I spent last night at MobileMonday where speakers presented on the preeminent issues for mobile developers: distribution and monetization. Below are the key themes. I stole the title of this post from Booyah’s phenomenal presentation – it was too good.

The power of developers and APIs in distribution: Consistently mentioned by speakers, APIs were a significant driver of distribution. Importantly, both integration with external APIs and the provision of an API are essential.

By providing an API, an app enables data portability for its users and easily becomes part of an existing ecosystem. The key to success with
an API is ensuring the application has valuable data that can be used in other applications to a user’s benefit.

Conversely, by integrating with other APIs, an application can leverage preexisting data sources to better serve current use cases or provide solutions to additional use cases. Social features are important examples of strong API use. Facebook Connect integration can be simple but effective. But when users click through from feed items in Facebook, it is key to detect the users platform, web or mobile, and deliver a customized experience to maximize conversion. Web/mobile cross promotion converts at about 8 pct for Flixster, even when driving to iTunes app.

Effective advertising techniques
Ninety percent of people are finding apps via their phones: clearly due to the lack of great web based discoverability tools. The iTunes application is the only competing platform though Apple is making strides to enable web discovery, as are many startups.

Advertising burst campaigns are a great way to drive initial downloads: but to be successful, ongoing spend is essential albeit at
dramatically lower budgets. This is due to the momentum from the burst, driving increases in rank in the store. Roughly, budget should be between 10 to 15k per month. Burst campaigns increase cost significantly more.

Monitoring conversion rates for your ad campaigns is key. Non-game conversion rates are 4 to 6 pct. Games generally convert at 8
to 12 pct.

Coupling PR and promotion was key for MyTown v2. Targeting one million users by month end, the team intelligently combined burst campaigns with PR releases to drive presence in key areas of the iTunes store. Amazingly, average sessions on MyTown across all users is about an hour.

Paid upsell
Tripit indicated that premium upsell for users of their pro application were proceeding more successfully than hoped. Credit card entry in the mobile app was more prevalent than initally expected. I have noticed this as well. I bought more than $80 worth of books this weekend on my droid.

Overall, it was a great event put on the Flurry guys. Wonderful data shared by some world class teams. Another great Mobile Monday event.

(written on my Droid)

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