Developer

Three reasons to release Android apps into multiple markets

Android developers who are considering releasing their apps to markets beyond Google Play should read this advice from Tim Mackenzie.

Unlike the other mobile platforms, many Android users can get their apps and content from a variety of sources. In many cases, no circumvention measures are necessary other than checking a single setting in the device's preferences. In addition, there are a few specialty devices that are locked into the app market provided by the device vendor. These devices cannot access Google Play.

This has given rise to a large number of app stores that are vying for the attention of developers and users. So why should you, the developer, pay attention?

1: Greater exposure for your app and your brand

Your app will gain greater exposure by being available on additional app markets. Each market will create a page for your app, which increases the number of pages on the Internet featuring your brand and product name. In addition, these pages may link back to your company page, giving it more authority in the eyes of search engines.

In addition, being ubiquitous is a powerful tool in building a brand. If your app is everywhere (and on every platform) that your potential users visit, you will create a more pervasive brand.

2: More downloads and purchases in additional regions and languages

An obvious benefit of your app being available on additional app markets is getting more downloads. For some users, if you are only on Google Play, they will never see your app.

However, the ability to get more downloads goes beyond just having another group of customers see your app; many Android app markets serve a specific demographic, such as a region of the world or a particular language, and this can be a great way to leverage your localized app. If you have a Spanish localization in your app, wouldn't you want your app to be available in app stores that cater to Spanish speakers? By selecting an app market that caters to your target market, it can give you access to a group of highly targeted potential customers.

3: Ability to test updates or different versions in select markets rather than on the big market

Beyond additional downloads and brand visibility, releasing to multiple app markets gives you additional testing capabilities. You have the option to test a new feature, price point, or advertising in a small segment of your sales front, and rather than test over time in the same market, you can test simultaneously in multiple markets.

Some developers have taken to releasing experimental features to the smaller markets first to ensure that if there are bugs they can be found and fixed before releasing everywhere else. This helps protect against one-star ratings on Google Play from users who are irate about a bug.

What next?

If you are now convinced that you should pursue additional markets for your Android apps, it's time to take stock of what you have. Did you localize your app? Does your app require specific hardware or software features to function? Some of these details can limit which markets are best for your app.

Your next steps are: assess your app, look for markets that are a good fit, and then enjoy the benefits of having your app on multiple markets.

Also read on TechRepublic

About

Tim Mackenzie, author of the Android Income Series books, is a software engineer that escaped the cubicle world at a large company to go solo with Android app development. He uses this freedom to teach others how to make money with Android apps. Visi...

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