Category Archives: Mobile App Marketing News

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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!


How to Avoid Being Rejected from The Google Play Store

Over the past few years, Google has worked hard to increase trust in the Play Store by constantly removing bad apps and improving their technology to make sure similar apps never appear in the first place. This hasn’t been easy for them since they rely on an automated approval process rather than human interaction, but their algorithm has come a long way.

In the fight against the bad seed developers, 2017 was a banner year, with over 700,000 apps either being taken down or denied, which was a 70% increase over 2016. Google claims that 99% of these apps were caught during the approval process and never reached the Play Store. Along with this, they have begun to deal with repeat offenders, with 100,000 developers being banned outright.

While it’s not perfect, Google attributes their success to increased reliance on machine learning technology, which has successfully identified and blocked copycat apps, apps with inappropriate content, and Potentially Harmful Applications (PHA).

When you’re ready to submit your app to the Google Play store, here are a few helpful tips to prevent it from being rejected:

Make Sure You Own All Your Content

The most common type of apps that Google looks for is copycat apps, which accounted for over 250,000 of the 700,000 caught last year. Google describes these as “attempting to deceive users by impersonating famous apps.” This can range from completely stealing an app’s code to copying the icon.

However, not all apps turned down by Google as copycat apps are copies on purpose. Some apps simply don’t have a license for the assets they use. This reason is why it is important to either create original content or make sure you have all the rights to anything you use, both in your creatives and within the app itself.

Create Unique Creatives

This one is simple. Your app should have unique creatives.

One of the most important aspects of App Store Optimization for organic growth is creating unique and compelling creatives that fit your app. This is especially important when your app is in a saturated genre.

Creating a unique icon, set of screenshots and preview videos will help you not only stand out from other apps, but also help you avoid rejection.

Optimize Your Metadata

The other aspect of successful ASO is optimizing metadata in a way that is relevant to the app. While it may be tempting to copy a successful description, this will be a red flag to Google, even if you swap out a few words.

It can also potentially send the wrong message to users who are interested in your app. If they see nearly identical descriptions, one with millions of downloads and one with very few, they’ll know right away to avoid the copycat.


While Google’s machine learning algorithm isn’t perfect, it has come a long way and will continue to improve. Making sure that your app stands out from the rest with a strong ASO strategy will go a long way to ensure your place on the Google Play store without any problems.

On the other hand, copying another app will only lead to problems, and potentially end up getting you on Google’s banned developer’s list. Getting caught with an app against Google’s TOS will only hurt any future chance for success on the Play Store. It’s not worth the risk.

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Mobile App Trends: What to Look Out for in 2018

2017 was a huge year for app developers, and companies, publishers and more have realized that mobile apps are more than a novelty: they’re a necessity.

The number of mobile apps on the App Store and Google Play Store exploded past 2 million combined in 2017. Along with the number of mobile apps increasing, according to Statista, the number of free mobile downloads is supposed to surpass 253 billion at the end of 2017.

The mobile apps market is thriving, and if 2017 has been any indicator, 2018 will be just as big, perhaps even bigger. While 2017 was finally the year that developers realized ASO is no longer a hidden gem but instead a necessary tool, they also noticed specific trends such as augmented reality, wearable apps and others.

Here’s a list of some mobile app trends to out for in 2018:

1. Augmented Reality (AR) Apps – Another Element to Life

While Pokémon Go was the big AR app for 2016, it’s popularity carried over into 2017, and made way for more app developers to integrate the technology into their apps.

AR technology has been introduced to tons of apps, including shopping apps like Amazon and Ikea. Even children’s apps have begun integrating the technology into their apps to allow kids to draw, play or even create 3D models.


As we move into 2018, we’ll see more developers such as ones in real estate, healthcare and more hop on the AR bandwagon. These developers have already started integrating the technology into their apps in 2017, but it’s likely to become more rampant in 2018.

2. Wearable Apps – Keep Apps in Your Pocket & on Your Wrist

Companies like Apple and Fitbit released more wearable devices in 2017, leading to the development of more wearable apps.

Now, there are apps compatible with Fitbit devices, and apps get added daily to the Apple Watch App Store. Some of the industries that have taken advantage of wearable apps, and will continue to do so moving into 2018, are:

  • Education
  • Health (fitness, weight tracker, sleep tracker, etc.)
  • Smart homes
  • Games


3. On-Demand Apps – Instant Access to the World

Craved a pizza but didn’t feel like driving? This need for pizza, or the laziness to go out and get it, is one of the key reasons why on-demand apps have gained popularity in 2017.

On-demand apps have simplified life for many and made things more convenient. From being able to instantly get your dinner to having a ride just waiting for you, on-demand apps have given users the ability to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

In 2018, the popularity for on-demand apps is expected to continue growing and even expand past the food and ride share industries.


