I am relatively new to programming. I have been programming with Java and Android for about 2 years now and just recently released my first app to the Google Play app store.
I have passed the word on to everyone I know and posted a few times on Facebook about it. But I am not really seeing anyone install them.
I love to code I'm not looking to have the next big time app, but it would be nice to get some installs and feedback/ratings so I can get an idea of how well its doing and if there are any fixes or improvements I can make.
I thought about doing an AdMob campaign a couple times here and there at about $10 to $20 per day. But I'm not sure if that will generate any kind of worthwhile feedback.
What other things could I be doing in order to get some feedback on my application?
I too have put an app (iPhone) on the market and have had to lower my expectations from the millions I was sure it would sell down to about 1 sale a week, if that. I attended the Apple Developers Conference here in Austin this year and a long-held impression was reinforced that there are only a few real winners (apps) and everything else makes some sales, but nothing to write home about.
The apps that do well are those that solve a real problem that can't be solved by other apps or are those games with really cool graphics that cost a fortune to create. Downloads are driven by placement on the "Staff Pick" and "Hot New" lists, not word of mouth or even advertising. It seems like every month I get an email from a firm promising to deliver increased downloads for some small fee, but I get the feeling that they're just playing on the very common frustration you describe.
In short, I'm not sure that the app is going to make that much money for you in the long run. What it will give you is proof that you actually got an app working and delivered to the app store and the android market. That may seem minor to you but it is a seriously major accomplishment. I would exploit that proven ability to position yourself, either as a full-time employer or contractor, as someone who can build and deliver apps for clients and businesses who don't have that expertise in house. I would also build and deliver more apps to fortify that claim.