Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 10.08.21 PM

Google Play Developer Console Gets an Update

At the Google I/O Developer Conference , the tech company announced the new updates coming to the Google Play Console to help developers create more apps and improve their current app’s performance.

Last year for the Play Store alone, users downloaded 82 billion apps, and now there are 2 billion active Android devices around the world. These stats reinforce the importance for more data regarding where users are coming from details if the app struggling to get visibility. This data would help developers understand what channels their app gets the highest traffic from along with information regarding their app’s performance in the Play Store.

Google has continually tried adding more tools and features that help developers publish apps, but now developers will have specific data regarding app crashes, a dashboard to track and monitor metrics after a release and more.

Breakdown of the New Features

The Google Play Developer Console was updated with new tools to improve their app’s performance. Here is a list of the new tools available to developers on the Play Console:

1. Android Vitals

This tool allows developers to monitor and fix any ongoing issues to improve user experience. Data can view aggregated or anonymized by device from users that provide crucial data from their certified Android device.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 10.23.07 AMThis tool is mostly for understanding stability (crash rates and App Not Responding [ANR] Rates), battery usage (stuck wake locks and excessive wakeups) and rendering time (slow rendering or frozen UI frames.)

2. Release Management

The Release Management tool had several new features added to help developers understand key metrics tied to their app’s release.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 10.23.23 AM

I. Release Dashboard: Tracks a release as it happens by monitoring how the release affects important metrics.

II. Android Instant Apps: Can iterate quickly with a developer to gather feedback from trusted users on the pre-release. This also allows for users to test the app without having to install to their device’s home screen.

III. Device catalog: Developers can search and filter across device data for thousands of certified Android Devices. This tool shows the number of installs, rating and revenue contributed by each device. Developers can also use this tool to make specific exclusions to certain devices based on RAM and more.

IV.  App Signing: Developers can now securely transfer their key to Google to manage an app on their behalf. Those that opt-in for upcoming assistive services like app optimization for APK size, will have their APK versions delivered via Google to save data.

3. User Acquisition

Acquisition Reports can help developers understand where users are coming from and if they go on to install and buy in-app content. The report also includes retained installer data, which further breaks down to data on specific channels and geographies that drive valuable users who keep the app installed for up-to or over 30 days.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 10.23.42 AM

4. Financial Reports

Google has added the subscriptions dashboard which lets developers see how their app’s subscriptions are performing. Monitoring their subscriptions performance allows for developers to make any necessary business decisions to improve revenue growth.

Developers can also analyze the total number of subscribers, revenue and retention across multiple dimensions.

The new tools Google has added to the Play Console will surely help developers understand their users better along with the capabilities to monitor their app’s current performance in the Play Store to make any necessary improvements over time.

Key Takeaways

Aspects of both the Apple and Google Play updates are very similar, showing that Apple and Google understand that developers need key information to make vital changes to their app’s performance to retain and engage with users better. These improved tools to the Google Play Developer Console will help developers ensure the development of quality apps and generate more revenue to grow their businesses.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 9.54.02 AM

Google I/O: Big Changes Coming to Android

Google’s I/O conference kicked off with major announcements that will help users and developers. CEO Sundar Pichai made a stunning announcement that there are now 2 billion monthly active Android users, and there were 82 billion app installs in 2016.

Google showed off its technology by starting its keynote on Wednesday addressing its advances in artificial intelligence that will be coming to Google Assistant soon. The tech company is also making big changes to Firebase, Google Photos, Android Instant Apps and Gmail along with unveiling Google Lens, Android O and Android Studio 3.0.

Here is a list of Google’s announcements and how they will help users and developers alike:

1. Google Assistant Updates – Now for iOS

Google discussed its Software Development Kit for Google Assistant and how it will now let third-party device makers inject the conversational technology into home appliances. Order-taking, payments and receipts will also be integrated into TV allowing you to make orders and payments while watching your favorite shows. Users will now be able to type requests and questions rather than speaking.

During the keynote address, Pichai stated that Google Assistant is coming to iOS devices. This makes Google Assistant available to hundreds of millions more users that do not have an Android device. Unlike Siri for iOS devices, Google Assistant cannot be used with the home button but must be opened by tapping the app icon.

Part of Google Assistant is the newly launched Lens, a service that uses AI technology to quickly recognize objects, locations, businesses and other things in the world all through your camera lens.

2. Instant Apps

The concept of Instant Apps was first announced at 2016’s I/O conference, but on May 17th, Google announced that the Instant Apps SDK was available to all developers. Currently, there are about 50 apps that have created Instant Apps, and some have seen increases in purchases and views.

