6 App Template Reskin Tips from Bluecloud’s VIP Box

app toolbox

So you're interested in skinning.  Maybe you're starting out and looking to make some quick revenue at a low risk.  Or, maybe you have a proven killer app template code that you want to multiply profits from.

Either way, skinning does have its advantages and disadvantages.  But the main takeaway is that skinning does still work in todays market AND is widely used throughout the app store (by some of the biggest names out there).

Disclaimer:

I know a lot of people are not fans of skinning.  This is mostly because it can saturate markets and give an unfair advantage to lower end projects.  I am not for nor against skinning.  It is on the conscious of the developer to decide and live with what type of apps he/she decides to publish.  But I did want to take the opportunity to unveil some skinning secrets, and how developers are able to repeatedly use this strategy to create successful businesses.

What I will disclose, is that I have skinned apps in the past and seen large success.  But I no longer skin apps and whole heartedly believe the best way to succeed in this business is to focus on one project at a time and make it the highest quality product possible.

With that said, let's talk skins!!

You're probably wondering, should I skin this code?

Or, where can I find a good code to skin?

Great questions!  Using an app source code is a terrific place to start for getting a project published at a fraction of the cost and effort.  By using an already created template, you can easily add customizations, minimize efforts, and fast track your way to a ROI.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as grabbing any code and watching the profits roll in.  Developers who skin apps look for 3 things when searching for apps to skin:

  1. What does the revenue look like?
  2. How much traffic does it get?
  3. Is this a simple turn-key project?

Use tools like Apptopia, or go through your own network's analytics.  Look for apps that generate a profit, produce traffic that can easily be pushed elsewhere, and can be worked with efficiently on a mass scale.

The #1 reason why skins don't work in todays market is due to a lack of quality.  Most skins are done cheaply and poorly.  With the increase in competition and device functionality, users expect more and demand apps that keep up with the newest iPhone and display the latest OS features.  Not another Flappy Bird code that saturates the market.   This is what app reviewers (the gatekeepers to the app market) are looking for too.

king aps

In todays market, skinning is still “King.”  Look at these 20 App Reskin Examples of top development companies that destroy it skinning apps.

Here is what makes up a revenue generating skin network:

  • an up to date code: equipped with the latest bells and whistles that works on the most recent OS
  • proven conversions: a code that has a proven history of conversions and a quick ROI
  • multi platform:  allows developers to upload more quickly and in different markets
  • organization:  SOPs such as being able to track all the data and resources from each app in a skin network

For a full breakdown, get our Reskin Course that is available in our Starter Kit.  You will be walked through EVERYTHING you need to know to create a successful skinning business. From picking the perfect source code to finding rockstar developers. We go through it all.

In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about strategies, tips, and development stories about skinning apps.  After this post you will understand how to:

  1. Find a master code to skin
  2. Elevate ASO
  3. Modify skin resources
  4. Publishing app reskins
  5. Stay Organized
  6. Keep costs down

1.  Define the Master App Template

The product is the most important part of a mass production operation.  A product needs to have a level of quality, be easy to manage, and affordable to produce to minimize risk.

Most developers new to skinning fail to choose a source code that makes money and is easy to work with.  

Normally my development strategy is to get an app approved and in the store ASAP.  But with skinning, there are extra steps that are need to implement early on to save time and money down the road.

Filter Your Source Code Candidates

Shop for codes (or look through your code bank) for a code that is skinnable.  One method I use is skimming through the Top Charts and newly released apps.  See what catches your eye, chances are there is a code readily available that can be used to mimic or improve a hit app.

Put together a list of realistic codes that could be ideal to skin.  You don't need to buy a code.  If you have published apps in the store already, picking apps that you are familiar is a great place to start.

Is Your Master Polished?

Again, my Number 1 Rule is to get apps in stores.  Worry about all the nitty gritty details later.  But with skinning, it’s a slightly different approach.  A code could potentially be used to produce 5, 10, maybe even 100 apps!  It is important the code is polished and ready for mass production.

A Quick Example (and true story):  Let’s say you have a blackjack code that costs $250 to develop 1 skin.  Your goal is to publish 30 blackjack skins in the next 3 months.  After skinning 20 blackjack apps, you read a review from a user who points out a critical bug that needs to be fixed.

