Browser Extension Makers August 5, 2020

Promoting Extension

Neea @neea

This is actually two-fold post:

  1. I'm curious as to what are your extension promotion strategies. Where do you post and how do you acquire users?

  2. Anyone interested in starting some type of extension-beta tester system whereby we can review each others' extensions, i.e. IH testing/feedback track for early extensions. Not sure what the mechanics of this would be, just bringing it up at this point to gauge interest.

  1. 3

    Regarding #1, there's actually a lot you can do organically to grow your extension within the web store and then other promotion is just icing on the cake. A couple of my extensions I was able to grow into the thousands without any real promotion, some of the things I found extremely helpful were:

    • Optimize the extension name + summary to use keywords that help with store ranking. Look at the top extensions in the store, you'll see a number of them using the "Extension Name - Extension Summary" method as their naming convention. For example, just looking at the home page, I see "Kami Extension - PDF and Document Annotation", "Screencastify - Screen Video Recorder", etc
    • Write a proper description, again with good use of keywords. Most users won't read it, but the keywords help your ranking
    • Make sure you supply all 3 promo images (small, large, and marquee) since that makes you eligible for being featured in the web store
    • Focus on keeping reviews positive as they have a huge impact on ranking as well. You can often get a user to update their review by addressing their concerns and replying to them. Most bad reviews I noticed will typically be centered around bugs, so if you fix it, let them know!
    • Try to avoid linking to third party code or obfuscating your code, this won't affect your ranking, but it does impact approval time

    There's a lot more you can do without even starting with the promotion side of things. I write a lot about growth, optimization, and metrics in the ebook that comes with ChromeExtensionKit if you're interested. The single biggest piece of advice I like to give regarding growing a Chrome extension is to get the web store page as optimized as possible since you can get a ton of organic growth through the web store alone; once that's taken care of, focus on growing it outside the store.

    1. 2

      These are good tips - thanks for breaking down in such level of detail!

      I have relied solely on the organic growth in the store, which is why I was curious. I have noticed it being a hit-or-miss strategy with some extensions gaining magnitudes more users and others very little. It may also be the extension itself. Either way the organic growth for me is a slow strategy and expect it to take a while to pick up; 6 months to 1 year would be fast to me.

      Have you ever had any success being featured and how did that impact your stats?

      1. 2

        You hit the nail on the head there I think. It seems to vary considerably based on the type of extension you're dealing with. For example, productivity and utility extensions tend to do rather well organically, assuming it's something that provides value, such as news aggregators, weather extensions, to-do lists, etc.

        That being said, pretty much any extension providing value can do well, it may just take more time to gain that critical mass if it's not in a "hot" area. Once your ranking in the store rises for your specific keywords (no different than your website on Google, for instance), you'll get a lot more consistent growth. For example, with a couple of my extensions, the growth was far slower initially, but once it grew to a point where I was at least on the first page for my keywords being searched, I saw much faster and consistent growth.

        Hope that helps a bit!

  2. 3

    I'm interested in #2 since I'm having a hard time finding beta testers/feedbacks and apparently my extension got approved and published to the store way sooner than expected 😅

    p.s. here is the landing page for those interested

    1. 2

      Aww .. I don't have netflix but this looks cool. I'll test as much as I can.

      Feedback

      • why do you want to read my browsing history?

      • the browser action opens a popup, the popup contains one button, the button opens a web page; I don't know what your long term plan for the pop up is but this current behavior can be simplified to: click browser action -> open web page of movies

      That's as far as I got with the extension. Overall the presentation is clear and I understand the intended functionality from what you have presented.

      Suggestions regarding store presence,

      • Consider adding a link to the available movies page also in the store description. It won't link but at least then you can get to it easily before install.

      • Write longer description with many relevant keywords, using the words people would use to try to find your extension. Google will index this description.

      • If you want to try some title hacks I would experiment with something like "ScreenplaySubs - screenplays for movies". Sometimes reverse works better "Screenplays for movies - ScreenplaySubs" (need to be careful with dropping registered names like Netflix in there). The idea is user will not know your app name but they know the words to describe it. Title carries more weight.

      1. 2

        Wow, this is the most comprehensive feedback I've received. I added a small privacy section and will spend more time on the store presence hacks. Thank you!

        1. 2

          I also left you a review; it takes a few days to show up though. Good luck!

    2. 2

      I built something like this 2 weeks ago, but besides a single post here I haven't done much promoting 👉 https://roastmy.app

      The problem I see with these types of platforms is there's little incentive for people to review other apps. Most people will come on and review maybe 1-2 in hopes those authors will return the favor when they themselves post their app.

