Emoji Me Face Maker

Announcing our new app - Emoji Me Face Maker for iOS. Make animated emojis that look like you!

 

  • There are tons of choices of hair, eyes, mouth, glasses, beards, etc to make it look just like you.
  • After making your face you can set one of 11 different expressions - happy, sad, mad, etc.
  • Send your animated face emojis by text, iMessage, email, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik, and more! And you can save them to use as profile photo & contact photos.
  • You can combine two faces and faces with hand gestures, accessories & big words to make animated pictures.
  • And it's packed full of Valentine's Day graphics...

Big Emoji New Release With Several Marketing Tests.

We finally updated Super Txt to iOS7, and we also renamed it 'Big Emoji'. Big Emoji is our 2 year old back burner app which makes a little money, but we kinda love the app so are unwilling to kill it despite almost never working on it. A year ago we had big plans for it and spent a bunch of iStockphoto credits that we'd use for new art packs. Never happened, but iStockphoto credits expire. Quick, spend 'em before they expire! Oh, and in iOS7 you can now paste a graphic directly into iMessage... which is at the heart of what Big Emoji is. And... we never really liked the name 'Super Txt'. 'Big Emoji' was the original name, but Apple didn't like it. Two years on and there are still a ton of (shitty) emoji apps around, so we figured it was time to give Apple a 2nd chance to approve the original name. So here we are, version 1.7 of Big Emoji, with:

  • iOS 7 build. (Not an iOS7 redesign mind you, just getting it to work!)
  • Shared directly to iMessages, and now also Facebook, Twitter, Weibo.
  • New art packs: Religion, Travel, Food, Home.
  • Can now buy all the art packs at once with a new bundle IAP. Its $5.99, which is a 30% saving over buying them one by one.
  • We threw out the invite your friends to win free emojis feature, because we never really built a proper version of it. Now its a retention mechanism - after a few days you get a local notification saying you have more free spins.

So while this started out just as a quick maintenance release and not wanting to waste our iStock credits, its a nice little experiment of a bunch of marketing tactics:

  • Name change effects ASO, will it rank higher, get more downloads?
  • Name change is better positioned for what the app actually is, will this result in more happy customers?
  • Name change is keyword stuffed with Facebook and Twitter now too!
  • Added 4 new art packs, which include stuff people have been asking for. Increase in $ per paying user? Increase in conversion?
  • The bundle saves people money, but it means someone can choose that their first purchase is $5.99 instead of 99c. Should increase $ per paying user.
  • Will people use it more now they don't have to manually paste the graphic in to iMessage? Will people start posting Big Emojis to Facebook & Twitter? (not really expecting that they will).
  • Getting the notification every few days that you have free spins to win emojis... that is supposed to increase retention. Will it? Will it affect conversion?
  • If we increase retention, will that improve our rank?
  • We also fixed the asking for a review link, which changed in iOS7. Will that get us more reviews and hence increase our rank?

Results of Translating Hit Tennis 3

Apple has been emailing developers encouraging us to localize our apps, suggesting we 'get started' with a list of 13 languages. Coincidentally we just translated our iOS game Hit Tennis 3 to 14 languages by working with our favorite app translation specialist Tethras. Overall we've had over double downloads for a few weeks as we shot up the charts in a bunch of countries. We picked languages as a combination of markets where we already do well with IAP sales, and untapped markets we want to grow into. Hit Tennis 3 had a very successul launch internationally in English. Release 3.9 came out March 9th in Japanese, Chinese (simplified), Korean, Russian, Portuguese (Brazilian), French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Arabic.  We didn't yet do any promotion of the translated versions. Here are the best results, these graphs show downloads per day (iPhone and iPad), over the last 60 days.

South Korea

Previously we didn't have players in South Korea, now we're a top tennis game there. We hit #1 top free iPhone, #2 top free iPad, and went on to earn a Korean app store 'Whats Hot' editorial placement.

korea
korea

Japan

Japan has been a top performing country for Hit Tennis 2, now Hit Tennis 3 can take its place.

japan
japan

China

We're not yet making much money in China's app store,  but we're pleased to start to build some audience there. Hit Tennis 2 actually did a lot better when it was translated to simplified Chinese.

china
china

Russia

This took us by surprise, Russians love Hit Tennis and they buy IAPs too! Chasing BRIC was the right move.

russia
russia

Brazil

Very happy to break into Brazil. Another BRIC win.

brazil
brazil

Italy, France

Western Europe, especially Italy, France, and the UK, have always been good markets for us. Even though the english word 'Tennis' is almost the same across european languages, translating still had a great impact for us.

italy
italy
france
france

Others

We saw increases in more countries including Spain, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Portugal, Venezuela. We specifically translated for Sweden and Turkey where we had very modest download increases, and also Netherlands where we saw no improvement. A few other places with no improvement included Belgium, Switzerland, and Arabic speaking countries. Note however that while Hit Tennis 3.9 is in Arabic, the app name and app store description are not because the app store doesn't support them yet. Note that we can't conclude 'translation doesn't work for Belgium' or 'translation works best for Korea'. These are just the results we had at this time with this game. I think we can conclude however that translation can be awesome for downloads.

Revenues

Revenues from Hit Tennis 3 are split between IAP sales and ad publishing with Chartboost. We've seen IAP revenues grow in Russia, Korea, Japan, Europe, and small increases in many countries. USA and UK are still the biggest IAP earners for us, but with this translation release Brazil and Russia jumped way up into our IAP sales top 10. Chartboost income has seen a good upswing too. Overall income growth has been modest, and nothing like the gains in downloads in the individual country graphs above. That said, translating is ROI positive for us already.

