Do not look in this article for any magic way to get a big revenue since the moment that you publish your app, let’s not fool ourselves, that way does not exist. But I’ll tell you as has been the revenue growth of Solitaire Collection Premium, a collection of card solitaires with almost 100 different types of solitaires, which has been published on Google Play, on Amazon and on the App Store several years ago.

As you already know, to be able to monetize an app or a game it is essential to follow a series of recommendations and good practices that can be found in a multitude of web pages and that are applicable to all platforms, whether Android, iOS, Windows or any other system.

As today there are thousands of apps and games, meet all these points is not a guarantee to achieve great revenue, but it is true that if you do not follow these rules, your chances of success will decrease dramatically.

You probably already know all these recommendations, in which case you can skip to the next section. If you want to make a brief review of the things you should keep in mind, read on.

The success of an app or a game can be summarized in 3 points, from less to more importance: a good idea, develop it correctly and what is more important and difficult, make it known.

Have a good idea

Nowadays there are apps for everything (or almost everything) and a wide variety of games. Having an idea that no one have had before and implementing it successfully is not an easy task. However, there are apps or games based on concepts very used that have achieved good results because they have been developed in an excellent way and have also become known in a brilliant way.

Make a quality app or game

Many factors are involved here. You can aspire to something spectacular, for which you have to have many resources, or opt for something simple but effective, which is what should be proposed by any indie developer or small studios. Nowadays there are many apps and games that are having thousands of downloads, based on its simplicity and good development. This option is also valid for success.

Publicize your product

This is the most important and also the most complicated task. There are cases of games with a very low quality that have become viral and have achieved millions of downloads, but it is not usual. On the other hand, there are amazing apps and games that have not managed a good position in the app stores, so they do not get the number of downloads that they deserve for their quality. This is where ASO (App Store Optimization) techniques come in, which is similar to SEO on the web. There are hundreds of articles written about it. I am not going to talk here about this topic, I leave it to other websites specialized in ASO strategies.

The particular case of Solitaire Collection Premium

As I said at the beginning of this article, Solitaire Collection Premium is a collection of solitaire card games that includes almost 100 different types of solitaire games. It is a paid game, although there is also a Lite version which is free and has nearly 50 different types of solitaire games. Both versions have been on Google Play, Amazon and the App Store for several years.

It’s easy to check that there are thousands of solitaire games of all types in the app stores, so we are not talking about a original game. In fact, the initial idea of the game was for personal use, I did not develop it with the intention of putting it on sale.

Regarding the implementation of the idea, I have tried to do something simple taking care of the details, but focused mainly on a good gameplay (about this we will talk later). The result is a game with very good ratings, although it is not among the best positioned within the app stores.

Solitaire Collection maintains a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Google Play and of 4.4 out of 5 on the App Store

Regarding the way to make the game known, I have not invested in advertising or in hiring any marketing campaign. Since it was developed in my free time and was initially intended for personal use, I have been gradually giving it visibility with web presence (showing it in forums), through the creation of a video presentation and a Facebook page, with constant updates and mainly with good ratings and good comments from users. As I said earlier, I have not managed to position it at the top places of the app stores, but in Google Play maintains an acceptable position.

As a curious note, it must be said that the amount of downloads on Google Play is much higher than the App Store, although the app is the same and the app performance for iOS is excellent.

And where is the increase in revenue of the app which is indicated in the header?

Perhaps you already know Amazon Underground, a program launched by Amazon in August 2015. It was based on that any developer could put their paid app in the store, but free of charge. And what advantage would this have for the developer? Amazon would pay the developer for the time that the users used his app. It was a tremendously aggressive initiative in an attempt to attract more users to its app store and be able to compete with Google Play. As a condition, the user only should have installed the Amazon store on his mobile device and from there he could download Amazon Underground apps (or buy any other Amazon store item, some benefit had to report to Amazon).

Analyzing the Amazon Underground proposal, it was easy to see that it would only be profitable to add the game to the store if it got a good amount of downloads and if the users used the game for long periods of time. Since there was not much to lose, I added Solitaire Collection Premium to Amazon Underground and soon I could see that the decision was success, mainly because of 2 factors:

– The number of downloads was much higher than the paid version of Amazon, since it was the same version but in this case totally free of charge for the user.

– The “engagement” achieved by the game was extraordinary.

The commitment of the users was a fact that was unknown a priori, since Solitaire Collection never implemented Google Analytics to monitor the gaming time of the users.

The “engagement” of Solitaire Collection Premium exceeds an average of 35 hours of gameplay for each download.

These values will be even higher in the paid version of Google Play or the paid version of the App Store, since the bound rate (users who test the app and do not use it again) in free apps (Amazon Underground case) is always higher.

Little by little the game accumulated a significant amount of users and the minutes of game gradually increased until it stabilized at very high values considering that it is an indie game and it can not compete with others developed by companies that handle big budgets. It was very satisfying to see that Amazon Underground vastly exceeded the revenues that were being achieved on Google Play or the App Store.

But everything good has an end

Unfortunately, the strategy of Amazon Underground did not work as they expected and Amazon decided to finish the program in mid-June of 2017. Developers with the most engaging apps and games were removed from Amazon Underground, keeping revenues from using the game for 6 months, as specified in the contract. It seems that some apps will remain in Amazon Underground until the end of 2019, date in which the program will close definitely.

The conclusion is very positive, we must keep in mind that Solitaire Collection Premium maintains an excellent “engagement”, so now we must focus on a good ASO strategy to position it well in the app stores and get as many downloads as possible. Or why not, wait for some other similar initiative that rewards the good engagement of the apps by users rather tan large investments in marketing campaigns.