Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Market an iPhone App: Get Apple to Market Your iPhone App

apple adThere are 85,000 apps* in Apple’s iTunes store. If you’ve built one of them, how do get yours to stand out?

If you’re lucky, you can get the press to do some marketing for you. And if you’re really lucky, you can get Apple (AAPL) to do your marketing for you.

The newest set of Apple ads focuses on apps made by big brands–Barnes & Noble, Pizza Hut, Gap, Epicurious and Zagat–that can certainly afford their own promotional pushes.

And certainly those guys paid cash or some other kind of compensation for the consideration, right? Not as far as Advertising Age can discern: The trade mag notes with a bit of dismay that there isn’t any kind of application process to get into Apple commercials and that “the marketers in question didn’t request to be in the commercial at all.”

As far as I can tell, this mirrors Apple’s overall policy for iTunes, whether you’re talking about music, movies or apps: Unlike traditional retailers or even competitors like Amazon (AMZN), there’s no way to buy shelf space at Apple’s digital store. If you want Apple to shine a spotlight on your stuff, you just have to hope that someone there likes your stuff. AdAge:

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the story, but it’s clear the company looks for apps that use as many aspects of the iPhone as possible, such as sound, shaking, GPS or the camera. It also seemed to favor anything that highlights features of the newest operating system, such as in-app payment. Additionally, it appears that brands are given more credit for good user experience than whether or not they can match Apple’s own cool factor.

Pizza Hut, for instance, doesn’t have many common associations with the tech giant but its app was the first from the quick-service industry that let users place delivery orders.

*Note that Apple’s app ecosystem has grown faster than its ad agency expected; the new campaigns announce that there are 75,000 apps, but that number is 10,000 short, according to a release Cupertino put out yesterday.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus