Tag Archives: Apple

Optimize Search Ads for your app in the new year

Increasing Conversion With App Store Search Ads

App Store Search Ads are often cited as the number one trend to watch for app developers in 2017. Placed prominently at the top of relevant search queries, Search Ads show vital information about your app to potential customers and, in concept, can help even a small independent app reach the top of search.

In line with the traditional ASO process, Apple ensures that their Search Ads work based on relevance and not based solely on the highest bidder. Even so, landing a Search Ad is not a guarantee that you will begin converting users right away.

To get the most from your Search Ad, it is important to target the right terms at the right time. Just as trends shape the keyword landscape in the App Store, so too will they dictate which Search Ads are best for your app.

To this end, any developer targeting Search Ads should take several steps prior to settling on a campaign strategy.

Choosing Your App Store Search Ads

To start, select a base of keywords that you wish to target for your app. These terms should relate to your app’s core features and demographic. With iOS, a Search Ad will only be truly successful if Apple determines that your app is relevant for the term.

Once you have a base list of terms, eliminate any that aren’t searched commonly by users. Find out which terms are searched most, as this will open your app to the most potential traffic from new users.

Keyword data in the App Store is fluid, and changes often. It can be helpful to use software to determine the optimal high-ranking search terms for your ad. 

Tracking Trends in Search Ads

As keyword rankings move up and down in popularity, they take their respective Search Ads with them. For instance, if the number of users searching for “free games” goes down, so too will the number of users who see your app at the top of search results for that term.

Search Ads can and should be tracked just like keywords. If a keyword is declining in popularity, or if your app is failing to catch on for a certain term in your keyword bank, those might be keywords that your app should not target in a Search Ad.

On the other hand, rising keywords can be a great way to branch out into relevant categories that other developers haven’t caught onto yet. By using software to track keyword trends, you can stay on top of which terms are gaining popularity in your app’s field and capitalize on that by quickly purchasing a Search Ad.

Finally, consider seasonal words and phrases that might catch on around the same time each year. “Black Friday” and “New Years” are great recent examples. If your app offers anything that might relate to a large event or holiday, that can be a great way to catapult your app towards a large new audience.

Creating Relevance for Your Ads

Earlier we mentioned that Apple tends to favor relevant apps for Search Ad placement. What if your app is relevant, but you still haven’t caught on for the keywords you are targeting?

In that case, it’s time to look back to your app’s store page. Just as a standard app optimization creates relevance for the words in your title and keyword bank, an optimization for Search Ads should create relevance for terms you wish to target in future ads.

You can create this relevance in several ways.

Your app description is a great place to start. If you are trying to target “Black Friday”, for example, it would be pertinent to highlight upcoming Black Friday deals your app might host in the first few sentences. If you are trying to target “New Years”, simply explain how your app might help users with resolutions, scheduling, finding activities, or whatever else makes your app relevant to users during the new year. If Apple is not seeing how your app is relevant, be sure to explain it to them.

Screenshots are another great way to call out new features that might make your app relevant for your intended Search Ad. Keep in mind that Search Ads can feature up to three portrait-orientation screenshots. This is an increase of one screenshot from traditional search results. Take advantage of this by showing off key features relevant to your Search Ad in your first three screens.

Finally, your app title can help to create relevance for a keyword you wish to target. Keep in mind that while Apple still cuts off long titles with an ellipses in search results, the full 50 characters in your title are visible in a Search Ad. Use this space to create relevance and explain your app’s core features.

Tracking Conversion

Finally, after your Search Ad has gone live, take advantage of Apple’s built-in tracking tools to keep tabs on conversion. Just as you would abandon a term from your keyword bank if it were underperforming, you should either re-tool or abandon Search Ads that don’t work for you and re-focus on new terms that may prove more lucrative.

 

With your Search Ads optimized, you will greatly increase your chances of appearing at the top of search results for relevant users.

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.

Apple's Holiday App Store Promo

Holiday App Store Optimization – Capitalizing on the Rush

The holidays are almost here, and the influx of new phones, tablets and gift cards that comes along with them will undoubtedly bring a wave of revenue to the App Store and Google Play. Whether or not last year’s record-breaking $1.1 billion in App Store spending can be beat remains to be seen, but regardless app developers would be wise to plan ahead for the holiday season.

A well-optimized app needs only a quick update to position itself strongly for the holidays. New creative assets, keywords and a blurb in the description can be enough to capitalize on holiday attention for an app that already has a dedicated fan base.

