Tag Archives: Google Play

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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-05 at 4

Google Play Metadata Rules Updated for Improved User Experience

Google has updated its metadata rules in order to create an improved experience for users. The new rules outline suggestions based on appropriate content, as well as best practices for highlighting your app’s best features in the Google Play store.

Many of the new updates simply reflect what Google has been saying all along – don’t lie about the functionality of your app, don’t stuff unrelated keywords into your description, and don’t use the names of other apps out of context.

In the below screenshot, Google outlines how some developers try to scam their way to rankings by stuffing inappropriate keywords into their app descriptions.

playpolicy-spam01

In case the above points aren’t clear, Google outlines specifically what they are not looking to see in a description:

  1. User testimonials
  2. Excessive details
  3. Misleading references to other apps or products
  4. Further misleading references
  5. Repetitive, excessive, or irrelevant keywords

When writing a Google Play description, it is important that you use keywords that are relevant for your app. Placing those keywords in a Google Play-friendly location of your description, such as at the front of a sentence, can also help you pick up rankings, no keyword-stuffing needed.

Google then goes on to list examples of inappropriate text, images, or videos within your app listing:

  • Imagery or videos with sexually suggestive content. Avoid suggestive imagery containing breasts, buttocks, genitalia or other fetishized anatomy or content, whether illustrated or real.
  • Language inappropriate for a general audience. Avoid profane and vulgar language in your app listing. If it is a critical element of your app, you must censor its presentation within the Store listing.
  • Graphic violence prominently depicted in app icons, promotional images, or videos.
  • Depictions of the illicit usage of drugs. Even EDSA (Educational, Scientific, or Artistic) content must be suitable for all audience within the Store listing.

Finally, Google lists off several best practices to adhere to when crafting your app listing.

  • Highlight what’s great about your app. Share interesting and exciting facts about your app to help users understand what makes you app special.
  • Make sure that your app’s title and description accurately describe your app’s functionality.
  • Avoid using repetitive or unrelated keywords or references.

These are just a few of the tips that Google had in store. To see the rest, head over to their Metadata page.

For the most part, these tips go along with what ASO experts have recommended. Keep the focus on your app, not on testimonials or competing app names, and Google should have no problem with your app’s metadata.

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.

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.