Category Archives: App Store Optimization

iPhone X Screenshots

Why iPhone X Screenshots Could be Killing Your Conversion

Ever since the App Store has supported iPhone X screenshots, developers have been quick to update their creatives to be up to speed with the latest technology. In fact, the iPhone X was the best-selling smartphone in Q1 2018, so it would only seem natural to want to make adjustments as soon as possible. However, they should proceed with caution and consider the implications of updating screenshots to the device’s measurements to avoid unintentional mishaps.

The iPhone X’s screen is taller and thinner than previous iPhones, which causes screenshots to shrink when viewed on other devices. Additionally, the different sized screen makes callout texts less visible to those who do not have one. To avoid less screenshot visibility and the potential loss of conversion, developers must first understand screenshot sizing differences.

iPhone Screenshot Sizing

iPhone X screenshot dimensions measure at a 1125 x 2048 pixels portrait size, allowing the 5.8’’ display to stand 20% taller than its 4.7’’ predecessors at 1242 x 2208 pixels for iPhones 6s Plus, 7 Plus, and 8 Plus. It’s noteworthy to mention that iPhone X screenshots are optional for all App Store listings. ­Should your app forego these variants, the App Store defaults to the wider 1242 x 2208 screenshots in the search result listing.

iPhoneX1
Apple

Though it stands taller, the iPhone X’s portrait display slims down width-wise by 117 pixels and certain areas are shaved away through margins. In addition, it also has rounded corners as seen in the image above. This makes the iPhone X better-suited for taller (portrait orientation) or wider (landscape orientation) objects.

Compromising Image Quality

If developers are to maintain their current creative assets, they should be mindful of aspect ratio differences when reusing existing graphics. For this reason, it is not advisable to use iPhone X screenshots for testing as the viewing capability differs for each size of iPhone and may skew the results. The image below is a perfect representation of how iPhone X screenshots appear to other Apple users.

iPhoneX2
Apple

The comparison of the iPhone 8 Plus’ screenshots in the App Store next to an iPhone X’s creatives below shows that the height of the two are equivalent. However, with iPhone X’s unique aspect ratio, this standardized height decreases the area of the iPhone X’s screenshots in the App Store. With less space, content visibility is reduced in order to accommodate the new dimensions.

iPhoneX3
Apple

Reduced content visibility can have crippling affects for conversion, such as:

  • An overlooked CTA deprives the audience of learning of the app’s functionalities
  • An unnoticed logo costs the developer the chance to leverage brand identity
  • A vague in-app image prevents possible users from understanding the app’s UI

All of these factors affect conversion rates through their visibility. To be seen in the App Store, your creatives must be clear, communicative and unique.

Key Takeaways

Though updating to iPhone X’s taller screenshots should, in theory, provide more room for content, the App Store turns its height advantage into a handicap as all screenshots are displayed with equal height regardless of aspect ratio. Knowing this, developers should have their iPhone X’s screenshot content be more visible than their iPhone 8 Plus counterpart. This is crucial in that screenshots provide the first measure of attracting users in the App Store search results and should be optimized accordingly.

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Why Small Businesses Need Mobile Apps

A common phrase known around the world is “there’s an app for that.” If there’s an app for nearly every need, why aren’t more companies making mobile apps? Well, big-name businesses like Starbucks, Macy’s, and more have successfully shifted their business platforms to incorporate mobile. Thanks to their efforts, they’ve managed to capitalize on m-commerce, which alone is forecasted to reach $284 billion (roughly 45% of total US e-commerce) by 2020.

Businesses big and small recognize that having a website alone is no longer enough. Apps are the future of communicating and engaging with customers, so businesses should start incorporating mobile apps into their business models sooner rather than later.

How Apps Benefit Businesses

In 2017, people on average spent more than 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. Knowing that users are actively engaging with their phones shows the importance of moving into the mobile space to increase a company’s visibility and drive sales. Additionally, there are some key benefits that come along with creating an app:

  • Instant access to companies’ products anywhere and on-the-go
  • Creation of an additional revenue stream that entices customers via Push Notifications of latest offers and coupons
  • Easy capability to highlight products or services your business offers
  • Maintain and acquire new customers with a new channel from which they can access your business and easily make purchases

Nearly 60% of shoppers use their mobile device to research products and make purchases, which makes having an app vital to remain competitive in the current market. Companies with an app can keep customers regularly engaged with a gentle but frequent reminder that the business is present. This encourages users to interact with the app and can help build a loyal customer base.

