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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What developers should take from the monthly AdDuplex reports

As they've been doing since 2013, this week AdDuplex released their monthly report showing some statistics on Windows Phone device usage.

Here's the most important thing it contains for developers:

Most people (more than half) who use a Windows Phone use a lower spec device.

However, in my experience:

Most developers who use a Windows Phone have a higher spec device.
And, most developers only have one device

There's a disparity here. Does it matter that developers are using devices that are, potentially, very different from the ones their users are using? I think it does.

To ensure an app works well on a lower spec device (or one with a smaller screen - if you have one with a large screen) it's important to test on such a device.
The emulators are good but real devices are better.
If you don't have a low spec device, find someone who does and ask them to let you borrow it.
Alternatively, and fortunately, the lower spec devices are cheap. If you're building apps to make money then it's a small investment to buy one.

Very few developers have access to a wide range of devices. A table like can be seen below is not the norm. Don't be disheartened though. For the most part, as a developer, you don't need this many devices to test on.
My suggestion is that if you're getting devices for testing and you can only afford two, you should get one with the highest spec and one with the lowest spec available. A Lumia 930 and a 520 are probably the most appropriate options right now. If you can get more than this, then I'd consider something with a larger screen, like the 1320 or 1520.

How many devices do you test on?

If you've built Windows Phone or Windows Store apps you can cross-promote them with AdDuplex to get more users.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why you should always set an end date on your advertising campaign

If you've ever advertised on AdDuplex you've hopefully had an email that contains the following:
Thank you for advertising on AdDuplex!

Your AdDuplex campaign has come to an end. Please visit the client area to extend the campaign or start a new one.

Why is this important?
It's important because you'll get an email like this when you reach the end date of your advertising campaign.

So, why is having an end date important?
If you don't set an end date for your campaign it will run until you run out of credit. (If you later top up your credit without disabling the campaign it will start again automatically.)

The real reason though, is so you don't forget about your campaign.

You should not just start your campaign and forget about it, or ignore it.
At the very least, setting a short end date will mean you get an email telling you the campaign has finished. When you receive this you can go and look at the statistics of the campaign, see how successful it was, make appropriate adjustments and then restart it.
Of course you can analyse and adjust before the campaign ends but I find that having an end date set acts as a useful buffer in case something comes up and I forget to check.

I'm guessing that you'd consider yourself a developer more than an advertising expert. As such I think it's fair and reasonable to assume that the copy you write for your advert(s) won't automatically be the best converting copy it could possibly be. As such you'll need to experiment to find what works best for you.

Don't just create your campaign and leave it. Experiment with different copy. Try different  value propositions and calls to action. Try things out. Measure what works and evolve your adverts.
You should be able to improve your CTR with relatively little work.

Some more on this soon....

If you've built Windows Phone or Windows Store apps you can cross-promote them with AdDuplex to get more users.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Create Android apps with Java in Visual Studio - my logic

I just posted this.
Here's my logic:

  • Microsoft want to get people building Android apps to build Windows apps. Getting them on the OS and using the tooling is a good start.
  • If building in Visual Studio, on Windows, it would be a smaller step for Microsoft to make to get them to build for Windows. 
  • If VS was extended to build Android apps in Java, They'd be one step closer to enabling building Windows apps in Java.
  • Visual Studio is a shell that can be "easily" extended to support different languages, etc.
  • VS 2015 already includes an Android emulator. - Did they really just add it for HTML5 based apps? - We know how popular those are ;)
  • VS tools are widely considered as being the best IDE in the industry. Tooling for building Android as is widely considered as being some of the worst. I think it would be an appealing proposition for developers building Android apps.

What about Xamarin (and their partnership with Microsoft?
I don't see an issue. They're both targeting different audiences. Xamarin are appealing to those who already have .Net skills and helping them build for Android and iOS. This would be about getting people coding in Java to build for Windows.

And of course, I wouldn't speculate on anything like this if I knew even a tiny fraction of it to be true or related to any NDA I may or may not have signed.

If any of the above turns out to be fact then it's because of my knowledge, insight and, most importantly, luck!

Your thoughts?...

If you've built Windows Phone or Windows Store apps you can cross-promote them with AdDuplex to get more users.

Create Android apps with Java in Visual Studio?

It seems there's a lot of wild rumours and speculation about what's coming in Windows 10 and how Android apps may or may not be supported.

I think the adding of support for writing Java to create Android apps inside Visual Studio is actually a lot more likely than some of the things I've heard and I could probably make a good business case for it too.

It should go without saying but for the avoidance of doubt. Of course I don't really know anything about what may or may not be coming. This is just my speculation. If it turns out to be true you can be as surprised as me. ;)

I'm looking forward to announcements .... but not expecting to hear anything related to actually building apps for Windows 10 until build.

Update: my logic

If you've built Windows Phone or Windows Store apps you can cross-promote them with AdDuplex to get more users.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Windows (Phone) app analytics

I was recently asked what the "best" analytics solution out there is for universal apps.

Unfortunately I haven't reviewed what options are available recently. In the work I do for other people they already have made the decision about what analytics solution they want to incorporate.
There are lots options available and what you'll want to use will depend on the actual analytics you want to gather and what you want to do with them.

Here, in no particular order, are the 3rd party app providers I'm aware of:

There are a couple of other options too:

If you're using an ad solution that guarantees 100% fill rate then the number of ads served can be a good indication of the number of people using the app. It's the most basic level of analytics there is, but it comes for free. ;)

The last option (and the one I'm integrating into what I'm building in my rare moments of free time) is to integrate the analytics into the back-end of the application. Doing this is more work but has a few advantages:

  • No extra requests need to be made by the app
  • No managing a 3rd party component and service
  • Able to get exactly (and only) the information wanted 
  • Much easier to integrate with CRM systems
  • No need to reconcile data from a 3rd party with own data

If you've built Windows Phone or Windows Store apps you can cross-promote them with AdDuplex to get more users.