Israeli app developer golden fingers has taken to Indiegogo to raise cash for its first app: a social game called WriteOn!. The crowdfunding campaign is not to fund the creation of the app itself — which is already available for (free) download on the App Store. Rather the developers say they need the money to pay for marketing and advertising. Their goal is to raise $10,000, with the first $3,000 to $5,000 going on app promotion, and some feature updates. If they raise $10,000 they will also create an Android version of the app. At the time of writing, they’ve raised just over $3,000 (with 26 days left in the campaign) so have already funded their “basic marketing campaign” milestone.
WriteOn! is an extension of the consequences parlour game concept, with users taking turns writing a few lines to collectively create a funny story. The developers are likely hoping to do for words what OMGPOP’s DrawSomething did for pictures (at least, until Zynga acquired it). So it sits in a category of apps (social gaming) that needs to amass a tipping point of users to provide the full gaming experience to keep people hooked — hence its keen need to get the word out.
Getting an app noticed has never been an easy task for developers but with hundreds of thousands of apps in the dominant Android and iOS marketplaces the challenge of standing out from the crowd is tougher than ever. Google’s Play Store is predicted to hit a million apps this summer, while Apple’s App Store is on a similar trajectory, with 800,000+ apps reported late last month. Smartphone ownership is growing but the odds of getting noticed are also shrinking as more apps crowd in and clamour for attention.
According to a recent Flurry study of the Android and iOS app landscape, there are no signs that consumers’ ardour for apps is cooling off. On the contrary, the study found consumers were using more new apps than two years prior, and concluded that ”the app market is still in early stages and there remains room for innovation and breakthrough, new applications”. But room for new apps is one thing. Actually getting your app discovered and downloaded en masse is quite another.
Android and iOS remain the platforms to aim for if developers want to reach the largest possible audiences but getting the word out in such a noisy environment requires developers to get creative about how they push their app. In the case of golden fingers, that means asking potential users to help pay for marketing costs — and also using Indiegogo itself as a marketing channel to gain the craved for exposure.
“It’s our first app. However, we know the market for some time now and it just feels like the market is totally packed right now,” said Dan Oren, golden fingers’ CPO, via email. “The way we figured it, the Indiegogo campaign can ‘feed’ the app marketing and vice versa. Were we right? I don’t really know to say right now. We need a few more weeks and some media coverage for an honest answer.”