Shit.

A bug that would have cost $100 to fix in your Master code, now needs to be fixed in 20 blackjack codes!  Now you are delayed a month and out ~$2,000.  Bummer :/

Choose an app that is complete and has been thoroughly tested.  Carter wrote a great article on how to spend just a little bit of time and money to purchase traffic for an app.  One of many reasons for doing this is to get users in your app for testing and feedback purposes.  After purchasing traffic to test my app, I feel comfortable about moving forward with skin production.

Again, it’s imperative that all features and functions are 100% complete.  If you’re skeptical that an app may be broken, buggy, or half finished, don't skin it.

Make Sure Your Code Is Up To Date

Last year we developed a code to sell on the Bluecloud website.  The code was brand new and freak'n sweet!  However, as things happen in business, other priorities took our attention.  A couple months later, we got around to develop the sales page and made the source code sale live.

Boom!  Sales started coming in right away.  But the support inbox was filling up.  Here is what happened, even though the code was a couple months old, Apple had released new code regulations including iOS 8 and 64 bit support. 

Crap…

64 bit support

I had to hustle to get the code updated right away so customers could get their apps approved.  In the end it all worked out and everyone was happy.  But here are a couple things to consider to save yourself some hassle:

Check for OS updates.  Check developer Forums and What’s New to make sure you stay ahead of the game.  It is also a good idea to double check App Review guidelines and the Support page.  Google Play, Android, and Apple are all very good at sending notices months in advance for new development requirements.  Make sure you open emails and create reminders for updating codes in your calendar.

Spec' the heck out of new devices.  When a new device is released, we often get distracted by all the new features offered and sometimes forget the nerdy important stuff like processors.  

64 bit support

Before a device is released, make sure you note new hardware.  If it’s a 64 bit ARM processor, update your master code to support it.  This will save time and hassle later on when skinning, and development platforms like Apple take note of this stuff and reward developers who provide users with the best experience and support the latest technology.

Seriously, your code should be top notch before skinning.  

Update All SDKs.  Stay on top of the SDKs, especially if they are making money (Ad networks obviously come to mind).  

If a SDK update is missed, expect a rejection.

When submitting or updating an app, get in the habit of asking your coder to check SDKs and updating regularly.  Two SDKs that I always get flagged for are Chartboost for Apple, and Playhaven for Google Play.  Keep an eye out!

Updating SDKs is a pain, but its part of the development process and is relatively easy to do.

Document EVERYTHING (keep records)

Create a “manual” for your app.  Something you can hand over to a complete stranger and they'd know exactly what to do.  Write down all the information and processes involved in developing the source code and publishing the master app.  

Does your code have Chartboost integrated?  Are there FB sharing features?  Is Google Analytics setup?  

If you answered “I don’t know” to the above – your skin operation is going to fail.  

It’s important to have a document (or software) that tracks all your code’s information.  Successful skinners can find any piece of information about their code in seconds.  Here are some things to keep documented:

  • Bundle ID
  • Name of App Account it is published in
  • Code platform and engine
  • SDKs and APIs integrated
  • IAPs

All the above (and hopefully a lot more) needs to be documented and stored for every skin developed.  

Sounds boring and a waste of time, but it takes a couple seconds and the information could turn out to be invaluable. 

Take a look at a source code we used to sell.  Bullet point all the information from your code just like the Gem Dots example.

Most importantly, if someone is interested in purchasing an app, code, or your whole network – you’ll look like a baller when you hand them a document with every detail about your code.

2.  Elevate Your ASO

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Publilius Syrus

App Store Optimization is responsible for indexing an app.  With proper ASO, an app will appear in the top search results, catch the user's eye, and push a download (without having to shell out a single dollar).

Type in the title of your app in the App Store.  If it doesn’t appear within the first 6 results…

Game Over.

Your app title should be indexed within the top 6 results when searched.  If not, consider testing a new title.

ASO can be discouraging for developers, especially if an app has been published already and expectations were not met.  If you need a quick ASO tuneup, get our Starter Kit.

There are loads of big companies that flood search results and dominate the Top Charts.  They can be intimidating and make us feel like:

“I can’t compete with these guys”

Or

“they know a secret I don’t know”

This is not true.

