How Would You Spend $1,000 to Promote Your iPhone App?

Matthew Campbell, June 23rd

iStock_000000385287XSmall.jpgLast week I polled the Twitterati about how to promote iPhone apps. I thought it would be interesting to share the results and some discussion on this topic.

As we all know, promoting iPhone apps has become more and more challenging as time goes on. The last I heard we had 50,000+ apps to choose from on the store. “How do I get noticed?” has become the number one question that developers want answered.

So, this is the question that I posed to the people I follow on Twitter who are heavily skewed to the iPhone dev demographic.


If you had $1,000 given to you that you had to use to promote your iPhone app what would you spend it on?



@MattjDrake Off-hand, the most effective way I could think is to become a sponsor of @360iDev. That will get you a lot of coverage!


.@MattjDrake An ad campaign game where clues are given in ads in specific apps and coupled with online & twitter clues. Give away an iPhone.


@MattjDrake some for novelties to give out for early adopters, some for web ads, and a little for a “major” giveaway item


@MattjDrake I’d suggest NOT spending it on AdMob!


@MattjDrake I’d use the money to go to 360iDev Conference and talk about the app there


@MattjDrake seriously if you have the option expand your portfolio rather than sink the $ into promotion. Increase your odds of success ;)


@MattjDrake The only iPhone app advertising that seems to pay off is direct–flyers, cards and such.

More Twitter Responses!

@MattjDrake not sure if you saw my response I still think investing into a designer would be a good idea for most :)


@MattjDrake Set up a uStream video chat with your users. Make it fun and informative. (You may want to see what @smule does). No cost ;)


@MattjDrake @Archimage Yes the Monday nights is quite fun. As for measuring outcome… My Mondays are more enjoyable!


@MattjDrake Try to get reviewed on Macworld or TUAW. Give them a free license or two. (Almost) totally free advertising.

Thanks for your responses all!


I find it interesting that none of the responses favored direct advertising which is something that works great for web products. A lot of people suggested give-aways in an effort to create buzz to “go viral”. The idea is that if you make a great promotion (like giving anyway iPhones) people will do you advertising for you.

A related idea was discussed on the TWiST podcast last week – an iPhone developer posed a variation of this question and the best answer that the host could come up with was to offer to literally pay people to buy your app on iTunes. The idea is that if your app cost $5 pay people the $5 or even double it to $10 if they submit a screenshot proving they bought it.

Another interesting idea is to promote the app by “pressing the flesh” at conferences, direct contact (flyers and business cards) and so on. I am a little skeptical of this one – on one hand it is nice to have the developer community on your side, but you have to ask yourself: are they your customers?

Do you have any crazy promotion ideas that you would like to share? Please comment below!!

How Would You Spend $1,000 to Promote Your iPhone App?…

You’ve been kicked (a good thing) – Trackback from – iPhone SDK links, community driven…

What do you think of releasing ‘Lite’ versions of applications? Do you think that is worth the time? Do you have any bookmarks of anyone discussing this by any chance? I’m wondering if I should spend time doing it.

I have heard that it does seem to work – at least for things that have a broad appeal like games.

For me, I released a “lite” version of my app and didn’t really see much effect. But, my apps are very nichy so I don’t think they have a broad enough reach to really benefit from a lite version.

But, if you can get a real addictive game or a really compelling app that you think would have great conversions that may be a way to go.

Has anyone else had success (or not) from releasing a lite version?

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