Daily App Dream's creator on why there's still a place for daily app promotion services
Recently one of them - Daily App Dream - has changed hands, with US outfit Entertainment Arts Research acquiring it from its creator, UK developer Adam Green.
We caught up with him to discuss how the service has developed over the years, what he thinks about app promotions, and his future plans. S
Pocket Gamer: When and why did you set up Daily App Dream?
Adam Green: I set up Daily App Dream in December 2010. Prior to that, I was focusing on small independent mobile games having formerly run a small team.
As the market grew ever more saturated, it was becoming increasingly harder to make money with indie games, in particular as myself and my team were very new to the industry. We were all still in university and couldn't compete in terms of either polish or marketing budgets with the larger companies entering the market.
It therefore seemed more viable to get onto the 'other side of the table' and be part of a business which benefited from the market saturation rather than being hindered by it. This ultimately lead to the creation of Daily App Dream.
How successful do you think it was in fulfilling that original aim?
I like to think it met those original aims. There we're certainly things I could do better a second time around in hindsight.
There's only ever been me in the business and I think this lead to me trying to fill too many roles (from raising VC funding, development, to sales). I'm not a natural salesman and while it's been great learning this over the last few years, I expect the business could have grown a lot quicker with someone more suited handling this function.
That having been said; I'm relatively happy with how it turned out: the revenue was fairly strong; the service helped promote a lot of indie titles; I got to form relationships with some great developers; and I learnt a lot while developing the business.
And I always ensured there were some free promotional opportunities for independent developers on the platform in order to try and help those who were in a similar boat to me prior to starting the business.
The App Store and app promotion has changed a lot since you launched - notably with respect to free-to-play games - so how did you optimise the service over the months and years?
The service initially didn't promote free-to-play apps at all. As the free-to-play model grew, however, I had an ever increasing number of developers asking if they could promote free-to-play games so it made sense to offer this option as a paid-for campaign package.
Beyond this there was a lot of re-designing of the server setup and app as I gradually got better at development and understood the market better.
There are dozens of similar services, so why do you think Daily App Dream found its audience?
I think the main reason is as a result of not charging for price-drop campaigns.
Many other services charge developers for all their campaigns, which ultimately means the content those services offer aren't necessarily the highest quality content - it's simply the ones generating the most up-front revenue.
By not charging those developers who were price-dropping their titles, it got a lot of developers aware of the service (and recommending it to other developers), and allowed me to provide the Daily App Dream users with the highest quality content I could find.
This lead to the user base growing very quickly without a huge marketing spend, and the revenue followed.
Additionally I formed a partnership with Indie Developer Consulting in order to offer their press release services at a discounted price to developers running a Daily App Dream promotion. This not only helped the developers get more coverage but helped raise consumer awareness for the service.
Why did you never roll out the service to other platforms such as Android?
I would have liked to roll it out onto Android at some stage but the honest answer is I didn't have sufficient time.
You've just sold the service. Why did you decide to sell now and what's the future of Daily App Dream?
The main reason I sold is simply because I realised I'm not the right person to be running it anymore.
As mentioned; I'm not a natural salesman, but that's what Daily App Dream now needs on a day-to-day basis and there are people far better suited. The team at Entertainment Arts Research Inc. [who bought the service] will be able to expand the business and grow the revenue far quicker than I could.
In terms of the future plans for the business, with their increased sales capacity we're talking over how it could be scaled up to support new platforms and demographics.
I do enjoy being involved in lots of different aspects within a business, though, and am keen to get back to sitting in my bedroom coding for a while, and the sale gives me the financial freedom to do so.
More generally, what do you think are the best ways for developers to market their titles?
I think long-term, developers need to be prioritising their cross promotion, and sharing on social media and community building. Acquisition costs are relatively high no matter where you get the traffic from, and the easiest way to get those acquisitions generating a healthy ROI is to ensure each user you acquire goes on to play a number of your titles.
Once you've got that working, I think Daily App Dream and services like it are great options as means of acquisition. However, regardless your marketing approach, I think developers really need to spend time thinking about what features will help maximise the benefit of their marketing spend before doing so.
And what's next for you?
Well, I'm about to finish up a free-to-play game me and an extremely talented artist (Mike Kirby) have been working on for over a year. We're aiming for release around mid-January and it should be going into submission relatively soon.
I'm also talking to the guys at Microsoft's new studio down in London about possibly doing some work with them. I've got a lot of respect for the management team there and I'd be keen to see what it's like working within a larger company.
Ultimately, however, I love running business and am already well into planning a new venture based around the idea of community building/ user retention. It's still very early stage but it's off to a good start.
Thanks to Adam for his time.