Buy downloads, spam and think local – some surprising tips to get your app noticed on iTunes

Stefan Zilch, MD Spotify
Stefan Zilch, MD Spotify

Want to get a high ranking in the iTunes store on day one of your launch? Buy downloads! But not from the US, it’s way too expensive to get them there. This was just one of the less-conventional pieces of advice we picked up at last night’s Deutsche Telekom TopApps Developer Night, which was a rare coming together of typically networking-shy developers.


Stefan Zilch, Managing Director of Spotify Germany

It’s yet another sign that corporates are really, really keen to get their feet in the startup door – this was the second time that Deutsche Telekom hosted the networking event, which they kept exclusive by only inviting 70 top-notch developers from across Germany. And it was a pleasant change to be at an event purely for developers – these kind of shindigs tend to attract the more boisterous marketing and founder types, not the unsung coders working behind the scenes.

Held in the Telekom pop-up store in the heart of the startup scene in Mitte, the event attracted speakers from Spotify, Fishlabs, myTaxi, adeven, Vamos and Revolution Software, along with reps from Deutsche Telekom and developers from a range of German startups.

If you’re working on an app and couldn’t make it last night, here are the top tips from the experts:

1. Make sure you line up powerful partners before launch – they can provide capital and take the edge off fundraising, letting you focus on the product first and seeking investors in your own time. Plus corporates provide a great network, professional advice and marketing strategies for unknown apps.

2. Spam your friends – even if you end up annoying them, getting a few hundred downloads on launch from your friends could land you a spot in the top downloads list in iTunes.

3. Paul Müller from adeven gave us a pearl of wisdom: “The app market is global, but app marketing is local” – focus on one market when you launch, rather than spreading yourself thin by looking globally. Fifty thousand downloads in Sweden is better than 100,000 in 20 different countries.

5. While developing nations could be good for getting lots of downloads of free products, watch out once you put a price tag on it – you’re much less likely to get paying users.

6. Don’t be too scared to give a game away for free – especially if you’re in talks with Apple to be a featured app.

For related posts, check out

Evernote and Deutsche Telekom hackathon sends Berlin developers to Silicon Valley
Get the most from your iOS developer – the 10 commandments of successful app building
Build your own native ‘no coding’ app