Idealyzer App Launched with the Help of Open Source iOS Controls

We’re happy to announce that after a few rounds of reviews with the Apple team the Idealyzer app has finally been approved and released for you to download.

We’ve been working on Idealyzer for the past few months as a way to help automate and manage the market research you do when evaluating app ideas.

Throughout this time we’ve put in many hours of development and testing but we definitely benefited from some great open source iOS components that made our jobs a bit easier.  We wanted to use this post to highlight a few of the controls we used and thank the folks that helped to develop them.

In no particular order here are a few controls we used to help make the Idealyzer app a reality.  Feel free to use these controls in your own apps, submit pull requests, reach out to the developers, and follow them on Twitter.


When using a new app you need a way to educate your users on how the app works.  We used EAIntroView to do our initial app launch tutorial to walk our users through how the app works.

Github page -

Follow the author on Twitter here -



MGBoxKit is a simple alternative that you can use instead of working with the default table views provided in the iOS SDK.  We’ve found that MGBoxKit is an easy to use control that helped us customize layouts within the Idealyzer app.

Github page -

Follow the author on Twitter here -


For our Keyword page we wanted to use something different rather than a standard table layout and we found SSStackedPageView to meet our needs.  This view provides an experience similar to the default Passbook app on the iPhone.  It provides an efficient way to show more details regarding a specific term without using much screen real estate until needed.

Github page -

Follow the author on Twitter here -



For a couple of color-blind developers like us, the Colours library is a life saver.  The Github page describes Colours as ‘A beautiful set of predefined colors and a set of color methods to make your iOS/OSX development life easier’ and that is 100% accurate.

Github page -

Follow the author on Twitter here -


BButton helps you create buttons that standout from the default UIButton option that Apple provides.  BButton takes cues from the Twitter Bootstrap framework allowing you to customize the look and feel of your buttons with minimal code.

Github page -

Follow the author on Twitter here -

These controls are just a few that are available from the Open Source community at large and there are others that we used to help us along the way.

Browse sites like to find controls that you may want to use in your new app.

Of course, make sure to download Idealyzer for free so you can help decide which app you’d like to develop next


Promoting Your iOS App by Sharing Deep Links to Promo Codes

So you’ve just finished creating your iOS app and it has been approved by Apple.  Congratulations - this is very exciting!

One of the next steps in successfully promoting your app is sending Promo Codes to  journalists and app bloggers so they can review the app to help generate some buzz.

First you need to login to your iTunes Connect account and visit the Promo Codes page to generate the codes that you will send to the bloggers and reviewers.  When you complete the promo codes process you will get a simple text file with a list of unique promo codes that you can use.

iTunes Connect Promo Code Request Page

Now, this is all well and good but think of the user experience for the person that you would like to review your app.  It goes something like this:

  1. First you send the reviewer the promo code
  2. Next the reviewer opens the iTunes app
  3. Then they may have to enter their password to login to iTunes
  4. Next they find the difficult to locate Redeem link and click it
  5. Now they enter the promo code and hope they typed it in correctly
  6. Finally your app will start to download on the reviewer’s device

At a time when you are relying on the reviewer to download your app to help generate traffic for you this process is error prone and very frustrating.

Well, luckily there is a better way to share your Promo Codes that is not very widely publicized by Apple.  You can actually provide a link with the Promo Code included so that all the reviewer needs to do is click on your link to start downloading your app.

Simply provide a link such as this to make it much easier to share your Promo Codes:  

Just replace the PROMO_CODE value in the link with your unique Promo Code and send that to the app reviewer.  This link will let them download your app quickly and easily.

Now you’ve taken a six step process down to a one step process and increased the chances that the app reviewer will be able to download your app.

The more links, press, and reviews that you can get for your app the more successful your app venture will be.

App Review Mining to Improve your App Development and Marketing

The mobile app industry is a unique marketplace in many ways and one specific way is the review and feedback cycle.  We’re going to tell you more about the concept called ‘review mining’ and how you can use it to improve your app business.

Each and every day your customers and potential customers are telling you what they like and don’t like about your app and your competitors’ apps. In many other industries this feedback would be invaluable and very difficult to attain.  In the App Store it is freely available for all to see - you, your competitors, potential customers, future employees, anyone…

When you visit any iOS app’s page in the App Store or the iTunes website you can very easily see the current reviews for the app.  Browsing through this data shows you how many stars a user has given the app along with why they gave it that ranking.

