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You’ve published your Android application – now what?

This is the third in a series of articles related to publishing your application to market place.

The earlier ones are Managing free and paid Applications and Preparing your app for market – a checklist

Your application has been published to the market place, and I guess you’re now monitoring your download figures – no doubt with fingers crossed that it will take off big time. There are two activities which now have to start happening.

The first  is that somehow the world has to get to know about your application.

People may come across it via searches in the marketplace but you should be actively promoting it in the wider world using every means at your disposal – twitter, facebook, website etc etc. You can also use other distribution channels,  with Android applications you are not only limited to the Google Android Market place. There are others such as those provided by carriers eg Orange and you could also make your application directly available from your own website.

These are exactly the same activities you would do to publicise and sell  any other product, and I’m sure you will have already started doing them in parallel with the development and deployment stages of your application. If not then now is the time to start.

And now we come to the second set of activities – in a word ‘Analysis’.

Wherever your application is being distributed, you are no doubt beginning to collect some basic statistics like those supplied in the Google marketplace  ie number of installs, number of active installs and any feedback comments that have been provided. And it is when looking at this information that you realise it is not enough.

You need to know:

Why did people install and then uninstall?

Was it not what they expected from the market place description or the application name?
Did it lack a feature they wanted?
Did it not work on their device? What device? At all or simply inappropriate layout, text or graphics not appearing etc
Some other reason?

Are you getting any feedback from the active installs – are they happy with application, are there new features they would like to see added?

The comments provided in the marketplace can be sparse and are primarily geared to assist other people in making a decision to download your app or not. For you  as an application provider they tend not to be helpful and just raise more questions to which you would like answers. It would be really good if you could enter into a dialogue with the commentators.

The upshot of all this is that you need feedback from the users of your application and you need to provide the means of doing so. The easier it is for a user to provide feedback the more likely you are to get it, and the easiest place is from within your application itself.

Ways in which this could be achieved include:

  • Links to your website FAQ, email etc or at the very least the standard market feedback page for your application. These links could be placed on your Help or About page, or a recent changes page that is shown when updates take place
  • On the Marketplace page make sure your contact details are prominent including FAQ, and help pages on your website
  • A mechanism at uninstall time for capturing the reasons why the application is being uninstalled. The users may decline to give any but if it is easy to do so – set of checkboxes to select from  maybe – then you are more likely to get a response.

More detailed usage of you application can be gleaned from the use of Google Analytics. By implementing Analytics in your applications you can start to determine the usage of functions and features within the application itself.

Once you have answers to all of these questions, you can start to refine your application so that the active install count stays proprotionally high, and all the comments are 5 star rated.

Now go and have another peek at your download stats… 🙂

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