Tag Archives: google play store

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Is This the End of Google Play’s Feature Graphic?

Google has been quietly removing the feature graphic from their Google Play Store, as seen by devices running the latest OS and play store versions. While the update began in late April 2018, more users are reporting that the feature graphic has been removed completely. While it’s uncertain if all Android devices are affected, it’s presumed that the change will soon appear.

Since the feature graphic is essential for converting users, its loss will have an impact on all developers. How should they update their ASO strategies to prepare for the change?

What’s the Impact?

The feature graphic plays a vital role in driving user downloads on the Google Play Store. Our internal research has shown that the feature graphic accounts for up to 30% of all conversions. The removal of the feature graphic could have a detrimental effect on apps that do not update their other creative assets (icon, screenshots and preview video) accordingly.

In the absence of the feature graphic, the role of converting users will heavily rely on the app’s screenshots and video, which now position higher on the screen to compensate. Additionally, to fill the gap left from the removal of feature graphic, Google has lifted the restrictions on screenshots sizes, giving developers leeway to add landscape or portrait images of any size to their Google Play Store product page.

What Does the Update Look Like?

Presently, the feature graphic accounts for the top third of the product page, meaning that it’s the first creative asset users see. Users are immediately drawn to the image and understand the app’s purpose while being encouraged to download. Many apps, mobile games in particular, use the feature graphic as the poster frame for their preview video.

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 2.38.24 PM

Following the update, the app’s icon, star rating, and “Install” button now take up the top part of the page. The preview video, which was often displayed as a play button in the middle of the feature graphic, now resides in the same area as the screenshots. All creative assets serve the same purpose despite the cosmetic redesign. Now that the preview video and screenshots are in the same area, developers should A/B test their creatives to ensure that they’re still converting users.

What Developers Should Do to Compensate

The loss of the feature graphic means that the other creatives will be even more important than before. Be sure to follow ASO best practices for screenshots and creatives, so that they’ll:

  • Catch users’ eyes
  • Demonstrate the app’s functions
  • Encourage users to download

As the roll out continues across devices, developers should not discard their feature graphics yet. The change is being seen on multiple devices, regardless of whether users have downloaded the latest updates, but it is still a slow transition. Until the feature graphic is gone on all devices, it still serves an important purpose.

The change is coming, and all app developers should be prepared for it. Make sure your creatives are up-to-date and optimized with best practices in mind. For good measure, you should A/B test them and get ready for the impact that the loss of the feature graphic will have.

Good App Store Optimization requires constantly adapting to the new app landscapes. This is a big change to the Google Play Store, and one that will impact all developers on Google Play, so the time to prepare is now.

Instant Apps

Instant Apps: What Are They & Will They Benefit Developers?

Have you ever wanted to try an app before downloading it? Developers are constantly looking at new strategies and tools that will help them improve conversion and retention, but many suffer from users that download their app and either open it once and uninstall, or never even open it.

In order to improve conversion rates, Google released Instant Apps, also known as Google Play Instant. This feature, first introduced at Google I/O 2016, allows users to try an app or game before installing it. At the Developer’s Keynote at Google I/O 2018, the tech company announced their latest plans for Instant Apps, and that the feature is now available on 1.2 billion devices worldwide running Android 5.0 or higher.

InstantApps1

The number of apps annually downloaded is steadily increasing, and in 2017 alone, 82 billion apps were downloaded on the Google Play Store. Similarly, the number of developers that reached 1 million installs grew by 35% since 2017. Developers that immediately jumped at the opportunity to utilize Instant Apps are surely a contributing factor to the numbers above, but is there any real promise that they’ll benefit developers in the long-run?

Are They Available to Everyone?

When Google first announced the concept to developers, some questioned whether they could be made for all apps or only a select few. They released the Instant Apps SDK to all developers in May 2017, and gave game developers a gift of a closed beta right before GDC 2018. Six games sported a new “Try Now” button right next to their “Install” button. The placement of “Try Now” is a strategic maneuver to encourage users to demo the game before deciding to download. As of now, Instant Apps are available for all mobile games.

