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5 Ways to Improve Your App Preview Video for iOS 11

With the release of iOS 11, developers everywhere are double checking their ASO checklists, especially in regard to their app preview videos.

Developers mustn’t forget that Apple has made recent changes to preview videos that cannot be ignored. These changes, which include the ability to submit up to three preview videos per app and the app preview video auto playing while in search, have an impact on conversion.

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Developers need to make sure that their preview video, whether they only have one or opted for the maximum of three, follows ASO best practices. In order to convert users and convince them to tap “GET”, developers need to make sure that they have optimized their preview video by following these 5 ways.

1. Emphasizing the App’s Core Features

As previously mentioned, preview videos are by far one of the most important aspects of converting users. The preview video needs to entice users to click on an app listing so they can see all the app in action. The preview video also needs to reflect the app’s core feature within the first 10 seconds, pan out in a logical progression and pace, while also visually understandable without music or sound.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the unique features an app has to offer, but the first preview video must really emphasize the app’s core features to convert users. Take for example, PAC-MAN’s preview video:

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It clearly shows users what they want to know about the classic game’s features, mechanics and more. That first preview video needs to undeniable convey the message of the app’s core features. If users see images that strongly correlate with the functionality of the app and that the app’s name, they are more likely to convert.

2. Highlighting Different Features

Now that Apple allows up to three preview videos, developers should take the time to feature different core features. The first preview video must emphasize all core features that the app has to offer. If a developer has additional preview videos, they should then highlight what makes the app different from its competition in 30 seconds.

When creating app preview videos, optimize the given space and keep the audience engaged in order to increase conversion.

One of the benefits of having three preview videos is the fact that when one finishes playing, it will automatically start playing the next video for the app below it. This gives developers a great opportunity to focus on just one core feature per video. Not only will developers have the time to show off all of their app’s features, but they’ll also encourage users to keep watching.

3. Poster Frame

Now that preview videos are on auto play in iOS 11, it’s crucial to not forget that there is still importance to having a well optimized poster frame. The poster frame will appear wherever app previews do not auto play.

On the App Store for iOS 10.3 or earlier, the poster frame will be one of the first graphical elements a user will see on the app listing in search. Developers should keep in mind for their other preview videos, that they should make sure the app’s name, callout text, etc. aren’t hidden under the play button.

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On top of that, if a user is watching another app’s preview video in app store search, any other adjacent preview videos in the listing are paused on their poster frame. The poster frame should be as enticing as possible so users will ultimately convert.

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4. Follow Apple’s Guidelines

A preview video can’t increase conversion if it doesn’t meet Apple’s requirements – plain and simple. Apple has guidelines that all developers must follow when creating and submitting a preview video. Thankfully, Apple hasn’t changed their guidelines with iOS 11.

Some basic key points to remember is that the video must have a length of up to 30 seconds and have seamless scene transitioning that doesn’t imply functionally the app does not have. The preview video must also not feature people interacting with a device that displays the app or any other external footage outside of the app.

We have found in our past research that apps with impressive preview videos can improve conversion rates up to 30 percent, while bad videos can conversely decrease conversion up to 30 percent. Apple’s guidelines genuinely are there to help app developers give users a realistic demonstration of their app.

Developers can also note that nearly every type of device and version of that device will require different video dimensions. For example, an iPhone7 landscape dimension requirements will be 1334 x 750 while an Apple TV’s requirements will be 1920 x 1080. These differences indicate that app developers must ensure their app passes Apple’s dimension requirements and prevent video submission rejection.

5. Look at What Competitors Are Doing

It’s important to constantly check out other competitor apps in the space to see what elements they are incorporating into their preview video or poster frame.

Any developer taking the time to refresh their preview video(s) to be more iOS 11 should look at what other apps are incorporating to stay on top of the competition. For example, are competitors utilizing more portrait oriented or landscape oriented screenshots? Are competitors adding copy throughout the video?  These are good questions to ask oneself when either recreating one preview video or creating more.

Key Takeaways

Even though the release of iOS 11 hasn’t made a huge impact on the requirements for preview videos, the increase of three videos plus auto playing will definitely make an impact in creatives.

