App Store Spotlight Facetune

Facetune App Store Spotlight

Facetune is a selfie editing app, ranked as the #1 photo and video app in the Apple App Store and with over 1 million downloads on Google Play. For all its success, is it optimized for both the app stores? Let’s shine a spotlight on Facetune and find out.

iOS

Facetune’s page on the Apple App Store is very well-optimized, with just a few small exceptions. Potential users are immediately met with a video showing the app in action and demonstrating its features, such as photo editing and filters. Following that are several screenshots showing the same features and how they can be used, along with callout text about them.

Facetune iOS creatives

With that said, it only has five screenshots. The last one states that the app has even more features, so why not include more screenshots to show them off? Every screenshot is an opportunity to demonstrate the app’s value.

The description is also formatted well for the Apple App Store. When viewing the app store page on a mobile device, the short lines and bullet points the description starts with makes it easy to read, and it immediately begins with a quick summary of what it is, words of praise and its high ranking.

After the section with the positive reviews the app has received, though, the description does turn into a block of text briefly. This could easily be broken up into a few lines, making it easier to read. The dotted lines separating the sections is also a bit length, as it splits into a line and a half on many devices.

Facetune iOS description

Following that, it returns to good form, with bullet lists and short sections about each of its features. The description features plenty of keywords used properly throughout, helping it rank highly for searches such as “Selfie edit,” “photo retoucher” and “airbrush photos.”

While there are a few areas where Facetune could fine-tune its App Store Optimization, overall, it’s very well-optimized for the Apple App Store.

Google Play

The Google Play page for Facetune has a few similarities and a few differences to the Apple App Store version. This one also starts with a video, but it includes an audio narration talking about all the app’s features while showing them on the screen. It uses identical screenshots, which are still effective, although like on the Apple App Store it could benefit from including more.

Facetune GP creatives

Facetune’s description on Google Play is formatted differently than on the Apple App Store, indicating that they do pay attention to how the stores need different styles for descriptions. The content is mainly the same, particularly with the text block and features list. This description starts with three bullet points about the main features of the app, cutting straight to the point before getting into the full pitch. The large block of text could still stand to be broken up a little bit, especially since it then leads into the “what people are saying” segment without so much as a space between the lines.

The list of features with bullet points works very well on Google Play as well, with the exception of keyword placement. While the description does include keywords, it does not always place them at or near the start of each line, making them harder for Google’s algorithm to find. As such, while Facetune does rank well for keywords such as “retouch selfies” and “face touch up,” its ranking begins to drop for keywords like “photo touch up,” “airbrush app” and “remove blemish.”

Yet its creatives and description are overall solid, accounting for high rankings and ratings within the Google Play Store. While there are areas for improvement, it’s certainly on the right track

Overall

Facetune’s App Store Optimization is mostly solid, with a few areas where it could fine-tune and improve it. The creatives it features are all effective, although it could benefit from more screenshots. The descriptions are well-written and formatted well for both stores, save for some large blocks of text that could easily be fixed.

All in all, though, its ASO is effective enough to help it rank highly in search for relevant keywords and convert users. If you want the same or better for your app, ASO is essential.

Search Ads Best Practices

Top 5 Best Practices for Apple Search Ads

There’s no arguing that Apple Search Ads has helped developers reach more potential users since it launched in 2016. Over 70% of App Store visitors use search to discover apps and 65% of all downloads come directly from search, only further proving how much paid search can benefit developers.

Even though Search Ads has proven to be beneficial, there are many pitfalls that developers can accidently stumble upon when running their campaigns. In order to avoid these mistakes, it’s important for developers to follow best practices to expand their opportunity to grow their app’s conversion rate.

1. Be Patient & Give Campaigns Time

Nothing will be perfect the first time around, and developers may feel tempted to make immediate changes to help improve an ad’s performance. Making changes shortly after launching a campaign can actually hurt its performance more than help it. Upon campaign launch, bids and budget should be left alone for one week while the algorithm goes through a learning phase. This way Apple can learn what’s performing best (or worst) and adjust various ad cycles that will give more accurate results on how users are responding to the ads.

2. Test Different Creatives

While Apple creates ads based off the app’s existing metadata and creatives, it’s important that developers understand that the same ad may not be displayed each time. The various types of Search Ads users may see are:

  • Icon plus first two lines of description (or promotional text)
  • Icon plus first three portrait screenshots (or one portrait preview video)
  • Icon plus first landscape screenshot (or landscape preview video)

Developers should note that up to three images are used for an ad group. They can use Creative Sets, a new tool Apple released in June 2018, to include additional creative images to add variations that align with specific targeted keywords or audiences. Different sets can be used in separate ad groups to test ad creatives for video vs. image, landscape vs. portrait, different call to actions (CTAs) in the same image, etc. Utilizing Creative Sets will seriously help developers add variety to their existing ads and reach more niche audiences.

3. Set Discovery Campaign to Test Potential Keywords

Every developer has a list of keywords that they’re targeting, which will be the starting point for their Search Ads campaign. Sometimes developers aren’t sure which keywords to target, so they should utilize a Discovery Campaign, i.e. Search Match, Broad Match, and Exact Match.

These match types help developers control how their keywords match user searches and discover new relevant keywords. While both will greatly help developers expand what keywords they target, they should know that each is slightly different:

Search Match:This match type if like research and development (R&D), which is helpful for discovering new and additional keywords. Apple’s algorithm scans the app’s existing metadata and app category to determine what keywords it’s relevant for.

Broad Match: Helps developers identify keywords related to their brand and core features. It uses targeted keywords (brand name, app category, etc.) and also pulls relevant keyword variants (singular, plural, misspellings, synonyms, and related searches and phrases). The keywords are then categorized based on user search terms.

Exact Match: Allows developers to control when the ad appears and the ability to target specific terms and variants (similar to Broad Match). Ads may, however, see fewer overall impressions but higher tap-through rates (TTR) and conversion.

Understanding and utilizing both match types will help developers discover and test keywords to ensure the best performance.

4. Optimize KPIs Based on Performance at the Keyword Level

To understand the quality of users driven from any paid user acquisition channel, one must first identify their key performance indicators (KPIs). Based on the set KPIs, performance should be determined by diving into their attribution tool to analyze in app actions to ensure that their marketing dollars are being allocated to quality traffic. This means that developers can’t judge the quality of keywords at the campaign level but should instead try to break down performance at the keyword level in their ad groups.

It isn’t wise for developers to lump all of their targeted keywords into one ad group. Instead, to better help understand how well keywords are performing, they should create individual ad groups based off the app’s features, already targeted keywords and their variations, and more. Developers will also have to keep in mind their budget when determining these keywords and whether they would like to increase their bid or stop a campaign altogether.

5. Adjust Bids & Budgets Over Time

Having the most aggressive bids are important when running Exact Match for keywords. When starting any campaign, developers will first need to initially take the time to set their bids and budgets to make sure that their money is spread out appropriately. In order to minimize disruption to the algorithm, developers should adjust their bids and budget in increments over time.

For example, let’s say a bid for $1.00 is setup for the high-volume keyword “photo editor.” That might have been the highest bid initially, but over time, others have started placing even higher bids, causing the first developer to adjust the allotted money over time. They should only make these changes based on how well their ads are performing for that particular keyword, not just because they want the highest bid. If their app isn’t relevant for the keyword or it isn’t performing well, it’s not a worthwhile endeavor to continue bidding on it and the campaign should be stopped so they can use that money for other better performing keywords.

Follow Best Practices to Run Optimized Campaigns

It’s critical for developers to keep these best practices in mind when they’re running their Search Ads campaigns to ensure that they see long-term results. Developers should avoid making immediate changes to their campaigns and instead should opt for letting Apple’s algorithm learn whether the ad is executing and then make any necessary changes after time. They should also be constantly monitoring keyword performance and make adjust their bids and budgets, so they aggressively target relevant high-volume terms and phrases.

