Tag Archives: iOS

Apple VS Google Revenue

Apple App Store vs Google Play: Whose Revenue is Higher?

We’re over half-way through 2018 and revenues are on the rise for the app economy. Between the two app stores, though, which one is seeing higher profits? More importantly, why?

In the first half of the year, Apple’s App Store brought in nearly double the revenue of the Google Play Store, in spite of seeing fewer downloads overall. However, this is not bad news for Google Play by any extent (its own profits remain at a comfortable $11.8 billion), and there are several factors behind this gap.

First and foremost, Android users can get apps from more than just the Google Play Store. While it is the most common storefront, the Samsung Store or Amazon Appstore also sell apps for Android devices, whereas iOS devices can only get their apps off of the Apple App Store.

This discrepancy is particularly noteworthy in certain overseas markets. For instance, there are multiple stores selling Android apps, including Myapp, Huawei App Market and Xiaomi App Store. While Android users there outnumber iOS users significantly, this is not reflected in the Google Play Store’s sales numbers.

Additionally, we need to look at the growth of each store. The app market continues to grow at a steady rate, although Google Play is seeing slightly more, at a 29% growth compared to Apple’s 26%.

Apple’s lead over Google Play has been consistent. In 2017, Apple’s App Store brought in $38.5 billion, compared to Google Play’s $20.1 billion. The factors driving this division have remained mostly unchanged, although both stores are on track to surpass those earnings by the end of 2018.

App profits are in part being driven by subscription-based services, such as Netflix and Pandora. However, mobile games remain responsible for the largest portion of revenue for both app stores, representing 78% of the total spent across the two.

So, what does this mean for developers? Simply put, it’s a good sign for both stores. Profits are on the rise, and what Google Play lacks compared to Apple’s raw numbers, it makes up for in growth. Consumer spending does tend to be higher among iOS users, so if a developer can only make an app for one store, that may be their best choice.

With that said, there is no need to design an app solely for one store. Both App Stores are successful and growing at a fine rate, so app developers can and should develop apps for both. There are numerous tools for developing apps on both platforms, so developers should try to reach a wider audience by releasing across devices.

When releasing apps on either App Store, it is important to remember best practices for both stores. Each store has different requirements for creatives, different ways of storing keywords and different best practices for descriptions. By using a solid App Store Optimization strategy for both stores, developers can ensure they’re getting as much as they can out of this ever-growing industry.

It’s not a matter of Apple versus Google. Each one is seeing tremendous profits, and although Apple’s may be higher, both are strong indicators that the app economy will only continue to grow.

App Store Turns 10

Apple’s App Store Turns 10 – How Has it Changed?

Ten years ago, Apple launched its App Store and reshaped the way we use mobile devices. Suffice to say, the app ecosystem has changed significantly in that time, and the app economy is on track to be worth over 6 billion by 2021. With ten years behind us and an infinite future ahead, it’s time to look back and see how the world of apps has changed.

How it Started

When the Apple App Store first launched, it had a mere 500 apps available. Several apps that do still exist today were just a shadow of what they would one day become, such as Facebook’s minimalist newsfeed. Other apps that are commonplace today, such as Twitter – which didn’t release its app until 2010 – didn’t even exist then. Many of the websites and mobile services that users are so used to having readily available had yet to create apps.

Many of the first apps available were simply experiments of the iPhone’s functionality or an avenue for brief amusement. Take iBeer and Lightsaber Unleashed: these were ranked in the App Store’s Top 10 while only filling the screen with beer or creating lightsaber sound effects. In fact, there was a novelty app called “I Am Rich,” priced at $999.99, which consisted solely of a glowing red button that boasted about how rich the user is.

Lightsabers Unleashed

Suffice to say, the app environment was a very different beast in its early days.

How it Has Grown

Today the App Store hosts over 2 million apps, a significant increase from its original 500. The saying “There’s an app for that” is truer than ever. We use apps to check on our homes during vacation, to order food, to buy movie tickets, connect remotely with friends and colleagues all over the world, and of course, for games.

