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Got featured by Apple in 112 countries

It's been a while since I shared a milestone on IH but it hast been quite a journey!

The last time I posted was for our first 13 paid users and 1500 downloads. Back than this was quite amazing but we put in a lot of work and achieved something incredible.

By now we have around 250.000 downloads worldwide and we are closing in on our first 1.000 active paid users!! 🤯

End of Feburary we got featured the first time by Apple in Canada and South Korea in a small sub-category. To be honest, we were super excited about this but quickly disappointed. The conversion was super low and we didn't even get a lot of downloads. Probably this was because we were hidden away in the sub-category and also we didn't have translations for Korean.

After that I focused a solid two months on marketing Avocation and building organic traffic. I summarised everything I've learned in this post I published a few weeks ago: https://medium.com/better-marketing/how-i-scaled-our-app-from-0-to-100000-downloads-7b88e5bce354?source=friends_link&sk=b177b66cf4922b1c5e20b4d595f7396e

Fast forward a couple months we managed to grow Avocation a lot! We currently get around 4000-5000 downloads a day just by being ranked very high in the Play Store and App Store for our most important keywords.

In addition to that Apple reached out to us and is helping us improving our app by providing valuable feedback based on their huge knowledge about what works in apps and what doesn't work.

Two weeks ago I reached out to Apple again and gave them a notice that we added six new translations to Avocation to make it accessible to even more users!

And last Friday we got the notice that we got featured in 112 countries around the world in the category "Apps We Love Right Now"!!

Of course our downloads skyrocketed again in the last couple days, which is simply incredible.

When we started working on Avocation a year ago, we would have never dreamed of what we are currently achieving. It literally changed our lives in just six months after release... 🎉

  1. 7

    Congratulations, this sounds amazing!

    I hope to have the same success as you when I'm done with developing my app. How did you go about researching the hashtags you were going to use on twitter? What did you do to learn about ASO, if you don't mind answering?

    1. 2

      I picked the Twitter hashtags to reach out to users based on what I personally would use and what was going on at that time. For example we launched the app two weeks before new years eve so I looked for hashtags that people use to share their new years resolutions.

      ASO is a pretty broad topic, I watched a lot of videos and read a lot about it. The most important thing for me was to add the most important keyword into the app title. Other than that you should put as many keywords as possible into your subtitle and description. There is a lot of try-and-error to do here, you kinda need to test some pages and see what works best. On Google Play you even have the possibility to A/B test store pages!

      Also make sure to create a good app icon and screenshots, since this is where you either gain or loose the download! The first impression is always the most important one.

      I will probably share more about what I've learned about ASO in some future blog posts where I will go into more detail :) Hope this helps you a bit to get started!

      1. 1

        Which videos did you watch?

        1. 2

          I don't remember in detail which ones I watched but basically everything you find on YouTube when you search for ASO :)

          1. 2

            Thanks for the answers in the different comments. Much appreciated!

  2. 3

    Congratulations! It sounds like a crazy experience. How have the downloads gone up until now?

    Just went in and downloaded the app, and it looks promising. Atomic Habits by James Clear is an amazing book and it sounds great that the app is inspired by the book. I'm looking forward to using the app a bit more 😄

    1. 2

      Thanks, it's indeed been quite crazy (it still is)! Until this featuring from Apple our userbase mostly consists of Android users (around 90%). We had a lot of organic growth through the Play Store since we managed to rank quite well very fast. So now we are at around 4000-5000 downloads per day.

      Avocation was built after we read Atomic Habits since we thought that this knowledge can be shared not only as a book but more effectively with a tool that helps you out daily.

      We have some big plans on how to take it to next level already and we are working hard to make that happen!

      1. 2

        Sounds amazing! I'm looking forward to seeing the tool evolve.

  3. 3

    Amazing, would love to see what this does to your growth chart!

    1. 2

      Will share our insights probably in a few weeks!

  4. 2

    Very cool story, especially the point you make about app localization in your article. As a creator of a new app in a similarly crowded market it's a great reminder to finally get down to translating it (I too have had the task opened since forever). Thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      Yes, never underestimate the power of just making your app available for more people around the world!

      I wouldn't suggest though to start too early with too many translations. In the beginning the best you can do is to focus on making sure you reach some users, get some downloads and reviews. Then you can optimise your retention a bit (we are doing that far too late unfortunately. Thats one thing I would do different with my next project) and only then I would use the power of translations to reach a lot more people!

  5. 2

    Congrats! Those are really good numbers. I'm thinking of translating my app too, how did you handle ASO for languages you don't know?

    1. 1

      Thanks!

      Basically I created a small google doc template for my translators where I explain a bit what they should focus on. Some translators even have experience with ASO already, so that's usually quite easy then if you know/hire someone with experience 🙂

  6. 2

    Hey David, congratulations! 😃 I am also an iOS app developer and I have 2 questions for you.

    1. What platform do you use for finding new keywords for your app?
    2. What is the conversion rate that you are seeing to paid subscriptions on Android?

    Thanks.

    1. 1

      Thanks!

      1.: I basically brainstormed them myself and also used a bit the Google Play auto-complete to find keywords people search for that can be related to our app. Will probably write a own article about that some time, there are a few tricks I used there!

      2.: The conversion rate in general is still pretty low (around 0.5 to 1.0% of all downloads) but iOS is of course a bit higher than Android. But never underestimate the sheer size of the Android market. You can reach a LOT more users, so in the end we still make more money from our Android app even though we have a higher conversion rate on iOS

  7. 2

    Thanks for sharing! That's very inspiring and also useful.

    How did you decide that the product is good enough and to focus on marketing?
    At what point would you add localization?