How Has the Market Changed?

The proof is in the numbers: there are roughly 4.2 billion global mobile users, and out of those, over 38% are global e-commerce users. $2.87 billion in sales were generated from Black Friday in 2017 and nearly 80% of those sales were online transactions. It’s clear that consumers are going mobile for their shopping needs, which makes it critical for small and large businesses to have a mobile presence.

With billions of users and sales at play, more businesses are developing apps to capitalize on the growth of the mobile market.

Having an app available does not always guarantee success. As such, it’s equally important to have an effective marketing strategy to drive in users in the app stores. Keep App Store Optimization (ASO) Best Practices in mind when developing an app to ensure that it’s visible to users.

Why Develop an App for Your Business?

Any business owner that is entertaining the idea of developing an app should take the plunge and create one to expand their business’s reach on potential customers. During the development process, developers should leverage an ASO strategy to make sure their app’s metadata is relevant and up-to-date on current user trends.

Business owners that focus their efforts on marketing their app with ASO can engage with their customers easily and immediately expand their company’s name faster. More importantly, having an app will increase their bottom line and maintain brand loyalty.

Consumer behavior continues to change with advancements in technology. The businesses that can thrive and succeed are those that not only adapt to those changes but leverage them for a competitive advantage. Mobile apps are now a key part of the consumer experience, so businesses that want to remain relevant need to develop accordingly or be left behind.

The Impact of the Feature Graphic for Google Play

The Impact of the Feature Graphic for Google Play

Visual assets are an app’s key tool for increasing conversions in the app stores. The icon is the first thing a user sees when browsing through the Google Play Store and screenshots are important to call out the apps core features, but the feature graphic is equally important.

For Google Play, the feature graphic should not be underestimated. While icons initially attract users, the feature graphic is what drives conversion home. Once a potential user lands on the app page, the feature graphic appears at the top of the screen, acting as the banner for the app. Paired with a persuasive description, this is where the developer has the opportunity to convince users to click “Install.”

However, developers should tread the creative process carefully. Curating the perfect collection of visual assets has a direct correlation to good App Store Optimization. To help increase conversions, developers should keep feature graphic best practices in mind.

Simplicity and Clarity
When designing a feature graphic, remember that a user will only spend a matter of seconds interpreting an image. The graphic should provide a clear understanding of what the app does at a glance while catching users’ attention.

Take Poshmark’s feature graphic for example. They manage to keep their feature graphic clean while sprinkling different clothing items around their logo to illustrate a clear retail theme.

Poshmark Developers should identify a clear theme in their feature graphic to ensure that it is digestible. Keep the graphic clean, as a busy or overcrowded image will only distract from its core message. A user should be able to identify the theme and purpose of the app almost instantly when they see the feature graphic.

Logo Treatment
The placement and size of the logo is important. While it may be tempting to place the logo wherever it feels convenient, its placement needs to complement the image. It should not be so large to where it distracts from the artwork, but large enough to be instantly recognizable.

Consider how Dungeon Boss’s logo is positioned in the top center and contrasts against the backgrounds and characters. It doesn’t distract from the character artwork but stands out on its own to create a seamless balance between the two.

Dungeon Boss

Complementary
The purpose of the feature graphic is to complement the icon and screenshots while sending a clear message of the app’s core functionality. It is the combination of visual appeal and information that draws users to the app and gives them a reason to install it, so the graphic must work with the rest of the app page as a whole to work properly.

For instance, Hopper’s feature graphic naturally correlates with their icon by employing a subtle gradient that builds towards the icon’s bright red color. Not only that, the feature graphic is able to tell a bigger story by integrating a clear air travel theme. In Hopper’s case, they also incorporated a call to action, which attributes to conversion as well.

Hopper

When developers design their feature graphic, it is important make it complement the app’s other visual assets. Otherwise, a graphic that may work well on its own will clash and detract from the app as a whole.

