Promotion of the Symbian hit: a success story

We offer a story about how the Magic Brush application was promoted – one of the most successful domestic products for touch-based Symbian devices. The number of sales of the app only in the Ovi Store reached 4K copies per month, and the Lite version was downloaded in it about 1.7M times.

Dmitry Tarasov, CEO of Tarasov Mobile, tells us.

First steps

The first release was published in most of the leading Nokia app stores (Ovi Store, MobiHand, Handango, operator appstores, etc.). Unfortunately, the publication took place at a time when the Ovi Store had not yet gained its current sales volumes, but had already significantly reduced them in all other stores. Therefore, we did not achieve significant results immediately, and the first 2-3 months of sales were not particularly impressive (approximately at the level of average sales of a mobile application in the Android Market).

On the other hand, this period coincided with internal structural changes in Nokia itself: the company acquired local structures for working with developers, including in Moscow. We hurried to take advantage of this by offering Nokia special conditions for the sale of our content exclusively for the Ovi Store (free full versions for some models, exclusive reduced prices for the Ovi Store, etc.) in exchange for its marketing support.

First successes: experience working with a monster

In the fall of 2010, Nokia conducted enhanced PR campaigns to promote both the Ovi Store and its new Nokia N8 model, and therefore was interested in good content. We offered to provide Nokia N8 users with the full version of our Ting product for free! exclusively in the Ovi Store, thereby supporting both PR campaigns. In response, Nokia held a local Magic Brush promo in its Store, temporarily placing the application in the “Featured” section.

The results of the local promo were very good. Moreover, a statistical explosion at the local level was noticed by the global structures of the corporation, as a result of which we got into a global promo — in the Recommended section and premium placement on the store’s website:

During the global promo campaign, downloads of the Lite version soared to the level of 20K per day, which, of course, is far from a record for the Ovi Store, but it was able to provide us with steady sales of the full version, which we already considered significant at that time. In general, we can say that during the global promos in the Ovi Store, the number of downloads of the free version grows by about an order of magnitude, reaching 30K, as a result of which it quickly gets into the top of popular applications, providing a stable stream of downloads at the level of 6–8K per day after the end of the campaign. As for paid applications, the promo increases the number of purchases by 5-10 times, depending on different circumstances.

Of course, we liked this cooperation. We were lucky enough to realize very quickly that the promotion of the application in the Nokia store is our task, not Nokia’s. Therefore, instead of sitting and waiting for Nokia to come to us with a proposal to promote us, as most domestic developers do, we ourselves began to work in this direction, coming up with and offering interesting options for Nokia to publish our content.

Many developers who have recently come to Nokia platforms complain that they cannot find the right contact in the corporation, and for some reason she herself does not seek to contact them. From the outside, it looks like self-justification, hiding one’s own laziness and ignorance of the ecosystem. It is enough to look at the list of speakers and the topic of any Nokia development event in Russia to find the right contact. All emails are in the presentations published on the web. All local forums of Russian developers are periodically visited by the company’s specialists, at least in order to give programming advice. In the end, send a message through the feedback form on the website http://developer.nokia.com/ru and you will get to the address. The world of domestic mobile developers is quite small.

In addition, getting and holding positions in the top of the store is not the only way to raise sales. We try to conduct other marketing activities that attract attention both to the product and to Tarasov Mobile as a company. In particular, thanks to Nokia, we held a contest in official Nokia groups on VKontakte and Facebook:

The essence of it is that Magic Brush users could win a Nokia device by showing their creative abilities. The album with the drawings of the participants is available here.

In addition, Nokia dedicated one of the commercials broadcast in Nokia’s branded retail in Russia to Magic Brush:


We squeeze the maximum out of the market

Naturally, we did not limit ourselves to just promoting the application through Nokia channels. There are several other significant alternative app stores, with each of which we work similarly — we try to interest partners, for example, by providing unique conditions for the site. It is important to understand that when you sell software, each of the appstores is your partner, who has his own interests, having satisfied which, you can satisfy your own.

In addition to working with partners, a lot of organizational issues have to be solved along the way, both related to development and promotion (preparation of graphics, special promotions, seasonal discounts, etc.) and unrelated (legal entity support, receiving money, certification, etc.). The sale and promotion of software have the same attributes like any business. That is why the scheme, when the developer concentrates on development, and entrusts all the fuss with promotion to a person who is only engaged in this full-time, is most effective. Moreover, it is important to understand that this approach is equally effective regardless of the platform. The methods of software promotion for different platforms differ only in details, but the essence is the same everywhere.


At the moment, Magic Brush is one of the most popular apps in the Ovi Store and provides a stable income. In good times, the number of app sales in the Ovi Store alone reaches almost 4,000 units per month. At the moment, the lite version has been downloaded about 1,700,000 times. In general, we can say that it took about 4-5 months to promote the application and bring it to the top of applications, which is a normal period for Symbian applications and is compensated due to the long life of the products.

Conclusions and future plans

Our experience shows that results can be achieved if you treat the sale of software as a full—fledged business, and not a hobby – to fully engage in promotion and work with partners. As for Magic Brush specifically, Nokia’s support played a key role in the success of the product, which, despite the trolling surrounding it, is quite a reliable partner with whom it is a pleasure to deal.

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