In addition to these best practices, developers will need to make sure that they’re also following App Store Optimization (ASO) best practices since Apple pulls all existing metadata and creatives to create ads. Developers will only find success if they combine both strategies to fully optimize their app and ensure that it’s reaching its max audience.

Early Access Apps

Google Play Launches Early Access for Apps

Typically, beta tests of apps are released to a select group before the app becomes fully available. Google Play has allowed developers to release beta versions of their apps before, but is now giving them the chance to release their apps as early access versions for users to install.

Early access apps allow users to install and use an app or mobile game before its full release, as per the app’s instructions. This is separate although not exclusive from beta versions of apps. Beta apps, which Google Play has offered before, are experimental versions of currently released apps, made for testing before being made available to the public.

Early access users may also be automatically enrolled in the beta program for an app once it launches, so there is crossover between the two options. The biggest difference between the two is whether or not the app has been released.

With early access, users can discover something new, although they are still technically participating in an incomplete app. This can benefit developers or brands with an existing userbase- they will be able to tap into these engaged users who will be excited to try an early version of a new app or feature.

Mobile games from well-known developers will particularly benefit from this, as it will not only help find and fix bugs before the game goes live, but it will build buzz around the game among their fans. When the public version does go live, there will already be players ready who have tried the early release version or heard about it from friends that have.

Beta versions, on the other hand, allow dedicated users to test upcoming versions before an update rolls out. While they may not be necessary for minor bug fixes or small new features, it will be a useful tool for testing how well large new updates and features work as well as receiving feedback and determining how well users respond. There have been cases where updates to an app displeased its users to the point where they stopped using it and moved to a competing app – beta versions can help identify pain points that would cause a mass user migration and nip the problem in the bud.

Users can sign up for early access versions of apps from the Google Play Store. Early access apps can be found at the end of the store category list, available in a new dedicated section. This will also help with app discovery, as it places upcoming apps in a new section for users to search through and find apps relevant to their interests in.

Beta versions can be found directly from the app pages. Users can also see what apps offer beta versions by going to “My apps and games” then “Beta” from the menu.

If your app is ready for testing but not ready to support too many users, developers can limit the number of users that can try early access or beta versions of their apps. Not all users will be able to access them, although they can receive notifications if new spaces open up.

After using an early access or beta version, users can provide developers with feedback directly from the app page. Unlike reviews, this feedback will only be available to the developer, so they can identify and fix issues without impacting their ratings or leaving negative reviews for the public. In fact, users with early access or beta versions cannot leave public reviews until they have the publicly released version installed.

For developers looking to get feedback and test their apps or updates before a public release, the early access versions will prove as beneficial as beta versions have. If your app or mobile game needs testing before going live, this could be a good way to receive important user feedback.

Search Match and Broad Match

Search Match & Broad Match: Knowing When to Use Them

When launching a Search Ads campaign, one might wonder what the best keywords they want to target are, what variants they use and how to get the best matches. Search Ads is a key tool for App Store Optimization on the Apple App Store, so making the most out of it can help an app target and capitalize on valuable keywords and search terms.

Among the Search Ads options are two valuable methods to use within campaigns: Search Match and Broad Match. What are they, and how can they help your Search Ads campaign?

What They Are

Search Match and Broad Match are ways of discovering new keywords for Search Ads based off your keywords and metadata. The means of discovery are different between each one.

With Search Match, the Search Ads algorithm scans your metadata and the category your app is in within the App Store. It then determines what keywords your app is relevant for and pulls those for your Search Ads campaign. This is also useful for discovering keywords; think of it as Research & Development for your targeted keywords.

Broad Match uses the core keywords you want to target, such as brand name, the specific type and category of the app, and so on, and pulls variations of those keywords. This includes common misspellings, plural or singular versions, minor variants and so forth. It then categorizes those keywords based on user search terms and puts relevant ones together to include in your campaign. This also helps developers identify keywords related to their brand or core features they might have otherwise overlooked.

When Should You Use Them

Both Search Match and Broad Match are useful tools for identifying relevant keywords and what people are searching for. Broad Match is useful for when you know what to target and want to find variations thereof, whereas Search Match lets you pull new, relevant keywords based off your existing metadata and category.