Key Takeaways
Feature Graphics in the Google Play Store play a crucial role in converting users. While icons and screenshots lure users to an app’s homepage, the feature graphic helps with that final push to convert them. However, they shouldn’t be overlooked due to their simplicity. Creating the perfect feature graphic entails relaying a clear theme with stunning artwork while still complementing the app’s other creatives.

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Keep in mind that Google is always making changes to the Play Store. Recently, we spotted a new update that might impact the feature graphic.

Facebook Marketing

Facebook Marketing for Mobile Growth

Marketing an app exclusively within the Apple App Store or Google Play Store will severely limit its visibility. A good marketing strategy has to draw users in from a wide range of sources, including both paid ad campaigns and social media. As one of the most frequently used websites and phone apps, it’s no surprise that Facebook ads are used by 93 percent of social media advertisers, and 62 percent of marketers consider it to be their most important platform.

Utilizing Facebook as a marketing platform can help mobile apps grow significantly. By incorporating a Facebook strategy alongside App Store Optimization (ASO) in an existing marketing strategy, a company can drive new users to their app’s download page and stand out from their competitors.

However, there’s more to Facebook marketing than solely running an ad campaign. Engaging with users properly through Pages, sharing relevant content and boosting individual posts are all vital to getting the most mobile growth from the social network.

Facebook Pages

In addition to regular social media advertisements, marketers need a Facebook page to direct users to, and in fact cannot start an ad campaign without first having a page created. This makes sense, as a well-designed page is vital to reaching customers, whether they’re visiting the page to get a better understanding of the app or “liking” it to show their support.

The Facebook page serves as a secondary landing page for the app. It should feature promotional material from your product page and proper links to the app store(s) it is available at. The page should also include contact information, promotional art, in-app videos and any other information that may be important to the user.

As Facebook’s algorithm makes it nearly impossible for a single post to reach every viewer, high customer engagement can only be achieved with a steady flow of posts. As such, the page should be updated consistently to ensure maximum reach.

Understanding best marketing practices will ensure a page sees the greatest amount of views. The average brand posts eight times per day on Facebook to achieve the greatest outreach. Studies have also shown that the best times to post are from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, with Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays seeing the best results.

User Engagement

Once users are coming to and following the page, maintaining engagement with them is necessary. In fact, Facebook and other social media platforms are key to customer support and service.

In 2017, over 2/3 of consumers turned to social media to resolve their customer service needs. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks continue to grow as a user-preferred method for reaching a company or business.

Maintaining user engagement starts with companies responding to Facebook messages and posts. Pages on Facebook are given ratings as to how fast they respond and the percentage of messages they reply to or leave unanswered. Users will see if they can expect to get answers to their queries or not, so a drop in percentage will lower user confidence.

However, user engagement means more than just replying to messages. Any posts made on social networks will receive interactions from users. While it isn’t necessary to respond to every one, it is still important to determine which require action and respond accordingly. Even occasionally giving a “Like” reaction to a comment can let users know they’re being heard, thus improving the customer relationship.

Sharing the Love

The goal of using Facebook Pages for marketing is to get users and followers sharing posts on the page’s behalf. When users are encouraged to share posts, they’ll reach significantly larger audiences, as well as feel more connected to the company.

Getting users to share a page sounds easy in theory, but it can be tricky in practice. Sharing amusing images may seem like an easy way to get views, but those do not tell potential users about the app or encourage them to follow the page. Instead, share posts with useful information that benefits a user. If a user feels the post has helped them, the odds they will share or like the page increases.

Some mobile games, for instance, run a post campaign where all users will benefit in-game if the posts get enough shares or likes. As everyone gains from its success, both new and old followers will be encouraged to share and contribute.

Thanks to any shares generated from the post series, the mobile game can reach potential users that were previously unaware of it. By having users share posts that highlight the mobile game’s features and gameplay, these new users are encouraged to download the app and follow the page themselves. When the page does a similar campaign again, the cycle repeats itself – the new users will like and share the posts, reaching new audiences, and so on.

However, contests where those who share a post only have a chance of winning could potentially violate the Facebook’s terms of service, so it’s important to be careful. Users are also less likely to share those posts if there’s no guarantee of winning anything, which is why posts where everyone benefits tend to perform better.