Change your attitude and get fired up!  I talk to dozens of developers weekly that were in your shoes yesterday, and today are breaking records and doing the unthinkable.  Seriously, every week I freak out worrying about the app market, money, employees, customers, and the ‘other guy.’  But I transform that negative energy into motivation.

Because skinners pump out so many versions of the same code, they hammer down on ASO to test and dominate different market areas.

Keyword Terminology

Use the terms and methods below to tackle ASO and increase your app's exposure.

Seed Keywords:  General words that define an app.  

Use seed keywords to help research other niche words and phrases that will help the visibility of your app.

For example: if I am developing a slots game with an elephant theme, I would have seed keywords like:  elephant, never forgets, trunk, pink, mouse, big ears, casino, jackpot, hot slots machine, 3 cherries, cup of coins…

Long Tail keywords:  Popular phrases derived from our seed keywords.  

There is a better chance of being discovered through phrases rather than relying on singular keywords.

Did you catch that?  I’ll rephrase – focus on phrases and try and stay clear of relying on singular words.

Input seed keywords in Google Tools, Sensor Tower, and the App Store (including other platforms) to find automatically populated phrases.

Exact Match:  The number of apps that index when long tail keywords are searched.

It’s important to measure your keywords to evaluate the competition.

An easy way to calculate this is by searching a long tail phrase in the App Store and counting the results.  If you count more than 10, start thinking about other phrases to use in your metadata.  If you count more than 20, say goodbye to people finding your app with the selected phrase.

Misspelled Seeds:  Seed keywords that are misspelled with low competition.

For my elephant app, what are the chances someone misspells ‘elephant’?  Elepant, elefant, elephany…  I bet there are thousands of people who misspell elephant on the App Store everyday!

Straply.com is a great resource for researching misspellings.

Remember, the goal is to be able to type in your app’s title and have 6 or less results.  If you’re not indexed in the top 6 results, you’re going to have a hard time getting downloads relying strictly on ASO.

Research the market

The goal when working with ASO is to find phrases customers search for while not competing with the masses.  That’s why you hear ‘niche’ a lot especially in flooded categories like Casino.  

 

Super Gorilla App IconAn example:  Super Gorilla Slots: A Wild Casino Journey through Hidden Mayan Ruins.  

Sounds pretty ridiculous right?  Who is actually going to search this crap?  

Turns out, a lot of people!  And that’s why its Top 50 in Dice Games (along with a super slick icon).

I did some research on my iPhone and searched ‘gorilla slots’ and only 3 other results popped up. 

Think if I was planning on doing some casino skins I’d do an app with ‘gorilla’ and ‘slots’ in the title?  Damn right I would!

More title and keyword tips:

  • Be careful using keyword tools (they all estimate, only the App Store has the right data.)
  • Don’t use keywords from apps that are unranked
  • When researching keywords from existing apps, pick keywords straight from the title
  • Make sure your title will index in the top 6 results
  • It is better to have 0 results when you search potential keywords than to share them with 20+ other apps

Remember => *** The lower the competition, the higher the download results ***

Don’t compete with yourself

Ya I know I talked about doing sequels and using the title words and keywords from previous successful apps…but remember, if you’re using the same title and keywords, you’re competing with yourself.

There are 2 major reasons why you should use the same title words and keywords as other successful apps in your network:

  1. People like this app and style and want more (these are long term continued buyers).
  2. Flood the market to maximise exposure

I’m all about #1!  Don’t feel bad about making another product that people like.  Thats the demand right?  And for whatever reason, people like the product.

#2 is up to you.  I’m not into flooding the market and to be quite honest, it’s a boring overrated strategy.  I’d rather spend time exploring new revenue streams that have no ceiling.  

The big takeaway is: use proven ASO to help market a quality project.  If you have a new app that has a higher quality performance and design, what’s the big deal of using the same ASO?  You’re maximizing your cash in an area that has clear demand while offering a quality project.

Winner!

Experiment with prices, versions, and categories

The easiest ASO strategy for skin networks, is to experiment with different prices, versions and categories.