      1. 1

        Yup I agree. Even if I want to review other apps, it takes time and effort that possibly doesn't justify doing so purely for altruistic purposes.

        Maybe you can capitalize on this instead. For example, reviews/feedbacks can be blurred out from the creators before they return the favor and review the reviewer's product as well?

        Anyways, just my 2 cents. Good luck!

        1. 1

          That's not a bad idea. Thanks

  3. 2

    I'm down to swap notes and help the other extension makers out there!

    As for acquisition, I'm still figuring this out myself. Though, what I do know is there isn't a lot of organic traction from the Chrome store. This was a surprise to me coming from the Slack ecosystem where we generate a lot of leads from this directory.

    I think @timleland is bang on with the content/SEO/affiliate strategy. Unfortunately, this can be a lot of effort!

    1. 2

      Yes it is! Get active on social media platforms and help people by answering questions etc. I also have a referral program where I give away weather pro for free if they share the extension. Friends sharing it with their friends is great.

    2. 1

      The dynamics of the marketplace play into this.

      Slack approval process is rigorous and there are maybe hundreds or max thousands of approved apps (?). When you are one of those apps, you will get more attention.

      Web store has some hundreds of thousands of extensions (I've done some crawling on this data) - about 200-300K. Compare that to play store that has a few million apps. It takes me longer to get discovered organically in the Play Store than in the Web Store because of these numbers.

      I also published something in Edge Add-On place recently to test this theory and I'm seeing much faster acquisition through that channel. The category I am in has 150 extensions. When some user comes on there looking for extensions my odds are good.

      1. 1

        Excellent points! One point of contention: I think less people are searching for solutions on the browser directories than, say, the Slack app directory. This is purely anecdotal, but I get the feeling the Chrome store is a means to an end. The end being that you need to go there to install an extension, I'm not sure there is enough awareness (yet) that there are robust solutions built into browsers and thus less of a consumer habit to go there to find a solution in the first place.

        1. 1

          I don't have exact numbers on how many users slack has but latest stats from google show 12 million. There are single extensions with more users than that. When you build apps for slack you are targeting this specific user base and with knowledge that it is primarily a workplace application.

          Browsers are for everyone and everywhere, all over the world so there is opportunity for various use cases; depends on what you want to build. Also more noise (and not for phones).

          I have never viewed extensions very seriously as a work tool but I can tell you from the stats I'm seeing, that people are using them during work hours. There is a very clear weekly trend. stat1 stat2

          At the end in my mind it comes down to. a) what are you building. b) what is the best place to surface that app so you can find your target users.

          1. 2

            I completely agree with that! And definitely recognize that the potential reach is MUCH larger on browser stores (because they are so widely accessible). All I'm suggesting is that, because of the breadth of apps that are on browsers I haven't seen evidence that the habit is there yet for people to actually search for X tool on browser stores. That was why I made the comparison to Slack, not because I think Slack's reach is equally large. They have just made the app ecosystem at the forefront of administering the tool, and therefore have put people in the habit of searching for X tool on the Slack app directory.

  4. 2

    I wrote a post awhile ago and it is pretty much how I grew my extensions to over 200k users. The strategies are similar to mobile apps but you really need to target users on desktop browsers. I have tried FB ads in the past that target just desktop chrome, but it can really get expensive. My best advice is to get your extension listed in post like "My top chrome extension of 2020" etc. I've had Lifehacker share my extensions a couple of times which really helps.

    What is your extension? I may be able to give you some tips.

    1. 1

      Good post I'm saving this for later. I am just generally curious and wanted to see what you all are working with. I don't have any paid extensions at the moment so getting them to grow is not particularly important. But I am getting better at monetizing so I am taking notes.

    2. 1

      does ratings/reviews noticeably affect user acquisition (In this case for the weather extension)? And how so?

      1. 2

        Yes I do think rating and review are important. Unfortunately chrome store does not have a good anti spam and back in 2018 my extension was spammed thousands of 1 star reviews. It has not been able to recover 😔 https://twitter.com/weatherext/status/1151098211945320448?s=21

        1. 1

          hey when you hit 100K users does the granularity shift to 100K increments, e.g. 100K, 200K, 300K ignoring the 10K?

          1. 1

            Chrome use to show exact users but a couple months ago they started just showing increments. Not sure why they made this change.

  5. 2

    Definitely a great idea and I be a shoe in for that.

    I have a topic on this to create a curated lists where we, the addon makers, commit to help each other. See https://www.indiehackers.com/post/how-about-we-help-each-other-22d91fa2e2

    So far it's only me and, 2 other folks, but I'm open to other ideas as well

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