updated 07:44 pm EDT, Wed March 26, 2014
Exposure cannot overcome Flappy Bird phenomenon, but it helps
A new study by mobile analytics firm App Annie has quantified the idea that app developers can increase their products' visibility in the App Store and gain players through the use of TV commercials -- particularly for top-quality "freemium" titles. While the practice of developers creating their own TV ads is common in some countries like Japan, it is a fairly new phenomenon in the North America. The App Annie study showed a correlation between TV exposure and a gain in App Store rankings.
Using data from its February tracking of app popularity, the study noted that King's Farm Heroes Saga moved up significantly -- from 16th to 7th in the game rankings -- following a promotional campaign in the US and UK that involved both print and TV ads. The rise in popularity, the study noted, came most strongly from those two markets. Likewise, Big Fish Games' Big Fish Casino jumped in revenue following the debut of its TV ad, and even already-popular games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans saw boosts in users and revenue following TV campaigns.
The publicity campaigns may be particularly needed at the moment as other game-makers struggle to gain attention in the wake of the Flappy Bird phenomenon. The game was so popular that it took the top spot for game downloads in February, even though it was pulled from the store on February 9.
Since its voluntary removal, a flock of similar games have been vying for popularity as its replacement among users. Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen noted in an interview that he was seeing $50,000 a day in ad revenue from the free app, which didn't offer any in-app purchases -- no doubt motivating many developers to try their hand at a financial sequel. Clones like Splashy Fish and Flappy Wings took filled out half of the top 10 download spots in February, the study found.