Creatives in general are a key factor for conversion, meaning developers should take the time to follow these tips for preview videos in iOS 11. Always make sure preview videos clearly highlight the app’s core features and stand out against competition without compromising Apple’s requirements.

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App Store Optimization – Prepare for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

As we near the holiday season, it means that we also get closer and closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  These huge events set new revenue records last year and are already trending on the App Store.

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In 2016, Black Friday boasted $5.27 billion for both online and brick and mortar sales, while Cyber Monday reached $3.45 billion. Consumers are serious when it comes to getting the best deal, especially as the holiday season hits. While retailers still advertise with traditional promotions like in-store coupons and promotional displays, many have seen success from preparing their mobile apps to specifically emphasize deals and products, driving users to shop online or in-store.

Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 were huge, it only means that retailers can expect the 2017 season to be huge as well. To take advantage of this ever-increasing sales season, retailers and app developers need to plan marketing strategies that include optimizing their mobile apps to be discovered – and downloaded – by early-bird holiday shoppers.

Tips to Increase Your App’s Bottom Line

Everyone has heard the horror stories of Black Friday, and in recent years, consumers have taken to the safety of their couches and mobile devices to complete their early holiday shopping. Mobile performance has improved year-over-year, and 60 percent of shoppers use their mobile device at some point to either research or purchase. Knowing that how many shoppers utilize their mobile device shows that they are taking advantage of websites and mobile apps instead of enduring painstaking hours of standing in the cold to save on that brand-new TV.

Cyber Monday, which is truly dedicated to shoppers on the web and mobile devices, has seen success with eager shoppers that are readily waiting on their phones for the best deals. More consumers are going directly to mobile apps to shop during the holiday season, and retailers have taken note. Below are some tips that will help retailers prepare their app before Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit.

1. App Store Optimization – Create Visibility

First and foremost, retailers should look to ASO to help their app become more easily discoverable in the app stores just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Retailers can go through the quick ASO checklist before making any other adjustments tied to the shopping season:

  • Unique app name?
  • Relevant keywords?
  • Clear, concise description?
  • Screenshots/preview video that highlights deals and shopping?

If an app doesn’t meet the criteria listed above, then it might not reach its maximum potential. Retailers need to make sure that their app clearly highlights any promotions, deals, coupons or more before the shopping season to successfully convert users and see an increase in revenue.

2. Paid Campaigns

Paid campaigns are a good way for retailers to quickly get their app above competitors. Retailers need to bid on relevant, high-volume keywords for the shopping season to so their app appears before competitors.

There are a variety of paid campaigns retailers can take advantage of, meaning they aren’t limited to just one. If they have an iOS app, they can utilize Apple Search Ads, which will appear at the very top of search and incorporate their app’s existing metadata. If they have an Android app, they can use Google Adwords to utilize UAC, place bids, and appear before competitors in the Play Store.

Social media campaigns are also helpful as consumers will be checking social media often during the holidays. Retailers can utilize Facebook or Instagram paid campaigns to appear on consumers’ social media feeds in hopes of encouraging them to convert based on specific promotions, products and more.

3. Check the Competition

Sometimes the best place to look for inspiration is at the competition. If retailers know their main competition for their specific market, they can make key adjustments to their marketing and ASO strategies.

If it’s a clothing app, retailers will already know that some of their main competition is Urban Outfitters, thredUP, Forever 21, PacSun and Tilly’s; all apps that rank within the Top 5 for the keyword “clothing.”

Retailers looking to capitalize on the keyword “clothing” will need to make adjustments to their metadata and paid campaigns to clearly highlight any clothing products or deals that are unique to their brand. If retailers don’t focus their efforts on targeting the various types of products and promotions their app has to offer, they are less likely to convert users simply because they haven’t set themselves apart from the competition.

4. Test New Creatives

Creatives are the one piece of metadata that consumers look to first to get a better understanding of how an app will benefit them. Retailers can take advantage of creatives and upload a new icon, screenshots or preview video that clearly highlights Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

If the creatives are updated to reflect possible deals, coupons, promotions and more, consumers are more likely to convert on that app. Make sure that the callout text clearly addresses the features specific to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to let consumers know what the app has to offer.

5. In-App Notifications

Apps that have push notifications can take advantage of consumers that have the setting turned on.  They can send out eye-catching notifications that get consumers excited about purchasing new products and make them think that they’re getting a deal.