But what about apps that have yet to be optimized? The influx of users that occurs each holiday season can only be fully capitalized upon if your app is appropriately optimized. A strong optimization will increase the number of search terms your app ranks for, and during the vital holiday season, this change alone can make a huge difference.

On Apple, that means tailoring your title, keywords and description towards your target audience. Your app’s title should be descriptive and to the point, with a subtitle utilizing highly searched terms to flesh out your rankings and quickly explain your app to users. You only have 50 characters to work with, so be certain to focus on words that will improve your rankings. You want to target the most popular searches in the App Store while describing your app’s features at the same time.

Your keyword bank is where you have more room to experiment. Of course, you will still want to use highly searched words in your keyword bank, as these have more potential for putting your app in front of the most users. Focus on words that are relevant for your app and searched the most by users. You may also target competitor apps in your keyword bank, but be careful in doing so – many apps in the store target competitors in their title and keyword bank, but only a few are deemed relevant by Apple. In order to be deemed relevant, your app must have notable similarities to its competitor, and you must position your app’s description in a way such that those similarities seem reasonable. Smaller companies often have difficulty landing large competitors, too, so watch out for that.

On Google Play, optimizing your app works a little differently. Your app’s title is still important, but most notably, you don’t have a keyword bank to work with. Instead, Google crawls your app’s description for words that may be relevant to your app. Words that are placed at the front of sentences, or grouped together near similar words, are deemed especially important. That means the best way to optimize your app on Google Play is to create a description that features a bulleted feature list, almost like an outline, that details like features together with one another.

Another important element of a Google Play optimization is your app’s Short Description. This is an 80-character field that exists to give users a clear, concise description of your app. The words placed here are especially important for establishing rankings and guiding users to your app’s most important features.

By optimizing your app separately for each storefront, you can capitalize on the unique searches and trends that occur in each. And during the holiday season, with potentially over $1 billion being spent over just a few weeks, a strong optimization is more important than ever. If your app hasn’t been optimized yet, now is a great time to start.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 10.58.44 AM

iPhone 7 – Everything You Need to Know

Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus at their San Francisco press conference today, confirming many rumors about the device and revealing a host of new features as well. How will the iPhone 7 impact the world of mobile? Let’s take a deeper look.

More Horsepower

The iPhone 7 will predictably introduce the A10 chip, Apple’s most advanced chip yet. The A10 has a four-core CPU powered by two high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores. The high-performance are designed to handle tasks like intensive gaming, and each run 50% faster than the A9. Meanwhile, the high-efficiency cores are designed for less intense tasks, and will save you one-fifth of your battery life.

All of this should lead to our next point…

Improved Battery Life

Each year Apple touts improved battery life in their new iPhone models, and this year is no different. The iPhone 7 will supposedly last up to two hours longer than the iPhone 6s thanks to the new high-efficiency processors in the A10 fusion chip.

Updated Camera(s)

The iPhone 7’s camera will come equipped with optical image stabilization, a 1.8 aperture lens, a 12-megapixel sensor and quad-LED flash. The front camera will be upgraded from five megapixels to seven for sharper selfies than ever before.

Photography buffs will want to shell out for the iPhone 7 Plus, though. This model features two cameras: one 12-megapixel wide angle, and one 12-megapixel telephoto. The first shows 1x zoom, and the other will allow users to instantly jump to 2x zoom with a tap.

Digital zoom will still be used for up to 10x zoom total.

Lightning Headphones

As rumored, the headphone jack is no more. Instead, all Apple headphones will now use the Lightning port. A converter will be included in the box so you won’t have to abandon your old headphones just yet.

If you ARE looking for a change of pace in the headphone arena, consider Apple’s new wireless AirPods. These headphones look and feel similar to standard EarPods, but are completely wireless. Better yet, you can double tap them to summon Siri right into your ear.

Stereo Speakers and Improved Display

Replacing the headphone jack are new stereo speakers, one set at the top and one at the bottom. The speakers should offer booming sound that older iPhone models just weren’t capable of.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 7’s display will be 25 percent brighter than previous models, and will continue to expand the color range possible on mobile. 3D Touch will continue to exist on the iPhone 7, but nothing exciting was announced in this regard.

iOS 10

Apple revealed iOS 10 months ago at WWDC, but with its looming September 13 release just around the corner all of the changes we’ve been discussing are about to hit at once. Built-in photo editing, responsive notifications, Siri integration and a brand-new App Store just for iMessage – all of this and more is about to be rolled out worldwide.

New Design

The flagship iPhone 7 color looks to be “Jet Black”, a shiny gloss color achieved through sand polishing. Standard Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold variations will also be available.

