Tag Archives: Marketing

By the Book: How Swiftkey Perfected Their App Launch

For many a year, the joys of truly brilliant predictive text remained in the hands of Android users alone. Swiftkey, in my book the best third party keyboard in the business, had carved out an impressive paid audience in the Google Play wilderness by building an excellent product that evolved to include multiple languages, that helped users customise the input method to choose their style and that one upped rivals by taking their best features and adapting them.

But until January 2014, they lacked an iOS presence to call their own. As a result of Apple’s negative stance on third party applications playing around with their inbuilt features, Swiftkey had to labour outside of Apple’s walled garden.

That’s all changed with the launch of Swiftkey Note however. Utilising their magical typing tech within a notepad app, the company has managed to generate acres of coverage and the kind of visibility for their app that most developers launching for the first time could only dream of – including a place in the overall top 50 rankings in the US, UK, Germany and Italy on iPhone and iPad without spending a dime of UA money. While I have a long standing admiration for Swiftkey due to the employees I’ve met there and the long hours of usage I’ve gotten from their keyboards, there are some really clear lessons about launching an app successfully that it’d be remiss of me not to talk about it.

So I’ve decided to look in depth at the launch of their app and determine what exactly they did to make things go so swimmingly. A lot of it might seem like common sense but getting these simple things right could easily help you propel your own app into the launch stratosphere.

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Would Free To Play Have Worked For Badland?

Badland

In case you’ve not been reading the script (or have been throwing it into the corner of the room, refusing to touch it lest it “corrupts” you), Free to Play is the dominant business model in the app industry. A report from Flurry into the history of app pricing has argued quite convincingly that the move to F2P has occurred because it offers developers greater reach and users fewer barriers to entry; culminating in 90% of apps on the App Store coming with a free price tag.

That perspective appears to have been reinforced by the results trickling in from the apps that decided to abandon their price tag to be featured in the App Store’s 5th birthday celebration. In particular, side scrolling atmospheric adventure game Badland from Frogmind saw download numbers jump from 280,000 to an astonishing 7.4 million in the space of a single week simply by being featured by Apple.

Which in my mind instantly raised a question: what if Badland had been free to play? How much money could the game have made from that feature simply by monetising the broader pool of free users? With a calculator and what I can remember from A-Level Maths in hand, I set out to have a go at answering that question.

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