Push notifications don’t need to be pushy, they just need to be engaging enough that they encourage the consumer to open the app. Having effective push notifications that specifically target promotions, coupons, products and more, will help consumers make their shopping decisions faster.

Be Visible and Convert Consumers

Now is the time for retailers to prepare their apps so they are visible to consumers before the shopping season starts. Retailers need to prepare their apps before Black Friday and Cyber Monday to successfully convert users and increase their bottom line.

Without making key adjustments to the app’s metadata or even creating paid campaigns that will help the app appear before competitors, retailers will not see success this shopping season. It’s crucial that retailers pay attention to their app and take advantage of eager consumers that are ready to spend in order to be part of possibly the most profitable shopping season yet.

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iPhone X – Tips on Creating Screenshots

Now that the iPhone X is released to the public, more and more app developers are realizing that they’ll need to create different sized screenshots to accommodate the new display size.

While many users are excited about the brand-new retina display, they are also excited about its 5.8-inch display, which is larger than any iPhone Plus display of 5.5-inches.

iPhone X screenshots are currently optional, but they will not size down to scale for other devices, meaning developers will need to create another set of screenshots just for the iPhone X.

If developers want their users to get a feel for how their app would look and feel on the iPhone X, it’s smart to bite the bullet and create screenshots that match the required resolution. Below are the resolution sizes for the new iPhone X screenshots:

  • Portrait – 1125 by 2436
  • Landscape – 2436 by 1125

Apple is also suggesting that developers do not mask or call attention to key display features such as the iPhone X notch. While some developers have already tried hiding the notch, it’s rumored that those screenshots might be rejected by Apple.

Since the iPhone X is brand-new, users are most likely interested in finding new apps to download. Now is the time for developers to improve their conversion rates, and they’ll need ASO best practices to achieve that goal.

ASO Best Practices for Screenshots

If developers weren’t following ASO best practices to create their screenshots, they can now sit down and take the time to make sure that their screenshots are engaging and optimized to target their audience.

1. Emphasize Core Features

The screenshots are the primary section that users will reference to see the app or game in action. It’s important that the app’s core features are immediately addressed.

Since the iOS 11 update, it’s become particularly important to emphasize the core features within the first three portrait screenshots. If developers don’t focus on their screenshots, it will either make or break their app’s chances of getting downloaded. Developers need to encourage users quickly to tap on the listing page or immediately tap “Get,” and the only way to do that is by quickly, and clearing addressing their app’s core features.

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2. Visible Callout Text That Incorporates High-Volume Keywords

Callout text need to address what the app does while incorporating high-volume keywords that are relevant to the app and its targeted audience. The callout text needs to be compelling enough to entice the user that wants to learn more and download the app.

If the callout text is confusing or too long, users are less likely to convert because they don’t understand what the app does. Developers should leave long sentences for the description and make the callout text short, sweet and to the point.

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3. In-App Images Should Clearly Reflect Core Features

Screenshots must reflect accurate in-app usage and mirror its accompanying callout text. If the in-app image represents something else, the user is less likely to convert because the screenshots are confusing.

Developers must take the time to highlight each core feature individually instead of combining or repeating. Developers should also note that if the in-app image is busy or confusing, the user is more likely to become confused too. In-app images shouldn’t clash with any additional images or callout text and should stand alone so the user can plainly understand what they are looking at.

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4. Design for the Target Audience

Developers need to follow one of the crucial suggestions of ASO best practices, which is designing their screenshots with the target audience in mind.

Think about RPG games; users want to see the core features that truly matter to them. If the screenshots don’t reflect how users can attack, customize, or explore, users might keep scrolling in the App Store.

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5. In-Line with App Branding

Even if the app isn’t a well-established brand, it’s important that the screenshots reflect the brand and is consistent to what users will see when using the app.

If the screenshots don’t match the brand’s color theme or tone, it’s possible to confuse or even distract users. Let’s say there are varying font types and weights displayed on the screenshots. Though it may seem like a minute detail, users might have trouble clearly reading and comprehending the screenshots, leading them not to convert.