Where the iPhone 7 design really begins to come to life is in its new convenience features. The phone will be water and dust resistant, meaning your phone will continue to look great even if you drop it or get it wet. Don’t mistake water resistance for waterproof, though; unlike the Apple Watch Series 2, which ejects water from its speaker, the iPhone 7 can’t withstand a deep plunge.

Meanwhile, the new Home button will use Taptic feedback; it won’t click in like older models, but it shouldn’t feel different to users.

Upgraded Storage

New iPhone models will launch with updated storage tiers. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be available in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models. The only way to get your hands on a 16GB model is now to purchase an iPhone SE.

Launch

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will release on September 16, with pre-orders beginning Friday the 9th.

The base iPhone 7 will start at $649 unlocked, while the 7 Plus will start at $769. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will still be available in 32GB and 128GB models at a reduced price point.

IOS User Interface Guidelines

How To Design An IOS User Interface That Fits Apple’s Guidelines

If you intend to design an iOS app, you must abide by Apple’s user interface guidelines.

The most important iOS human interface guidelines include:

App Anatomy

According to Apple, almost all iOS apps use the components defined in the UIKit framework. In general, the UIKit user interface elements are broken down into the following four categories:

Bars

  • This component consists of contextual information that keeps app users aware of where they are, how to navigate, and how to initiate certain actions.

Content views

  • This element should contain app-specific information and allow users to perform actions such as deleting, inserting, and rearranging content or app elements.

Controls

  • Users should be able to perform app-specific actions or display content.

Temporary views

  • The app should briefly show users key details, functionalities, or content that they can access.

The UIKit also covers the objects that you can incorporate into your app to enhance gesture recognition, accessibility, support printing and support drawing functionalities.

You can think of a UI element/component as a type of view that responds to user interaction.

This means that content, sliders, buttons, text boxes and tables are all types of views.

The best way to offer a seamless hierarchy of views inside your app is by using a view controller. This component allows you to manage a transition from one screen to another, displaying available views and implementing user-based interactions and functionalities.

iOS Themes

Your iOS app must embody the following UI themes:

1. Clarity

Clarity refers to legible icons and text as well as easily recognizable user interface controls such as sliders and buttons. These must be precise and have a sharpened focus.

One way of enhancing clarity is by leveraging the power of negative space to make content stand out and be more noticeable. A good example is the way messaging apps use space to separate incoming and outgoing content.

You can also use a suitable system font such as San Francisco to make letters and words easier to read by adjusting letter spacing and line height automatically.

Luckily, the iOS system font works well with Dynamic Type. A third way of enhancing clarity is by using borderless buttons. Of course, you can create a content area button with a thin border to make it stand out from the surrounding elements.

2. Depth

Apple recommends using realistic motion or visually appropriate layers to enhance the attractiveness of your app’s content as well make it easier for users to understand it.

When implementing depth elements, you should convey hierarchy and position.

For instance, you can use 3D touch functionality to allow app users to explore content in a more interactive way. You can also implement a translucent background element to make content appear to float above other app elements.

Other depth elements that you can deploy include enhanced transitions and zooming functionality.

3. Deference

Deference refers to the UI component that enables app users to interact with and understand content without overshadowing it. You can easily achieve this goal by creating a crisp UI that can transition fluidly across views.

For example, you can use translucent UI elements to give app users a hint of the content that is behind the current element.

However, you should be wary of UI heavy elements such as drop shadows and bezels because they can overwhelm and turn the attention of app users from the primary content.

For the best results, you should cast such elements in a secondary/supporting role.

Standard Gestures to Support

Your app should support standard gestures that mobile device owners have become used to including tap, drag, pinch, swipe, flick, double tap, shake, as well as touch and hold.

Additionally, you can include gestures that allow users to perform system-wide actions such as accessing the main menu or reaching the notification center.

However, you should avoid using standard gestures to implement different app-specific actions because doing so will lead to confusion.

Moreover, you should not define and implement new, non-standard features unless your app is a game. This is because such features may make your app harder to use and compromise the user experience.

If you intend to create complex gestures, only do so as a shortcut for executing a specific action much faster, not the only way to perform it. This will make it easier for users to select functionalities that suit their needs.

This notwithstanding, complex and non-standard gestures can enrich your app’s functionality and user experience greatly if properly implemented.

Conclusion

When designing an iOS app, you should pay attention to Apple’s UI guidelines. This includes ensuring your app has all the UIKit framework components, embodies UI theme elements and supports standard gestures.