Tracking the Success of Your iPad App

The App Store is the place to list your iPad apps. Marketing those apps so that people will buy them, however, is entirely up to you. The App Store is right at your iPad customers' fingertips.

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Assemble as much information about your target customer as possible — demographics, education, income level, and so on — because this information will influence all your marketing decisions, from the text you write in your descriptions and ads to the channels you use to distribute your message. Unfortunately, the App Store doesn't tell you who your customers are, so you need to do a little digging:

  • Adding analytical code to your app: There are several analytics options for iPad apps if you're willing to compile the necessary code into your app. For example, Pinch Analytics from Pinch Media is used in thousands of popular apps because it can track any action anywhere in your app. Armed with this information, you can fine-tune the user experience in your updates and offer new features to try to catch usage drop-off as early as possible and retain more customers. You can also measure all types of revenue, from paid downloads and subscriptions to advertising and in-app purchases.

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  • Putting ads in your app: Free apps can still generate revenue. To put your free app to work, you need to monetize the app with advertisements. You can put ads in your apps from AdMob, Mobclix, and Quattro Wireless.

    These are ad exchanges that act as online marketplaces for buying and selling advertising impressions. Developers can earn income by placing space in their apps (known as inventory) in an auction for advertisers, ad networks, and agencies. The latter can maximize their click-through rates by bidding on precisely targeted audience segments. Thus, the more you know about your own customers, the more ads you can get for your app that are precisely targeted for more clicks (and therefore more income).

  • Tracking downloads: Apple releases daily sales reports in iTunes Connect, which you can view online or download, with the name of the app, how many were sold and in which country, and your profit. You can import these reports into any spreadsheet program, like Excel or iWork Numbers.

Here's how to find your app's daily sales reports through iTunes Connect:

  1. Log in to iTunes Connect.

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  2. Click the Sales/Trend Reports link.

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    You get shunted to the Transaction Reports page.

  3. Pick Summary in the Report Type pop-up menu, and then click Daily or Weekly in the Report Period pop-up.

    You can't pick Monthly Free unless your app is free.

  4. After picking your report, click Download to download it or Preview to view it.

Some savvy developers have come up with a number of desktop applications that download and graph the iTunes Connect sales data for you, including AppViz (a Mac application that displays charts of your daily, weekly, and monthly sales) and appFigures (a Web-based solution for tracking app sales).

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