Category Archives: Help & Tips

Instant Apps

Instant Apps: What Are They & Will They Benefit Developers?

Have you ever wanted to try an app before downloading it? Developers are constantly looking at new strategies and tools that will help them improve conversion and retention, but many suffer from users that download their app and either open it once and uninstall, or never even open it.

In order to improve conversion rates, Google released Instant Apps, also known as Google Play Instant. This feature, first introduced at Google I/O 2016, allows users to try an app or game before installing it. At the Developer’s Keynote at Google I/O 2018, the tech company announced their latest plans for Instant Apps, and that the feature is now available on 1.2 billion devices worldwide running Android 5.0 or higher.

InstantApps1

The number of apps annually downloaded is steadily increasing, and in 2017 alone, 82 billion apps were downloaded on the Google Play Store. Similarly, the number of developers that reached 1 million installs grew by 35% since 2017. Developers that immediately jumped at the opportunity to utilize Instant Apps are surely a contributing factor to the numbers above, but is there any real promise that they’ll benefit developers in the long-run?

Are They Available to Everyone?

When Google first announced the concept to developers, some questioned whether they could be made for all apps or only a select few. They released the Instant Apps SDK to all developers in May 2017, and gave game developers a gift of a closed beta right before GDC 2018. Six games sported a new “Try Now” button right next to their “Install” button. The placement of “Try Now” is a strategic maneuver to encourage users to demo the game before deciding to download. As of now, Instant Apps are available for all mobile games.

Instant Apps Candy Crush

On May 10th, 2018, Google later stated that they would be integrating ARCore into Instant Apps. The example Google provided was for shopping apps and detailed how users can operate their device’s camera to look at products. Looking at the shoppable item then displays a link to an Instant App that would allow them to purchase items without installing the app.

The possibilities are endless with Instant Apps, especially now that AR will be integrated into the experience. Even though AR will most likely be used through search more often than not, it still shows that Instant Apps are beneficial in other areas other than the Google Play Store to improve app discovery. While Instant Apps seem favorable for users, can they help developers engage a larger audience?

How Will Instant Apps Help Developers?

The concept of Instant Apps is a promising one, and Google has enticed developers with success stories of apps that have already begun utilizing it. Apps like Hollar and Wego have increased their purchase conversion by 20% and 27% respectively thanks to Google Play Instant. Additionally, game developers like King and Hothead Games have also improved their player acquisition by using the Instant App APK.

Google has also been testing Google Play Instant with AdWords. They revealed at their annual conference that their ads have driven 10 billion app installs, and that more users are engaging with playable ads. These examples demonstrate that Instant Apps can help developers increase user engagement and revenue. Given the level of competition on the Google Play Store, it only makes sense for developers to create an Instant App for themselves to boost their bottom line and expand their audience.

Should Developers Make Instant Apps?

Being able to use and play an app or game without installing it sounds beneficial to users because they won’t need to worry about using up precious space on their devices. The concept of Instant Apps is still also increasingly tempting to developers as it can ultimately help to increase user engagement, session duration, conversion rates and more.

Instant Apps are incredibly beneficial to developers and users alike, making it key to success on the ever-growing Google Play Store. If you’re an Android developer, you should consider using Google Play Instant to aid your ASO efforts.

Lifetime Value of Users

Understanding the Lifetime Value of Users

Not all users provide the same value to an app. Multiple casual users provide different benefits than a few dedicated ones who constantly use the app, for while all users are important, the ones that continually use it provide more to an app’s success than those who just download it.  This is why it’s necessary to understand the lifetime value of app users, from those who download an app and never open it to “super users” who use it on a daily basis.

This lifetime value is determined by looking at three important benchmarks:

  • How much they spend
  • How long they use the app
  • How many new users they bring in

Each benchmark is important for determining an app’s success and long-term value.

This does not mean that short-term users aren’t valuable. Users that spend nothing but bring in several new downloads can still provide value. This is also true for a user who spends a great deal but stops using the app after a few weeks.

Average User

The value of the “average” user is the mean value from all users, ranging from those who never spend a thing to the few who provide the vast majority of profits. This is the baseline from which all other values are determined.

While the numbers will fluctuate based on the company, Forbes estimates that the average revenue per app user comes in at around $3. However, this value is offset by apps that bring in a large amount of revenue, such as Google. The median value, which is closer to what most apps will see, is less than $2.

When considering these numbers, the app’s cost per user must also be deducted, which makes the value significantly lower. Successful apps can see millions of users on a daily basis, causing a large quantity of these “average” users to contribute at a high value.

Despite having so many average users, their combined lifetime values will most likely never amount to the value of a single “super user.”

Super Users

The highest-value users, referred to as “super users,” are those who use the app on a daily basis and constantly spend money on it. These users contribute most to the app’s success in terms of profits and bringing in new users.

Super users make a small fraction of the app’s users, based on the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule. This rule states that 20 percent of users will create 80 percent of the profit within an app. Super users themselves are a small percentage of that 20 percent, yet they create the majority of the app’s profits.

In terms of monetary value, super users will spend far more than the average user. Microtransactions create the biggest divide in this regard. The super users are those who will frequently make in-app purchases in addition to using the app consistently, with some paying tens of thousands of dollars to unlock everything. They also tend to invite their friends to join, thus providing more value.