Previously top-rated apps have shifted dramatically as well. Novelty apps are a thing of the past, and new tools and social networks have risen. Man apps relied on existing services and were simply a convenient mobile extension. Today, entire businesses, games and services are built with the App Store at their core. Few would have predicted that we’d be using apps to ask for rides from strangers, but now we have ride-sharing apps like Uber. Meanwhile, apps like Koi Pond no longer exist as the app economy has moved on.

Notably, Facebook has managed to remain relevant and constantly update throughout all these years, consistently maintaining a spot in the top 10 free apps. That is due in large part to its updating and adapting to the changing app environment. Other apps, including mobile games like Angry Birds, have managed to remain popular and relevant by becoming a brand and releasing new versions and spinoffs while improving.

How Times Have Changed

Technology has advanced since the early days of the App Store, and apps have grown with it. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows us to be more connected to everything, Augmented Reality (AR) has become more accessible and businesses of all sizes are learning the benefits of having an app.

App Store Growth

Furthermore, we’re seeing shifts in the demographics and markets. Mobile games dominate the app market at 17% of all existing apps, followed by business, utilities and entertainment. Free apps, which once consisted of only 25% of the apps on the store, are now widely available, with 89% of existing apps available for free.

Most importantly, apps have become a part of our lives. Users constantly wanting something to make their lives easier drives growth and demand, causing the number of apps readily available to the market to increase. Now, we have popular businesses at our finger tips, which has led to those not utilizing apps to be at a severe disadvantage.

So much has grown and changed in the ten years since the Apple App Store first launched, from the kinds of apps used to the technology behind them. One thing has remained constant throughout all the change, though: an app is only useful if users download it. For that, App Store Optimization is and will always be key to an app’s success. With ASO, you can keep up with the changes and developments in the App Store and app ecosystem to remain relevant no matter how times change.

WWDC 2018 Wrapup

WWDC 2018 Wrap-Up: What We Saw and What Developers Should Know

Apple’s WWDC 2018 has come to a close after a week full of announcements, events and seminars. The tech company announced several upcoming products and updates to iOS and Mac, which may impact the app ecosystem in the coming future.

Let’s break down all the important announcements from WWDC 2018:

iOS 12

It was no shock when Apple announced that iOS 12 will be coming to Apple devices later this year. In true Apple fashion, the company made the statement early on in their keynote presentation and claimed that iOS 12 will include enhancements to speed and performance even for older devices.

The update also includes new features, such as:

  • Grouped notifications by app or topic
  • A “Do Not Disturb” mode that automatically activates at bedtime
  • Weekly activity reports to let you know how long you’ve been using what apps
  • New animoji, including personalized “memoji”

Additionally, iOS 12 provides improvements to features such as ARKit and Siri, which developers can utilize when developing their apps. 

Enhancements that Benefit Apps

App developers will be able to take advantage of several changes in iOS 12. There are multiple updates to Apple’s tools and programs that will allow greater accessibility for and use with third-party apps.

Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, has been updated with new programmable shortcuts so that any app can give it quick access to functions. For instance, someone who frequently orders pizza through an app can add a function to say “Siri, it’s pizza night,” and Siri will automatically open the pizza app and place an order using the preset specifications.

Apple has also introduced the ARKit 2, allowing for an improved augmented reality experience. Many apps are already embracing the potential of AR, and Apple demonstrated the capabilities of ARKit 2 with a LEGO mobile game. Additionally, the company worked in collaboration with Pixar to create a new file format for AR called USDZ, which can be used to place AR items in the camera and adjust their size to match real life.

Navigation apps will also be able to take advantage of changes to Apple’s CarPlay. It now supports third-party navigation apps, so people can use their GPS navigator of choice, rather than having to rely on Apple Maps.

App Store Updates

While Apple did announce updates to the App Store, the announcements were focused on the macOS version. No changes to the iOS App Store were announced, although developers with apps available on desktop and laptop computers will want to watch out for several changes.

The macOS App Store is redesigned from the ground up, and now includes new stories of app successes, auto-play for videos, and new tabs for browsing by theme (Create/Work/Develop/Play). App Store product pages are also redesigned with video previews, rankings, and reviews placed front and center, as well as a new ratings and reviews API designed to make feedback easier.

Developers will also be able to include three app previews, an app subtitle and up to ten screenshots on their product pages.

While these changes will not impact the iOS App Store, it is still important to see how they affect apps on the macOS App Store. Developers with apps on macOS should ensure their preview videos follow ASO best practices and keep an eye on reviews to ensure customer satisfaction.

App Store Connect

Apple has changed the name of iTunes Connect to App Store Connect, which also features minor redesigns and new Sales and Trends dashboards. This information will provide developers with even greater insight into an app’s performance.

The Sales Overview page shows developers their top-performing apps, as well as in-app purchases ranked by units and sales. They can see how each purchase impacts their overall business, see which apps perform best in which territory and compare performance between in-app purchases. This provides developers with valuable data to see what consumers are responding positively or negatively to in each territory, so they can adjust their ASO strategies and app offerings accordingly.

There’s also a Subscription Retention page, which includes a new graph to help developers monitor subscription performances, identify which ones are highest performing and compare retention rates across apps and territories. As with the Sales Overview, this provides key insights into consumer behavior, so developers can see what works and what doesn’t to adjust their ASO and apps accordingly.

MacOS Mojave

As expected, Apple also announced the next version of MacOS: Mojave. There are several new additions to Mojave, designed to improve the user experience in both noticeable and subtle ways, including:

  • Changes to the desktop throughout the day to match the time and light conditions
  • Dark mode that dims the background to make pictures and presentations appear brighter or match a dark environment
  • Desktop stacks arrange files and icons by type, date or tag
  • Custom actions from the finder
  • Improved security functions, including new default protections for camera, microphone, message history and more, as well as automatic shutdown of comment fields in Safari to avoid tracking

Conclusion

While the biggest news from WWDC 2018 is the new iOS and MacOS updates, there is still plenty for app developers to prepare for. In addition to preparing for the changes iOS 12 will bring to devices, there are new opportunities in the forms of Siri, ARKIt 2 and CarPlay. Additionally, the changes Apple introduced to the newly named App Store Connect will allow developers to get better insights to their apps’ performances and prepare their App Store Optimization strategy accordingly.

It’s safe to say that developers should start looking into the changes that Apple has made and prepare for the upcoming iOS update and macOS App Store redesign to adjust their strategies if need be.

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.

iOS App Titles – Apple Cracks Down

For the first time since in its eight-year history, the App Store’s title field will be shortened from the previous 255-character limit to a new, concise 50 characters. Apple made the announcement to developers early on September 1st, sending shockwaves through the development community as many apps will be forced to alter their titles.

Starting September 7th, all app titles will be limited to 50 characters maximum. Live apps with titles that exceed 50 characters will be subject to warning from Apple. If within 30 days of receiving a warning the offending title hasn’t been updated, the app will be kicked off of the store. Apps that crash on launch will be removed from the store immediately.

This new initiative by Apple means more than just a cleaner-looking App Store, though. The title field is widely considered one of the most important components of App Store Optimization, as it sends a clear signal to Apple of what your app should be ranking for.

During the process of ASO, both an app’s title and keywords will be optimized to encompass the widest possible array of popular, relevant search terms. Words from an app’s title and keyword bank can combine to create phrases, meaning developers who add complementary words into their title and keyword bank will often have an advantage when it comes to organic discovery via search. This is why many apps use “title tags”, descriptive keywords which serve to inform the user (and Apple’s rankings system) of the functionality of an app.

Take the Google Maps app, for example. The app’s current title is “Google Maps – Real-time navigation, traffic, transit, and nearby places”. Words from their title can contribute heavily towards their app’s rankings. Consider words such as “traffic”, “transit” or “nearby places”. Alone, these are highly trending searches. Combined, they create a strong rankings portfolio for Google Maps, without ever taking up a character in the keyword bank.

The problem? Google Maps, along with thousands of other apps, has a title that comes in at over 50 characters. In the Top 100 Free Apps alone, there are 13 apps with titles longer than 50 characters as of this writing. These apps will have to consider how to shorten their title and re-optimize their keyword bank so as to maintain the highest possible number of words and phrases in their rankings.

 While the title field is changing, the concept of ASO itself is not. Combining words from the title and keyword bank will still be a way to gain more rankings for your app for the foreseeable future. The challenge now becomes to determine which words and phrases are most valuable to your app.