Pandora Music App Store Spotlight

September 25th, 2018

Pandora Music App Store Spotlight
Anh Nguyen

by Anh Nguyen

COO & Co-Founder at Gummicube, Inc

Pandora, the popular music streaming app, has just been purchased by SiriusXM. SiriusXM is no stranger to the app business, and will undoubtedly make good use of Pandora Music, but a solid App Store Optimization strategy can help it succeed even further. Is Pandora fully optimized for the stores it’s available on, or can SiriusXM improve it to increase the app’s already impressive success?

Improving Apple Store App Performance

On the Apple App Store, Pandora Music is the second-highest rated app in the Music category, only behind Spotify. It’s the 5th-highest app under searches for “music apps,” 9th for “free music” and 11th for “radio.” However, most of the apps it ranks in the #1 spot for are low-volume terms such as “artists songs” or “favorite radio.” While it is a successful app, its keyword rankings do still have room for improvement; it’s ranked in the 30’s for keywords such as “mp3 music player offline” and in the 20’s for “HD radio” and “listen music offline.”

Optimized Apple Store Creatives & Regular Updates

Pandora’s icon is distinct and easy recognizable – a large P with a mix of red, purple and blue colors. It’s great for building the brand name and identity. Following that, it has five screenshots, each showing off a function of the app while including callout text that talks about the features.

Pandora music iOS app store listing

These all work well, and quickly inform potential users of what Pandora has to offer, although it does have room to include more. Further screenshots could highlight additional functions from the app, including Premium and Plus features, or even appeal to fans of certain artists by calling out their latest albums. The last time it changed the artists featured in the screenshots was in November 2017, but if it regularly highlighted different artists, it could appeal to a wider range of users. The first three screenshots are the ones users see while browsing the app store, so including popular artists there could help reach their fans.

Strategically Including Title & Subtitle Keywords

With all the music and streaming apps on the market, apps like Pandora need every edge their metadata can provide. Its title and subtitle, “Pandora Music” and “Play Music and Stream Radio,” respectively, do include important keywords that quickly describe the app’s features. The title does have room for more characters, so it could include another keyword there. Notably, both the title and subtitle have “music” – this double-up is a missed opportunity to target more unique keywords using these metadata fields.

Optimize App Description in Apple Store

The description itself is formatted nicely. Each line is short and to the point, making it easy to read. The features are clearly spelled out, while keywords like “music,” “songs,” and “playlists” are sprinkled throughout. It utilizes bullet lists to describe the additional features from Pandora Premium and Pandora Plus, so potential users can quickly see the benefits of each. Yet it does not have a bulleted section for the free version. While it does describe everything that the app does in the description itself, a bullet list of the features that are available to everyone would be helpful and provide more opportunities to utilize its keywords and build relevancy for Search Ads.

Improving Google Play Store Performance

With nearly 3 million downloads on Google Play alone, Pandora Music is a success on both stores. On Google Play, it’s the top keyword for any variations of its name, as well as lower-volume keywords like “listen unlimited.” It also ranks highly for popular phrases like “music apps,” where it’s the fifth-highest app, and “radio,” where it’s the ninth. Following that, it ranks relatively high for competing apps, such as Shazam (9th highest term) or Apple Music (where it’s the 12th highest) although it falls behind for competitors like Spotify, where it’s ranked 47th. As with the Apple App Store, its rankings for individual keywords do have room for improvement, such as “music downloader,” where it’s the 101st highest app. The app’s name alone does account for a large amount of success.

Optimized Google Play Store Creatives

Pandora’s icon on Google Play is slightly different in the details from its iOS version, but it still has the recognizable P-shape and color scheme, maintaining the brand and identity. This is an older version of the icon, which was also used on iOS until earlier this month.

Pandora Music Google Play Store app listing with screenshots

The screenshots it uses start off different from the iOS version and focus on different features. These begin by calling out a keyword like “Listen” or “Discover,” before showing a related screenshot. Later screenshots are identical to the ones in iOS, but by including the additional screenshots, it makes more use of the amount the store allows and demonstrates more features for users. Neither iOS nor Google Play store listings use videos, although considering the app’s focus is on audio content, it would be difficult to properly portray that in video.

Improving Play Store App Description and Metadata

On Google Play, the keywords are drawn from the description. As such, it’s important that the description begins with relevant and high-volume keywords. There are some areas where it does this, such as “Personalized radio” and “create playlists,” but more often than not the important keywords are closer to the middle or end of each line. The description is almost identical to that on iOS, except it’s more condensed at the beginning. Instead of three short lines about different features, it’s one line with three sentences. It could easily expand the intro to talk more about the app and its features while including more keywords. Additionally, it also lacks a bullet list for the app’s main features, although it includes the same feature list for Pandora Plus and Premium.

Overall App Store Optimization

Pandora Music does several things right, but its App Store Optimization is not perfect, particularly in regards to its use of metadata and descriptions. The creatives are very effective at displaying its features and benefits, although it does have room for more. While its descriptions are formatted properly, it could benefit from including a section on the app’s main features and being formatted to better include its keywords in Google Play. With a better ASO strategy, Pandora could potentially increase its rankings for several competitive keywords, improve its visibility and increase its relevancy for Search Ads. As successful as it is now, there’s always room for growth. Now that SiriusXM is acquiring Pandora, it has the perfect opportunity to give its App Store Optimization an upgrade.

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