4. Android Instant Apps – Explore Apps without Installing

Back in May 2017, Google announced Android Instant Apps. This feature gives users an opportunity to instantly use an app without having to install. Not having to go through the trouble of installing and downloading allows users to essentially test run an app while saving space on their device.

In 2018, developers are likely to continue offering their apps as an Instant App so users can get a feel for their app without taking the plunge and installing.

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5. Shopping Apps – Targeting & Acquiring Users

Shopping and retail apps are on the rise, and 2018 will be their year to shine. Since more retail apps are integrating trends like AR, they’re also realizing that the market is booming.

Along with integrating AR, retail apps are using their users’ location to target them with special push notifications and emails while they’re in the store. This helps target users more and entice them to spend more money.

As we move into 2018, retailers will need to put their audience first when developing and marketing their mobile apps. They’ll need to make sure that their product page looks similar to a store window and displays enticing products.

Moving into 2018

While these aren’t al the possible mobile app trends for 2018, this list gives developers something to look forward to in the new year. Mobile apps are here to stay, and developers need to make sure that they’re staying up-to-date on the trends that may or may not happen.

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The Pros & Cons of Apple Pre-Order: Is it Right for You?

On Dec. 11th, Apple announced a new feature in the App Store for all developers: Apple Pre-Order. The new feature presents developers with the option to let users pre-order their app before its official release date. The addition of Apple Pre-Order adds another layer of discovery, benefitting app developers. It drives initial hype around their app, allowing them to create their app store listing to start driving visibility.


Contrary to a similar feature that the Google Play Store has called Pre-Register, the quietly released Apple Pre-Order will provide users a faster way of getting the latest apps before they’re released. Google’s service only notifies a user when the newly released app is available, but doesn’t automatically download the app to the customers’ device or lock in the pre-order price. Apple Pre-Order, on the other hand, automatically downloads to the user’s device, and sends a notification.

How it Works

Developers can opt for the Pre-Order feature roughly 2 to 90 days before their app is released. Once it’s live on the App Store, it will automatically download onto users’ phones along with a notification once the download is complete. For paid apps, customers won’t be charged until the day of release. If the price happens to change during the pre-order period, then users will automatically be charged the lower price of either the initial price or the launch price.


Pre-Orders are available on all Apple platforms running iOS 11.2, tvOS 11.2, and macOS 10.13.2 or later. Like any other app, users are still able to discover apps with the pre-order feature from the products page, search results, or the Today, Games, and Apps tabs.

While the concept of Apple’s new feature sounds fantastic, the real question is whether Pre-Order is right for everyone? We’ve looked at the pros and cons to help you decide.


  • Developers will have the tools to better understand the demand of their market to see how many users opt for Pre-Order.
  • With the Pre-Order feature, brand new apps will have the ability to improve their metadata and make sure it’s optimized before their release. This way, their app and keywords can start indexing even before they go live.
  • Developers will be able to use the soft launch of their app to test its positioning in the App Store.
  • As an example, Apple Pre-Order can benefit all apps, especially mobile games. Before the mobile game is released, developers can bring awareness and generate more buzz around the release. This gets users excited for the game and starts building a loyal fan base before it is even out.



  • If the app has initial bugs and issues, it will make a negative first impression on its first users, which could tarnish the app’s reputation and retention rate.
  • Developers that opt for Pre-Order might have a lower opening rate (also known as its “first open”) because users pre-order the app too early. They need to make sure that they’re constantly trying to gear their marketing strategy toward these users so they don’t forget about the app and are excited when it finally releases.
  • Developers want to avoid a fiasco similar to the one that occurred with Star Wars: Battlefront. While users were incredibly excited about being able to pre-order the game, there was massive backlash when they found out that most of the game’s content was only available via DLCs. This backlash then forced the publishers to push the game’s release back from the proposed launch date.

Key Takeaways

Developers must decide if Apple Pre-Order is for them. Those that choose to opt for it, will need to start targeting users sooner rather than later so their app starts gaining a loyal following. If developers aren’t tracking user trends and behavior, they’re not utilizing ASO best practices to its full capabilities.

If developers want to give Pre-Order a shot, they’ll need to market their new app and get users excited before its actual release. Developers will have to weigh the pros and cons of Apple Pre-Order to establish if it’s a worthwhile venture. While it may not be for everyone, it’s definitely worth looking into.

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5 reasons why Your UAC Strategy is Failing

On September 15th, 2017, Google shook up the mobile marketing world and announced that AdWords will be moving all app install campaigns to a new Universal App Campaigns (UAC) format.  This means that Google will no longer support standard mobile app install campaigns across their search and display networks.  If marketers want to drive mobile traffic via AdWords, they will only be able to run UAC.

