Marketing Kids Apps – Polishing, Promoting, Pricing … and a Good Dose of Uncertainty

| February 2, 2012 | 6 Comments

Last year we had a series of posts in this blog about marketing children’s apps. Once it was done, I still wanted to summarize this series and add a few more thoughts (and resources) that have come to me from comments and discussions about this topic with other kids’s digital content creators.

Free Apps? Will they ruin it for everyone?

Among the most important discussions I’ve had in the meantime relating to kids app marketing has to do with price … probably because this is a top issue for both developers, publishers, content creators & readers. In particular, many people have shared their fears that we are on a ‘race to the bottom’ that will make content worthless for paid downloads and eventually may mean that many talented people (and the apps they would have created) will leave the field. I’m not entirely convinced this is the case … if anything, I’ve seen content explode even more in the past 6 months since I started this series of posts. But the concern is very valid … how can content this good be free?

I’ve begun to think this is an issue that no one can claim to be an expert on … no matter what they say, no one really knows what will happen to the supply or quality of content under these circumstance. We have never really had a product that could be so easily reproduced AND content creators willing to give it away, although the music business does seem to have some insights that might be valuable. My favorite post about this comparison is from The [The digitization of the music industry vs. the book world: the ultimate overview (4 part series)].

This does beg the question though … will content creators set the standard by giving away their work, simply for the pleasure of having an engaged audience? And are their other ways to monetize self-publishing that don’t involve charging for content? In-app purchasing may be the clear winning strategy for apps aimed at adults, but when it comes to products aimed at kids, will this work? Or is there a strategy not yet discovered that will connect readers to content creators while still offering something sustainable …

To read the full series of posts about “Marketing Kids Apps” follow these links:

1) Three Things No Amount of Code Can Fix – A comprehensive post about 3 little details app developers may miss in their rush to submit a new app to itunes.

2) How Consumers Decide to Download – A post with lots of reader comments. It was created with the help of consumers of kids apps, who responded on Facebook.

3) The Logic, Logistics & Politics of Pricing Apps – A reflection on the new world of digital pricing … lots of unanswered questions here, but also some food for thought!

In addition, I want to highlight a new resource from the author of a great eBook about marketing book apps. Karen Robertson, the author of the Treasure Kai series, has now put out a 2nd eBook about her experience marketing her app.

Karen’s two thoughtfully written titles have wonderful ideas and lots of links for reference. I highly recommend them for new authors, illustrators & others interested in ‘going digital’ with a picture book in the near future. I have read both of Karen’s ebooks, including writing the forward for her first title … they are detailed accounts that can help guide anyone new to this industry. Here are links to her two industry publications:

A new eBook to get content creators heading down the right path ...

Author’s Guide to Book Apps – Detailed advice about making your children’s book an app. Highly recommended to anyone new to or considering entering this new marketplace.

How to Market a Book App – Even more detailed advice on marketing a book app … I highly recommend this title to anyone who has a new book app in production, definitely a ‘must-read’ before launching your app in iTunes.

I asked Karen to share some information about herself & these two books and she graciously sent me a great list of 10 Tips for Marketing Your Story Book App:

To complement her posts, Carisa asked me to share some of the knowledge we’ve gained from marketing our book app, “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island.” We’ve sold “Treasure Kai” every single day (except one) in the past nine months and have reached as high as #5 in the US App Store.

Some details about “Treasure Kai” and our company: “Treasure Kai” is a single title, and we are an independent developer. There are a number of reasons why we continue to sell “Treasure Kai” and in this post, I’ll share with you some of our best tips. These apply to story book apps and other apps for kids. 

When we first launched “Treasure Kai,” I had friends tell me, “You’re going to be a millionaire.” I can understand that sentiment because the market potential is there. However the reality is that the market is very crowded for story book apps, and the quality varies so much that the best sellers now tend to be the brands, stories and characters that parents already know and trust like Dora, Disney and Dr. Seuss. So keep these 10 tips in mind when planning your marketing:

        •  Quality is critical. If your app isn’t great, people won’t tell their friends about it and reviewers won’t want to review it.
        •  Marketing is an ongoing commitment and takes effort.
        •  Apple gives you a lot of tools; it’s up to you to use them well. From the icon to the description, screen grabs, keywords and reviews, there are ways to make the most of each of these tools.
        •  Understand what makes your app unique. Before you start promoting, you need to really understand what differentiates your app and why a parent or child should care.
        •  Marketing a children’s app is different from marketing other types of apps. Some of the most successful monetization strategies you’ll read about in general app marketing books need to be used with caution in the children’s market, our target audiences are different and we have a unique set of reviewers we can use.
        • Apps are actually a low interest product for most consumers. What I mean by that is that in someone’s list of 50 things to do in a day, finding a new app is not usually on the list. That being said, once an app is purchased, it becomes of high interest because the buyer wants value for money.
        • Many of the most successful marketing techniques you can use are free (reviews, price promotions, updates, social media).
        • Videos work. A good demo video will help reviewers decide to review your app and consumers decide to download your app.
        •  Reviews from consumers and review sites matter.
        • Social media is about more than promoting your app.

Download Karen’s free report: 7 Secrets of Book App Marketing

Karen Robertson is the author of Treasure Kai, Author’s Guide to Book Apps, How to Market a Book App and 6 Free Ways to Market Your Book App. Find more information about her projects at: and

Karen has also been interviewed on Publishing Insiders’ BlogTalkRadio program recently. Her talk, Secrets to Creating Childrens’ Book Apps, is a great resource if you are considering launching your own book app in the near future.

And what has your experience been like with book apps as a content creator, reader or developer? Please share your ideas, best practices and questions in the comments!

Category: 100+ Reviews ... What I've Learned So Far, All About Apps, Marketing Apps, Our House

About the Author ()

Carisa Kluver is the the editor of, an iPad children's book review site. She has a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an MSW from the University of Washington. Before starting this project, she was a school counselor, health educator and researcher in child & maternal health.