Sponsored Posts and Ads

While Facebook is a valuable organic source of new traffic, paid advertisements and sponsored posts still serve an important purpose. Utilizing paid ads and sponsored posts will help reach a wider audience, thus drawing new users to the page and the app.

Facebook tends to limit the reach of regular posts, which means a single one will never be seen everyone who follows the page. They will, however, extend the reach for a fee. Best practices recommend using this to “boost” only important posts to reach the widest audience.

Regardless of the post’s purpose, photos and videos are essential for catching users’ eyes. Strong visuals encourage users to click on the app, and without them, most posts will be ignored, no matter how many feeds they reach. These visual assets are so important that research has shown that images account for 75-90 percent of a Facebook ad’s performance.

The text used in an ad or boosted post should call out the app’s value, but also be brief. The most effective length for an ad’s title is four words, and the description should not be more than 15.

Ad Wordcount
Graph via Sproutsocial.com

Facebook Marketing in a Nutshell

Facebook advertising is a key tool for mobile marketing. In 2016 alone, 79 percent of American Internet users had a Facebook account and the social network has grown steadily since then, making it a valuable tool for reaching large and relevant audiences.

Customer engagement is the key, whether through responding to user messages or encouraging them to share posts with their friends. A well-managed page can bring in and retain multitudes of users while reaching a wider audience. However, a poorly-run page or one that doesn’t properly engage with users will prove fruitless.

 

Google Play Store Changes

Another Google Play Store Overhaul

Google has launched yet another set of updates for its Play Store with changes that could effect how apps are found and viewed. Developers are working on adjusting their ASO strategy accordingly based off how the updates will impact downloads.

A quick note. Some of these changes seem to be live across all devices, while others, specifically the featured image change, is still rolling out. Of the 5 Android devices we tried, only 1 had the change.

Here’s a full list of updates:

A Change in Creatives

Until now, there was a feature graphic prominently placed at the top of each Google Play Store product page. Following the new update, however, the feature graphic has been removed. Instead, there is only the app’s icon, name, bubbles featuring category information and the install button.

Without the feature graphic, developers have lost a great way to grab users’ attention when they click on the page. The new layout brings the rest of the creatives higher up on the page, so it’s more important than ever to have strong screenshots and videos that draw in users and highlight the app’s core features.

 

Google Play Featured Image

 

However, Google has also lifted restrictions on the screenshots. No matter the kind of image – landscape or portrait of any width or height – it can be added to the Google Play Store product page and will be displayed appropriately.

With this change, app developers now have more flexibility and can fit four portrait images on a single screen (depending on the device screen size), make one large landscape screenshot that monopolizes the view or split the difference and fit a few moderately-sized images together.

It’s important to remember that, no matter what combination of creatives you use, the screenshots and video need to tell the users all they should to know about the app, grab their attention and showcase the core features. Screenshots should never be an afterthought, but now their value has increased significantly, pushing the importance of ASO best practices.

Top Features

We have seen an expansion of rankings tied to individual features across more apps in the Play Store. Apps that boast features such as “great deals” or “HD graphics” will be given scores for each feature, as determined by relevance.

 

Google Play App Features

 

Developers that market their app’s core features well will see high scores in these areas, helping to draw in new users that are looking for something specific. However, having a poor score will do the opposite and drive users away. A solid set of features that work well is invaluable, proving the importance of monitoring the user experience via Reputation Management to ensure any and all issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.

Developer Pages

While the apps’ pages are seeing a redesign, developers now have their own pages to serve as a one-stop-shop for users to see other apps they’ve created.  The developer page also allows users to learn more about them with a bio, screenshots and featured image.

Despite Google removing the feature images on product pages, it appears that the developer pages have a feature image to catch the users’ eyes and get them interested in not just one app, but all apps the developer has to offer.

 

Google Play Developer Page

 

This page represents an entire company or developer, rather than an individual app. This is where the developers must sell themselves, build trust and establish a relationship between developer and customer to help foster growth.

While some developers have had access to this in the past, it seems to be rolling out to everyone.

Conclusion

Like many of Google’s changes, the new updates came without warning, but there is no cause for alarm. Developers should update their ASO strategy with the changes above in mind and determine if they need to make any additional changes to their screenshots and videos to build a strong product page and developer page. Go into this update with a positive mindset and focus on the potential new ways users will find and download an app.