I am leaving the Mac App Store, so how can I advertise my Mac apps effectively outside the MAS?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by ray1302, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. ray1302 macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #1
    Now I plan to leave the app store. Why? The app store is a battlefield, a lot of competitors would post 1-star ratings to your apps and complaint about your apps, then you need to make changes, a lot of troubles, the review process is a nightmare too. Not to mention Apple has a lot of other restrictions for the app store and take 30% of revenues, so I plan to leave and try to sell my products on my website instead.

    Now the question is how can I advertise my Mac apps effectively? Which app directories can provide good traffic for Mac developers?

    I only know the following sites, anymore?

    https://www.google.com
    https://www.macupdate.com/
    http://download.cnet.com/mac/
    https://en.softonic.com/

    Thanks!
     
  2. szymczyk macrumors regular

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    #2
  3. ray1302 thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
  4. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #4
    I've found Facebook advertising has worked well for me. The tough thing is targeting the right people - smart use of Facebook Pixel can help with that. I've recently started using LinkedIn advertising but jury's still out on how good that one is.

    Good luck!
     
  5. ray1302 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Thanks.
    Can we target only the desktop users of FB?
    I found FB would display Ads that related to something I searched in Google before.
     
  6. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #6
    Hi,

    I don't think you can just target desktop users (although if you find a way, let me know!).

    Facebook Pixel can be installed on your website - my site is WordPress based so I use Pixel Caffeine* plugin to do the dirty work. It lets you show your Facebook ads to people "similar" to folks who've visited your site.

    It's worth taking a look at Google Ads too, but in my personal experience I've found Facebook to be more effective.

    PixelCaffeine lets you target mobile/Desktop etc but I don't think you can say specifically macOS. I used to fret about differentiating between iOS and macOS users but I gave up in the end!

    NB. I am have no connections to PixelCaffeine other than being a user!

    r.





    * https://wordpress.org/plugins/pixel-caffeine/
     
  7. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #7
    Also consider popular tech bloggers that have Apple-centric audiences and topics. (E.g. TheLoop, Daring Fireball, Six Colors, John Moltz’s A Very Nice Website, etc.)
     
  8. ray1302 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #8
    Thanks for the information!

    If we can't target the MacOS users only, I think the effectiveness would be much lower, doesn't it? Most of the FB users are coming from mobile.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 21, 2018 ---
    Have you tried to advertise on these blogs? Is it effective?
    Thanks!
     
  9. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #9
    No, I’m an English teacher. I read them weekly though and can tell you I pay attention to the ads.
     
  10. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #10
    I guess the hope is that once the Facebook Pixel is doing it's business, it'll figure out what your audience is and target 'similar' users, most of whom will hopefully be macOS users. I guess the tough bit is getting those initial visitors to build your audiences from.

    Initially I tried Google Ads but it wasn't worth the money - in my experience at least. With Facebook I saw a big enough increase in sales to cover my advertising costs and little left over. Not a huge amount, admittedly, but worth the effort. I'd say I perhaps see a 10% increase in profits with Facebook Ads vs next-to-zero with Google.

    I'm interested to see how LinkedIn pans out. Too early to say so far for me.

    As a foot note, I share your frustrations with the App Store but I do think it's worth sticking with it in the short term. For all it's flaws, I think it's still the best way of getting macOS apps in front of potential customers. Don't forget, you can reply to reviews or report them if you have a concern.
     
  11. ray1302 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #11
    Thanks for your sharing.
    Except FB ads, do you find any other better ways to promote mac apps? Such as app directories?

    Maybe I will stay in MAS for a while, but I still want to try to market my apps by myself. I don't want to rely on MAS only.
     
  12. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #12
    Personally, I don't add my apps to directories - although a lot of them seem to have appeared on there themselves. I guess the site owners have some kind of manual/automated way of scraping that info from the app store???

    I see my apps via the App Store and FastSpring. I direct traffic from Ads to my web site as a rule, where users have an option to buy from either store. Much as I'd prefer them to go via FastSpring for a number of reasons, the huge majority choose the App Store. I guess its just more familiar and trusted. (Plus the logo is bigger on my site! ;-) )
     
  13. ray1302 thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    I see, so where are the main sources of the visitors to your website? Did you check?
     
  14. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #14
    Yeah. The majority come from search results in Google. NB. Not from ads! So I guess you want to get your SEO right. I'm not the best person to help with that, but there are plenty of online guides.

