Category Archives: Mobile App Marketing News

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iOS 11 Checklist: Be Prepared Before Sep. 19th

Apple has finally announced when users can expect iOS 11 to launch, and that golden day is September 19th.

For months, developers have been rapidly gathering their resources to make sure their app’s metadata is prepared for the all-new App Store. In order to make sure your app won’t get rejected or lose any of its visibility, look at our checklist for iOS 11 just in case you need to make any last-minute adjustments.

What We Know – iOS 11 Checklist

Developers, it’s crunch time. Apple will not accept any other updates with titles past 30 characters, meaning it’s crucial that your app’s metadata is 100% ready for iOS 11.

Do you have:

  • A 30-character App Name?
  • A 30-character Subtitle?
  • A 170 Promotional Text?
  • Three preview videos?
  • Screenshots for new store listing?

Make sure that your app meets this checklist so it’s ready for iOS 11, or it won’t be visible to many users. On top of meeting this checklist, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all the changes that are coming to the App Store.

What to Expect on Sep. 19th

iOS 11 not only comes with new features for users, but comes with a simpler App Store to explore and streamline their mobile experience.

1. App Store Redesign

Apple is changing the layout of their App Store to incorporate more editorialized content along with unique tabs to make finding new apps and games quicker. Along with these tabs comes the separation of Games and Apps, which effectively creates two app stores, allowing users to instantly place themselves in the store of their choosing.

2. App Name & Subtitle

Since Apple decreased the character limit for the App Name to 30 characters, the company has managed to declutter the App Store. The introduction of the Subtitle makes developers think more carefully before giving their app some random name.

The Subtitle, which is also 30 characters, can be thought of as an additional set of descriptors supplementary to title tags, and will appear right below the App Name.

3. Promotional Text

Unlike the App Name and Subtitle, Promotional Text is limited to 170 characters, and will appear at the top of the description. This text field can be updated at any time without submitting a new version of the app.

Since developers don’t have to submit a new build every time they want to update the Promotional Text, Apple encourages them to utilize the Promotional Text for sharing any new promotions, features, content and more.

4. Screenshots

In the current App Store, only the first two portrait screenshots appear in search. With iOS 11, however, the first three portrait screenshots or one portrait preview video and two portrait screenshots will appear in search.

Developers will need to make sure all of their screenshots are engaging and integrate high-volume keywords to not only attract more users, but to also improve their conversion rates. Since 65% of apps are downloaded from search, it’s important that developers are taking advantage of being able to display more of their app’s core features.

5. More Preview Videos

Despite the maximum number of screenshots staying at five, developers can look forward to submitting up to three preview videos. Tripling the number of videos now allows developers to highlight more in-app/game action, and increases the importance of conversion.

Developers should also be wary that in iOS 11, preview videos will play automatically with the audio muted, essentially eliminating the poster frame. Even though apps that utilize autoplay will not have a poster frame, the first 3-5 seconds of the preview video are still essential for capturing a users’ attention and encouraging them to download.

Moving Forward

The updates coming to iOS 11 cannot be taken lightly. With two new text fields and additional preview videos comes a great deal of trial and error. Developers can see massive increases to their app’s visibility and conversion, but only if they take the right approach.

Make sure to have a bullet-proof ASO strategy to ensure your app will reach its max audience before iOS 11 launches.

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Google Cracks Down on Glitchy Apps

Quality over quantity is a concept that is increasingly difficult to achieve in the app market, especially on Google Play. Currently, the Play Store has over 2 million available apps, but in an attempt to help users find quality apps and games, Google has made drastic changes to their search algorithm.

Google will now hide crashing apps from the Play Store and display higher quality apps more often than lower quality apps. The tech company made its decision after conducting an internal analysis of current app reviews on Google Play, where they noted that half of 1-star reviews mentioned app stability.

Hiding apps that crash is Google’s way of trying to meet users’ expectations for performance and quality, and essentially weed out unstable apps and games.

Google has expressed that they have already seen a positive impact on user engagement, and that users have already been able to use higher quality apps, which has in-turn lowered uninstall rates.

Despite Google hearing positive praises from users, what about the developers? For those that fear their app or game falls into this category, there are ways they can monitor their app’s performance to ensure their app will not be hidden by Google’s new search algorithm.

How Developers Can Monitor Their App

Google strongly suggests that developers should use Android Vitals to identify key performance issues, especially if they are fearful about the stability of their app. Google also suggests that developers pay close attention to their ratings and reviews for any additional insights related to the quality and stability of their app or game.

Gummicube recommends that developers implement an ongoing reputation management campaign, taking advantage of the opportunity to respond to user reviews.  Developers need to identify all responses populated within 24 hours of a new review post and take note of the specific issues that users are mentioning. If developers aren’t already monitoring and responding to reviews, Gummicube offers a turnkey reputation management solution to respond to reviews and resolve issues.

