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App Launch
Must-Haves For Your Android App

In this article you can read about the best practices for optimizing your android app for distribution to the various app stores, alternative markets, social media platforms, and your own website.

You can read tutorial articles on app Analytics, and mobile app Monetization, including a variety of services offering these services online, many for free. Once your app is optimized for 'launch', you can browse our listing of app stores, in our App Distribution tutorial article.

You can submit your app to as many app stores as you like, providing you meet their submission guidelines. Almost all app stores and markets support the Android, iOS platforms. Many support several other platforms as well.

And, do read about Creating Your Keystore, and the APK Analyzer Tool. The keystore is an app requirement prior to publishing your app; and the APK analyzer tool is useful for developers as they can easily gather information about an app, like the 'certification key'; which is required if you want to include 'free apis' in your app.

You can use one or more than one Analytical Service. And, developers can use more than one Monetization(in app ads) service as well.

To read each tutorial, you can Click on the link at each topic: In-App Metrics- including App Performance Metrics, App Marketing Analytics, App Updates, Push Notifications. And, the topics; App Monetization Methods, Distributing Your App(s).
You can also follow along with the tutorials from links at top of the page.

APK Analyzer Tool

Once you complete your android app development, you can submit it to the AppStores where potential users can download it to their android devices. Or perhaps, you only want it to be available on your own website or post a link at social media. To distribute your app for any of these, you need to use the .apk file that contains your completed app. This .apk file is made available for download at the appstores you publish to(you upload it to the AppStore), and users simply have to install it on their android device.

If you want the App to be downloadable from your own website, you need only upload this apk file to your web server and provide a link so users can download it.

You can find the .apk file in your app project files, typically at the 'bin' folder; and if not, you can use an APK Analyzer Tool to view all .apk files on your device, including any you developed.
Just look for your 'app name' in the Apk Analyzer. Not the package name, but the app name you used when you created the template app. Apks are listed in alphabetical order. Click on the app name and you'll see all the info about the app including the 'public key','certification key', and so forth.

The APK Analyzer is a useful tool for an app developer, as it provides valuable information about your completed app, including the Certificate Key that may be required by third party services you use, particularly those providing free API services for you to use in your app.

For more information about the APK Analyzer Tool, and downloading a Free APK Analyzer Tool go here

Creating Your Keystore

Before you send your apk file to any Appstore, and at your final app build, you should add a keystore to it. With the keystore created, you can then sign your app (the apk), which authenticates you as the owner and also allows you to send future updates for your app if you want to. Most Appstores require your app be authenticated in this manner before accepting it for submission. To learn how to add the keystore, and sign your app, go to this tutorial; Creating an App Keystore

Analyzing App Metrics

Whether you submit your app to several or just one Appstore, you will want to use some type of Analytics Service to see how your app is performing. Basically, there are three components to Analyzing your App:

In-app metrics, which covers what your users are doing while using your app;

Performance metrics, which covers the device, and how it performs or doesn't;

And, App Marketing Analytics, which covers things like how users found your app (search engine, social media, app store), and like in app purchases vs downloads.
In App Metrics
With this type of service you can analyze any number of important metrics that will give you insights into your app users for such things as: downloads DAU, WAU, MAU, event session times, page times, total time per user in app.

Specialized metrics can include things like Uninstalls, Heat Maps, A/B Testing, and Demographics like age, gender, location of your apps' users.

For additional reading about DAUs, MAUs, and commonly used metrics in Mobile Apps, Goto
How To Interpret Data Points of Mobile Analytics
Monitoring Your Apps' Performance
In addition to providing metrics on your app's users, Analytical Services can also be used to fine tune your apps' performance and any issues it may encounter during its' lifecyle. Be it system crashes, API issues, Exceptions, Errors.

Not all Analytical Services offer tools for this but some do. This type of metric would be most useful when first launching your app and after any major update you send out to your user base.
App Marketing Analytics
User downloads versus in app purchases is a key metric for this analytic. Example; you had 100 downloads over a 1 week timeframe; how many of those downloads resulted in an in-app purchase: such as - upgraded to premium features, paid to remove in app ads, paid to get premium game features, paid for a subscription.

Additionally, you can get data on things like content viewed, registrations, invites, shares, and custom events. Registration when a user registers in your app if applicable; Shares, when some page or section of your app is shared to another app user, social networks. Invites is good for finding demographics; age groups and location of users. And, Custom Events; whereby you can select an action to monitor within the app; for example; when a user clicks a button which goes to a certain page or section within the app.
Summary
At many Appstores and most Analytics Services, basic or limited analytic metrics are available for you to use for free. However, depending on your app and what metrics you want, you may choose to add additional Analytical points that will provide a much more detailed overview of your app and its users.

At the very least, you will want to know the number of users who have downloaded your app. Most Analytical services provide this basic data point and so do most App Stores you submit your app to.

While many of the Services providing Analytics and Metrics for your app are Free, just as many offer both a limited Free version, and a paid model with additional data points and customizable features.

At certain services like Kumulos Analytics, you can pay as you use their services, whereby you only pay for the selected service if you use it. Also read, Tutorial article Mobile App Metrics - Analytics

App Updates and Notification Methods

The most important concern for app developers is user retention. Users may download your app which is great, however, increasingly the numbers show that app users don't continue to use the app for any extended period of time. In fact, after only 1 month, user retention is is 36%, and after two months it is 20%.

