Simple lessons about the App Store

September 20, 2010

Apple recently posted a detailed document of the App Store guidelines for the approval process. We complied with these, as well as the HIG, and WeddingDJ was approved on the first try. It’s now two weeks later, and I’ve learned a lot about the post-approval life on the App Store, so here goes.

  1. If you use the famed Cocoia PSD for your icon, your icon can get back fringing on the App Store and on iOS 4. The best way to do an app icon is to submit it as a square and let Apple’s software apply the rounded corners.

  2. Getting reviews can be hard (if your app doesn’t crash or annoy people). Giving out promo codes doesn’t work (code redeemers can’t review the app) and your beta testers have to buy the app to review it.

  3. Submit all the forms to Apple as soon as you can. There are at least four, and they happen at the speed of mail ((There’s a general Paid Applications contract that everybody needs. If you’re Canadian, you need to fill out an HST form before you can sell your app. If you want to use Apple images on your website, there’s a form for that. If you want the Japanese government to not withhold 20% of your income, there’s a form for that.)).

  4. Use AppViz instead of the Sales and Trends portion of iTunes Connect.

  5. If you have an update that’s been waiting to be reviewed, you can’t upload a new binary and keep your spot in the queue. And I thought I was so clever.

  6. If you don’t complete all steps of the registration of an app name, it can get stuck in limbo and be unusable. This is why our app is “My” WeddingDJ on the app store for now. It looks like Apple is trying to improve this somewhat.

  7. Pay per click advertising is hard to do profitably. Even for a $5 app, it’s easy to pay more for clicks than you get in completed purchases. Since you can’t track a click through to a purchase, and your sales reports are daily, it’s hard to fine tune your campaigns.

  8. If you do run an ad campaign, try targeting a specific country. If all your Facebook ads are in Australia and you got zero sales in Australia, then you know it’s not working.

  9. It only takes $5 of sales to be the #12 highest grossing music app in Poland.

We’ve learned a lot more about the other facets of iOS development, so stay tuned for more.

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.