GDC 2018

Gaming & GDC

Game developers are gearing up for the Game Developers Conference 2018 in San Francisco. Many are excited to experience the expo, attend networking events and, of course, represent at the coveted Independent Gaming Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards.

This year we’re sure to see new innovation within the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality spaces, but there’s also going to be a plethora of great information and inspiration for every aspect of gaming!

This is why Gummicube has decided to create a series of blog posts dedicated to gaming and GDC. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing articles on marketing AR/VR, an in-depth look at three popular mobile gaming genres, a guide to what to expect at GDC and an update to our popular Gaming Cheat Sheet.

This post will serve as your “one-stop shop” for content regarding the upcoming conference and provide you with links to each post once they are published.

Check back over the next few weeks to make sure you have all the information you need to make GDC 2018 the best experience possible!

What to Expect at GDC

Whether it’s your first GDC or you’ve been every year, there’s always something new and unique to experience. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can expect to see in the expo and during the panels. We’ll also give some tips to making the most out of your GDC experience.

Genre Showcase: Casual Games

Our first gaming genre showcase will focus on casual games, an ever-growing app category that populates millions of smartphones. Games like Candy Crush, Minion Rush and more have loads of competition, yet an app with just a few differences can stand out from the crowd and quickly gain popularity. We’ll take a look at why keyword choices are so important with casual games and how finding the right keywords can improve your app’s visibility.

Tips For Marketing Your AR or VR App

With the ever-increasing popularity of VR and AR, it’s no surprise that Gaming is leading the way in those fields. As with any new technology, new ways of marketing emerge as the tech and the markets around it develop. This article will take a look at the current state of the industry and where we predict it’s going over the next year. You’ll also receive some tips and tricks on unique ways to market an AR/VR app.

Genre Showcase: Puzzle Games

Before smartphones were smart, we had phones that played simple games, many of which were puzzle-based. As one of the most common genres, mobile puzzle games have come a long way since the days of Snake and Tetris clones, but they still tend to be simple and fun. With such a rich history and frequently similar gameplay across many of the apps, standing out often times depends less on the gameplay itself, and more about the creatives. We’ll look at the genre as a whole and analyze commonalities and differences between popular apps’ icons, screenshots and preview videos.

Genre Showcase: Action Games

With smartphone technology allowing developers to create nearly console-quality experiences, it’s no surprise that action games have become so popular. Games like MARVEL Contest of Champions, Dragon Ball Z DOKKAN BATTLE and Rules of Survival are great examples of how advanced the gameplay has become. We’ll look at the most popular games in 2018 so far, break down what makes them popular and how they use their title and descriptions to make a niche for themselves.

Cheat Codes to Improve Visibility for Mobile Games

The final article for the series will be an update to our popular ASO for Mobile Games Cheat Sheet from early 2017 that showcases ASO best practices for mobile games. This will combine the concepts we talked about in the Genre Showcase posts and put them into one place to easily access and reference.

Looking Toward the Future

2018 is promising to be an amazing year for mobile gaming. Augmented Reality has become the focus of many developers, while Virtual Reality is still a major interest for PC and console gaming. The Gaming Industry will continue to grow, with new players frequently entering the scene. While having a solid game is most important for success, strong ASO strategies will help you drive downloads and get new users to try, and hopefully keep using, your app.

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Apple Quietly Updates Number of Screenshots

iOS app developers – big news for your App Store product pages. Apple quietly released an update on iTunes Connect allowing you to now upload up to ten screenshots. That’s right, the tech company drastically increased the number of screenshots that can be used to showcase your app’s UI and core features.

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Apple also updated their Product Page Optimization link to include the newly updated number. Despite the total number going up, the amount of screenshots displayed in user search will still be three portrait or one landscape, as is the case for users running iOS 11.

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Developers will still have to decide if portrait or landscape orientated screenshots are best for highlighting their app, but having more screenshots simply means that developers get more opportunities to highlight their app’s capabilities. With more screenshots, developers can showcase various features and truly let their app’s UI shine.

However, developers need to understand that having more screenshots means that there are more opportunities to improve – or in some cases hurt – their conversion. Since screenshots are a key to the conversion funnel, developers will need to make sure that they’re not simply repeating screenshots that highlight core features but are instead showing multiple facets of the app. If developers are ever worried, they can take advantage of ASO best practices to ensure that their screenshots will convert the maximum number of users.

Having more screenshots is truly a welcome surprise. Make sure to get started on those additional creatives right away so you can begin to show off more aspects of your app and improving your conversion rates!

