Digital comic reader and community platform
Created a Chrome Web Store app that allows users to preview, buy and read nearly 5,000 titles
When fans of comic books want to read the latest adventures of Captain America or Optimus Prime, they can turn to Graphicly, a digital comic reader that allows users to preview, purchase and read nearly 5,000 books from more than 230 publishers, including Marvel, IDW, and Top Cow. Graphicly runs on desktops, mobile phones, tablets and — most recently — online at the Chrome Web Store.
Micah Laaker, Graphicly’s vice president of product experience, sees the web as a “critical long-term component of our business.” It made sense, then, for him and his team to create an app in the Chrome Web Store — not just to boost immediate returns, but also to support long-term growth.
Late in 2010, Graphicly’s development team spent a couple weeks building the Chrome application. Micah describes the process as “downright enjoyable,” with simple APIs making it easy to understand the feasibility of various features.
The Chrome app now serves as a central library of purchases from across all the other platforms Graphicly supports. Along with being able to buy and read a wide array of titles, the feature-rich experience also allows users to comment on, share and embed any comic from Graphicly’s catalog anywhere on the web.
Graphicly’s Chrome app went live at the December 2010 launch of the Chrome Web Store, and Micah says he and his team were “happily surprised with the traffic swarm.”
Initially, about 30,000 visitors a week played with Graphicly’s comic reader at the Chrome Web Store. Since then, Graphicly’s web traffic has stabilized at a level about 400% higher than before the launch of their Chrome Web Store app.
“Chrome users view more pages, spend more time on the pages they visit and return more often than others,” says Micah, “and the Chrome Web Store continues to provide us with a tremendous traffic boost.”
To take advantage of all the extra web traffic, the company was quick to adopt the new In-App Payments API that was launched in July 2011. Graphicly has an average sales price of between $1 and $2, and since switching to In-App Payments, margins have improved by $0.22 on each sale.
Best of all, Micah notes, “Our net revenue doubled shortly after we started using In-App Payments.” This can be partly traced according to Micah to the app's sales conversion rate improving by 5% after integrating the In App Payments API.
Like the comic books it sells, Graphicly is constantly making improvements to keep readers interested and entertained.
The company plans to develop a full-screen reading experience and will soon release offline reading support through the Chrome File API. In addition, the company plans to build a shopping cart and a new sales experience that will allow users to buy a complete comic book series on top of the In-App Payments API.
“When you add up the traffic fire hose, the engagement stats, the fact that Chrome pushes its most cutting-edge browser features to users quickly once developers like us have had a chance to experiment, and strong cross-platform behavioral parity, you have a straightforward investment case” says Laaker.