With Universal App Campaigns (UAC), marketers can promote their mobile app across multiple AdWords channels like Google Search, Google Display Network (GDN), YouTube, and the Google Play Store. The push to move to a UAC only platform was meant to simplify ad creation and optimize the user acquisition process for marketers through automation and machine learning.  In theory, all marketers must do when setting up AdWords UAC is to upload creatives (images and videos) and add different text based advertisements to a campaign.  It is recommended to add in as many creative variables as possible in order for Google to create a relevant ad for every possible combination.

However, the move towards automation and simplification has created a huge black hole in the world of AdWords mobile installs.  Most marketers were utilizing mobile app installs campaign to target specific keywords to understand the value of each term and the impact it has on their app.  The removal of exact match keywords campaign removed any insights developers had in navigating Play Store AdWords campaigns, leaving them to navigate in the dark.

On top of that ground-breaking change, marketers have to also be aware of several additional factors to ensure that they can have a successful UAC campaign.  For example, to fully capitalize on AdWords UAC, marketers must ensure that they have the content for all the requested fields to display and convert effectively on all the channels that UAC targets.  If marketers don’t have video assets to promote their app, then they won’t be able to advertise on YouTube. Unfortunately, the same thing goes for GDN – images are mandatory to run Display Ads. The ability to simply create one campaign and optimize it across various channels is gone – Universal App Campaigns (UAC) a total game changer.

Even though Google has already taken steps to simplify the ad creation process, starting a UAC campaign can be daunting. When it comes to setting up a successful UAC campaign, consider these factors before diving in head first:

1. Choosing the Wrong Type of UAC to Run

Choosing the wrong type of UAC can make or break a campaign. It is undeniably just as important as understanding which key metrics to use to track the success of the campaign. The two options are, UAC Installs and UAC Actions.

UAC Installs: The goal of this option is solely to drive in as many users as possible, regardless of the quality of the user. This subsequently means that the cost is based on per install (CPI), and users are not measured on their ability to complete an action such as registration or leveling up. UAC Install is the most ideal campaign to use if the objective of the campaign is to maximize app installs and the quality of the user is not of high importance.

UAC Actions: On the other hand, the algorithms of UAC Actions do depend on the quality of the users and whether they have the tendency to complete a targeted action. In short, this option focuses on in-app events, or what users do once they have downloaded an app. This means that the fees are cost per action (CPA) based and are reliant on how each action is valued for the advertisers.

2. Not Setting Up Conversion Tracking

This cannot be said enough: NEVER set up this type of campaign without using conversion tracking. Google uses targeted CPIs/CPAs for bidding. Hence if the conversion tracking breaks, the algorithm can’t work properly. If this happens, the campaign must be restarted and learning must take place all over again – costing time and money.

Without conversion tracking app developers are wasting their time and money anyway. Tracking provides insights on the actual campaign cost, ROI, retention rate, and much more based on the attribution tool that is being used. Nobody ever wants to see a resource wasted, so make sure to set up attribution tracking sooner rather than later.

3. Making Too Many Changes to Budget & CPA

There are a couple of factors to consider when setting a budget and a targeted CPA for UAC. Although the daily budget may be set to a certain amount, the algorithm will take that daily budget and calculate the spending totals across one month. Don’t panic if there is a single day with high or low spending. Google will readjust the budget over the course of the month to ensure you do not exceed your max spend.

Another tip for budgeting with UAC is to not be reactive and change the budget and CPA too frequently. Frequent changes impact the algorithm and cause traffic to stop flowing into the campaign, meaning the app loses visibility. The best-case scenario is that it would take longer for the algorithm to adjust to changes in the campaign. The worst-case scenario would be that the campaign needs to be paused and then re-launched from scratch.

4. Not Using Creative Assets Report

The most anticipated, and possibly one of the best features of UAC, is the Creative Assets Report. This report provides insights into how the ad texts, images, and videos are performing. Google rates each asset as “Low,” “Good,” “Best,” or “Learning.” If an image or a video is rated as “Low,” it is worthwhile to test the other assets to see if they can improve the conversion rate.

Be sure to incorporate combinations of video or image sizes, as each one impacts performance. Sometimes landscape images and videos will perform better than portrait ones. Performance depends on what engages best with the targeted audience. Take advantage of these reports and monitor performance to get insights on how often UAC picks one asset over another when displaying ads.

5. Be Patient!

UAC is constantly learning by way of trial and error and it optimizes user acquisition through automation and machine learning. Once a campaign launches, it takes anywhere from 7-10 days to complete the learning process. It is best to wait for the algorithm to finish learning prior to making any changes. Be sure to take it slow and not apply too many changes in a short period as this can have massive negative repercussions on the campaign.

Avoiding these common mistakes can save a UAC campaign from failing and increase conversion and app installs.