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How to Help Boost Visibility with Your Google Play Description

Improving an app’s visibility doesn’t require a degree in artificial intelligence or machine learning. Although the algorithms that determine what an app is indexed for are very complex, the process by which any given app is ranked is fairly straightforward.

Google looks at three key areas of an app’s metadata when it determines the relevancy for a keyword, and how well it ranks: The Short Description, Long Description, and the Title. Thanks to App Store Optimization (ASO), developers can get a leg up on their competition and improve their visibility by focusing their efforts on these three key areas.

App Title

The title is not only the name that users see when they find your app, it’s the first keyword that Google logs. As such, any words and phrases included in the title will be included in the search algorithm and serve as an important part of the description.

You should make sure to utilize all of the room you have, especially since 50 characters is not very much space. As small as it is, you should include a few of your important keywords along with the app’s name. You can think of Google Play titles very much like a title tag in SEO. Call attention to your brand and let users know what the most important feature of your app is.

Two Parts of a Description

While the title and short description hold the highest weight when it comes to ranking, they are also very limited. This is why the long description is so important – it’s where a developer can tell Google what exactly the app is about and builds relevancy.

1. Short Description

The short description can be compared to Apple’s subtitle field, although it actually has more characters. Even though the short description is limited to 80 characters, developers should work on placing core features of an app and include the keywords that the app is trying to rank for. Keep in mind that, along with the title, the keywords in the short description are weighed heavily by Google when indexing.

2. Long Description

The long description can be up to 4000 characters, but the amount of words you use means less than the keywords themselves since Google Play doesn’t make you declare what keywords you want to rank for. Instead, developers need to incorporate the keywords that they want into their long description to tell Google, “Hey, I want to rank for these!”

Once again, you can think of writing a Google Play description very much like writing SEO content for a webpage. Keep keyword placement and keyword density in mind – too few keywords and you won’t rank, but too many might have a negative impact.

Another thing to watch out for is your sentence length. Short, concise sentences will help you rank higher and also make it easier to read. You can also use bulleted lists to lay out your features and integrate keywords that are most relevant and high-volume.

Takeaways

Both short descriptions and long descriptions are important when you’re trying to rank on Google Play. You’ll need to pick your keywords carefully, so you can write a description that both Google and potential users will like. Make sure to spend the time it takes to write a detailed, yet concise, description and keep refining it to fit both current trends and changes to your app.

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Getting the Most from Your App Store Description

Your app has been approved by the Apple App Store, and it’s ready to be launched in the territory of your choosing. Now that the hard work of developing your idea is done, you have to make sure that users can find it. This should be a simple task, right?

Every app has specific fields to help it gain visibility for specific relevant keywords that users are most likely using in their search. This means that you’ll have to make sure that these fields are filled out accordingly, so your app is visible to users. Thankfully, you have the description to help you explain your app’s core features and help it become more discoverable in user search queries.

Writing an App Store description can be more difficult than you think. Maybe you’re struggling to figure out how best to describe your app or what keywords you want to incorporate. Is the description too short? Too long? Does it make sense? Fortunately, there are tactics such as ASO best practices for writing the perfect Apple App Store description. Any app that follows these guidelines is sure to increase their app’s visibility for high-volume keywords.

Improve Visibility with High-Volume Keywords

Besides helping users understand what the app does, the description is used to help the app gain visibility for high-volume keywords that are in the targeted keyword bank. While you can only target 100-characters worth of keywords, it’s important that these are incorporated throughout the description.

Don’t Neglect the Promotional Text

Start with the promotional text, which was first introduced in iOS 11. This text field is a 170-characters and appears at the top of the description. Despite displaying in the same field as the description it doesn’t count toward its 4,000-character limit. Unlike the description, the promotional text can be edited at any time.

Use this text to call out new features, new in-app promotions or briefly introduce users to the app’s core feature. It’s one of the first things they’ll read, so use it wisely.

Less Is More

Think like a user – would you want to read longwinded paragraphs, or would you rather quickly see the app’s core features? Since most users are looking at apps from their mobile device, even the shortest sentences become daunting walls of text.

When you’re writing your description, it’s best to keep your paragraphs short; just one or two sentences at most. Keep in mind that the first sentence should immediately call out your app’s core feature to instantly grab any user’s attention.

Lists Are Your Friends

Lists are a great way to quickly emphasize an apps’ core features. Potential users can simply read down the list to absorb each feature. If your app has multiple features, you can create different lists that incorporate various high-volume keywords. Always make sure that the keywords are relevant and help emphasize what each feature does.

Call to Action!