The Strategy

We've done this before with Hit Tennis 2, it's a specific market strategy:

  • The name of the game is a familiar thing 'Tennis' so it gets instant recognition.
  • We translate the name of the game - instead of building up one brand in all languages we just want easy recognition of what the game is about in all languages.
  • 'Tennis' is actually pretty much the same in several european languages, so translating the app name isn't going to make all the difference for recognition in Europe. But its really good for China, Japan, Korea, Russia, etc.
  • Translating the name is huge for getting good search ranking in non english app stores, but it does risk reducing ranking for the english word.
  • The app store copy, screen shots, and the whole game are translated too, making the customer feel right at home and hence increasing all key metrics.
  • We're not doing localization - ie we are not being culturally sensitive to each country. (Though we did plan Hit Tennis 3 with locations and characters from around the world.) We are just translating as best we can using our app translation company Tethras. Translation can be really good value for money.
  • We're not using local publishers. This is an iOS game, and we think we know how to market using recognition, search, cross promotion, and mobile ads. Android is a different beast though, when we port we may look for local publishers.

Hit Tennis 3 in Production!

Sssh... in secret Rob and I are working hard on Hit Tennis 3 - the sequel to our 13 million  downloads strong free game Hit Tennis 2! Hit Tennis 1 debuted in 2008, Hit Tennis 2 in April 2010, and we plan for Hit Tennis 3 to drop this summer. One of our top 3 goals for Hit Tennis 3 is to make much better graphics, a goal I think we're reached, see what you think:

 hit tennis 3 city court

 

 

hit tennis 3 characters

 

Name the Hit Tennis Players

iOS gamers, you can contribute to the iPhone game Hit Tennis. We’re adding new players and we want fans to name them. Anyone can go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hit-Tennis-2-for-iOS/212023335489769 and comment on the new player pictures with name suggestions (you have to ‘Like’ the Facebook page first). Feel free to suggest your own name if you want millions of people to see it. Hit Tennis 2 is our hit iPhone & iPad game that’s been downloaded over 5 million times.

Focus for Facebook iPhone App

Focus for Facebook is a new free iPhone app that streamlines facebook while you're on-the-go. It features an app spam filter to automatically filter out posts from games and quizes, and it shows your facebook in a compact view so you can quickly scan through new post & comments to see what you want to read, and then 'mark all as read' when you're done.

Read More

Apple's TV Ad Causes Hit Tennis Sales Spike?

On Feb 17th I had a 5x sales spike in my iPhone game Hit Tennis. Cool - a little extra income, but what caused the spike? I looked at Google Analytics and over the next couple of days I Googled and Yahooed looking for a new review or something, but nothing. The only clue I had was from my daily download stats that I check using AppViz from IdeaSwarm. By filtering by country I could see that the spike was in the USA only, maybe meaning that my mystery promoter might not be a website, but some US only media. (People all over the world read web sites in English - and even in the UK, Australia and Canada sales are the same.) Here's that graph of Hit Tennis sales in the US:

hit-tennis-spike-2

Then my girlfriend noticed Apple's new iPod Touch TV ad, which I think started airing on the 16th. Towards the end it shows about 1 second of TouchSports Tennis - the tennis game with the awesome 3D graphics. No word on about sales on Handheld Games blog, but Mobclix publishes app store ranking histories, and TouchSports Tennis jumped from #197 to #69 between the 16th and 20th. (Hit Tennis' ranking didn't change.) So our guess is that  iPhone and iPod owners were driven crazy excited by the TV spot and rushed to the app store looking for Tennis games, and they came across Hit Tennis with it's fun and engaging  game play of swiping of your finger across the touch screen to swing the raquet and hit the ball. So if this is the reason for my sales spike, then Thanks Apple, thanks Handheld Games, and thanks all my customers out there!

hittennis21

Christmas Day 4x sales boost for iPhone Games - Hit Tennis numbers

iTunes Connect just opened its doors after the Christmas break, allowing iPhone developers (me!) to log in and check our sales stats for Christmas. I'm very pleased to discover that Apple managed to get some extra pressies under the tree for me this year in the form of 4x sales increase for Christmas! Check out the graph below of sales figures for my iPhone game Hit Tennis (the tennis game where YOU hit the ball with swipe of your finger). Hit Tennis for iPhone sales over Christmas

Over the past few weeks I've been working hard on my other iPhone app, Smart Caller, I've launched an unique pricing wizzard that finds the best deal for customers in the USA, and I'm about to release an international version for customers worldwide that includes the effortless 'we set it up for you' feature too, so check it out for real savings on internatinal calls on your iPhone. Hit Tennis fans hang tight, I'm planning Hit Tennis 2 which will include full match play and challenging new computer opponents.

Cheers, Mark

Hit Tennis: The adictive tennis game on iPhone where YOU hit the ball with a swipe of your finger.

Smart Caller: Great rates on iPhone international calls with effortless iPhone calling cards

Smart Caller comming soon, testers apply now.

The first version of Smart Caller, the iPhone calling card software for making effortless and affordable international calls from your iPhone without needing WiFi, has been submitted to Apple. I hope it will be coming to the app store soon, and its free! Mean time I'm looking for a few additional testers before its released. If you'd like to test the app email me. To get the software before its released and become a tester, the first step is to install the free Ad Hoc Helper from the app store and use it to email me your UDID (to markj at telecommarketsolutions.com. I need this to make the certificate to allow you to install the software on your phone. Thanks, Mark .