Anyone looking to expand to new terms can benefit from Search Match. If, for instance, an app ranks highly for all the keywords its currently targeting, Search Match can help it expand by identifying relevant keywords it’s not yet focusing on. Similarly, an app that is having a hard time finding keywords it can rank highly for may be able to use Search Match to identify new keywords it had previously overlooked that are still relevant and try focusing on these.

Similarly, Broad Match is useful for anyone looking to capitalize on their current keywords. While users tend to search for short phrases or keywords, there are multiple variants for any given keyword, even in the form of common misspellings, or people searching for singular or plural terms. Broad Match can help developers target the most common and popular of those variants, ensuring that your app isn’t just one misplaced letter away from appearing in search.

broad match

In both cases, they’re helpful for anyone looking to understand what people are looking for that their app shows up for. Developers can find tap through and download rates for certain keywords, gain a better understanding of keyword quality and determine whether or not to incorporate those terms into their Exact Match Search Ads campaigns or their app’s existing metadata.

What to Avoid

Not all keywords will be relevant to an ad, and developers can use Search Match and Broad Match to weed those out. Certain negative keywords can be set up ahead of time, so that the ad is excluded from any searches including it.

For instance, a paid mobile game may want to be found under “best games,” but not under “best free games.” As such, developers can set “free” as a negative keyword, ensuring that they won’t be found by users specifically searching for a game they can get without spending anything.

This helps developers improve their targeting and ROI, as it helps avoid targeting users that may tap on an ad but not download the app in the first place. However, it is important that they constantly monitor their Search Match and Broad Match keywords for new keywords that are not relevant or have a high CPT and should be marked as “negative.” Trimming the fat keeps the Search Ads optimized.

To Conclude

Developers should utilize Search Match and Broad Match alike when they want to discover new keywords for their Search Ads campaign. Whether they’re looking for popular variants based off their key terms or trying to find new high-volume keywords from their category and metadata will determine which they start with, but both are valuable tools.

Search and Broad Match make up a piece of Search Ads, which itself is a piece of an App Store Optimization strategy on the Apple App Store. Every piece of the ASO puzzle is important, as Search Ads can impact your organic ASO and vice versa. Knowing what declared keywords you are targeting, how they rank and applying this knowledge to Search Ads campaigns is crucial. Likewise, using Search Match or Broad Match to discover relevant terms in your paid campaigns can be applied to organic terms you are targeting. These strategies can help determine what keywords developers can and should target, making them beneficial for the Search Ads and ASO process.

Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads: How & Where to Start

It’s no secret that 65% of downloads come from search, and Apple Search Ads has been helping developers acquire millions of users since it launched in 2016. Search ads can allow developers and marketers to drive impressions to users intending to download an app with the features, functionality, or competitor relevancy of their app. This is makes it one of the most effective ways to drive installs from more engaged and active users.

Starting a campaign is relatively simple. Developers won’t have to worry about creating additional ad copy and creatives, since Apple pulls this from the app’s existing store listing metadata. While the creation of an ad is one less worry, developers will have to consider what goes into Search Ads and learn how and where to start in order to run a successful campaign.

Understanding the Difference Between Basic & Advanced

In December 2017, Apple released two new programs to help developers further improve their app’s presence in the App Store. Search Ads Basic and Search Ads Advanced were built to help developers expand their app’s audience and visibility in a way best suited to their needs. Here are the differences between them:

  • Search Ads Basic:Offers developers cost-per-install (CPI), meaning they’re only paying for installs
  • Ability to set up their account with a monthly budget
  • Option to start and stop a campaign and adjust the budget at any time
  • Essentially “training wheels” for Search Ads Advanced

Search Ads Advanced:

  • Developers have access to Apple’s full suite of tools
  • Can control campaigns and the audiences that see their ads
  • Ability to choose keywords and explore searches with the Search Match feature
  • Combine Broad Match and Exact Match to better control how keywords match user searches
  • Can add negative keywords to avoid ensure that traffic is directed to the correct campaign

It’s important to understand the offerings in each program to determine which one meets your needs. Search Ads Basic is for those that are interested in trying paid search but do not have the time or experience to manage a campaign. Search Ads Advanced is for more seasoned advertisers who want full control over their paid campaigns.