Instant Apps Candy Crush

On May 10th, 2018, Google later stated that they would be integrating ARCore into Instant Apps. The example Google provided was for shopping apps and detailed how users can operate their device’s camera to look at products. Looking at the shoppable item then displays a link to an Instant App that would allow them to purchase items without installing the app.

The possibilities are endless with Instant Apps, especially now that AR will be integrated into the experience. Even though AR will most likely be used through search more often than not, it still shows that Instant Apps are beneficial in other areas other than the Google Play Store to improve app discovery. While Instant Apps seem favorable for users, can they help developers engage a larger audience?

How Will Instant Apps Help Developers?

The concept of Instant Apps is a promising one, and Google has enticed developers with success stories of apps that have already begun utilizing it. Apps like Hollar and Wego have increased their purchase conversion by 20% and 27% respectively thanks to Google Play Instant. Additionally, game developers like King and Hothead Games have also improved their player acquisition by using the Instant App APK.

Google has also been testing Google Play Instant with AdWords. They revealed at their annual conference that their ads have driven 10 billion app installs, and that more users are engaging with playable ads. These examples demonstrate that Instant Apps can help developers increase user engagement and revenue. Given the level of competition on the Google Play Store, it only makes sense for developers to create an Instant App for themselves to boost their bottom line and expand their audience.

Should Developers Make Instant Apps?

Being able to use and play an app or game without installing it sounds beneficial to users because they won’t need to worry about using up precious space on their devices. The concept of Instant Apps is still also increasingly tempting to developers as it can ultimately help to increase user engagement, session duration, conversion rates and more.

Instant Apps are incredibly beneficial to developers and users alike, making it key to success on the ever-growing Google Play Store. If you’re an Android developer, you should consider using Google Play Instant to aid your ASO efforts.

The Impact of the Feature Graphic for Google Play

The Impact of the Feature Graphic for Google Play

Visual assets are an app’s key tool for increasing conversions in the app stores. The icon is the first thing a user sees when browsing through the Google Play Store and screenshots are important to call out the apps core features, but the feature graphic is equally important.

For Google Play, the feature graphic should not be underestimated. While icons initially attract users, the feature graphic is what drives conversion home. Once a potential user lands on the app page, the feature graphic appears at the top of the screen, acting as the banner for the app. Paired with a persuasive description, this is where the developer has the opportunity to convince users to click “Install.”

However, developers should tread the creative process carefully. Curating the perfect collection of visual assets has a direct correlation to good App Store Optimization. To help increase conversions, developers should keep feature graphic best practices in mind.

Simplicity and Clarity
When designing a feature graphic, remember that a user will only spend a matter of seconds interpreting an image. The graphic should provide a clear understanding of what the app does at a glance while catching users’ attention.

Take Poshmark’s feature graphic for example. They manage to keep their feature graphic clean while sprinkling different clothing items around their logo to illustrate a clear retail theme.

Poshmark Developers should identify a clear theme in their feature graphic to ensure that it is digestible. Keep the graphic clean, as a busy or overcrowded image will only distract from its core message. A user should be able to identify the theme and purpose of the app almost instantly when they see the feature graphic.

Logo Treatment
The placement and size of the logo is important. While it may be tempting to place the logo wherever it feels convenient, its placement needs to complement the image. It should not be so large to where it distracts from the artwork, but large enough to be instantly recognizable.

Consider how Dungeon Boss’s logo is positioned in the top center and contrasts against the backgrounds and characters. It doesn’t distract from the character artwork but stands out on its own to create a seamless balance between the two.

Dungeon Boss

Complementary
The purpose of the feature graphic is to complement the icon and screenshots while sending a clear message of the app’s core functionality. It is the combination of visual appeal and information that draws users to the app and gives them a reason to install it, so the graphic must work with the rest of the app page as a whole to work properly.