For the app developer, this means less revenue, because if users aren't using your app, then you cannot benefit from in-app purchases, or in-app advertising.

Regular 'app updates' and 'push notifications' can be implemented, both of which have been proven to be successful at keeping users engaged with your app.

Like Analytics Services, there are services that specialize in providing Push Notifications, and some Analytical Services may also offer the Push Notification Service as a component of their service.
Push Notifications are essentially 'messages' sent to a user through your app.

The message (push notification) is created within the service's console; and you the app developer can customize the message(s) as you like; for things like; time message is sent, day it is sent, and whether it is sent based on a custom event that you create. A 'custom event', something that happens in your app (the user taps on a link, clicks a button, shares an image); and then this triggers the custom event, which in turn sends your 'message' - the 'Push Notification'.

App updates are sent when you add additional content or upgrade you app's interface. There are many types of updates you can implement, and many services allow for updates, which is sent along to the app user, depending of course, on whether they have updates enabled for your app.
Summary
The key to successfully implementing either of these recommended methods is to do so without 'spamming' the user(s) of your app. Also read, Tutorial Article Mobile App Metrics

How Tos - Coding For Metrics

As you have read, there are numerous services providing a sleuth of Analytics for mobile apps. The method of adding any of these to your app is by way of code from the Analytical Service which is then added to your app's code.
Usually, only a few lines of code is required.
This code is known as a 'SDK', or SDK Integration. The Analytical Service has SDKs for most popular coding platforms like Android, IO, Windows. You choose your coding platform, and then put that code into the code in your app.

For example, if you coded in Android Java/XML, for an android device, then you would choose the 'Android SDK'. And, if you coded an IO app, then you would choose the SDK for iOS.

This code from the SDK is then added to your apps' build.gradle file. They could also state that a class application file be created, and with some coding added into the androidmanifest.xml file.

Each Analytical Service may vary on code process, but usually at the least, you add a few lines of code to the build.gradle file, and your MainActivity.java.
Most also provide a detailed guide on how to put the SDK code into your app's code.

The larger and established AppStores for android apps like Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore, have their own built in Analytical service which you can choose to use. Amazon has free and paid Analytical Tools, while Google has a one time $25 fee (USA) for joining their App Developer Console which includes a sleuth of App Metrics available for your app.

App Monetization Methods

You can choose to have a free app or paid app when you submit your app to the App Stores. You define your app price in your apps profile. And, additionally you can choose to add advertising to your app. Some App Stores have a built in Advertising Service you can use, or you can use individual app monetization services that offer advertising for mobile apps.

For in app advertising, it is usually a 80/20, 70/30, or 60/40, share of the profit.

In addition to Free, or Paid app, you can also choose to have a Freemium app. Most often app developers offer their app as a Freemium model; meaning it is free but users can purchase things within the app like: a premium update of the app, charging a fee to have the advertisements removed from their app, or you might charge for additional game play, or subscriptions.
Free apps are the most popular with the Freemium model; this way the developer has a method to make money even though the app is free to download and many or most features in the app are free to use forever.

Paid apps are less popular, especially at some Appstores like Google. Reason being, if you submit your app as a 'Paid App', then decide you want it to be Free, you cannot. You would need to submit a new app with new package name, thus you lose all your ratings at Google for the app and most likely you have no way to notify your users that you now have an updated app that is free.

Offering your app as a Free Download is the best practice. That gets more users to install your app. Then with in-app purchases you have a method to upsell your app and make money.
Summary
In-App Monetization is the single most popular method that developers implement to make money from their app.
Having details on your user base is important for you to successfully monitor and tweak your marketing efforts.

There is a sleuth of mobile ad services to choose from, and like Analytical services, the developer usually implements the Mobile Ad Service using its' SDK.
Also read, Tutorial ArticleMobile App Monetization

Distributing Your Android App

Now that you've built your app, you probably want to distribute it to the app markets. App stores are where users can download your app, use your app, and rate your app. Good ratings can result in more downloads. And, if you've added in-app monetization to your app, you can make money from purchases made by your app users.

How many app stores are there? Quite a few, at least 300, according to data from app news websites.

The most popular are Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). They have the most apps, Google surpassing 3 million, and Apple more than 2 million. Amazon App Store is also well known, but with less apps, about 450,000. To date, android has the largest share of the mobile app industry.

Alternative app stores are gaining more popularity as well, and can offer the developer some appealing features like paying for downloads, and ad placement within the store itself.

App stores like GetJar, Aptoide, Opera, AppBrain, Kongregate, Appland, and 1Mobile all have good app numbers and offer a variety of features both for developers submitting their apps and users wanting to download apps.

And, the Chinese and Japanese markets have their own app stores where developers may want to submit their apps.

Summary
The best method to get your app downloaded is by submitting it to the app stores. And, if you want to make money with your app, in-app purchases can be implemented as well.

Free to download and use apps can make money by offering in app purchases for premium or upgraded content or removal of the in-app advertising.

Apps can also be distributed to social media platforms and made available for download on your own websites.

To monitor your app(s), use the freely available Analytical Services. Use the users behaviorial metrics to see where users go and what they use most in your app, and what they don't use. This will help you to improve your app. Send updates to re engage your users to new app improvements(updates).

Keep track of the downloads from each app store you submit your app to. Compare stores to see if certain app stores provide you with more downloads and more in-app purchases.
Also read, Tutorial Article Mobile App Stores - Distributing Your App


DO READ:
Launching Your Android App
How To Be Successful

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