Earlier this year I started working on an app called My City Maps. It wasn’t for work, and it wasn’t even to make money (the app is free with no ads). It was simply an idea I had that I thought might be useful to some people.
Lately I’ve been focused on other projects and had been neglecting spending more time on the app. However, I had already completed it to a point that people were beta testing it for me. I had many more ideas I wanted to add to it, but it was functional and I didn’t think I’d be working on it again any time soon. So I figured I’d just release it and get some more feedback in the meantime.
I tweeted about it, to little effect. Then I made a few posts in appropriate subreddits on reddit. These posts did fairly well and I got a few hundred downloads. As well as some helpful comments and positive feedback. Then I got a message asking for a radio interview.
I’ve never been on the radio, but I thought it would be a good experience and it would help promote my app. I did the interview and they aired an edited version of it the following morning around 7:15 AM. You can listen to it here if you’re interested.
The app is called My City Maps. During the interview they said the name of my app very clearly and explained that you could find it on the Google Play Store. I never considered promotion of my app when I came up with the name, and I definitely never thought it would be on the radio. While it may have only been one radio station in one city, I still thought it would give me a little boost in traffic and downloads.
Yet, I saw no noticeable effect from the interview in the form of downloads of the app. I realized that people would be searching for the app. But, if you search for my app, it’s very far down the list of results. I now understand why people come up with made up words for their products - so that they’re actually searchable. Since the keywords that make up the name of my app are all so common, I have to compete with other apps in the search results like Google Maps.
Unfortunately, no matter what change I make at this point, I’ve wasted the traffic from that interview. If you heard the app name and wanted to check it out, you would have searched for it, probably not found it, and given up.
Lesson learned - if people can’t find your product by searching for it, promoting it is pointless.