Instant Apps give users an opportunity to use an app without having to install. They can tap the URL of an app to launch it without having to go through the Play Store. Once the user closes the app, it is gone without the app ever being installed to the device’s home screen.

3. Firebase Updates

Since Google first acquired Firebase back in 2014, the company has grown the service to provide more help to developers build apps for Android, iOS and web. Besides releasing more features to help with app development, the company also started open-sourcing Firebase’s SDK kits.

Firebase is also getting analytics updates making analytic reports available across the Firebase Console and Google Analytics interface. For those that monetize their app, they will see that Firebase now shares data with AdMob.

4. Android O

Google launched Android O Beta where developers can start testing their apps against this release by downloading the new preview that includes an updated SDK with system images for several devices, the Android Emulator and an emulator for Android Wear 2.0.

Vice President of Engineering for Android, Dave Burke, highlighted two themes that Android O will focus on: Fluid Experiences and Vitals. Fluid Experiences includes features like Picture-in-Picture, Notification Dots, Autofill and Smart Text. Vitals, a newer concept, includes features for security enhancements, OS optimizations and developer tools.

5. Improvements for Developers

Google I/O highlighted three major improvements to developers such as the Google Payment API, a redesigned AdMob and App Attribution Partners.

I. Google Payment: The expansion of payment solutions now allows merchants and developers to give their users the option to pay with credit and debit cards already saved to the user’s Google Account. Users will have access to multiple Google Payment options like previously saved credit and debit cards via Android Pay, payment cards used on the Play Store or a form of payment stored via Chrome.

II. AdMob: Currently, AdMob has already paid over $3.5 billion in ad revenue to developers across iOS and Android. It has been redesigned to allow developers to easily pick an app, view its key metrics and make improvements to its performance. Google is also introducing new ad placements on the home and app list pages in the Play Store to reach users in “discovery mode.”

III. App Attribution Partners: A new program to integrate data from seven global companies like Adjust, Adways, Appsflyers and more directly into AdWords. The integration of AdWords with these partners will provide developers with data to review their app metrics and improve their app’s performance.

6. Play Console Update

Google launched another set of tools for developers that use the Play Console. The new tool called Vitals will automatically analyze app reports to show developer pertinent info about any app issues such as crashes or freezes and monitor battery usage. Adding a tool such as Vitals can help developers better pinpoint the source of problems and understand why users might be uninstalling their app to create solutions that retain more users.

The announcement is reminiscent of Apple’s announcement a couple weeks ago about their updated App Analytics tools. Both tech companies are shifting their focus to providing developers more information to correct issues within their apps to avoid negative user reviews and engage with users.

Key Takeaways

Google’s I/O developer conference unveiled the direction the tech company is headed in the future and provided developers more tools to make developing apps simpler and faster.

The updates to Firebase and the Play Console are sure to continue increasing the number of apps on the Play Store and encourage more users to install more apps. The future is bright for Google and they are sure to only continue producing more updates to help developers and improve users’ experiences.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 6.59.11 PM

Apple App Analytics: Referral & Search Data

Apple’s App Analytics update is now giving developers access to specific data on App Store Sources and Referral Data, making it easier to find where their app’s current customers come from.

Now, developers can view attribution and conversion metrics with a clearer picture tied to organic versus non-organic installs in iTunes Connect. The updated App Analytics tools will provide key insights to pertinent data regarding how many users find the app via browse and search in App Store, along with data on how many users are directed to an app from another app or the web.

Data on where organic users view the app is pertinent to developers looking to improve visibility, conversion and installs. As Apple has stated in the past, up to 65 percent of all downloads comes from search. The data that the new analytics tools provides only proves how important search and organic traffic are to an app’s conversion rate.

Announcement Breakdown

Apple’s updates to App Analytics give developers specific tools that provide data on where users find their app. The breakdown of new features added to App Analytics goes as follows:

  • App Store Browse: Customers who found the app while browsing the Featured, Categories and Top Charts sections.
  • App Store Search: Customers who found the app from searching within the App Store.
  • App Referrer: Customers who were directed to the app from another app.
  • Web Referrer: Customers who were directed to the app from a website in Safari on an iOS device.

Overall, the updated App Analytics tools will help developers understand where their app gets the most traffic to improve marketing campaigns that will in turn increase downloads and installs.

How Developers Can View Source Data

Developers monitor how their app is doing in the App Store to understand where their app generates the most impressions, page views, installs and user activity.

There are a few places within App Analytics where developers can view source information.