The super users provide the highest lifetime value. A single one may spend more than hundreds of other users combined, even though they only make up a fraction of an app’s user base. This is why it’s important to pay attention to these users, but still not neglect the other, more common users, who provide their own value.

Frequent Visitors, Infrequent Spenders

The two most common users are those who use the app often but rarely spend anything on it and those that use the app rarely but tend to spend when they do.

These users are ones who browse a shopping app but wait for a sale, or those who use the app only when they know what they want to buy. They’re the users who play a mobile game but don’t buy any microtransactions, or listen to a music app and sit through commercials rather than upgrade.

There is value in these users. Having active users is important to the success of an app, even if they make purchases less frequently. Their numbers still count towards total users and can compensate for their lack of activity with high spending or vice-versa.

It is possible to convert these users into higher value users. Special discounts and deals can encourage them to spend more per visit or to visit more frequently. Using limited time offers is a great way to attract infrequent users.

While this group may not provide the same value as super users, they still contribute to the 80% of users that help make an app successful.

Download and Delete

Unfortunately, some users who download an app do not stay long enough to contribute to its success. They’re the ones who use the app once then forget about it, or worse, delete the app without even using it. Since they do not spend any money on the app and they’re not active or bring anyone new, these users provide no value.

In order to limit these users, it’s imperative to have strong user retention strategies. This means providing them with good service and an easy flow from the start. Make the onboarding process smooth and quick, provide value early on and give incentives to use the app.

Without focusing on retention, you may find more users slipping into the “no value” category. Even those who provide a good initial value can have a lower lifetime value overall if the app fails to keep them coming back in the long run.

To Conclude

The lifetime value of a user is determined not only by how much money they spend but also by the time they expend on the app and how many users they bring in. While super users provide the greatest value in all three benchmarks, they make up only a small percentage of an app’s user base. The remainder of an app’s value comes from the average users who should not be neglected. This is important to ensure long-term success and a steady retention rate.

 

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.

 

Social Media Ads

How to Leverage Social Media Ads to Market Mobile Apps

Who among us hasn’t clicked on an ad for an app while scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Very few social media users can honestly say they haven’t, which is why more and more Advertisers are turning to it to capture the attention of potential users.

 

Instagram Ad Claritymoney

 

It’s not just the social experience that draws them in, but also the fact that social media ads are very effective. Almost half of the U.S. population who have spent time on a social networking site reported buying something after seeing an ad.

How Social Media Ads Can Benefit Developers

Social media marketing is especially advantageous for Advertisers for several reasons.

  • Social media advertising is a cost-effective alternative to TV, radio or newspaper ads, which is why they are an effective resource for indie developers and big brand names alike.
  • Social media ads have the versatility to be wherever the consumer is, meaning your advertising space is being put to better use.
  • When a consumer is directly targeted in alignment with their interests or through a social media influencer they trust, they are more likely to convert.

Social Media Advertising Do’s and Don’ts

For those who are new to social media advertising, fret not. Here are some of our tried-and-true social media marketing Do’s and Don’ts that will help to increase visibility with high-quality users and start driving those downloads.

Social Influencers

Do: Reach out to social influencers who are part of your target market. They are a great way to promote an app without making users feel like they are being directly advertised to.

The most successful platforms for social influencers are Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat because they typically see much higher engagement rates than Facebook and Twitter. In fact, about 60% of Instagram users report that they discover new products on their feed. This is because these influencers build a sense of trust with their users based on shared interests, goals and lifestyle habits.

Don’t: Reach out to social influencers without first doing your research. Ensure that they have a decent engagement rate with their followers, so the ad is reaching an optimal amount of people. Otherwise, those marketing dollars might not be used to their full potential.

Creatives

Do: Consider how many ads a person sees in one day.

When a potential user is scrolling through their feed, an ad needs to stand out enough to capture their attention and convince them to consider it. Many developers are already well acquainted with this strategy when adhering to screenshot best practices for use in the app stores, but the same can be applied to social media ads.

Overall, researchers have found that ads receive a higher rate of engagement when they are bright, high-resolution images featuring people. For example, the Wish App follows all these tactics by featuring models wearing their clothes in aesthetically pleasing pictures.

 

Wish App

 

Don’t: Forget the consumer.

While it is important to stay on-brand with social media ads, the consumer should always be your first priority. Research what types of images perform best with your users on each platform.

For example, advertisements on Facebook should not contain more than 20% text on the ad image to adhere to Facebook guidelines. That way, your ad won’t be rejected, and will also reach a wider audience.

Callout Texts

Do: Use attention-grabbing callout text to reel in consumers for the final click.

Consider Headspace’s call-to-action below. Their ad states that the meditations will be able to pacify any mood. Then the caption below the image directly speaks to the user to say that, while they don’t know what mood the user is in, headspace will bring peace to any situation.

 

app ad on instagram

 

Don’t: Use overcomplicated or lengthy callout text.

Whether it’s a pricing promotion or informational ad, do not overwhelm the users with too much information. Callout text should still leave a little room for mystery to persuade the user to click on the ad to find out more.

Key Takeaways

Curating the perfect advertisement is a delicate balance of placement, creatives and persuasion. While it may take some trial and error, find which social feeds are the best fit for your audience. Then, do some research to pick the best images and text that they respond to. Once you’ve mastered the art of social media ads and App Store Optimization, you’re sure to see the increase downloads and visibility that your app has been dreaming of.