How to compete with giants in the app industry

This guide is based on Mixergy’s interview with Cole Ratias.

Cole Ratias knew his Facebook app might become irrelevant with the release of the official Facebook app, so he added features Facebook lacked to hit 10 million downloads and maintain stable download numbers. It was all done using app development and marketing techniques, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Cole is the co-founder of Loytr, which is the developer behind mobile apps like MyPad, Timelines for Facebook, and G-Pad.

Here are the actionable highlights from the course.

1. Create an app that’s in demand to get more downloads

Cole noticed that there weren’t any Facebook apps that used the iPad’s touch features, so he built MyPad (then FacePad), which got 10 million downloads.

Take Action:
Do market research to determine what users are looking for and create a framework for it before building your app.


2. Launch as soon as possible to beat big-name competitors to the app store

Cole launched the first version of MyPad before Facebook released their official app, which ranked number one on the app store for three weeks and averaged 150,000 downloads a day.

Take Action:
Develop a working version of your app and submit it to the Apple App Store as soon as it’s ready.


3. Offer a free version so users will upgrade to the paid one later

Cole says 10% of the users who downloaded the free version of MyPad bought the paid one when it was released two weeks later.

Take Action:
Create a free version of your app and launch it in the app store before releasing the paid version.


4. Use ads and paid versions to make money

Cole monetized MyPad by selling a paid version and by putting ads in the free version, which generated a few hundred thousand impressions within hours of its launch.

Take Action:
Put ads in the free version of your app, set a reasonable price for the premium version, and sell other apps within your app to generate affiliate revenue.


5. Add features your competitors lack so more users will buy your app

Cole built a unique tabbed interface for MyPad and is planning to add Twitter and Instagram integration, which competing apps don’t have.

Take Action:
Do research on app trends and on competing apps to find what they lack, then add these features to your app.


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6. Roll out updates regularly so users will keep using your app

Updates for MyPad are released every two to three weeks to fix bugs, improve the app’s design, and add new features like a music section and a gaming tab.

Take Action:
Develop updates that address user concerns and add relevant features based on user feedback and current Internet trends.


Want to make sure you get results?

Written by Hazel Chua, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

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  • David

    Hey Cole, I’m about to launch an app.  How would you recommend that I get the word out there?  Thanks.