Where to Learn How to Make Sticker Packs for iOS Messages
By Justin Dike, owner and lead iOs Developer at CartoonSmart.com
In the US alone 45 BILLION texts are sent a day! Cut that number in half for iPhone users, and it’s still staggering to think about the potential Apple’s new iMessage Store has to offer artists and animators. If you haven’t visited the iMessage Store yet, see the image below. Although not entirely intuitive at first, the store is conveniently located in the same shelf with all your iMessage and Sticker Pack apps.
I have some AMAZING stats to share, but first I want you to consider what it would have been like to get into the App Store the first month it existed.Heck even the first year. Back when calculator and bubblewrap-popping apps were big hits. A new store / new app type is like hitting the reset button on what can be a break out hit.
Most of the sticker packs I made were with my wife (a total novice) while we both “listened to TV” for a couple months. I’ll share her success story later. These packs are almost all free right now here at the site, and the download stats are pretty wild. In the hundreds of thousands over the first 2 weeks. Granted they are free, but that shows me there’s people in that store. A lot of people. And remember iOS10 is still probably only half way to its full adoption rate. Plus I’m guessing 80% of iOS10 users have yet to find the iMessage Store (right now in Sept 2016). But hey, it only takes finding it once.
Building your first Sticker Pack is done by dragging and dropping images into a simple Xcode project template. Sound easy? It is. A true no-brainer. So our video courses on How to Make Sticker Packs for Non-Programmers go a bit deeper and cover getting the app listed in iTunes Connect, registering your Bundle ID, and submitting your app. Plus there’s plenty about the actual sticker creation process, in particular, many of the Adobe Animate (or Adobe Flash) techniques we used to make our packs.
Since Sticker Pack projects are so simple, we’ve also got plenty of lessons on how to send stickers via an iMessage App. We’ll show you how to essentially rebuild the Sticker Pack project template, but using an iMessage app. This allows you to customize the user experience far more, and most importantly, sell in-app purchases to unlock more stickers. And our iMessage app tutorials cover way more than just Sticker Pack creation: for example, adding property lists, mixing in Sprite Kit and creating back-n-forth games between participants in a conversation. This course is already packed full of videos, but MORE are coming too!
From Novice to a Top 50 App
What’s that movie where the guru mentors some random nobody and then by the end of the movie the nobody has outdone the guru? Take your pick thats like 100 movie plots. Well a couple months ago I taught my wife enough Adobe Animate to start animating her own packs. She even registered for her own Developer account, got up and running with Xcode 8, and submitted her Sticker Pack apps a couple weeks ago. We fired up the iMessage Store the other day and discovered one of her apps, Fast Food Stickers, was on the front page. This led to it quickly being in the top 100 of free apps, and briefly in the Top 50! Her app and the official Burger King app were in a dead heat for a while for that coveted position.
So anything is possible right now. My wife is no dummy, but she’s also not a programmer. If you told me at the beginning of the summer, my wife would soon have a top 50 ranking app in any section of the App Store I would have been like, “why does Rachel have a developer account at all?”
So what does it take to get into the top 150 of FREE apps in the iMessage Store? Keep in mind, once an app is in the top 150 it tends to fuel its own popularity and stay in that top chart for a while. Right now that magic number seems to be somewhere between 500-1000 downloads a day. This is obviously far less than main App Store, where I’ve read your app needs more like 100,000 downloads. And of course, that number will change very soon as the iMessage store grows in popularity.