1. Metrics

By clicking on any one of the charts, developers will be redirected to Metrics. From here, they can add a number of filters, including filters for Source Type. By selecting Source Type, developers can then select App Store Search, App Store Browse, App Referrer and Web Referrer.

Here, you can assess how different changes in featuring, marketing or ASO may have impacted your app in terms of visibility (Impressions & Page Views), Downloads (Installations or App Units), and usage (IAP, Sales, Paying Users, Sessions, Active Devices/Active Last 30 Days).

metrics-edit2. Sources

Sources allows developers to understand the relative proportions of source traffic at various stages in the user funnel – from visibility, to install, to engagement. This section also allows developers to further break apart various sources from within App Referrers and Web Referrers.

  • App Referrers: If developers want information on App Referrers, they will see which apps are directing most users to their app. By looking at usage data such as Sessions or Sales, developers can understand which apps bring the highest quality users.
  • Web Referrers:  If developers want information on Web Referrers, they will see which websites from Safari while a user is an iOS device, are directing most users to their app. By looking at usage data such as Sessions or Sales, developers can understand which websites bring the highest quality users.

ITC graph3. Retention

Developers can see how users from various sources are retained over time. The filter options, which are available in Metrics and Sources, will allow developers to see when users first purchased or downloaded their app. Developers can continually monitor how often users opened the app after the initial download.

Keep in mind that retention rates are important; they gauge how active users are in an app. The data provided in Retention makes developers more aware of organic vs inorganic downloads and where more app units come from.

retention-editThe updated App Analytics tools give developers key insights into the current app market and how to adjust based off the amount of traffic their app generates. App Analytics is shaking the developer community and will ultimately affect the way developers market their apps along with increasing revenue for Apple.

App Analytics & the Current Market

Apple is finally providing developers with more detailed analytics and information to source data, essentially creating their own analytics package for developers to monitor users.

Apple App Analytics give developers access to more data like App Store Search, App Store Browse, App Referrers and Web Referrers, all tools that can help developers tap into their customer base.

The updates to App Analytics are not only benefitting developers, but are also increasing Apple’s revenue. The company could potentially double their services revenue including current revenue from the App Store, which was recently announced to be over 40 percent year-over-year.

This monumental announcement brings a new level of clarity to help app developers understand user behavior. The updates to App Analytics show that the mindset is growing toward developers needing to embrace ASO: App Analytics and ASO will aid developers to better connect with users.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 3.38.22 PM

Google Play Descriptions – ASO Tips

Apps in the Google Play Store are not magically indexed or ranked. Google has a specific algorithm that determines how an app indexes, which in turn helps its overall ranking. Google Play indexes apps according to its descriptions, which serve many purposes like:

  1. Establish context for the app and express its core features
  2. Help improve visibility and convert users
  3. Determine how the app indexes

For years Google has often been compared to SEO, meaning keywords and metadata structure are important for driving discoverability. The Google Play Store is not much different and essentially crawls an app’s short and long description to see how relevant an app is for any given keyword. When an app’s target keywords are used in the title, short and long description, it could help the app rank better and become more visible to potential users.

App developers that want their app to become more visible need to use App Store Optimization to make improvements to their app’s title, short and long description. While there is no winning formula to writing the best description, there are tips that can help developers make crucial improvements.

Title

While not technically part of the description, the 30-character space for an app’s title is heavily weighted when Google crawls an app’s metadata. After your app’s title, the remaining space should be used to expand on its most important core feature to help the app rank for a specific term. If your app’s core feature is a calculator, your title would most likely look like, “App Name – Free Calculator”.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.40.22 AM

Short Description

The short description is the first bit of text users will see on the app listing before continuing to scroll to the long description and learn specific details about the app’s core features. The short description should be thought of as a promotion that highlights core features quickly by using high-volume keywords.

Developers need to use keywords to help index their app, but the short description is only allotted 80 characters. While this isn’t much space for developers to build relevancy, they can still use high-volume keywords based off current user trends.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.40.09 AM

Use the short description wisely and target the most important feature first. Some developers also use the short description to highlight other features to help their app rank. Overall, having a well-written short description that uses high-volume keywords is crucial to improving an app’s visibility.

Long Description

Unlike the short description, the long description can be up to 4,000 characters, which is roughly 600 words. This is an ample opportunity for developers to introduce and expand on core features of their app and explain to users how downloading the app will benefit them.

Like the short description, using keywords throughout the long description will help the app index for those terms. The long description needs a solid spread of relevant keywords and phrases while being easy to read.