For instance, Hopper’s feature graphic naturally correlates with their icon by employing a subtle gradient that builds towards the icon’s bright red color. Not only that, the feature graphic is able to tell a bigger story by integrating a clear air travel theme. In Hopper’s case, they also incorporated a call to action, which attributes to conversion as well.

Hopper

When developers design their feature graphic, it is important make it complement the app’s other visual assets. Otherwise, a graphic that may work well on its own will clash and detract from the app as a whole.

Key Takeaways
Feature Graphics in the Google Play Store play a crucial role in converting users. While icons and screenshots lure users to an app’s homepage, the feature graphic helps with that final push to convert them. However, they shouldn’t be overlooked due to their simplicity. Creating the perfect feature graphic entails relaying a clear theme with stunning artwork while still complementing the app’s other creatives.

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Keep in mind that Google is always making changes to the Play Store. Recently, we spotted a new update that might impact the feature graphic.

Google Play Store Changes

Another Google Play Store Overhaul

Google has launched yet another set of updates for its Play Store with changes that could effect how apps are found and viewed. Developers are working on adjusting their ASO strategy accordingly based off how the updates will impact downloads.

A quick note. Some of these changes seem to be live across all devices, while others, specifically the featured image change, is still rolling out. Of the 5 Android devices we tried, only 1 had the change.

Here’s a full list of updates:

A Change in Creatives

Until now, there was a feature graphic prominently placed at the top of each Google Play Store product page. Following the new update, however, the feature graphic has been removed. Instead, there is only the app’s icon, name, bubbles featuring category information and the install button.

Without the feature graphic, developers have lost a great way to grab users’ attention when they click on the page. The new layout brings the rest of the creatives higher up on the page, so it’s more important than ever to have strong screenshots and videos that draw in users and highlight the app’s core features.

 

Google Play Featured Image

 

However, Google has also lifted restrictions on the screenshots. No matter the kind of image – landscape or portrait of any width or height – it can be added to the Google Play Store product page and will be displayed appropriately.

With this change, app developers now have more flexibility and can fit four portrait images on a single screen (depending on the device screen size), make one large landscape screenshot that monopolizes the view or split the difference and fit a few moderately-sized images together.

It’s important to remember that, no matter what combination of creatives you use, the screenshots and video need to tell the users all they should to know about the app, grab their attention and showcase the core features. Screenshots should never be an afterthought, but now their value has increased significantly, pushing the importance of ASO best practices.

Top Features

We have seen an expansion of rankings tied to individual features across more apps in the Play Store. Apps that boast features such as “great deals” or “HD graphics” will be given scores for each feature, as determined by relevance.

 

Google Play App Features

 

Developers that market their app’s core features well will see high scores in these areas, helping to draw in new users that are looking for something specific. However, having a poor score will do the opposite and drive users away. A solid set of features that work well is invaluable, proving the importance of monitoring the user experience via Reputation Management to ensure any and all issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.

Developer Pages

While the apps’ pages are seeing a redesign, developers now have their own pages to serve as a one-stop-shop for users to see other apps they’ve created.  The developer page also allows users to learn more about them with a bio, screenshots and featured image.

Despite Google removing the feature images on product pages, it appears that the developer pages have a feature image to catch the users’ eyes and get them interested in not just one app, but all apps the developer has to offer.

 

Google Play Developer Page

 

This page represents an entire company or developer, rather than an individual app. This is where the developers must sell themselves, build trust and establish a relationship between developer and customer to help foster growth.

While some developers have had access to this in the past, it seems to be rolling out to everyone.

Conclusion

Like many of Google’s changes, the new updates came without warning, but there is no cause for alarm. Developers should update their ASO strategy with the changes above in mind and determine if they need to make any additional changes to their screenshots and videos to build a strong product page and developer page. Go into this update with a positive mindset and focus on the potential new ways users will find and download an app.