Category Archives: Mobile App Marketing News

Android Adds Adaptive Icons

Android Adds Adaptive Icons

Google has revealed a new tool for app creatives, allowing for adaptive launcher icons. With this, developers can set up their apps’ icons to display as square or circular images, better matching the device it’s being viewed on.

Additionally, adaptive icons allows for new visual effects to capture users’ attention. By utilizing a foreground and background layer, it enables movement on the icon image.

The adaptive icons will be available on all devices running Android Oreo, according to the device’s settings.

What is it?

Adaptive icons are introduced with Android Oreo (8.0) and is made to let icons be displayed in a variety of shapes across device models.

The idea behind the tool is simple: when developers make an icon for their app, they can control its look to take different shapes depending on the device being used. In addition to the ability to adjust the icon’s shape through a variety of masks, it can use two layers to add animated visuals.

adaptive icons
Image via https://developer.android.com/guide/practices/ui_guidelines/icon_design_adaptive

Developers can create adaptive icons by setting up two layers and a mask. One layer serves as the background on the icon, the other as the logo. By using two separate layers, icons can use minor animations and effects, such as making the logo move about the background when the device tilts to a side or bounce when selected.

The mask is provided by the device the app is displayed on and cuts a shape around the background layer while maintaining the logo’s placement. This turns each icon into the shape the device uses, creating a uniform design across the device.

Icon layers must be sized with the new guidelines in mind, which replace the previous 48 x 48 dp standard:

  • Each layer must be 108 x 108 dp
  • The icon itself must be sized at 72 x 72 dp and placed within the masked viewport
  • The outer 18 dp on each side of the icon is used to create visual effects

Developers can also create adaptive icons with Android Studio and in XML.

Adaptive icons are also used in shortcuts, settings, sharing dialogs and the overview screen.

What Does This Mean?

First and foremost, developers looking to utilize adaptive icons must design new icons. Icons not updated with the proper layers run the risk of looking inconsistent with others, in addition to lacking visual effects.

It’s important to keep the main focal point of the icon viewable in every format, as it is the first thing a user sees when browsing the Google Play Store and makes an important first impression. They’re vital to an app’s click through rate (CTR), so app design best practices must be taken into consideration.

Keep in mind that icons displayed on the Google Play Store will still be the same shape. The adaptive icons are displayed on the device after installation.

However, with the adaptive icons enhancements, developers will be able to transform their icons with animated effects while keeping the formatting uniform for the devices they’re displayed on. Developers who prepare their icons now may find the added effects will help keep their users active in the days to come.

Google Machine Learning Ads

Google Empowers Advertisers with Machine Learning

On July 10, Google unveiled new marketing tools designed to help marketers create more effective ads. This will provide marketers with machine learning technology, so that they can create more responsive search ads, maximize performance and better reach their revenue goals.

Google’s announcement includes four new products:

  •  Responsive Search Ads, which uses machine learning to find the best performing ads for search categories
  • Maximize lift, which uses machine learning and smart bidding to automatically adjust bids for the best ad performance on YouTube
  • Local Campaigns, which is designed to bring customers in to physical stores
  • Smart Shopping campaigns, which uses machine learning to help marketers meet specific goals

According to the company, advertisers already testing these services have seen a 15 percent increase in clicks.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning uses statistical techniques to let computers utilize data to continually improve and “learn” from a certain task. With machine learning, it’s possible to analyze vast amounts of data to find actionable insights and identify patterns, which can be utilized for marketing purposes.

Essentially, it is possible to use machine learning to identify consumer trends and habits so that ads can better target them. This is a great tool for marketers, so Google’s new products will be useful in a variety of fields.

How Will This Impact App Marketing?

Local Campaigns is designed strictly for physical stores, and thus has minimal applications for app marketing. However, retailers that have apps, including rewards programs, can still benefit from it if it brings customers to their physical stores and encourages them to utilize the store’s app.

With Responsive Search Ads, marketers can provide headlines and description lines, which Google’s machine learning will use to determine what is performing best for various search queries. This means app advertisements can display more frequently in front of relevant audiences. For instance, ads for mobile games will show up in searches for similar topics, or ads for vacation apps will appear when someone is searching for travel sites.

The Maximize lift product is designed for advertisements on YouTube. App developers can, however, take advantage of this product due to YouTube being a great place to advertise apps. 51% of marketing professionals worldwide state that video content provides the best ROI, and 64% of consumers make purchases after seeing social videos, making it a valuable tool for advertisements. Marketers can make video ads to play before videos relevant to their apps and Maximize lift’s smart bidding strategy will ensure they get the maximum impact from their ads.

Smart Shopping campaigns is the most niche, as it will only be useful for shopping apps. With machine learning, marketers can optimize where their shopping ads show and simplify campaign management. While this feature is more geared towards mobile websites than apps, developers can chain this new feature together with supplementary marketing strategies to the advantage of both platforms. For instance, Smart Shopping campaigns can capture the initial mobile web user, where implementation of a Smart Banner can drive users to download the app- which has been shown to have more long-term user engagement than the mobile web. This can create a more engaged user and have further retention opportunities such as sending push notifications about deals on items in their wish list.