Developers should be using this space to focus and highlight the app’s core features. Keywords can be used naturally to emphasize the app’s core features while using short sentences and paragraphs to give information quickly. Developers can also list out separate features using high-volume keywords to call out the app’s core features.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.39.39 AM

The long description needs a great call to action that continues using relevant keywords. This call to action is often something like “Download now” followed by a quick reiteration of the most important feature. Developers can also finish the long description by providing any company email, support or social media links to retain users.

Key Takeaways

Developers need ASO to help their app become more visible and index better in the Google Play Store. To drive more visibility, developers need to pay attention to what keywords their app ranks for and utilize those high-volume keywords in the app’s short and long description.

Keep in mind that the short description carries more weight in how an app indexes in the Google Play Store. Use the space wisely and follow these tips to have two great descriptions that will help index and create visibility for an app.

pexels-photo (1)

ASO Tips: Avoid Post Launch Pitfalls

People think the toughest part of creating a mobile app is simply gathering the funds and launching the app. However, one of the most difficult parts of maintaining a mobile app is continuing its success post launch.

Developers need to understand how to navigate and manage the challenges that occur after launching their mobile app. To continue being successful in the App Store and Google Play Store, developers need to be strategic and have a clear vision of what direction they want to take their app.

The best marketing tool to ensure growth post launch is App Store Optimization (ASO). This marketing tool will help developers monitor and manage their growth and continue their marketing efforts by using real-time mobile data based on user trends and behaviors within the app stores to drive discoverability to their target audience.

While ASO is available to all developers, there are common mistakes that many developers tend to make after launching their app.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Marketing an app is necessary before and after launch, but many developers abandon their marketing strategy after launch, leaving an app to stand on its own.

Here are the common mistakes developers tend to make post launch and tips on how to avoid these mishaps.

1. Not Using ASO

There are over 2 million apps on both the App Store and Google Play Store making it nearly impossible for any app to stand out. Developers should incorporate an ASO strategy and continually monitor their competitors and understand how they currently rank in the app market.

ASO helps fine-tune the metadata to ensure that their keyword bank is relevant to user searches, enabling an app to become more visible in the app stores. Making these adjustments can often boost overall ranking and appeal to more potential users.

2. Not Updating the Metadata

Developers need to continually monitor and update their metadata, which includes the title, keywords, description, screenshots and preview video to address any bug fixes, new features or special promotions. When an app updates its metadata tied to specific user trends, behavior and search tendencies, the app will remain discoverable to its target audience.

Using an App Store Intelligence Software like DATACUBE enable developers to use real-time mobile data to develop the keyword bank and make applicable updates that will generate more discoverability within the app stores. Developers can also understand their current rank and what keywords competitors might be using to help guide their updates.

3. Not Advertising After Launch

The initial app launch is an important moment for any developer, but all the marketing that was done before the launch needs to continue. Developers need to keep promoting their app on social media and other platforms to continue converting more users and boost their ranking.

Advertising and marketing is just another way to help an app become more visible. When developers take the time to continue promoting the app, it puts the brand name outside of the app stores and brings awareness to an app to convert potential users.

4. Not Utilizing Search Ads

Developers need to utilize every avenue of marketing available. With so many apps being added on a regular basis to the app stores, paid search ads are another marketing approach that can help an app become more visible in the app stores.

Search ads can pay off in the long run, especially if developers use ASO best practices to optimize their metadata to stay relevant to the high volume keywords they’re bidding on. Paid search ads will help an app reach the target audience but also generate more visibility to tons of potential customers. Remember to use ASO to evaluate what keywords an app ranks for before starting a paid search ad campaign.

 5. Not Engaging with Users

Even if a developer has a great app with excellent conversion rates, they cannot forget about engaging with users. Developers need to engage with their users to help retention rates and address any possible bugs or new features. The best way for developers to engage with their users is by replying to user reviews.

While replying to reviews may not seem important, in the scheme of things developers need to keep up with user reviews to continue improving conversion rates. If users see negative reviews without any action from the developer, it can severely damage an app’s reputation, especially if recently deployed. Developers need to show users they are taking all feedback seriously by responding to correct any bug fixes or to say thank you to positive reviews. Responding to reviews keeps users engaged and active because they see that the developer cares about making their app the best experience possible.

Why Follow These Tips?

There is no exact way to tell developers how to be successful after launching their mobile app, but these tips will help developers post launch to make sure their app can become more visible. Monitoring trends and updating metadata accordingly is crucial to driving discoverability. If developers follow these tips, they can reengage past users and extend an app’s reach to more potential users.

Avoid making these mistakes when marketing an app post launch. Developers need to identify and stay up-to-date on mobile trends to continually monitor and improve the metadata to find their audience in the app stores.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing