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Our Favorite and Top Posts of 2015

Our Favorite and Top Posts of 2015

It has been an amazing year in Mobile, Apps and Mobile Marketing for our clients and all of us here at Gummicube.

Let’s take a look at some of the most impactful, enlightening and actionable posts from 2015.

Mobile is Eating the World

Riffing off of his boss’ “Software is eating the world” pronouncement a decade ago, Ben Evans of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) makes his argument that it is now mobile that is the center of the digital universe with his “Mobile is Eating the World” presentation.

Source: ben-evans.com

This deck is over 50 slides of mobile goodness, comparing mobile to PCs, the impact (or lack thereof) of Microsoft, what the future may hold and poses some new questions we’ll look to answer in 2016 and beyond.

Internet Trends – 2015 by KPCB

This annual report presented by Mary Meeker (often dubbed the “Mary Meeker Report”) is full of wonderful, aggregated data across the digital spectrum.

As noted in many of the almost 200 slides, mobile is carving out a substantial presence in our digital lives, taking share away from print, TV, radio and even (mostly) the web.

Two of our favorite slides – one on the growth of mobile as a medium for digital consumption:

usage-mobile-vs-desktop

And second comparing advertising spend vs time in medium:

ad-spend-vs-usage

Google’s Mobile Search Stats

In April, Google started penalizing websites that were not “mobile-friendly” – that is either using responsive design or designed specifically for mobile (m.website.com).

Clearly quality results + good user experience for mobile searchers were important to Google. A bit later in the year we learned why – as Google mentioned in a blog post that more Google search takes place on a mobile device than on “computers” (desktops/laptops) in 10 countries – US and Japan included.

Key quote:  “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”

Gummicube ASO White Paper

The complete guide to on-app, off-app and conversion rate optimization for more visibility and organic traffic and installs from the app stores.

ASO-from-Gummicube

One thing this white paper does that others don’t is makes the case for the long-term competitive advantages of an ongoing optimization effort for a mobile app portfolio.

Honorable mention (requires email):  comScore’s Mobility Report – 2015

Our Top Posts of 2015

App Store Ranking Algorithm and Impact of App Name Length

After a shakeup in the app store top charts, we took a look at some of the rumors flying around, and specifically reviewed the subject of “keyword stuffing” title or app names.

If you like graphs and data – you will like this post. The key takeaway was:

While we advise our clients that keyword stuffing app titles is not part of resilient App Store optimization strategy – the claim that Apple is penalizing long App Store titles fails on further investigation.

Google Trends vs Apple App Store Trending

Using the Academy Awards – we compared Google Trends data with the recently released Apple App Store Trending data.

For now – the main takeaway seems to be web search is very different from app store search regardless of external events, in no small part because user intent is so different.

Android App Marketing and Google Play ASO

How to get started with Google Play optimization, from the App Title to screenshots, descriptions and everything in between.

This post served as a hub for Google Play ASO, and was shared viewed and shared over 1,000 times.

We covered all sorts of mobile app marketing and ASO topics in 2015 and look forward to sharing for insight, data, trends and analysis in 2016!

iOS App Description Writing Tips

iOS App Description Tips and Tricks

Creating a great title, icon and screenshots are critical to your app’s success in the App Store. However, don’t overlook the iOS app description. If a user is interested enough in your app to read the description, it could make or break their decision to tap “get.” If you’re not sure what you should put in your description, we’ve listed some tips below.

In an iOS App Description your first five lines are the most important 

When a user is looking at your app in the iTunes App Store, only the first five lines are displayed before they have to click “more” to read the rest. This makes the first 5 lines the most important part of your description.

Treat these first five lines like your first screenshot; this area should be able to stand on its own as something that gets the user excited about your app. Put enough information here to let the user know what your app is about, but keep it short and sweet.

description-1

Say hello to your target audience

Make sure to tailor your iOS app description to the target demographic for your app. Is your app an educational game designed for children ages 2-5? Write about how your app is great for the classroom or perfect right before bedtime to target teachers and parents. If you have a virtual puppy training app, the vocabulary in your description should very be different than an app that helps graduate students studying to get their MBA.

If applicable, use a bit of esoteric language that shows your target audience you really get them and their community. This can help communicate what’s great about your app in an engaging way that keeps their attention. Your description is the perfect area for you to show your target audience that you’ve designed this app specifically for them.

Add a short, concise feature list

Apple recommends including a bulleted list of main features. Remember- your features should highlight the benefits of your app to your users as well as stating what your app does.

List your features in a way where users can instantly understand what your app offers them. If a user has to stop and think about how your app’s features work or how they are useful, you may have missed a download opportunity.

Use testimonials to your advantage

After your “first five” and feature list, add some positive feedback you’ve gotten for your app. If your app was featured by Apple, definitely let the users know. If you’ve gotten positive reviews on blogs or iTunes app reviews, let them know as well. This kind of information gives your app credibility and plays into their consideration to download your app.

Keep in mind that your description should still be a description, and not just a wall of testimonials. Only include a few, and put them near the end of your description after the features list.

description-2

Close the deal

This is an important piece that many descriptions lack. If a user has read your “first five,” your features list and your testimonials, you should close with an exciting call to action that tells them to download the app now.

If applicable, you can also use this area to list a support e-mail, company website or privacy policy page. This communicates to the user that they can trust your app and reach out if they have any problems.

Don’t forget- Apple is reading your description, too

Apple has a team that reviews every submission before it goes live in the App Store- it’s not done automatically. This means any nefarious activity like keyword stuffing is a bad idea. It will be seen, flagged, and will likely cause your app to be rejected. Even if it passes Apple, it may be a turn-off to users.

That doesn’t mean you can’t put your keywords in your description! If you use keywords correctly and naturally in your description, you should be fine. Spread keywords all throughout your description in a way that reads naturally; use each one a few times throughout your description.

If you need to force the keywords you’ve selected into your sentences to explain your app, you may need to choose better keywords that are more relative to what your app does.

Other things to keep in mind

  • Your app description has a 4000 character limit
  • Proofread your description- a few typos or grammatical errors can ruin your credibility
  • Avoid walls of text- try to keep each paragraph to less than 4 lines
  • Don’t do anything bad! Don’t put up fake testimonials, don’t keyword stuff and don’t falsify your features

Basically, a great intro, concise feature list, glowing reviews and sure-fire call to action will be interesting for users to read and could greatly help  increase conversion.  Having your targeted keywords appropriately distributed throughout your description can help increase your ranking and is OK in Apple’s eyes.

If you want further insight into how users are responding to your app description, try running it by an App Focus Group.  You may find some great tips right from the users to help you improve even more.

App Preview Videos: Tips for iOS App Previews

You’ve perfected your description. Your icon looks great. You’ve uploaded all of the screenshots you need in every required size. Now all that needs to happen is the end-user tapping “GET.” Is there anything else you can do?

You can increase your odds with Apple’s new App Preview, a 15-30 second video you can create to get users excited to try your app.

 

Why do I need an App Preview?

In today’s App Store, the App Preview video shows up before your screenshots. App Previews are one of the first things you see when you search for a new app in the App Store.

As a developer, the App Preview gives you a chance to make a much more engaging pitch to get users to download your app as opposed to static screenshots or sifting through a description. Once a user taps to play, a 15-30 second video will be far more powerful than a few screenshots and lines of text.

 

How do I make one?

Creating an effective App Preview doesn’t have to be hard! It’s easy if you follow this basic guideline:

Once you have a video captured of your app in action and open in your video editor:

  • Incorporate interesting art assets or instructional text overlays to both excite and educate the user
  • Be sure to include a frame or text overlay that discloses In-App Purchases
  • Ensure transitions between scenes don’t imply functionality that your app doesn’t have

When exporting, don’t forget:

  • Your App Preview can’t exceed a file size of 500mb.
  • .mov, .m4v or mp4 format only.

Doing this for one device and dimension is simple enough, but be sure to include feature & gameplay videos for all dimensions of the devices you support.

 

What dimensions should I use?

Just like screenshots, App Previews must be in different sizes for different devices. You are allowed to upload a preview for every available device, except for the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 and 4S.

  • 5 Series: 1080 x 1920 or 640 x 1136
  • iPad: 900 x 1200
  • iPhone 6: 750 x 1334
  • iPhone 6 Plus: 1080 x 1920

Don’t forget to ensure your App Previews are up to Apple’s basic video specifications.

 

What should I say with my App Preview? 

What’s in the video is up to you as the developer: Choose what you want your users to see and experience! It’s important that the content you do choose to use shows the user how the app looks and works.

Apple also requires developers to disclose In-App Purchases in the preview, either through the video itself or as text superimposed on the video.

Screenshots do provide some sense of how your app works, but App Preview could entice the user into their next download or purchase.

As with screenshots, be sure your App Preview is honest to the app’s features or gameplay.

 

What shouldn’t go in an App Preview?

Everything featured or seen in your App Preview should be your own content or things you have the rights to. Be careful not to use music or footage from other apps or videos that do not belong to you.

There are also some basic things you shouldn’t do for your videos:

  • Only use touch hotspots (not animated hands) to demonstrate touch gestures if necessary
  • Avoid objectionable content, violence, adult themes and profanity
  • Previews may not contain ads, platform logos, pricing or timelines.
  • Stay within the app! You don’t have to show people interacting with the app, or show over-the-shoulder angles or fingers tapping the screen.

App Previews you upload for your app are seen across all region iTunes stores. It’s recommended that you avoid voiceovers and including a lot of text in App Previews so that other users from other territories aren’t deterred.

Unlike apps in the “Games” category, which can have action and art packed in every second, text-heavy categories like “lifestyle” will be under a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to creating an exciting preview video. Don’t fear though- as long as your video is informative, engaging and educational, you can create a great App Preview.

 

What does a good App Preview look like?

The developers of Geometry Dash used the App Preview to show off the gameplay with short captions while at the same time some of the character options users have in the game.

app-preview-video-1

Another example of a great App Preview is the preview used for FaceTune. Instead of animated hands floating around the screen everywhere to show you where things are, the preview quickly goes through the basic functions of the app with a single touch hot spot for the user to follow.

app-preview-video-2

Most importantly, these videos contain the necessary information to get a user excited about the app- they aren’t too fast and they don’t drag on too long.

 

What does a bad App Preview look like?

One of the App Store’s more popular games, Blek, released a trailer through YouTube that uses a real hand to show the user how the app works and also does not disclose In-App Purchases.

app-preview-video-3

Apple wants to keep all of the App Previews uniform. It’s important to show how your app works, but without other distracting factors like having animated hands or real hands use the app for you in the video.

Keep in mind- if you lose a user’s attention for even a second, they may turn off your preview video and leave without downloading your app.

 

What else should I keep in mind?

App Previews could be the final factor that pushes a user to tap “GET” on their mobile devices. Just as how your app’s description and screenshots play a huge part in how your app is seen in the App Store, the App Preview could be what pushes possible users to download your app.

For better insight into how users feel about your App Preview, try showing it to an App Focus Group. Whether it’s A/B testing a few videos you have in mind or simply gaining insight into the video currently live, users may have some insightful feedback about how to improve your video.

iOS App Submission Screenshots Help

What are App Store Screenshots Best Practices?

Adding screenshots of your app when submitting to iTunes Connect seems simple enough, right? Take screenshots, upload the files, done.  However, the screenshot area is a very important part of how users perceive your app and you should be sure to know the answers to these technical and strategic questions.

Why are there different sizes?

One of the benefits of past-gen iPhones was their single screen size.  This made it easier for developers to make an app without having to worry about a consistent user experience across multiple devices; everyone had the same sized device.

Now that there are different iPhones with different screen sizes, developers must keep them each in mind when creating and submitting apps.

Do I really need all of them?

If your screenshots are not available in the newer iOS dimensions, it’s a red flag to users that the app hasn’t been updated in a long time.  Some users may not give your app a second thought if it looks out of date.

Even if your app was designed with only the smaller iPhone screen in mind, you can still show users how it will look on multiple devices.  Having this option shows that you still care about maintaining your app in the modern App Store- even if the app itself is a bit outdated.  Updating your screenshots can be very beneficial- and it’s a lot less difficult than redesigning your entire app!

What sizes do I need?

iTunes Connect now asks for 4 different iPhone sizes when you’re preparing your app.  If your app works on iPad, it’s important to include that as well.

Remember, dimensions are displayed “width” by “height.” These are portrait dimensions; if your app is shown in landscape, just switch the numbers around.

  • * 4.7 Inch:
    • 750 x 1334
    • Used for iPhone 6
  • * 5.5 Inch:
    • 1242 x 2208 (scales down to 1080 x 1920)
    • Used for iPhone 6 Plus
  • * 4 Inch:
    • 640 x 1136
    • Used for iPhone 4 & iPhone 5
  • 3.5 Inch
    • 640 x 920
    • Used for iPhone 3
  • iPad:
    • 1536 x 2048
    • Used for all iPads

* What’s great about the 4, 4.7 and 5.5 inch screenshots is that they are all about the same aspect ratio.  Just make the largest one first and scale it down to make the other two!

What file type should I use?

When you’re exporting your images, remember to keep them high quality. Use PNG-24 or JPEG format.  When using JPEG format, don’t compress the file too much or your users will see unsightly JPEG artifacting.

Now that you’re a technical expert, what should you do with these images?

What should my screenshots say?

Calling these images “screenshots” is something of a misnomer.  Many successful apps use the screenshot area to display a mixture of in-app screenshots, text overlays and other artwork to create images that are both informative and engaging.

Have a look at what the widely popular Heads Up uses for screenshots:

headsup-screenshots

Imagine if these were in-app screenshots, rather than people using the game with instructional text.  Doesn’t sound very appealing, or informative for that matter. These screenshots tell a story about the app and engage the user.

The point of the screenshot area is not to copy and paste pictures from the app; rather, it is to grab a user’s attention, let them know what they are in for and get them excited enough to tap “GET.”

What order should they go in?

Always put your best screenshot first.  In app store search and on iTunes pages, users will only see the first screenshot- this screenshot should be able to tell a story and engage a user on its own.

phones-optimal-screenshots

The first screenshot on the left communicates how a user will use the app right away; the one on the right simply shows an out of context screengrab from the app, which doesn’t communicate much.

Make sure your first screenshot says it all.  Once a user is interested in your app and scrolling through the other four screenshots, they will have a context to go off of and you can show technical details about how the app looks.

Anything else I should know?

Along with the technical and communicative ideas to keep in mind, remember these:

- Use a high resolution source image. Your source should be much higher than the final sizes you are exporting to.

- Make sure the text is legible. Keep in mind users will be reading this on phones, not a computer monitor. Look out for jaggles- watch the anti-aliasing!

- Have a healthy mix of art, instructions and real screenshots. You want to make your images interesting and informative, but users still want to see some in-app images so they know what they are downloading.

Hope that helps!  Remember, on mobile App Store search results, the 1st screenshot takes up 50% of the screen.  Your first screenshot is going to be your best shot at getting a user interested in your app.

If you want insight into what your screenshots are communicating to end users and how they may be improved, try running them through a mobile app focus group. Sometimes the end users respond in unexpected ways!

Gummicube, Patient Army, Piggyback Media selected as Fund-able 50 @ Private Pitch & Demo Meeting Q1 2014

Gummicube Inc, Patient Army Inc and Piggyback Media were selected as Fund-able-50 at the Private Pitch Demo event held at Perkins Coie, Palo Alto. First-place Winner Gummicube, Inc(is also the Winn…

Gummicube, Patient Army, Piggyback Media selected as Fund-able 50 @ Private Pitch & Demo Meeting Q1 2014