    Next up (but a long way behind) is from links in my forum posts both at here and elsewhere (see my footer). Make useful (not spammy) posts on forums relevant to your apps and people may follow your links. Make sure you contribute to the forums you post in, and don't just talk about your apps in every post - be a good citizen. I'd say that's about 20% of traffic.

    After that comes ads on social media.
     
  15. ray1302 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #15
    Thanks for your suggestion.
    Yes, I also think SEO is the most important factor to success, since it can bring free traffic.

    You may check the following website statistics:
    https://flippa.com/9536414-vpn-hosting-affiliate-business-exact-match-domain-name-huge-potential

    It mentioned it doesn't have paid ads, but most of the traffic are coming from social media.. how can it be possible? I think most of the FB users come from mobile, doesn't it?
     
  16. superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #16
    Yeah, I'd suspect that most social media is accessed by mobile - but certainly not all of it. And, of course, many mobile users also have a desktop computer. If I see an add for an interesting macOS app while viewing Facebook on my iPhone then I might check it out and end up buying it for my Mac.

    Also, just because traffic came from social media, it doesn't necessarily mean that it was paid for. It's free to set up a company page and if you post enough interesting content then some of it will inevitably end up shared around. If you're lucky, it might even go viral. If that happens then you end up with a lot of unpaid for traffic from social media.

    I think the main thing I've learnt is that whether you're writing paid-for ads, posting on forums like this one or writing articles on LinkedIn/Facebook/Blogs then the main thing is to create interesting, useful content - not spammy sales pitches. Get that right and you'll generate traffic and hopefully build a good reputation.
     
  17. pier macrumors 6502a

    pier

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    #17
  18. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #18

    I am interested in pursuing both direct sales via my website and distribution via the MAS. Other than integrating something like Sparkle framework for software updates on the non-MAS version, what kinds of common hurdles would I be facing in attempting to cover both distribution methods?

    Can you share some of your experience? And any thoughts on why many people consider the MAS an an exclusive choice? Do Apple penalize your app’s position if they find you selling elsewhere? Personally, I would consider any and all options for exposure.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  19. superscape, Mar 28, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018

    superscape macrumors 6502a

    superscape

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    #19
    I think the big one is making sure you're not selling apps outside the app store for LESS than you're selling them in the Mac app store (MAS). Last I checked, you could have your apps removed from the app store for that. As far as I'm aware, Apple don't penalise you just for having your apps available elsewhere.

    You're probably going to want to look at some way of preventing (or at least hindering) piracy. Maybe implementing serials/registration or whatever.

    As far as why people consider MAS as an exclusive choice, I think its because its many users' first port of call when they want to find an app. Personally speaking, as a developer, I sold apps before the app store existed. When I say "I sold", mean "Struggled to sell". I sold barely a handful of apps over the course of a year. Then along came the MAS and all of a sudden I have decent regular sales. I'd rather have 60% of something than 100% of (virtually) nothing! ;-)

    Interestingly, once I started selling more on the MAS, I also started selling more outside the MAS. I wonder whether some users find apps on the MAS but for some reason decide they'd rather buy it elsewhere. That's just me speculating.

    You're right though, it doesn't hurt to have your app available in multiple places. Just read the T&Cs carefully.
     
  20. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #20
    Thanks for replying. That’s interesting as I have often seen apps and games (mostly games) selling for more on the Mac App Store than other distribution networks like MacGameStore, Steam, Origin, GOG, etc. I always assumed this was just the developer’s way of recovering some of that profit which was marked for Apple. Perhaps if the app is marked down in a time limited sale on a different network then Apple don’t consider it a breach of T&Cs?

    I intend to sell for the same price across networks, but it gets a little convoluted when it comes to exchange rates as Apple appear to have their own calculations for pricing in various countries, which doesn’t seem to match the current dollar/rate.

    I have found some legacy frameworks for this which I will have to figure out. I guess serial numbers have taken a backseat since the MAS.

    I am one of those people. I’ll find an app on the MAS and then try to buy it directly from the dev (or occasionally from a different network if I find it on sale).

    I’ve often done this with music too. I’ll use iTunes or whatever to find new music and then find a way to purchase directly from the artist if they sell via their own website. As an indie music producer also, I have seen a massive decline in revenue since all of the streaming services became popular, so every little bit adds up.
     
  21. pier macrumors 6502a

    pier

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    #21
    Another option you could consider is DevMate: https://devmate.com/

    I haven't used it myself but it solves a lot of problems for developers (updates, protection, metrics, payments, etc).
     

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20 February 17, 2018