Looking to the Future

While Google wants to offer users an expansive app store, their decision to hide crashing apps offers developers an ultimatum: have a stable app or suffer the possibility of your app being down ranked.

Developers need to look at their options and start incorporating user reviews in their daily tasks. If they are monitoring their audience and the current experience users are having, there is the possibility to see their averaged rating steadily improve after responding to user reviews.

If developers ignore the cries of their users, technical issues and bug fixes will never be addressed in a timely fashion. Ignoring user reviews can lead to not knowing about stability issues, lower conversion rates and now the possibility of not appearing on the Play Store.

No one wants their app to be hidden, meaning it is crucial now more than ever to stay up to date with monitoring an app’s performance. As a recommendation, if your app falls into this category you should monitor  user reviews to quickly address any possible issues. Focusing on the quality and performance of your app can find you continued success on Google Play.

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App Store vs Google Play: Revenue & Downloads

With the close of Q2, we’re looking back to the beginning of the year to see how revenue and downloads changed thus far for giants of the mobile industry. The numbers are in, and companies like Google and Apple reported positive net revenue, in addition to overall growth of the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Google announced back in May of 2017 that the company saw 82 billion downloads from the Google Play Store in 2016, causing surge of revenue for the tech company and app developers.

Apple echoed this number by stating at WWDC 2017, the App Store attracts over 500 million weekly visitors and has achieved 180 billion app downloads. On top of this information, it has been reported that across both stores, there as $15 billion in downloads at the end of Q1 2017. Across iOS and Android, downloads also grew 15 percent year-over-year.

As the number of downloads and revenue continues to grow, it begs the question what is in store for the app market?

Which Company Had More Growth?

Despite Google being labeled as the clear winner of global app downloads, Apple is closing the gap in revenue growth. The App store saw 45 percent increase in consumer spending compared to Google’s 40 percent year-over-year growth. Apple now leads in consumer spending by 100 percent, up from their 90 percent lead in Q1 2016.

Regardless of Apple being the leader in consumer spending, the company still has catching up to do on the global scale. Globally, most of the phones that shipped in Q4 2016 were Android. This is not surprising considering that Android software is used across multiple devices and the price of Android phones is relatively lower than that of an iPhone.

Along with the large number of Android phones shipped last year, third-party Android app stores are also on the rise, especially in China, one of the leaders in the app market. Some of the marketplaces include Tencent, Baidu, and more.

Other than China, Google Play is exceptionally recognized in India, as indicated by several of Google’s presentations at I/O 2017. Google has essentially cornered the market in India, making it a key factor in the tech company’s year-over-year growth of 40 percent.

Even though Apple has catching up to do in the global app market, the numbers both companies have reported for Q1 2017 are astounding. This immediate progression only meant that the demand of mobile apps will continue to increase.

What Does This Growth Mean for the App Market?

Just based off the numbers in revenue that the App Store and Google Play Store have already witnessed in Q1 2017 alone, more and more apps are likely to take advantage of a key revenue-generator: in-app purchases.

The apps that are more likely to capitalize on the influx of readily available in-app purchases are games. Gaming apps have already seen a trend of more users purchasing in-app content, especially in territories like Japan and China.

Games like Pokémon GO helped put AR apps on the map and proved that they could do well in the market. Pokémon GO managed to generate $800 million with the first three months of its release, and is a key reason why AR apps are on the rise.

Apple has realized just how big games are and will soon separate games from other apps once iOS 11 launches this fall. Despite the update not being released until Q3 or Q4 of 2017, it still shows that Apple is setting up games to continue being a huge revenue generator.

Looking at the Future

As Q3 2017 gets started, Apple and Google’s success will only continue growing. The two tech companies are setting themselves up for major success this year and have realized that the way users find apps and games is changing.

The two tech companies are both making a bigger shift toward editorialized content, which will shape the way that users find new apps and games. This drastic change completely breaks the mold of how users have been able to find apps and games previously, and will be a key component of how the app market develops this year.

Apple has taken their understanding of the app market one step further by making in-app purchases readily available on an app’s product page in iOS 11. This decision is a key component of how the app market will only continue to change and grow, because it is creating less steps for users to readily access content.

The changes set to occur in later half 2017 will greatly affect every part of the app market. It is essential to stay up-to-date on how the app market is changing to ensure your app can grow with this new landscape.

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The Future of Games on the App Store

Developers are currently scrambling to make sure their metadata will be completely ready for iOS 11’s launch this coming fall. Apple announced big changes to the App Store such as the revamped navigation bar, which now features three new tabs, Today, Games and Apps.

This redesign means that Apple has finally separated games from other apps, essentially creating two App Stores with their own separate top charts and featured content.

Making games its own tab concretely separates games from other apps, and allows for all games genres to be better categorized on the App Store. The games tab will have its own top charts, but will also have separate top categories section.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.44.38 AM While many developers are eagerly awaiting the launch of iOS 11, some are frantically adjusting their app’s metadata in case there are major changes to how apps index. But why are game developers worrying about games having its own tab? Will the upcoming changes affect everyone’s carefully crafted metadata and current ASO strategy?

