Category Archives: Mobile App Marketing News

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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.

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Apple Releases Two New Search Ads Programs

As the holidays are quickly approaching, Apple is giving developers the gift of Search Ads Basic and Search Ads Advanced, their newly released Search Ads programs.

Since Apple announced Search Ads in late 2016, they have been a vital tool for developers expanding their app’s audience and visibility. They have also greatly helped developers understand the need to optimize their app’s metadata using ASO.

Thanks to Apple’s two new programs, app developers of all types can start using Search Ads to compete against their competitors. The new programs aren’t necessarily targeting a certain demographic of app developers, but are instead trying to help them all understand how it all work.

Here are the differences between Search Ads Basic and Search Ads Advanced:

Search Ads Basic

  • Think of this as the training wheels for Search Ads.
  • This program offers developers cost-per-install, meaning they only pay for installs.
  • Developers just have to set up their account and provide their monthly budget.
  • Can start and stop whenever, and adjust the budget at any time.

Search Ads Advanced

  • The training wheels are off and developers have access to the full suite of tools.
  • They can control campaigns and audiences who see the ads.
  • Can choose keywords and explore searches with the Search Match.

Both the Basic and Advanced programs are sure to help developers, especially in territories like UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland and Mexico, which recently got Search Ads. Developers need to start looking toward additional tools so they can reach a larger audience while also improving their app’s visibility.

Whether you’re a developer that just wants to get a taste of Search Ads or you’re a seasoned developer that wants to expand your audience, you should look into these programs.

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iPhone X – Tips on Creating Screenshots

Now that the iPhone X is released to the public, more and more app developers are realizing that they’ll need to create different sized screenshots to accommodate the new display size.

While many users are excited about the brand-new retina display, they are also excited about its 5.8-inch display, which is larger than any iPhone Plus display of 5.5-inches.

iPhone X screenshots are currently optional, but they will not size down to scale for other devices, meaning developers will need to create another set of screenshots just for the iPhone X.

If developers want their users to get a feel for how their app would look and feel on the iPhone X, it’s smart to bite the bullet and create screenshots that match the required resolution. Below are the resolution sizes for the new iPhone X screenshots:

  • Portrait – 1125 by 2436
  • Landscape – 2436 by 1125

Apple is also suggesting that developers do not mask or call attention to key display features such as the iPhone X notch. While some developers have already tried hiding the notch, it’s rumored that those screenshots might be rejected by Apple.

Since the iPhone X is brand-new, users are most likely interested in finding new apps to download. Now is the time for developers to improve their conversion rates, and they’ll need ASO best practices to achieve that goal.

ASO Best Practices for Screenshots

If developers weren’t following ASO best practices to create their screenshots, they can now sit down and take the time to make sure that their screenshots are engaging and optimized to target their audience.

1. Emphasize Core Features

The screenshots are the primary section that users will reference to see the app or game in action. It’s important that the app’s core features are immediately addressed.

Since the iOS 11 update, it’s become particularly important to emphasize the core features within the first three portrait screenshots. If developers don’t focus on their screenshots, it will either make or break their app’s chances of getting downloaded. Developers need to encourage users quickly to tap on the listing page or immediately tap “Get,” and the only way to do that is by quickly, and clearing addressing their app’s core features.

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2. Visible Callout Text That Incorporates High-Volume Keywords

Callout text need to address what the app does while incorporating high-volume keywords that are relevant to the app and its targeted audience. The callout text needs to be compelling enough to entice the user that wants to learn more and download the app.

If the callout text is confusing or too long, users are less likely to convert because they don’t understand what the app does. Developers should leave long sentences for the description and make the callout text short, sweet and to the point.

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3. In-App Images Should Clearly Reflect Core Features

Screenshots must reflect accurate in-app usage and mirror its accompanying callout text. If the in-app image represents something else, the user is less likely to convert because the screenshots are confusing.

Developers must take the time to highlight each core feature individually instead of combining or repeating. Developers should also note that if the in-app image is busy or confusing, the user is more likely to become confused too. In-app images shouldn’t clash with any additional images or callout text and should stand alone so the user can plainly understand what they are looking at.

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4. Design for the Target Audience

Developers need to follow one of the crucial suggestions of ASO best practices, which is designing their screenshots with the target audience in mind.

Think about RPG games; users want to see the core features that truly matter to them. If the screenshots don’t reflect how users can attack, customize, or explore, users might keep scrolling in the App Store.

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5. In-Line with App Branding

Even if the app isn’t a well-established brand, it’s important that the screenshots reflect the brand and is consistent to what users will see when using the app.

If the screenshots don’t match the brand’s color theme or tone, it’s possible to confuse or even distract users. Let’s say there are varying font types and weights displayed on the screenshots. Though it may seem like a minute detail, users might have trouble clearly reading and comprehending the screenshots, leading them not to convert.

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Follow ASO Best Practices When Creating Screenshots

Even though the iPhone X has been out for nearly a week, not many developers have taken the time to create screenshots that match the new device’s display size. If developers are unsure about which set of screenshots look best, whether that be portrait of landscape, they can A/B test them or run surveys to see what set engages best with their users.

Keep in mind, developers don’t have to go with the first set of screenshots they create. They are better off testing and running surveys to see which set engages best with users and test different variables such as colors, fonts, orientation and more. Developers should, however, make sure that ASO best practices are in mind while creating screenshots that fit the iPhone X.

Developers need to get started on making new iPhone X screenshots today to provide users a better understanding of what their app will look and feel like.

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iPhone X Screenshots – Be Prepared for Nov. 3rd

Now that users and developers alike are used to iOS 11, they have a new iOS device to get ready for. The iPhone X is nearly here and Apple has kindly reminded app developers to get their apps and screenshots ready for the device.

Since the iPhone X features a different sized screen, developers need to make sure that their app and screenshots will work with the phone. Developers can currently test their apps using the iPhone X simulator in Xcode to capture screenshots and upload their new metadata and app into iTunes Connect.

Developers cannot forget about their creatives, especially with a new device being released. Creatives are key for converting users, and developers need to make sure that their screenshots are ready and looking good on all of Apple’s devices.

Here are some things developers need to think about when creating screenshots for the iPhone X:

o   1125 by 2436 (portrait)

o   2436 by 1125 (landscape)

  • Don’t mask or call attention to display features (iPhone X notch)

Unfortunately, developers will have to create new screenshots that match the new resolutions and upload them into iTunes Connect. While having to create screenshots in additional sizes may be time consuming, it will be worthwhile in the long run because screenshots will look more natural and better for the device they were created for.

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The App Store Surfaces Old Reviews; Are There Fixes?

Despite the anticipation behind iOS 11, many users and developers alike took note that the App Store was prioritizing old reviews first when the beta for iOS 11 was released, but now that it has launched, it seems those old reviews are still present.

Previously, users could sort reviews by “Most Recent,” “Most Helpful,” “Most Favorable” or “Most Critical. Without those filter options, users are stuck seeing old reviews on outdated version of an app.

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Many developers are worried that these old reviews could deter new users from converting, meaning that they are losing out on improving their install and retention rate despite their app no longer having these issues brought up by users.

While developers are worried about what their users are thinking, there is a way to combat old reviews until Apple either shows reviews in reverse chronological order or adds filter for users.

Developers can take advantage of replying to old reviews to encourage users to either test the current version of the app and hope they write a new review or update their previous review with high star ratings.

Why is Replying to Reviews Important?

Replying to reviews is necessary in the overall scheme of maintaining an app. Developers that engage with their users directly can see increases in conversion rates, install rates, and retention rates.

Positive ratings and reviews tend to encourage users to download or purchase the app. When users see developers are actively providing great responses or assisting users through an issue, they feel inclined to download, thus improving the app’s rating.

How to Combat Old Reviews

Apple didn’t make replying to reviews available to developers until iOS 10.3, which didn’t launch until April 2017. Thus, many old reviews have been forgotten by developers. To be proactive, developers should engage users and reply to old reviews to let them know of new updates or fixes.

Developers can take time to look at the App Store and see what reviews are appearing first to determine what version of the app the users left the review for. From there, engaging with users regardless of whether the issue was resolved or is still an actively known complaint encourages user interaction.

While it may look good to respond to all old reviews that currently appear on the product page, developers should prioritize reviews with lower star ratings. First, address reviews that mention issues that affect users such as crashing, freezing, or possible bugs.

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Even though the old review may not address a current issue or suggests features that have already been added, the developer should stay on topic and foster a positive experience for the user.

Moving Forward

It is unknown when or if Apple will release an update that fixes old reviews appearing first or bring back the old filter tab. This could be a bug that Apple is working on fixing, but the company has not made a comment as of yet regarding the situation.

For the time being, developers can go through old reviews and prioritize which reviews should be responded to first in an effort to show their users they care and are interested in creating a positive, beneficial environment.

Despite these reviews being old and perhaps not relevant, a developers’ response will show indecisive users that they are interested and valued what their users have to say. In doing so, developers will encourage a positive dialog which will improve the app and users’ confidence, increasing downloads, app purchases, and overall approval rate.