Experiment with different price points.  Promo it at Free for a week or two.  Try Tier 1, try Tier 4!  Also use Alternate Tiers which automatically calculate the app’s price to another country’s currency.

Recently, I was consulting a developer with an app on the Top 25 Charts.  The app in question was Greg's (fake name) first and only app, and was bringing in upwards of $900 a day.  

Not bad, right?  So whats the problem?

I noticed the quality of Greg's app didn't match the price of $0.99.  In my opinion, the app had a lot more value than that of something found at a 99 cent store.  I advised Greg to increase his price point to $1.99 and BOOM!  The next day the app DOUBLED in revenue.

Test different categories too.

Lite and Pro versions.  Two is always better than one.  You might as well maximize your code, especially if you're focused on skinning.

Ya sometimes a lite version can hurt the sales of the Pro version.  But it can also help convert users to the Pro version plus bring in Ad Revenue.  This gives us several monetization systems to test.

You can always remove a version if it’s not complementing the other right.

Expect failure, but don’t become a loser

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”- Henry Ford

Everyone fails.  You have more of a chance of failing than you do striking it rich on your first app.  But if you're persistent and stay the course, that 1 success down the road will make up exponentially for all the previous failures.

Transform failures into learning experiences

The good news about a failed app attempt, is it’s simply something you can cross off the list.  If you tried a category, or price tweak and it didn’t benefit your app… no worries!  Let’s cross it off the list and move on to something else that WILL influence your app.

If you want radical changes, make radical moves.  If you aren’t getting any data and have bad download numbers, tweak as much as you can until you DO have something to measure.

Experiment and have fun with ASO

If I’m rocking out 20 skins, do you think I care if 1 or 2 of them are way out there?

Heck no!

In fact, I advise it!  Not only is a weird app something fun to brag to friends and peers about, but you never know what's going to hit.  Honestly you’d be surprised in some of the RIDICULOUS apps I’ve published that have brought in serious money.

3. Modifying Resources

When producing skins on a large scale, the main goal is 1) apply new ASO, and 2) change the look of the app.

Pretty easy, right?

That’s really all there is to it.

Checkout the resource chart below to refer to resource count and difficulty.

Resource Count Difficulty Scale:

  • 20-50 images => jackpot!
  • 50-200 images => easy
  • 200-600 images => moderate
  • 600+ images => difficult
  • 3D images => very difficult

Keep the resource count low

Skinners like codes with a low resource count.  

Resources that need to be changed to avoid detection from reviewers:

  • Icons and screenshots:  Icons and screenshots need to have unique artwork.  They should be totally different than other skins and should have unique artwork.  These are the resources the reviewer is going to measure the most when comparing to other apps.
  • Characters:  Change characters, especially the main character.  You don’t have to start from scratch and make brand new resources and characters.  Use your master files to change colors, faces, and any other minor edits you can do to give a new look.
  • Backgrounds:  Shuffle the background images in an app.  
  • Main Menus:  Make your main menus unique from other skins.

Resources that will probably be ok:

  • Sub Menus:  Screens like the Pause Menus, Options Menus are not as heavily reviewed.  These menus need less attention.
  • Buttons:  If you can change the color or text, great!  Otherwise, you may be OK as is.  Don’t worry about 3rd party share buttons like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Navigational Symbols and links:  Arrows, X’s, and other symbols and navigational resources are generally OK.  

Be selective with your resource files when skinning

Reviewers are not going to dissect every single line of code in your app.  

Most reviewers want to help developers create quality products.  They aren’t interested in catching developers who are trying to manipulate the system.  Unless you do it recklessly.  

 

One of my favorite success stories is Video Music Merger.  Video Music Merger has 43 TOTAL images.  We did not develop the code, but purchased it for a couple hundred dollars.  It has made 20X that easy.

Jackpot!

I realized a majority of the images in Video Music Merger were buttons and navigational symbols like arrows.  My goal for Video Merger was to include a different look with the background design and ASO to give it the illusion of a totally different experience.

Codes like this are fantastic for skinning.

Design generic buttons in the master.  Create button resources that aren’t flashy.  The goal would to slap these resources in any theme and have them blend in.  Here’s what I tell my developer:

Hey Design Gangster,

How are you?  