Why Are Games a Big Deal?

Games having its own store is a complete game changer for everyone. It separates games from other apps and means there is now a dedicated space in the App Store that will focus solely on games.

This separation also means that the top charts inside the Games tab will focus only on gaming, creating even more competition with each app category.

While many developers are focused on how to get their apps on the top charts, others are looking forward to Apple’s promises of editorialized content that will only focus on games. This content will aid in discoverability in highlight the day’s biggest game releases, rotating game promotions and gameplay videos, along with featuring a revolving list of new handpicked games.

On top of the curated lists, Apple will show users available content for in-app purchases. This extends to new levels, characters or gameplay updates. Having in-app purchases readily available from the app’s product page expedites the decision-making process for many users and encourages them to download faster.

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Giving games its own store will help users discover more games and definitely distinguish non-games within the App Store. All of this is great news, but does the separation of games and other apps affect current ASO best practices?

Games and ASO

Moving games to its own store simply means more competition in the App Store. All available games will be in one place, meaning that developers need to make sure their metadata is clear and relevant to help their game stand out over competitors.

Despite many developers already having a tried and true ASO strategy, Apple did announce changes to the metadata. These changes include:

  • Reducing app name character limit to 30 characters
  • New Subtitle field capped at 30 characters
  • New Promotional Text field capped at 170 characters
  • Displaying up to three Preview Videos

Thankfully, ASO best practices is fully equipped to help developers prepare for these changes. Keep in mind, the changes to metadata are crucial to building relevancy, but it is still unknown whether the Subtitle and Promotional Text will affect how apps index.

1. Subtitle

The Subtitle text field can be maximum of 30 characters and will be displayed underneath the app name on the product page. Despite having such little space, game developers should treat this field as a brief summary of their game that encourages users to download. This field, just like the description, can only be updated when submitting a new build of the game.

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While it’s suggested to treat the Subtitle as a brief summary of the game, the Promotional Text should be used to highlight any recent updates, features, promotions and more. This field, unlike the description or Subtitle, can be updated at any time without submitting a new build.

3. Preview Videos

While the addition of the Subtitle and Promotional Text are incredibly important for helping games become more visible, the addition of more Preview Videos means one thing: more opportunities to convert users.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.52.53 AM Games can now show off multiple Preview Videos that feature gameplay, characters and more. Ultimately, game developers will be able to engage with users while highlighting core features of their game.

Key Takeaways

Apple’s decision to separate Games is a huge turning point in the future of the App Store. iOS 11 will clearly distinguish games and apps as two separate entities on the App Store.

Developers need to realize that the separation of games and apps does help more games become easily discoverable, but it also clearly displays the high levels of competition among game categories.

It is imperative that developers take the preemptive strike and focus their ASO strategy toward reducing their app name, creating unique and relevant Subtitle and Promotional Text, and making sure each Preview Video demonstrates the game’s core features before the App Store’s update.

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Android Excellence: Google’s Answer to Editorialized Content

Apple recently announced a complete redesign of its App Store, shifting their focus toward editorialized content such as interviews, tips and tricks and stories on apps and developers. While the App Store’s redesign won’t debut until the launch of iOS 11, Google has already announced its own plans to expand their editorial content with a new program called Android Excellence.

Similar to Apple’s new Today tab, Android Excellence will highlight the highest-quality apps and games on a rotating basis. The apps and games will be handpicked by Google Play’s editors based on their ability to “deliver incredible user experiences on Android,” apps and games that use Google’s best practices, “and have great design, technical performance, localization, and device optimization.” These apps and games can be looked at as examples of the great apps that Google encourages developers to continue creating through their platform.

Other than encouraging the future of the Google Play Store, Android Excellence will also feature content that is broken down into two groups: apps and games. These groups will each feature a revamped Editors’ Choice section full of app and game reviews curated specifically by the editorial team. Google has already announced their lists for this quarter, and the apps and games can be viewed here: Android Excellence.

While the timing of Google’s announcement to encourage more editorialized content might be suspect, the two tech companies vary in how they will deliver this content.

Apple vs Google

The biggest differences between Android Excellence and Apple’s Today tab is that Android Excellence will only be updated quarterly, which means that it will not feature new content daily like the Today tab.

Google’s decision to update quarterly might turn away users from viewing daily, but for the app developers that get featured, it could be significant to attracting users, in turn improving their conversion.

While Google is trying to introduce more editorialized content, they are not quite matching the level that Apple will achieve. Apple will feature daily stories, which will present anything from world premieres to inside looks of newly launched apps. Google’s editorialized content, however, is merely a brief bulleted list of why their editors chose the app or game. This doesn’t highlight the developers or give much context behind their creative choices.

Despite Google beating Apple to the punch and releasing a revamped Editor’s Choice, Apple’s Today tab will certainly help more apps with its rotating content and in-depth editorialized content.