    1. 2

      It was a decision for me to see if Avocation has the potential to become something bigger or not. I wanted to know if I need to move on to something else after the growth didn't develop like we wished.

      Looking back I sometimes thought if it would have been better to still work on Avocation instead of focusing too much on marketing at this stage, but now I think it was the perfect call. I would have very likely dropped the project after 1-2 more months without growth so I think really testing how fast you can grow your product with full focus on marketing can really give you the insights if its worth more time or if you should move on to something else :)

      1. 1

        @Zwenza thanks for sharing that! How did you validate the idea initially or did you just get a MVP up and then focus on seeing if you could grow it.

        Right now I am doing something similar. I currently am testing my idea using Facebook ads and a simple landing page to capture email addresses even though the MVP isn't ready. So far I've manage to get about 60 opt ins. Would you consider this validation? 🤔

        1. 1

          To be honest, I didn't do a lot of validation before building the MVP. Initially we also had no big goals with our app, we mostly just built it for ourselves. So we built our MVP (which in the end was much more than a real MVP 😅) and then started focusing on growing it as much as possible. Once we saw a bit of traction we noticed there is much more potential so we put in much more work than we expected.

          To give you a proper answer for your case I would need to know a bit more, like what's your idea about and how many impressions you had to get those 60 opt-ins. But you see already that there is interest so that's already a good first sign I think 🙂

          1. 1

            Yep! Absolutely. Love how you guys started off. One important thing I've read recently is about managing expectations. Your comment is a good reminder of that!

            My landing page is http://stoiclyy.com if you want to check it out.

            In terms of impressions were about 9,000-12,000 approx. Don't remember the exact number. But in that ballpark

  8. 2

    This is so great to see!! Huge congratulations David and thanks so much for taking the time to share your learnings as well.

    1. 1

      Thank you! I am happy to give back to IH 🙂

  9. 2

    Great app experience. Love your UI. It is fast too.

  10. 2

    Did you gain any knowledge or insight into how your app got hand picked for special attention / treatment? I've often wondered how these things work.

    1. 1

      Good question, I can't really answer this since I really don't know much details on Apple's process. In general I think they really like products with a heavy focus on great UI/UX and where they see that the app is still active maintained.

      Also you need to let Apple know about your app which you can do with this form (only accessible if you have a dev account I think): https://developer.apple.com/contact/app-store/promote

      They look at every submission you send there (usually takes a few weeks) so you can be sure they at least check out your app which will increase your chances of catching attention for sure!

  11. 2

    Congratulations!
    How much do you charge each user?

    1. 2

      We currently offer a Premium Version for 2,50/month or 20,00/year

  12. 2

    How did u get ur first download? Did the first 100 download can hard?

    1. 1

      Indeed the first 100 downloads are the hardest. I explained it in more detail in the blog post I mentioned in the milestone but basically I started reaching out to people directly on Twitter to get my first 100 downloads :)

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          I always replied publicly to reach more people who might read the tweet and my answer

  13. 2

    Congratulations David! How did you manage to get Apple to reach out to you? 😱

    1. 1

      Thanks!

      I will copy my answer from a very similar question that I answered here:

      I can't really answer this since I really don't know much details on Apple's process. In general I think they really like products with a heavy focus on great UI/UX and where they see that the app is still active maintained.

      Also you need to let Apple know about your app which you can do with this form (only accessible if you have a dev account I think): https://developer.apple.com/contact/app-store/promote

      They look at every submission you send there (usually takes a few weeks) so you can be sure they at least check out your app which will increase your chances of catching attention for sure!

  14. 2

    Congrats on the success! Been seeing your app in the rank chart a lot and really kept me motivated to learn about marketing as well. The category of habit tracker is full of old and ugly apps that haven't been updated for years. Refreshing to see people actually care about a better experience.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot! Wish you all the best learning about marketing!

  15. 2

    Congratulations on your app success , cool nifty tricks on ASO.

  16. 1

    Hi David and congratulations!
    so nice of you to share about what you learnt from the process, really appreciate your taking time!

    It's kind of a long shot but here goes: we're a couple of creators from London, and we've built an inclusive fitness app that provides personalised videos on demand, called Jumpy Cat.

    We recently released on iOS and got some great feedback from a few blind users, and got super inspired to work on the app to make it possible to use as audio-only workouts for these communities.

    I was wondering if you guys (you and your girlfriend) have any advice about how to reach out to them? Or maybe you know someone personally who could benefit from it? We'd really appreciate any help/pointers/ideas!

  17. 1

    Hi David,

    Thank you for doing this write up!

    Did you use any ASO software to measure your keyword changes over this time period? If not, how did you measure your changes?

    1. 1

      Yes! I tested various ASO tools but unfortunately most of them are pretty useless in their free versions. The tool I stayed with is appfollow.io which is still quite restrictive but gives you the most information for free.

      By now I could probably invest in some paid ASO service, but in the beginning these tools are quite expensive if you don't earn anything yet 🙂

      1. 1

        Thanks for this feedback David!

  18. 1

    Congratulations. Just downloaded your app and it is awesome. Very nice animation with clean UI.
    Do you use React Native or Native code also want to implement this nice animation in my app so if you use react native can you share which library you use.

  19. 1

    Congratulations! Did you create separate apps for each language or one app with multi-lingual support?

    1. 1

      Thanks! No, we just have one app translated into multiple languages. That's how you usually do it as mobile app since you don't want to loose your ratings and also it would be a lot of overhead creating so many different "same" apps.

      You basically include all language files for every language and pick the one the user has configured as primary on his/her phone.

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