Facebook App Reviews

Facebook App Reviews

As you can see above it looks like customers are not happy with Facebook’s latest update since the ratings are trending lower than average.  Review mining is the technique of analyzing the review text to look for common themes that users are focusing on.  Just quickly browsing the three reviews above we can see that users seem to be particularly upset with notifications in the newest version of the Facebook app.

If you work on Facebook’s app this user feedback tells you the critical issues that you need to address in your next update and if you happen to be working on a competing app this provides great visibility into weaknesses that you can exploit to take customers from the competition.  If you were working on a new social network you would definitely be interested in developing a better notification user experience than Facebook provides.

Facebook Number of Reviews

Facebook Number of Reviews

Review mining, while very powerful, becomes quite difficult when you have hundreds or thousands of reviews to peruse.  One potential solution is to read through your reviews and create a spreadsheet to track occurrences of common words that your customers are writing in reviews.  While this will solve the problem this would be very time consuming and not necessarily worth the effort or be maintainable in the long run.

Another option would be to use a software service available for efficient review mining.  Sensor Tower is a site that offers review mining capabilities for a price with one of their commercial options.

In addition, in our new free Idealyzer app (currently in beta testing and launching soon) we’re providing review mining capability that focuses on indie iOS developers that don’t have the budget to purchase costly tools.

With just a few taps in Idealyzer you can get access to the view below.  Idealyzer will aggregate the reviews for any competing app (or your own app for that matter) and count the frequency that particular term appears in reviews.

Review Mining in Idealyzer

Review Mining in Idealyzer

With just a glance you can see that there are crashing (11) issues with the latest update (17) and some  people think that this is horrible (6).  As with any review this information should be taken with a grain of salt but with this view it’s very easy to get the general sentiment of the user community.

Regardless if you just browse the App Store for reviews, make your own custom spreadsheet, purchase a Sensor Tower subscription, or try the Idealyzer app review mining is a technique that you should incorporate in your app development.  Focus on your strengths and exploit the competitions’ weaknesses to have more success in your app development and marketing.

3 Tips for Using the iTunes Trending App Search for App Store Keyword Optimization and Discovery

With the release of iOS 8 Apple added some additional functionality to the Search page in the App Store app on iOS devices that is very helpful to app developers.

When you launch the App Store app and click Search you are greeted with the current Trending Searches that are occurring on iTunes.  Just tap on any one of these terms to immediately search the App Store to see the results for the phrase. This easily accessible bit of information is a powerful tool for app developers to find new app ideas and to improve App Store keyword optimization for your existing apps.

The Trending Searches can change frequently throughout the day and as you can see in the screenshots below the Trending Searches on the same day between 6am and 6pm are quite a bit different.  This is a great way to get a point in time snapshot of what is trending in the App Store.

You can use this information in various  ways to help your app development.

1.) If you’re looking to get started on a new app but you’re having developer’s block and can’t come up with a new idea you can use the Trending Terms to jump start your thought process.  Based on the screenshots above maybe you should look into learning more about ‘playtube’ to see if that presents an opportunity to develop an app that people are looking for.

2.) Perhaps you are looking to improve the discoverability of an app that you already have in the App Store.  If you happen to see a keyword in the Trending  Searches that is similar to your app by all means add this as a keyword to your app in iTunes Connect and release an updated version.  This is a bit of a timing game but if your app is related to a trending term this can boost the search traffic to your app.

3.) Not only can you see the search terms that customers are looking for - you can also see the ‘competition’ for these keywords with just a few taps.  When you tap a keyword the search results will appear and you’ll see the number of results for that term.  In our example below we can see that there is greater competition for ‘locationholic’ (23 Results) than there is for ‘office lens’ (4 Results).

When you are looking to improve discoverability of your app the Trending Searches page is one of the best ways to understand current trends.  Not only can you quickly see the most recent trends that customers are interested in but you can also see how difficult it will be to get your app noticed.  If you can find relevant keywords with little competition this is a great way to get your app noticed and increase the number of downloads for your app.