I’d like to create 10 skins of this app (enter link here).  I’ve attached the resource files.  There are 43 total images.

For the buttons, symbols, and navigational resources, keep them generic and provide me with the master files.

The goal is to use the same buttons, symbols, and navigational resources in every skin so we can make your life easier. 

I believe we can get by with only having to skin the remaining 20 images.  Thoughts?

I’ll send detailed instructions and examples once you respond with your quote and availability.

Rock n roll,

Mark

Boom.

Minimize the number of resources to skin in Games

Here are a couple tips successful skinners use to help get games approved and reduce design costs:

  • Always redo icons and screenshots.  These are the resources the reviewer is going to pay most attention to when checking your app for clones.  Resources should be completely different and have a different look.  This is easy to do by picking a unique theme from other skins.  Play it safe with icons and screenshots and utilize the opportunity to give the user and reviewer a unique experience.
  • Weigh which generic buttons, symbols, sub-menus and navigational resources, need to be replaced, and which can be kept.
  • Do a COMPLETE makeover of the Main Menu and use it as a screenshot.  The Main Menu is in most cases the first screen the user and reviewer are going to see.  Make sure you spend the time to design it accordingly.
  • Change the level sequence.  If a game has 10 levels, reverse the order.  Keep the levels that are promoted in other skin’s screenshots hidden and later in the game.  The reviewer is most likely not going to go through every single level of your game.
  • Create new characters.  One of the heaviest influences in a game are the characters.  That’s where the user gets to pretend or unlock new fun characters.  Give the user a different experience from other skins and take the time to create some new characters.  You will appreciate the game more, the customer will like it, and the reviewer will not reject it for being a duplicate app.
  • Change the currency or prize.  Most games have currency or prizes that are collectable like apples.  These currency/prizes are seen repeatedly throughout the game, and in most cases are only 1-3 resources.

PSD Masters VS AI Masters

As mentioned earlier, make sure you tell your designer before you work together that you want the master files.

Using Photoshop to customize an app template

Having master files is imperative, especially when skinning.  Master files allow you to change text, colors, characters, backgrounds, buttons…in seconds!  Don’t waste thousands of dollars having a designer re-create something numerous times, when he or she can easily edit an existing master file.

When keeping masters, it’s important to have everything organized.  Most master files are made up of layers.  Designers can edit layers independently of one another which helps with editing.  Have your designer group and label layers neatly so the next person can easily find and edit an image if needed.

Make sure the font files are included in the deliverables.  This can be a huge game changer and pain in the ass.  Store your font files.

Your designer will most likely be using Adobe Illustrator (AI), or Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files.  These are expensive (but necessary) programs for a designer.  You can download a trial to both of these programs here.

Vectors images are the major difference between AI and PSD when designing apps.  If you receive a PSD file that is 1200×1200 and you scale it larger, you are going to lose image quality.  If you scale a vector image with Adobe Illustrator, you’re going to keep the quality the same.  This is great when new devices with higher resolution or screen sizes are released.

Make sure you store the master files of the highest definition device for PSD – example would be the iPad Retina for iOS.  For vector images (AI), you don’t need to worry.

This is such an easy thing to do, keep costs low by storing master files.

PSD Templates

PSD templates can save A LOT of time and hassle.

Here is how I used to skin images:

  1. Download the master PSD or AI file
  2. Open the master and change the fonts, size, shape, etc.
  3. Save and export the images to all devices.

This is a very easy and linear approach for creating new designs.  But it is boring and time consuming (and expensive).

If you’re creating 3 or more skins, do yourself (and your team) a favor and create a PSD Template.  It WILL save money and speed up the design process by up to 75%.  

Ya but, what exactly does a PSD Template do and how can I get my designer to create one?

Great question!

A PSD Template will automatically:

  • change the filenames to match the old files in the code
  • organize images in the appropriate folders
  • automatically export all images to the correct size for every device.

Its simply a magic button you push to get her done.

Checkout the example below:

PSD Template

Coins are imperative to change when skinning.  And this particular code has 8 different currency images all that need to be exported to different devices.  With this PSD Template, all I have to do is paste my new coin images on top of the old, and they will automatically be exported, named, sized, and organized.