Campaign Structure

Campaign structure is incredibly important and directly impacts how well it will perform. First, developers will have to select the app and storefront they want to work with. Next, they’ll have to name the campaign and set up budgets along with daily caps.

When it comes to naming the campaign, developers should have a clear strategy in mind to give them direction before they start targeting and bidding on keywords. Without having a specific strategy, developers can risk focusing on the wrong keywords that aren’t relevant to their app or audience. Just to name two options, developers can create campaigns that focus on:

  • Brands (targets brand keywords)
  • Competitors (targets keywords that competitors target and are relevant for)

The budget is set at the campaign level and divides the money that will be spent across all ad groups. It’s mandatory to setup a budget, however, it can only be adjusted higher at any given time NOT lower. It’s important to note once the campaign budget maxes out, it will automatically turn off and won’t resume until it’s raised. Controlling daily spend is done by placing a daily cap on the campaign, and once it gets close to reaching the max cap, it will slow down ad placement but will continue to display the ad if it thinks users can be acquired at a lower cost. This can will cause a campaign to go above its daily cap, at most by 10-15%.

Ad Groups & Targeting Keywords with Broad & Exact Match

Ad groups are collections of the keywords developers are targeting and can have a specific bid amount set up similar to the campaign budget. When it comes to determining keywords, developers should think about what they’re already targeting based off their ASO strategy. They can then add more keywords that are general (mobile game, category, etc.) and specific (app features, game play, characters, etc.) to reach their intended users.

Developers should also take advantage of the various match types that Search Ads offers to control how their keywords match user searches.

Broad Match: Search Ads defaults to this type and ensure that the ad runs on relevant variants of a keyword. This includes singular, plural, misspellings, synonyms, and related searches and phrases.

Exact Match: This type allows developers to control when the ad appears and can target specific terms and variants. With Exact Match, however, ads may see fewer overall impressions, but the tap-through rates (TTR) and conversion might be higher. Developers can also pause a keyword and add new ones, but they can’t be deleted once it’s added.

When running a broad campaign, developers should utilize Campaign Negative Keywords to ensure that traffic for search queries gets directed to the proper campaign.

A developer’s job isn’t done after creating the campaign and ad groups and determining which keywords they want to target/bid on. They’ll need to constantly monitor how their campaigns and ad groups are performing to ensure that they’re reaching their audience.

Ensure Success & Avoid Pitfalls

While the above tips will greatly help developers get started on creating a campaign strategy, they’ll also have to note that there are some serious mistakes that can occur. Some include:

  • Running campaigns with irrelevant keywords
  • Low Tap Through Rate
  • Relying solely on broad/exact match
  • Bidding on “cheap” keywords
  • Not being patient

Developers can’t just dive head first into Search Ads – they need to carefully examine the different programs Apple offers and take the time to set up campaigns and ad groups that will benefit their app. It’s also important that they give their campaigns at least seven to ten days before making changes to enable the algorithm to learn traffic patterns. By avoiding Search Ads missteps, developers will run successful campaigns that greatly help their app reach larger audiences without breaking the bank.

It’s also critical to factor in the importance of a strong organic ASO strategy. Understanding an app’s overall keyword ranking profile allows for an understanding of the keywords Apple (and users) find an app relevant for. This can help guide which keywords may be best to target in a Search Ads campaign without having to experiment as much with paid marketing spend to discover the most relevant terms.

Positive reciprocity can also be gained between ASO and Search Ads: Click-Through-Rate (CTR) from Search Ads can help improve your ranking for that term in organic search, and metadata can be structured in a way to best organically rank for a keyword performing well in Search Ads. Just as it’s important to research how your impressions, conversions and cost are performing for Search Ads, it’s important to know how your organics perform and what to target.

With a well-planned Search Ads strategy, developers are can see benefits like improvements on their conversion rates, CPI, CPT and their return on investment (ROI).

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing