Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mayhem Software apps featured in windows phone store

Over the last week we have received multiple emails from Microsoft letting us know that our apps Timezone Converter, XKCD Viewer and Convert My Units have been featured in the Windows Phone Store (see screenshot below of Convert My Units). The free exposure has been nice and getting an endorsement from Microsoft on the quality of our apps feels great too. Click here to see the factors that Microsoft use to determine which apps will be featured on their store.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Convert My Units V1.1 is out

We recently updated our app 'Convert My Units'. Here is a rundown of the main changes and how we made them:

Negative temperature input handled
Not sure how this issue got by us in v1.0, but when trying to input temperatures the user was only given a number-pad with no minus symbol. Fortunately the following comment alerted us to the issue:

Would give 4 stars if Temperature conversion fixed: NO negative temperature input. If not interface is pretty good, I mean intuitive.

This is an easy fix.  Essentially we just needed to change the input scope on our input textbox for temperature from "CurrencyAmount" to "CurrencyAmountAndSymbol" as per below:

 <TextBox Name="textBoxTemperature" Text="1" InputScope="CurrencyAmountAndSymbol" />

Selecting of results for copy/paste handled
This is one feature that is pretty useful in a unit converter, as user's may want to transfer results from our app into an email or document without having to transcribe.  in v1.0 our results were displayed in a textblock which is a control that does not allow text selection.  The best solution seems to be to replace the textblock with a textbox.  However using a vanilla textbox looked a little "cheap" so we needed to override the style so that the textbox looked like a textblock. 

To do this we just needed to add some custom style to our xaml page as per below:

<Style x:Key="ResultsTextBox" TargetType="TextBox">
<Setter Property="Foreground" Value="{StaticResource PhoneForegroundBrush}" />
<Setter Property="IsReadOnly" Value="True" />
<Setter Property="TextWrapping" Value="Wrap" />
<Setter Property="Template">
<ContentPresenter x:Name="ContentElement" />

...and then reference the style "ResultsTextBox" in our textbox

 <TextBox Height="71" Foreground="Red" Margin="10,-5,0,0" TextAlignment="Center" FontSize="40" FontWeight="Bold" Name="textblockVolumeResult" Text="" Style="{StaticResource ResultsTextBox}" />

Background color added to listboxes to improve readability
We have also received some feedback saying that sometime certain values were difficult to read because of the background image and the fact that the selection listboxes were transparent.  The solution was to add some background style to the selection boxes.  As all Windows Phone apps need to handle the phones default light and dark themes the best way to do this was just to leverage the phones static resource style which automatically adapts to the phones theme.  So for each listox we just set the Border Brush and Background to the static resources used by the default text boxes.  See below:

<ListBox BorderBrush="{StaticResource PhoneTextBoxEditBorderBrush}" Background="{StaticResource PhoneTextBoxBrush}" Foreground="{StaticResource PhoneTextBoxForegroundBrush}" Name="listVolumeFrom" BorderThickness="1" Margin="0,0,60,0" ItemContainerStyle="{StaticResource ListBoxItemStyle1}">

See the following screenshot of how this looks.  These static resources have built in opacity which looks quite nice with our panorama background image.

So that's a majority of the changes. So far the response has been pretty good since the updates release about 5 days ago.  Advertising revenue from this app is up significantly and it has reached the top 10 unit conversion apps in the following selection of countries:

Germany - 5th
Ireland - 8th
New Zealand - 9th
Great Britain - 10th
USA - 10th
Australia - 10th

We have just started planning the next round of improvement to this app and adding a currency conversion component seems to be at the top of the list.   If you have any feature requests or suggestions leave us a comment.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cricket Updates

Our latest app cricket updates is now on the windows phone marketplace.

It combines results, lives scores and news into a simple, clean and intuitive interface.   It also shows a live tile with the latest score.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Trialling Nokia Ad Exchange (Inneractive)

Our latest app cricket updates hit the windows phone marketplace recently.  It basically combines cricket results and news into a series of lists encapsulated in a panaorama control. 

As with most of our other apps we have chosen to make cricket updates free and ad-supported.   However instead of using our usual ad network pubcenter, we decided to try out nokia ad exchange.  So far the results have been interesting. 

I't s still too early to tell as the app has only raised 731 ad requests, but the early indicators would suggest that we could expect fairly similar results to pub center.  (See screenshot below).

One thing I like is that nokia ad exchange provides a lot more analytics than pub center.  As you can see in the screenshot above the click thru rate has a huge impact on eCPM.  Fill rate is also useful, especially if we want to target different ad networks based on geographical location. 

So far the jury is still out on nokia ad exchange.  But given the initial results I believe it will most likely become part of our future strategy.  Particularly in markets where pubcenter's eCPM is almost non-existent.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2012 in review

Well 2012 was an interesting year for Mayhem Software. Between 1/1/2012 and 31/12/2012 our metrics were as follows:

  • Total Downloads: 115,721.
  • Total paid: 40 ($0.99/unit) 

  • Total Ad Impressions: 18,181,985 
  • Total Revenue: 4,967.55
  • eCPM: 0.27

It was a roller coaster year with some very promising moments but it was ultimately financially disappointing.  $5000 split between the two of us covered our costs and resulted in a nice bit of spending money but it certainly won't pay the rent.

We had a promising 3 months period whereby revenue was between $700 and $1200 / month. Unfortunately pubcenter eCPM has dropped significantly since then and we are now only making about $250-300 / month even though the number of ad impressions we're getting is roughly the same.

The most important lesson we learnt is to beware of relying purely on advertising for revenue as the returns are very volatile.  It still hurts to see us consitently reaching about 2 million impression / month and yet seeing an eCPM below 0.10, when 6 months earlier it was averaging 5-10 times that.  It is for this reason that we are currently moving away from pubcenter and experimenting with other advertising networks.  The nokia ad exchange is looking particulalry promising and we're currently awaiting approval for an account so we can test it out.

So based on the above 2013 will be about diversifying our business as much as possible by attacking multiple revenue models, advertising networks and platforms. We've got some great app ideas and are looking forward to getting them out over the coming months.