Notice the designer even wrote instructions on the top left of the file so I can hand this to any designer or even do it myself.  Easy.

In most cases, codes have separate images for each device.  So designers have to create an image and resize it for every device.

This sucks.  It is not fun.

Especially because of the number of devices out there.  Apple for instance has the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad, iPad Retina…  All of which require their own image.  So if your designer created a skateboard image for a skateboard app, he or she will have to export and name that file 6 times.  

THEN your coder has to make sure the images align with the files in the code.  Make sure they’re in the right folders, the correct format, appropriate dimensions…

I get exhausted just thinking about it.  And honestly, it makes everyone stressed and unhappy.

Templates alleviate all these problems.

Here’s how they work:

  1. Designer creates a new image like a button
  2. The image is pasted in the PSD Template
  3. An action script is run that organizes images, names them accordingly, and exports them to the correct size.
  4. Coder takes the NEW images and drags & drops in the code replacing all resources.

Done.  Time to get pizza!

4. Have a Solid Launch Strategy

The rejection that most skin developers fear is:

Rejection 2.11: Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps

The good news is that this rejection is not very common.  In fact, duplicate app rejections make up for less than 2% of rejections.

Check out the strategies below to make sure your app is a winner.  

Minimize Rejections

After an app is developed and submitted for publication on the app store, it goes through a review process.  Make sure you anticipate the review time in your launch strategy.  The review times do very, but it can take up to 2 weeks for platforms like Apple (http://appreviewtimes.com/ is a great tool) to review an app.

Rejections are common.  But 90% of the time they are related to a small error that is easily fixable.  The rejections I see most with new app developers is not having submitted an in-app purchase, and forgetting to turn on ad campaigns.

The top 10 reasons for app rejections are (as of 9/15):

  • 16%  More information needed
  • 12%  Guideline 2.2: Apps that exhibit bugs will be rejected
  • 6%  Guideline 10.6: Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected
  • 4%  Guideline 3.3: Apps with names, descriptions, screenshots, or previews not relevant to the content and functionality of the App will be rejected
  • 3%  Guideline 2.1: Apps that crash will be rejected
  • 3%  Guideline 3.4: App names in iTunes Connect and as displayed on a device should be similar, so as not to cause confusion
  • 3%  Guideline 22.2: Apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations or use names or icons similar to other Apps will be rejected
  • 3%  Guideline 3.1: Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected
  • 3%  Guideline 17.2: Apps that require users to share personal information, such as email address and date of birth, in order to function will be rejected
  • 3%  Guideline 3.8: Developers are responsible for assigning appropriate ratings to their Apps. Inappropriate ratings may be changed/deleted by Apple

Get your apps to a completed state.  Login to your developer dashboard and check that all screenshots, keywords, descriptions, ratings, etc… are accurate and complete.

Take your time testing apps.  Go through and make sure there are no crashes, in-app purchases work and ad networks are displaying.

Finally, use the review notes section to guide the reviewer through the app.

Tips To Minimize App Rejections:

  • Make SURE your app works perfectly on the latest devices and OS.  These are the devices and operating systems that Bundle Display Namereviewers will be using, so when testing use the device and OS the reviewer will most likely be using.
  • Bundle Display Name:  The Bundle Display Name needs to be relevant to the App Title Name.  The Bundle Display Name is what will show under your icon on the user’s device.
  • Test In App Purchases:  This is my most FREQUENT rejection.  An ID is missed or action script in the code mistyped.  Make sure you have your developer or Project Manager test all IAPs before an app is submitted.

Submit Skins in Different Accounts

Heavy duty skinners use multiple accounts.  There are several reasons for doing this.

Having multiple accounts allows developers to better slip under the radar of reviewers.  If multiple apps are submitted that are too similar to one another in the same account, reviewers will notice and reject your app.  This can be bad news for your account.

Secondly, multiple developer accounts help test different markets.  Your app may do better/worse in one network's ASO and app traffic than another.

I like to have 3 developer accounts.  1 account which is my primary account.  This is where my best apps go.  The other 2 accounts are for skins.

When managing multiple accounts, try to use different names, bundle IDs, IAPs IDs, Support and Marketing URLs, and Contact Information.