Don’t forget to end the description on a high note! Encourage potential users to download with a solid call to action. The call to action helps solidify why users should choose your app over others, plus it gives you another opportunity to incorporate targeted keywords.

Other Important Factors to Remember

When you write your description, make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Be sure to tailor the description to your target audience.
  • Pick relevant keywords that are most important to the app.
  • Incorporate high-volume keywords to emphasize your app’s core features and boost its visibility.

Make sure that you follow these guidelines along with avoiding keyword stuffing, which may get your app flagged and rejected. Just keep your description simple and to the point by incorporating relevant keywords to emphasize your app’s core features.

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Road Map for Your App Ideas

You have the next best idea for a new app, and perhaps this is something you’ve been mulling over for a long time or maybe you just recently drafted the idea on a whim with friends in passing. Either way, this new app has the potential to be created. Luckily for you, you’ve taken the proactive first step into actualizing this idea by doing your research.

If you’ve been paying attention to how the mobile space has changed in recent years, you’re already one step ahead of the game. Many developers don’t know how to optimize their app after it’s been launched. Paired with a preliminary road map, it’s recommended that developers implement an App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy to ensure that their app is visible in the app stores to reach its maximum audience.

Creating an app, even if it’s just in the idea stages, still needs to have a step-by-step process to make sure that it’s created successfully. Every step in this process should be meticulously thought out to avoid pitfalls in the future. Read the following list below to start brainstorming a roadmap and act on your big idea.

1. Clearly Define the App

Defining what your app does is possibly the most important exercise you can do before creating it. Bring out the old pen and paper and fully fledge out everything and anything you know about the app. Ask yourself important questions so that future users won’t have to ask them for you.

  • What is the app?
  • What does it do?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • Who is it for?
  • What is its unique selling proposition (USP)

However, the most important question you should be able to answer is, “Can you define the app clearly?” If someone were to ask what the app is, could you provide a short and concise one to two sentence answer?

If someone were to ask to summarize what “Hulu” is, the answer is short and simple. Hulu is a video-streaming service that lets users watch their favorite movies and TV series anytime or anywhere. Users immediately know what the app does and what problem it aims to solve. It is a streaming service where users can watch TV and movies all in one place for a small service fee every month.

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Make sure that your app isn’t a catchall and contains every possible idea. If the app has too many features without a clearly defined core feature, it will be overwhelming for users and drive down retention rates. Clearly define what the app’s core functionalities are because it will be easier for users to categorize the app and know exactly what to use it for.

2. Evaluate the Competition

Since there are over 3 million apps in the app stores, a considerable amount of market research has already been done for you. Take a look at other apps in the same category so you can understand the types of apps that audiences currently respond to.

The app stores are treasure troves of free information. You can look at a similar app’s ratings and reviews for real feedback from actual users. Now you have the opportunity to restructure certain features of your app to avoid common problems that other developers in the same category currently face.

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3. Invest in Marketing

The motto, “if we build it, they will come” is no longer applicable in the mobile entertainment space since nearly every idea has already been done once. It’s important to set aside a budget to market your idea/app so it will appear before competitors.

During the preliminary “brainstorming” stage of your app, you can still invest time into marketing through social media channels and content websites such as journals or blogs. Gaining a following prior to an app’s launch is especially advantageous because the app will already have a built-in user base that are prepared to download.

4. Ad Testing

Once you have mapped out the essential features of the app, invest in A/B testing ads on Google or Facebook to determine how much interest your app generates. This could be as simple as creating a landing page that describes the app or offering users the option to pre-order on either the App Store or Google Play Store.

Testing ads while your app is still in the development stages may seem like an unnecessary expense, but consider this a safety net for later. You can learn from your mistakes and make adjustments based off user trends and behaviors by minimizing your potential loss.

5. Money, Money, Money

While you may have great app ideas, you need to make sure that your app generates a revenue. By defining the type of audience you want to target, you can then determine on whether your app should be free or paid.

You can also check out your competition to see how their monetization strategy is organized. By examining the differences, you can evaluate if it would be a worthwhile endeavor to create not only a free version of your app, but also a premium version that includes more features, no ads, and more.

Key Takeaways

Don’t assume that users will flock to your app once it launches. Creating an app is a harmonious process where each step must be done correctly and with purpose. Know what the app’s motive is and who it is created for. Conduct extensive research on the current market demand and competition within your app’s potential category to learn from their mistakes. And lastly, don’t skimp on your marketing budget because if you don’t drive awareness to your app, users will not know it exists.

Always keep in mind that users won’t find your app; your app must find its users.