With more than 1.5 million apps on each of the Apple and Google app stores, building a plan for visibility for your app is essential to a return on your investment. Since the majority of mobile app downloads come from app store search, a mobile app marketing plan should start with optimizing for organic discovery in the app stores. App marketing strategies that include app listing metadata, optimized creatives, ratings and review acquisition and even in-app retention and engagement are collectively generally referred to app store optimization or ASO. ASO is often, mistakenly thought of as “finding keywords” for an app’s app store listing. This limited approach is still employed by some app marketing companies, but is not the comprehensive approach needed to compete and thrive in the app stores. What follows are the building blocks of a mobile app marketing plan that an app marketing promotion company should be required to deliver.
Build Metadata for App Store Listing for both Apple’s App Store and Google Play
The metadata in an app listing includes the app name and description, a keywords field for Apple and a short description for Google Play. These fields impact how your app is indexed by Apple and Google, which determines which search results your app appears. The goal should be broad coverage of extremely relevant search terms. There are three primary tool for defining and measuring what is relevant and existing coverage of these terms: 1) Historical and trending app store data App store data provides insights to how have users searched the app stores for related apps, similar features and benefits, and what is currently trending. We have written about this extensively, how users search the app stores is very different from how users search the web. 2) Focus groups Focus groups can provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback on your app’s features and benefits, which resonate best with your target audience and how they would search for these features in their words. 3) App ranking analysis for relevant phrases How your app ranks for specific search terms and phrases can tell you a lot about how the market is reacting to your app for that term. Your app could be the very first result for “Free Zombie Game”, but if it is a flashlight app, conversions from users seeing your flashlight app result when searching for zombie games will be extremely low. This signals Apple and Google that your app is not relevant to the search, and they will drop you in the rankings for that search. Relevance matters to users, and is easily measured in app stores by conversion rates. Note that there are several factors that go into not only the indexing but ranking of an app, but conversion and ranking provide clues as to how the market is reacting to how you are positioning your app.
Tested and Optimized Creatives
The icon, screenshots, video and even order of the screenshots can have a surprisingly huge impact on app installs. Testing these creatives with a target audience - ideally a focus group - should be part of any app marketing promotion company offering. This is a chance to not only test a wide range of directions without affecting actual downloads, but also provides a channel for receiving qualitative feedback. One design, color scheme, or text on a screenshot may perform much better or worse than others - the data tells you this. Qualitative data provides access to why, giving the publisher (and designer) a chance to better understand their target audience and adjust designs before publishing. Even when testing minor variances in icon design, or the text used or order of screenshots on a published app store listing, publishers can see 100%+ improvements in conversions. Google Play provides multivariate testing to Google Play app publishers (Apple does not), which allows for experimenting with smaller changes on a subset of app store traffic to try and attain statistically significant, incremental improvements to conversions.
Produce Measureable Results
Companies have different goals for their mobile apps. No matter if your goal is a measurable ROI, more emails, better engagement with your brand, customer service or anything else, goals should be defined and measurable. App promotion companies that deliver measurable results generally assist with defining and testing differentiating features of an app, help acquiring ratings and reviews, advise or build a strong presence outside of the app store and more. You can read more on our approach to app store marketing here, or request a demo on how Gummicube uses app store data to grow our clients’ mobile portfolios.