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Follow ASO Best Practices When Creating Screenshots

Even though the iPhone X has been out for nearly a week, not many developers have taken the time to create screenshots that match the new device’s display size. If developers are unsure about which set of screenshots look best, whether that be portrait of landscape, they can A/B test them or run surveys to see what set engages best with their users.

Keep in mind, developers don’t have to go with the first set of screenshots they create. They are better off testing and running surveys to see which set engages best with users and test different variables such as colors, fonts, orientation and more. Developers should, however, make sure that ASO best practices are in mind while creating screenshots that fit the iPhone X.

Developers need to get started on making new iPhone X screenshots today to provide users a better understanding of what their app will look and feel like.

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iPhone X Screenshots – Be Prepared for Nov. 3rd

Now that users and developers alike are used to iOS 11, they have a new iOS device to get ready for. The iPhone X is nearly here and Apple has kindly reminded app developers to get their apps and screenshots ready for the device.

Since the iPhone X features a different sized screen, developers need to make sure that their app and screenshots will work with the phone. Developers can currently test their apps using the iPhone X simulator in Xcode to capture screenshots and upload their new metadata and app into iTunes Connect.

Developers cannot forget about their creatives, especially with a new device being released. Creatives are key for converting users, and developers need to make sure that their screenshots are ready and looking good on all of Apple’s devices.

Here are some things developers need to think about when creating screenshots for the iPhone X:

o   1125 by 2436 (portrait)

o   2436 by 1125 (landscape)

  • Don’t mask or call attention to display features (iPhone X notch)

Unfortunately, developers will have to create new screenshots that match the new resolutions and upload them into iTunes Connect. While having to create screenshots in additional sizes may be time consuming, it will be worthwhile in the long run because screenshots will look more natural and better for the device they were created for.

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The App Store Surfaces Old Reviews; Are There Fixes?

Despite the anticipation behind iOS 11, many users and developers alike took note that the App Store was prioritizing old reviews first when the beta for iOS 11 was released, but now that it has launched, it seems those old reviews are still present.

Previously, users could sort reviews by “Most Recent,” “Most Helpful,” “Most Favorable” or “Most Critical. Without those filter options, users are stuck seeing old reviews on outdated version of an app.

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Many developers are worried that these old reviews could deter new users from converting, meaning that they are losing out on improving their install and retention rate despite their app no longer having these issues brought up by users.

While developers are worried about what their users are thinking, there is a way to combat old reviews until Apple either shows reviews in reverse chronological order or adds filter for users.

Developers can take advantage of replying to old reviews to encourage users to either test the current version of the app and hope they write a new review or update their previous review with high star ratings.

Why is Replying to Reviews Important?

Replying to reviews is necessary in the overall scheme of maintaining an app. Developers that engage with their users directly can see increases in conversion rates, install rates, and retention rates.

Positive ratings and reviews tend to encourage users to download or purchase the app. When users see developers are actively providing great responses or assisting users through an issue, they feel inclined to download, thus improving the app’s rating.

How to Combat Old Reviews

Apple didn’t make replying to reviews available to developers until iOS 10.3, which didn’t launch until April 2017. Thus, many old reviews have been forgotten by developers. To be proactive, developers should engage users and reply to old reviews to let them know of new updates or fixes.

Developers can take time to look at the App Store and see what reviews are appearing first to determine what version of the app the users left the review for. From there, engaging with users regardless of whether the issue was resolved or is still an actively known complaint encourages user interaction.

While it may look good to respond to all old reviews that currently appear on the product page, developers should prioritize reviews with lower star ratings. First, address reviews that mention issues that affect users such as crashing, freezing, or possible bugs.

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Even though the old review may not address a current issue or suggests features that have already been added, the developer should stay on topic and foster a positive experience for the user.

Moving Forward

It is unknown when or if Apple will release an update that fixes old reviews appearing first or bring back the old filter tab. This could be a bug that Apple is working on fixing, but the company has not made a comment as of yet regarding the situation.

For the time being, developers can go through old reviews and prioritize which reviews should be responded to first in an effort to show their users they care and are interested in creating a positive, beneficial environment.

Despite these reviews being old and perhaps not relevant, a developers’ response will show indecisive users that they are interested and valued what their users have to say. In doing so, developers will encourage a positive dialog which will improve the app and users’ confidence, increasing downloads, app purchases, and overall approval rate.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing