Tag Archives: App Marketing

Want to know what mobile trends 2017 holds in store?

Mobile Trends 2017 – What will Hit in Q1?

The New Year is here, and with it comes a whole new batch of trends to stay on top of.

With regards to mobile trends 2017 has the potential to be a unique year. Last fall Apple shook up the world of mobile in a major way by shortening their Title field and introducing Search Ads. This quarter, expect app developers to refine their technique when it comes to mastering the new App Store ecosystem.

Look out for these trends in Q1 2017:

Search Ads Get Refined 

As the year moves on, more and more app developers will begin to discover what performs best for Search Ads. Look for major developers to hit Search Ads even harder in an attempt to expand their search footprint into any relevant keywords.

Similarly, as more developers begin to target wider swaths of Search Ads, they will also refine how to best convert users from Search Ads.

As the New Year begins, make it a priority to learn the best practices for landing and converting from Search Ads.

Services Continue to Grow 

App Store Services picked up major traction in 2016. Expect that trend to continue as 2017 winds on.

Service subscriptions have traditionally been confined to service-based apps like Netflix and Spotify. However, games like Boom Beach have also experimented with subscription plans, showing that recurring payments can be molded to work in a number of formats.

Services have been popular for Apple, too. Service revenue grew by 24% in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016. Earlier, Apple had announced they would be offering successful Service subscriptions a more favorable revenue split of 85-15, as opposed to the usual 70-30. In order to qualify for the new split, developers would simply need to maintain a user’s subscription for one year consistently.

Superbowl LI Drives Sports Searches

Sports apps will have a field day with February’s Superbowl LI. News apps, fantasy apps and football games stand to benefit the most directly. If your app is relevant for “football”-related terms, update your metadata and creative to reflect this.

Cards, Dates and Flowers Go In Demand 

The first major holiday of 2017, Valentine’s Day will be accompanied by a surge in searches for dating, events, shopping and gift apps.

Whether your app offers gifts for couples, flowers for the parents or in-person meetup opportunities for everyone else, you can capitalize on Valentine’s Day by including relevant keywords and expanding upon them in your description and creative.

Following Valentine’s Day, some apps may want to look ahead to Easter. While the holiday falls in early Q2, apps that offer relevant services (flowers, gift baskets, candy, etc.) will want to pivot towards Easter sooner than that. Change out your Valentine’s Day marketing language and keywords for Easter by early Spring.

While gift apps will have a field day, games can get in on the holiday fun too. The later winter to early spring season is often a popular time for game developers to run special events, like last year’s Angry Birds Epic mini-campaign. This event introduced a miniaturized version of a standard Angry Birds Epic campaign for Valentine’s Day, featuring new levels, special items and more.

If your app can be positioned as relevant for winter and spring holidays, be sure to have your metadata and creative updated in advance so that you have already begun indexing by the holiday.

App Store Search Ads are a great complement to your ASO strategy

How Search Ads and ASO Go Hand-in-Hand

Apple launched their Search Ads initiative just over two months ago, taking the world of App Store developers by storm. Many developers feared that these new ads, placed prominently at the top of search results, would nullify or somehow contradict the ASO work they had already done. In fact, the opposite is true – ASO and Search Ads go hand-in-hand.

To understand how best to incorporate Search Ads into your existing ASO strategy, you must first look at how the ads work and what Apple wants to achieve with them.

Why Search Ads?

When the App Store’s title limit was 255 characters, thousands of spammy apps cluttered the store. These apps crammed keyword after keyword into their titles and descriptions, attempting to manipulate Apple’s rankings system by targeting often-irrelevant high-volume phrases. These apps weren’t just sloppy, they looked sloppy on the storefront, too. It was the opposite of Apple’s clean, sleek aesthetic.

By removing apps with titles longer than 50 characters and introducing Search Ads, Apple has forced spammy developers to clean up or leave the App Store, without denying legitimate developers a way to increase their rankings in the absence of a long title field.

This motivation extends out past Search Ads. Everything Apple does in the App Store, they do to create a more streamlined, friendly experience for users.

How ASO Can Help

That said, Search Ads on the App Store work a little differently than other keyword-based ad platforms. While many ad platforms award placement to the highest bidder, Apple also takes an app’s relevancy into account. It is incredibly difficult to have your app featured number one in a Search Ad for a term it is completely irrelevant for.

This comes from the same philosophy that led Apple to remove long titles from the App Store. For Apple it’s all about user experience, and that means for Search Ads it’s all about relevancy. If your app isn’t relevant for a keyword, you won’t have any luck targeting it in an ad.

ASO is all about creating that type of relevancy. A standard keyword optimization always takes into account which words and phrases your app is relevant for, and which of those phrases are being searched most by users. ASO then becomes all about selling Apple on the relevance of your app to those phrases.

A similar process can be used to create relevancy for keywords that you wish to target in Search Ads. It’s all about creating context for why your app is relevant for the terms you wish to target.

Because a standard optimization already creates relevance, and App Store Search Ads require and thrive off of that relevance, ASO and Search Ads work together to bolster one another. It’s just another way in which all mobile marketing is beginning to center around ASO.

Google Play 2017 Trends: More AR, More Face Swapping

Google Play 2017 – What We Can Learn From Google’s Top Trending Games of 2016

On December 2, Google announced their top trending apps for 2016. Included were games like Pokémon GO and Clash Royale, as well as apps like Face Changer 2 and Castbox. The popularity of these titles won’t surprise most who work in the apps industry, but Google’s announcement is still worth looking into for the sake of determining trends that have influenced the Google Play market this year – And may continue to do so throughout 2017.

For starters, Google’s Top Trending Games of 2016 were:

  1. Pokémon GO
  2. Clash Royale
  3. Traffic Rider
  4. slither.io
  5. Dream League Soccer

Meanwhile, their Top Trending Apps were:

  1. Face Changer 2
  2. Lumyer- Photo & Selfie Editor
  3. Castbox – Podcast Radio Music
  4. Emoji Keyboard Pro
  5. MSQRD

Let’s start with the games.

Pokémon GO became the fastest app to reach $600 million in revenue just three short months after its launch in July 2016. The app rode a wave of nostalgia and social media buzz to a massive launch, but that wasn’t the only thing that made it a success.

The game was the first major title to use augmented reality to enhance the game experience. Users were asked to go out and catch monsters in the real world, and the unique flavor of the gameplay made it a big hit. Augmented reality isn’t going anywhere in 2017, either. Just look at Google’s own Tango to see that Google Play 2017 will feature more of the AR gameplay that made Pokémon a hit.

Clash Royale, meanwhile, shows that real-time strategy games still have room to expand. With strategic online multiplayer games becoming more readily accessible through the mobile market, games like Clash Royale that offer real-time online multiplayer will be more attractive to the gaming market, in a similar way that online multiplayer has evolved the console gaming market.

Other games, like Traffic Rider, Dream League Soccer and sliter.io, serve to reassure game developers that arcade action and sports games aren’t going anywhere in 2017. These genres remain immensely popular, if crowded. Expect the usual growth spurts for sports games as the football and basketball seasons hit their peaks next year.

Google’s Top Apps, meanwhile, reveal a continued fervor for face changing and enhanced expression.

Of the top five, only two (Castbox and Emoji Keyboard Pro) are not related to photos. While these trends show that photography apps remain popular, there are tons of apps in these categories, and your app will need a fun hook to stand out. Face Changer 2 focuses on warping photos into funny facial expressions, while Lumyer has high-quality video effects and MSQRD has a wide array of face stickers. It’s safe to say we’re in for more face changing and video editing in 2017.

Google’s Top Trending Apps of 2016 reveal an interesting set of trends that will no doubt carry over into 2017. Look out for the above and more as we welcome in the New Year.

Android

Google Gets Tough on Fake ‘Top Charts’ Apps

Google announced this week that they would be cracking down on apps that try to fake their way into the Play Store’s top charts. Through the use of a new detection and filtering method, Google will remove apps that utilize fake or incentivized user ratings and installs to get a boost, and will even remove apps outright from the Play Store.

This isn’t anything new for Google – the company made a similar pledge to remove fraudulent top apps a little over a year ago – but what has changed is the method of detection. Google has introduced a method of detection which will supposedly “detect and filter” apps that utilize suspect methods of ascent. Apps that are found to be utilizing these means will be removed from the top charts in an effort to “make Google Play the best platform for enjoying and discovering the most innovative and trustworthy apps”.

The big news for many developers is that Google will actually remove apps from the store for violating this principle. Google warned in a blog post that “developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play”. It’s not as wide-spanning a threat as Apple’s recent title limit change, but the removal of a popular app (even one that only became popular through suspect means) could still shake up the Google Play store.

Google promises than in most cases, no action will be required on the case of the developer. They also ask that should developers request marketing assistance from an outside source, they make sure the means of the marketing are legitimate.

A strong Google Play campaign doesn’t necessarily need to utilize fraudulent reviews or downloads to boost onto the charts. The strongest method of discoverability is and has always been search; most app downloads come from searches, not from the top downloads charts. Similarly, the primary determinants of your app’s keyword rankings are its title, short description and long description. A solid marketing agency will take these elements into account instead of suggesting burst campaigns or fraudulent downloads.

Search Ads – How Paid Search Will Impact iOS Developers

This Fall Apple is preparing to initiate the biggest shift for App Store search yet in the form of Search Ads, sponsored app placements that will appear at the top of certain searches within the App Store.

Apple’s developer page bills Search Ads as “an efficient and easy way for you to promote your app within the U.S. App Store search results, helping people discover or reengage with your app at the very moment they are searching for apps like yours”. Sounds helpful, but to developers who make their living from apps, any change in the App Store can seem worrying. How will Search Ads impact the store’s ecosystem? Nobody knows for sure, but we can make a few points with confidence that show Search Ads may be the next great thing for developers.

To start, let’s talk about just what a Search Ad will look like in the App Store. When a user types in a targeted search term (“photo filters” is the example used by Apple), if a developer has bought an ad and Apple deems the app relevant for that term, it will appear at the top of the search results above the first organic search result. That means the ad will now be the first app users see. However, top ranking apps don’t have to worry about being pushed off of the front page, because Apple has designed the search ad to be smaller than a traditional search result. This means that both the ad and the top organically-ranking app will be visible to searchers right away.

A Search Ad also differs from a traditional listing in the number of screenshots shown. There are many different display options when your search ad goes live. Portrait ads generally seem to display three screens, at a smaller size than a standard App Store search result. Screenshots can also be displayed in landscape, or even not at all. Potentially, though, apps advertising through Search Ads will have one more chance at converting a user than traditional app listings.

A small blue “Ad” notification will appear next to the developer name, indicating to users that this is not a standard organic search result. Pertinent information such as an “Editor’s Choice” banner can also be displayed, should your app have received the honor from Apple in the past.

Aside from these differences, it’s business as usual for Search Ads being displayed in the App Store. The app’s title, visual elements and developer are all displayed front and center. The “Get” button is the same as well, meaning that users will be able to download advertised apps with one tap.

According to Apple, “various targeting features will enable deeper discovery of apps, including lesser known or niche apps”, and “by default a user won’t see ads for apps they already have downloaded”. Similarly, a Search Ad for your app will be shown when Apple deems your product to be relevant for a user’s search, so you won’t have to worry about your app only appearing for users who type in one specific phrase.

Continuing on that theme, Apple will by default automate much of the process of buying the ad for you, should you choose. When you buy a Search Ad, Apple will automatically match your app to relevant user searches in the U.S. store. You don’t have to type in any terms off the top of your head or search up the most popular terms, by default at least. If you do want that granular level of control, Apple will allow you to target specific keywords and audiences, and provide APIs for campaign creation, management and reporting.

Once your ad is live, payment will function similarly to a Google Adwords campaign. Purchasing an ad plays out like an auction, and you only pay when a user actually taps on your ad. There’s no minimum amount to spend and no contracts, so it seems as if Apple is keeping things flexible, for now at least. This also means that anyone who has spent time with Google Adwords should be able to pick up Search Ads relatively quickly.

Apple’s insights suite offers buyers a chance to track the impact that their Search Ad is making on their product. The Attribution API breaks down results by each keyword bid upon, and supposedly emphasizes privacy for both you and the user as information lookup occurs exclusively on the user’s device.

All of that sounds great, but how will Apple’s Search Ads actually play out when millions of apps potentially have access to them? To find out, we’ll turn to Google’s Search Ads as example. Google released Search Ads for the Google Play storefront a year ago, and were met with a similar mixture of excitement and trepidation from developers.

Even during the beta period, though, Search Ads were found to be a great way of converting high-quality users. Nordeus CEO Tomislav Mihajlovic, for example, told TechCrunch that his company saw “significantly more app installs from Search with the addition of Google Play inventory for [their] game Top Eleven”. Other developers, like Uber competitor Honk, claimed that Search Ads through Google cost as little as one-third the price of a Facebook ad campaign.

History shows, then, that Apple’s Search Ads could very well be a boon to developers in the App Store.

The Apple Search Ads beta is available now for curious developers out there.