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Recent Posts of Mark Wilcox

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May 14, 2013
Backend-as-a-Service Shootout (the best alternatives to Parse?)

Using a Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) can reduce development cost and time-to-market. It’s a simple way of getting a highly scalable backend solution without significant upfront investment. In a world where an app that hits the store top charts might gain more than a million new users before you complete your next iteration of development this is worthy of serious consideration.

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May 08, 2013
Test Early, Test Often, Test on Everything?

Testing any mobile app presents a wide range of challenges. The often repeated but rarely followed software best practice of test early, test often is harder to adhere to than usual due to the fragmentation of the target environment and the relative maturity of tools. The increased acceptance of apps by mainstream consumers and intense competition have raised the bars for user experience and quality. There is more to test than ever, yet often very limited budget for doing so. Fortunately every challenge presents an opportunity and a vast array of tools vendors are racing to fill the gaps.

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May 02, 2013
Usage Analytics Shootout

Usage Analytics tools help developers understand their users and the way they interact with their apps. Measuring app usage in this way and using the data to help target improvements to the app can significantly improve revenues. We asked developers to rate their primary analytics tool across a range of criteria. The results tell us which are developers’ first choice tools and how they compare.

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April 22, 2013
Cross-Platform Tools Shootout

The “write once, run anywhere” concept may be pure fantasy for most apps but sharing code across platforms is desirable and in some cases essential to making projects economically viable. With the application frameworks for all the biggest platforms being in different languages, the market for Cross-Platform Tools (CPTs) to enable code reuse is understandably the largest one (in terms of number of competing solutions) we track. The time required to evaluate all of them is far beyond what most developers can afford to spend on such research. So, which tools are the best?

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April 15, 2013
Does Cross-Promotion Work?

When viewed as just another form of advertising, with a cost-per-action model, in theory Cross-Promotion Networks should work out fairly well for developers. User acquisition costs are predictable for advertisers and those displaying ads have reasonably good targeting built-in before any extra targeting logic used by the cross-promotion network – everyone viewing the ad has a smartphone and downloads apps on it! How does the theory work out in practice?

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April 08, 2013
Capturing More Value with Voice Services

Of the tools and services for developers we asked about in our last survey, one category stands out by miles as having the wealthiest developers: voice services. Of course there’s a lot of variety in the voice services sector and the revenue is not at all evenly distributed.

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April 02, 2013
Backend-as-a-Service Economics

There are a wide variety of products that can be considered Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings. At the time of writing we list 43 of them on our sector summary page. We have previously discussed whether or not they’re a good idea and how much development effort you could save by using one. In our most recent survey we asked developers about their use of some of the most popular options. By comparing developers’ use of BaaS with their average revenues and active user bases, we can determine how well these products are working for them.

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March 25, 2013
How to Optimise Ad Revenue

On the surface, advertising seems like a fairly simple and easy to implement business model for an app. Decide on some places to display ads, integrate one or more third party ad services and wait for the money to start rolling in. If you do this without a clear plan for how and why users will interact with ads in your app you’ll probably find the revenue disappointing. Optimise revenue by growing your user base, increasing engagement…

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March 18, 2013
Why Measurement Matters – the case for analytics

Creating a successful app business takes a lot more than a good idea and the skills to develop an app and upload it to a store. As we’ve discussed before, developers who promote their apps are almost 3 times as likely to break-even as those who don’t. This is the simplest difference with a massive effect on success. It seems obvious…

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March 08, 2013
A/B Testing on the Amazon Appstore

In December Amazon launched a new A/B testing service for Android apps on the Amazon Appstore. Integrating A/B testing, particularly for in-app purchase related events, in the store portal is a welcome addition. Slightly disappointing considering this comes from a store provider is that the A/B testing service does not support testing different copy or icons on the storefront itself, purely in-app A/B tests, for which there are already third-party alternatives.

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