In March, 2015, I got a notification from Google Play Support that my application, Oh My Droid!, had been removed from Google Play for failure to accept the latest version of the Developer Distribution Agreement.
Actually, I had stopped programming for Android and my developer account on Google Play have been left aside since then.
What I have got from that experience?
The search for a completely original idea is a waste of time.
When I started studying Java for Android, back in 2011, I had a wish to publish an original app – and I expected at the time that an original software would achieve some success in download rates – based mostly on its originality. Whenever I had an app idea, I researched on google play and I rejected my idea whenever I found a simmilar app or a “broader” one. I thought at the time that I would achieve no success by repeating other software’s features.
Well, if Rovio had used the same approach, the Angry Birds would never exist. The fact is: today, with more than two million applicatinos online, it will be almost impossible to think of something nobody ever imagined before. It doesn’t matter how original you think you are: you’re not.
If you want to create an app, stop worrying about having a completely original idea and start figuring out how to improve, reinvent, specialize, reuse or reshape an idea that is already out there. Remember: people accept better an idea when it’s already familiar to them.
OhMyDroid! was born from an idea I thought was original. I got so excited with it’s concept that I simply didn’t search for simmilar applications and started programming. When the app was almost complete I found out there was a lot of apps on line with the same – or better – features. That hit me to the ground. For my sake, however, OhMyDroid did have a differencial: it didn’t need an active internet connection to work, but was completely based in communication via SMS. That was good enough for me and I published the software.
Marketing does matter. A lot. Really.
In 2011, when Google Play was still called Android Market, there was already a lot of concurrency. I published OhMyDroid! and announced solely on my social networks. I imagined that the first days online would bring the app to some kind of “top of list” of recent apps. That, along with a cool name, would bring some attention to the software. Pure illusion. The complete version of OhMyDroid! reached the total of 4 downloads. Ever.
If you want publicity for your app, you must take it actively. Make use of every announcing mechanism and marketing technic you can get. The product doesn’t sell itself – the advertisement does it.
Lite apps can be a good help.
My download rates doubled (from 2 to 4 downloads. Amazing.) after I published “OhMyDroid! Lite”. This free, single-featured version achieved more than 100 downloads in total – extremely more successful than the full paid version, but still a shame.
Dead apps dont sell.
I already knew it, but it’s worth noticing. An app that is published and then forgotten by the dev team fades away from the public – even if it was in the “top ten” at launch time. There is too much activity in Google Play, news always coming. If your software is to be in the “trend toppics”, it must be constantly renewed with fixes and new features – of course, keeping coherence with the project’s scope. The “fire rate” of updates may vary, but the fact is: dead apps dont sell. Belive me, OhMyDroid! was a dead app.
At first, with the enormous failure of OhMyDroid!, i put the blame on the category. “Nobody cares with security!”. Actually, I still belive that security is a hard area for a beginner, but every area can be handled if you have patience, time and dedication. That, more than theme or amount of investiment, is what I belive is necessary to achieve some success with Android Apps on Google Play: pacience, time and dedication.
Notice: I said “I belive is necessary” and not “is actually necessary”… because I never really had any success on Google Play. But the experience was worthy.