For example, if you’re submitting a Race Car app with the following:

  • Bundle ID:  com.myappcompany.buggyrace
  • IAP ID:  com.myappcompany.buggrace.unlock
  • Support URL:  www.myappcompany.com

Don’t submit a skin with similar information:

  • Bundle ID:  com.myappcompany.buggyrace2
  • IAP ID:  com.myappcompany.buggrace.unlock2
  • Support URL:  www.myappcompany.com

Make your app details as different from one another as possible.  It’s easy to do and will payoff in the review process.

The 2 Week Rule

This is an important rule and reduces rejections.

Submit skins at least 2 weeks apart from one another.  If you can wait longer, even better.

The easiest way to ensure no skin is left behind, is to create a submission calendar for your development team.  

Don’t Release Until All Skins are Approved

This rule isn’t mandatory, but helps approval percentages.  

Tip:  If you submit 20 apps to the Store, 2 weeks apart, and don’t release until ALL apps are approved… chances of getting all 20 apps approved are high.

One way to set this up is to tell your developer to set all skins to Manual Release.  You will be notified when the apps are approved and release when you feel ready.

5. Keep Organized

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” – Anonymous Tweet

Keeping organized takes dedication and constant updating.  But it has huge payoffs.

You have to find what works for you.  Just because a strategy works for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you.  Try different methods and see what works and what doesn’t work for your business.  

What to Track

Everything!!!  The more you track the more you can see what works, and what needs to be changed.

Below are some items that are imperative to track:

  • Status:  It is important to track if an app is Waiting For Review, Approved or Rejected.  When dealing with a large amount of skins, it’s your job to know the status of each app.  
  • Bundle IDs:  Bundle IDs never change.  Even if an app is transferred or sold, they will remain the same.    Keep record of Bundle IDs in case you make any changes to your app's metadata.  Tracking skins by title can be tricky.  Imagine having an app network of 50 skins, and constantly experimenting with new titles.  It is hard to keep up with all the new titles.  But Bundle IDs never change.
  • Account Name:  Keep track of what developer account each skin was submitted in
  • Code Engine & Language:  Track what platform and programming language your skins were coded in.  
  • Most Recent OS and Bit Support:  With technology changing dramatically every year, it’s important to keep track of OS and Bit Support.  
  • Ad Network IDs:  Keep your Ad Network IDs stored safely.  
  • All Misc SDKs & APIs:  This includes analytic IDs, bug IDs, Facebook…or anything else you have in your app.

Create SOPs

Create Systems Of Protocols (SOPs) to help automate your business. 

SOPs are instructions your development team can follow one by one.  This is essentially the recipe of your development process. 

Start documenting your business now.  For developers who create skin networks, this is mandatory.

Think of this as creating a step-by-step manual for your business.  If someone were to pickup this manual, they’d be able to recreate your development strategy and run your business easily.

Would it even be possible to sell a network without one?

6. Tips for Keeping App Development Costs Down

Looking to keep skinning costs down?  Below are some secrets I use that save BIG bucks.

  • Bulk Orders:  Of course this makes the most sense, but it will also save you the most cash.  The best way to achieve discounts with bulk orders is to negotiate a long-term deal.    
  • Set Price VS Hourly:  Set Price with Milestones is always the way to go.  For trusted developers I've worked with for long periods of time, I will do block order jobs.  This is where you pay upfront for a specific amount of time, say 50 hours at $800.  But this is rare, and only with those I trust and feel comfortable working with.
  • Hire a VA:  Instead of paying your coder or PM to write descriptions, search keywords, localize metadata, manage rejections, etc… hire a VA to do it.  It will save a lot of time and keep costs down.
  • Submit codes yourself:  If an app is rejected 3-4 times, it can be costly.  You can save a lot of money by taking 1 hour of your time to learn how to upload a code.  Visit this post with video tutorials of how to submit a code here.

Conclusion

Thanks for sticking through this long article.

After reading this post, you should have a clear understanding about skinning apps and:

  1. Defining a master app template code
  2. Elevating ASO
  3. Modifying resources
  4. Publish app reskins
  5. Staying Organized
  6. Keeping costs down

Visit our skinning category for more information and insider tips.

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