In Summary

Google’s new machine learning tools for advertisements will be useful for a wide range of marketers, but app developers can also benefit from them to target more niche audiences. The new products can help ads for apps reach relevant users on YouTube and in search ads, which developers can use to direct users to their app store pages. Developers will need to ensure that once users have found their product page, that they’ve created an ASO strategy to optimize it. The combination of Google’s new products and ASO will seriously help developers bring in new app installs.

Apple Expands Search Ads

Apple Search Ads Expands its Territories

Apple Search Ads has proven itself indispensable to app developers, helping them find greater visibility and relevancy for their ads. It’s a success for both Apple and developers, with conversion rates holding at around 50 percent and a cost per acquisition that’s below $1.50. Additionally, the tech company recently added creative sets to help developers target more niche audiences and keywords.

With Apple adding new features to the Search Ads platform, it’s a wonder why it’s limited to only a handful of storefronts. Recently, Apple announced that the Search Ads advertising service will be expanded to encompass more countries, further extending its reach to worldwide app markets.

Where’s it Expanding to?

When Search Ads launched in 2016 it quickly became a key feature to the App Store advertisement system. Apple Search Ads are currently available in storefronts in seven countries:

  • US
  • UK
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland

However, the recent announcement states that soon Apple will be nearly doubling the number of available storefronts by expanding to include:

  • South Korea
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Japan

SearchAdsExpansion

What Does This Mean?

In short, Search Ads being available in more territories means that developers have more marketing opportunities in additional locations around the world. Search Ads has proven successful in the seven territories it’s currently available in. However, developers will need to take a serious look at their marketing budgets to ensure there’s enough money to go around to additional territories.

They’ll also need to consider that the keywords they target in one territory may not overlap or be relevant in another. That’s why they’ll have to carefully work on their ASO strategy to localize their metadata and ensure that they’re targeting relevant keywords for each territory.

Since Search Ads relies on keywords and metadata to determine relevancy, it’s important for developers to ensure they’re targeting search terms and keywords that are popular in each area to improve traffic to their app. Developers must maintain a strong ASO strategy in each region their app is available in to get the most out of their Search Ads campaign.

For app developers in those six new countries, though, the addition of Search Ads will prove beneficial to their marketing efforts and will help them reach even more users. Overall, developers should start preparing for the Search Ads expansion that will be coming later this summer.

Apple Announces SiriKit

Apple Launches SiriKit: How Will Your App be Affected?

Among the announcements from Apple at WWDC 2018 was that Siri, its virtual assistant, would be receiving an upgrade to allow greater interactivity with apps. With SiriKit, iOS and watchOS apps can work with Siri, providing developers new possibilities to increase user retention, discovery and usage.

What is SiriKit?

SiriKit is a new extension for Siri available in iOS 12 that allows the virtual assistant to interact with apps on the iPhone and Apple Watch. Apps that want to work with Siri can build an extension that allows their app to communicate with it even while inactive. This allows them to use Siri’s voice and natural language recognition to access preset functions on the app.

Included in SiriKit are new shortcuts to help users access tasks in apps directly from the lock screen or searches. It uses signals such as voice commands, location and time of day to suggest relevant shortcuts as notifications. Users can also utilize a Shortcuts app to create personalized shortcuts to their apps.

In short, SiriKit provides apps more ease of accessibility via the virtual assistant, which opens up new possibilities for everyday app usage.

How Can Developers Use it?

SiriKit provides new ways of interacting with apps without even needing to open the phone. Developers can now allow users to open and use their apps via voice recognition and use pre-set commands for everyday activities.

For example, a user might make a shortcut to get them to work in the morning. By saying “Siri, I’m off to work,” Siri could then immediately open up the user’s navigation app of choice and load directions to their place of work, as well as use it to place a coffee order through the Starbucks app to pick up along the way.

A coupon app, meanwhile, might have a shortcut where it would use location services to tell the user when they are near a store it offers coupons for, and present the user with a notification for it. The user would then just have to tap the notification, and Siri would instantly open the app and pull up relevant coupons.

By providing these services, app developers can increase their apps’ ease of use as well as frequency of use, benefiting both them and their users.

What Are the Benefits?

The first benefit developers should see from SiriKit is increased usage of their apps. By creating shortcuts activated by voice command or by context-based notification, they’ll allow users to access their apps quickly and incentivize them to use their functions on a daily basis.

For example, an app that lets people order food will not see when their user is in a hurry and doesn’t want to open the app, or can’t because they’re driving. By providing a voice-activated shortcut, the app gives customers the option to place their favorite orders without even needing to open their mobile device. Providing an increased ease of use can lead to increased usage.

Similarly, location or activity-based notifications will remind and encourage users to open their apps. An exercise-logging app, for instance, may notice when a user is jogging at a park, and remind them to open the app to start recording their progress. Context-based notifications ensure that they will only notify users at relevant times, providing the notification when it’s needed rather than annoying the user throughout the day at inopportune times.

At the same time, this will also encourage user retention. If an app makes itself a part of the user’s daily routine, they’ll continue to support the app and recommend it to their friends. Brand loyalty is key to user retention, and an app builds strong loyalty when it’s there for users when they need them.

What Next? 

App developers should start thinking of how SiriKit can benefit their apps. Consider the following questions:

  • Where and when do people use it?
  • What shortcuts will users want to use?
  • How can we make our app indispensable?

The answers will help developers determine what functions they’ll want to make accessible through SiriKit. In doing so, they’ll provide better and more convenient services for their users and ensure customer loyalty.

WWDC 2018 Wrapup

WWDC 2018 Wrap-Up: What We Saw and What Developers Should Know

Apple’s WWDC 2018 has come to a close after a week full of announcements, events and seminars. The tech company announced several upcoming products and updates to iOS and Mac, which may impact the app ecosystem in the coming future.

Let’s break down all the important announcements from WWDC 2018:

iOS 12

It was no shock when Apple announced that iOS 12 will be coming to Apple devices later this year. In true Apple fashion, the company made the statement early on in their keynote presentation and claimed that iOS 12 will include enhancements to speed and performance even for older devices.

The update also includes new features, such as:

  • Grouped notifications by app or topic
  • A “Do Not Disturb” mode that automatically activates at bedtime
  • Weekly activity reports to let you know how long you’ve been using what apps
  • New animoji, including personalized “memoji”

Additionally, iOS 12 provides improvements to features such as ARKit and Siri, which developers can utilize when developing their apps. 

Enhancements that Benefit Apps

App developers will be able to take advantage of several changes in iOS 12. There are multiple updates to Apple’s tools and programs that will allow greater accessibility for and use with third-party apps.

Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, has been updated with new programmable shortcuts so that any app can give it quick access to functions. For instance, someone who frequently orders pizza through an app can add a function to say “Siri, it’s pizza night,” and Siri will automatically open the pizza app and place an order using the preset specifications.

Apple has also introduced the ARKit 2, allowing for an improved augmented reality experience. Many apps are already embracing the potential of AR, and Apple demonstrated the capabilities of ARKit 2 with a LEGO mobile game. Additionally, the company worked in collaboration with Pixar to create a new file format for AR called USDZ, which can be used to place AR items in the camera and adjust their size to match real life.

Navigation apps will also be able to take advantage of changes to Apple’s CarPlay. It now supports third-party navigation apps, so people can use their GPS navigator of choice, rather than having to rely on Apple Maps.

App Store Updates

While Apple did announce updates to the App Store, the announcements were focused on the macOS version. No changes to the iOS App Store were announced, although developers with apps available on desktop and laptop computers will want to watch out for several changes.

The macOS App Store is redesigned from the ground up, and now includes new stories of app successes, auto-play for videos, and new tabs for browsing by theme (Create/Work/Develop/Play). App Store product pages are also redesigned with video previews, rankings, and reviews placed front and center, as well as a new ratings and reviews API designed to make feedback easier.

Developers will also be able to include three app previews, an app subtitle and up to ten screenshots on their product pages.

While these changes will not impact the iOS App Store, it is still important to see how they affect apps on the macOS App Store. Developers with apps on macOS should ensure their preview videos follow ASO best practices and keep an eye on reviews to ensure customer satisfaction.

App Store Connect

Apple has changed the name of iTunes Connect to App Store Connect, which also features minor redesigns and new Sales and Trends dashboards. This information will provide developers with even greater insight into an app’s performance.

The Sales Overview page shows developers their top-performing apps, as well as in-app purchases ranked by units and sales. They can see how each purchase impacts their overall business, see which apps perform best in which territory and compare performance between in-app purchases. This provides developers with valuable data to see what consumers are responding positively or negatively to in each territory, so they can adjust their ASO strategies and app offerings accordingly.

There’s also a Subscription Retention page, which includes a new graph to help developers monitor subscription performances, identify which ones are highest performing and compare retention rates across apps and territories. As with the Sales Overview, this provides key insights into consumer behavior, so developers can see what works and what doesn’t to adjust their ASO and apps accordingly.

MacOS Mojave

As expected, Apple also announced the next version of MacOS: Mojave. There are several new additions to Mojave, designed to improve the user experience in both noticeable and subtle ways, including:

  • Changes to the desktop throughout the day to match the time and light conditions
  • Dark mode that dims the background to make pictures and presentations appear brighter or match a dark environment
  • Desktop stacks arrange files and icons by type, date or tag
  • Custom actions from the finder
  • Improved security functions, including new default protections for camera, microphone, message history and more, as well as automatic shutdown of comment fields in Safari to avoid tracking

Conclusion

While the biggest news from WWDC 2018 is the new iOS and MacOS updates, there is still plenty for app developers to prepare for. In addition to preparing for the changes iOS 12 will bring to devices, there are new opportunities in the forms of Siri, ARKIt 2 and CarPlay. Additionally, the changes Apple introduced to the newly named App Store Connect will allow developers to get better insights to their apps’ performances and prepare their App Store Optimization strategy accordingly.

It’s safe to say that developers should start looking into the changes that Apple has made and prepare for the upcoming iOS update and macOS App Store redesign to adjust their strategies if need be.