Why Does This Blog Exist?

Why does this blog exist?

Two Words: Crochet Decoder

I won’t go into my entire comic book backstory in this post (though, by clicking the about me link above you can learn a lot more), but the important stuff is that I’m an independent iOS developer who launched my first app, Headset Decoder, in 2010. It was a little app, with the little goal of teaching people all the things the clicker on their EarBuds could do. Weird, I know, but having worked for Apple Retail for several years you would be surprised at the amount of people who thought I was magic when I showed them everything the headset that came bundled with their iPhones could do.

After, what seemed like the impossible act of finishing my first app, came the the really hard part though; Getting it noticed. At the time the in 2010 the App Store already had 250,000 apps. (That number currently sits at over a million!)

I tried all main things the app marketing blogs tell you to do:

  • Contact blogs

  • Send out Promo Codes.

  • Use Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  • Run targeted ads (if you can afford to.)

The reality is that all these things took lots of time, and in some cases, money but the ROI was very minimal.

Over the course of the next 6 months I made several more apps that continued this system of promotion and in early 2011 (inspired by some crafty friends) I developed Crochet Decoder. This time I actually made some headway in promotion by getting a few craft blogs to feature the app & running some targeted ads on Ravelry. The app sold moderately well for the rest of 2011 & into 2012. Unlike many of my apps that had initial spikes & then a fell off in sales; Crochet Decoder maintained steady sales & interest for much longer freeing me up to attempt some more challenging apps.

During this time, inspired by the media buzz this ‘new & exciting social network’ had generated, I joined Pinterest & created an account. I used it some, but I was fairly uncommitted to the platform & in all honesty didn’t completely understand it. It was interesting, but just seemed like another social network... and did I really want to deal with that? Especially since I was already having little success with the two I was putting some time & effort into.

Ultimately, when Pinterest launched ‘Business Accounts’ I went ahead & set one up for Sugar Coded Apps, but was still not using the site very much. I had really sort of given up on the idea of my involvement with social media as meaningful way to impact sales figures, as it just seemed like a lot of work with little actual sales to show for it. In fact, I decided to cut back on the amount time I was spending on marketing & developing a ’social presence’, because when you are solo developer time is your most important asset & it just sorta felt like a waist.

Then in late 2014, I noticed some significant spikes in Crochet Decoder’s still amazingly consistent sales. I went into Sherlock mode to investigate all the channels that could be the reason:

  • Was it featured on a blog? No.

  • Was it featured in iTunes? No.

  • Did someone with a lot of followers on Facebook or Twitter mention it? Negative.

Finally, through some continued internet detective work I realized that a lot of people on Pinterest were pinning the app on their craft boards. I had been aware of some interest in the app on Pinterest, but it went far beyond what I realized. In fact, when I used this website that tracks how many times a certain link has been ‘pinned’ on Pinterest, I was beyond surprised.

Can you guess how many times the iTunes App Store link for Crochet Decoder had been ‘Pinned’?
  • 1,000? No.

  • 5,000? Nope.

  • 7,500 times? Negative

  • 10,000 TIMES? Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!

That’s right, my little app had been Pinned over 10,000 times. Let’s put that in perspective with my other social endeavors.

I had put fair, if not somewhat half-hearted, attempts into Facebook & Twitter, but they have yielded minimal impact on sales while I had put almost no effort into Pinterest (where I currently have 6 followers) & it had yielded significant sales, free promotion, positive word-of-mouth, & was sustaining a nearly 4 year old app.

What does this mean? I’m not entirely sure. Can I promise you will get an app that will get 10,000 pins? Nope. What I can do is promise that if you are trying to get your apps noticed & have a limited marketing budget Pinterest may be worth more of your time than other social networks & advertising avenues.

Hopefully doing this blog will enlighten you & myself as I attempt to make Pinterest the primary focus of Sugar Coded Apps’ social media strategy.

See you on Pinterest!
-Eric Blanton


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