets offering educational worksheets to elementary school children giving the website additional visibility.
Offering promo codes became a part of the marketing process. They were offered on certain holidays and events organized for educators and users. This helped with word-of-mouth marketing.
There are a number of websites offering app reviews. Some of them offer free, and some paid reviews. @Reks has contacted a number of different reviewers in the course of 5 years. Most reviews can be seen here: http://www.atreks.com/category/reviews/ . This type of marketing did not offer as many downloads as expected.
Forums, Groups and Programs
The first group and forum that @Reks joined was MomsWithApps. Then came numerous other groups and forums:
- Know What’s Inside Program: https://knowwhatsinside.com/,
- App Friday: http://www.appfriday.com/,
- RedeemNow: http://redeem-now.com/,
- Developers for Happi Teacher Program: http://happipapi.com/happi-teacher-program, …
Keeping contact with other developers seems to have helped the most. iOS Developers seem to be well-natured people ready to offer support in tough times.
@Reks customer support team cares about the users. The team goes above and beyond to help the users even when the issue is not connected to any of the @Reks iOS apps. One such example is creating a video and a webpage with step-by-step instructions on how to fix sound issue on an iPad/iPhone:
https://www.youtube.com/SoundIssueFix and http://www.atreks.com/QuickFix.