With just around a week to go until Christmas, children are hoping that Santa Claus will bring them the gifts they want this year. The “PNP – Portable North Pole” app is designed to provide children with personalized video messages from Santa, creating an on-demand and custom experience. But does its App Store Optimization have the same kind of magic? For this week’s App Store Spotlight, we take a look at PNP and see if it’s on ASO’s nice list.
On the Apple App Store, “Portable North Pole” is ranked #53 in the Entertainment category. It’s the top app in searches for “north pole,” as well as all variants of its name, such as “PNP Santa” or “pnp.” It’s also in the top 5 for terms like “message from Santa” and “video chat Santa,” although its rankings begin to drop for terms like “call Santa” (#13), “call Santa Claus” (#17) and “Christmas video maker” (#28) Creatives: “Portable North Pole” begins with a video advertising the app. Unlike most videos on the App Store, this one does not show any in-app footage, but rather has a video of Santa calling a child and confirming she’s on the nice list. Normally videos on the App Store are required to only show in-app footage, so it’s surprising that “Portable North Pole” can include a video without any. Some apps can get through approval with videos like this, but most are rejected or risk rejection for subsequent deployments. Following that, the app page has seven screenshots. Most of them show different aspects of the app, such as the ability to add information about the child and the gifts they want, a new section with features for kids and the calls in action. They are clearly geared towards parents, since they focus on showing how to customize the calls for a child and the child’s reaction, rather than trying to tell children “Santa is real, and you can talk to him.” Two of the screenshots use the same stock photo of a surprised child for the calls, but they show the same call from different sides and focuses. Additionally, each photo does include callout text, and they use alternating white and red color schemes to provide a seasonal flavor. There is still room for three more screenshots that the app could include. These could provide more information about the app and its features, such as the “Parent’s Corner” or Christmas games. Each screenshot is another chance to convert users, so every last one should be put to use. Title & Subtitle: The full title is “PNP – Portable North Pole™,” taking up 26 of the 30 characters the App Store provides. The subtitle, “Calls, Videos from Santa Claus” uses all 30, and they’re all relevant keywords for the app. This is a good use of the title and subtitle space, utilizing as many characters as possible while integrating keywords to add to the keyword bank. Description: The “Portable North Pole” description starts off with media reviews and praise, which is good for reputation but doesn’t tell users much about the app. Following that is one paragraph about its history and how it’s back, before it gets into the features. The feature list is set up well, calling out each feature or benefit with a smaller blurb going into it. These are easy to read, although they could be turned into bullet lists to glance through even quicker. If the app were to turn the introductory paragraph into a few short lines, each one providing information about the app, it could be easier for users to look over and understand at a glance. Moving the quotes and praise to after the feature set could also help by placing the relevant information up first before compelling users to install the app by showing what trusted sources are saying about it after their curiosity is piqued. Overall, the description is close to following ASO best practices, but isn’t quite there.
On Google Play, “Portable North Pole” is not the top-ranked app for any keywords aside from its title. It is the second-highest app for “Santa message,” and the fifth-highest for “parents calling Santa,” but its ratings quickly drop. It’s the 14th highest app for “video Santa,” but the 39th for “calling Santa” and 41st for “talking Santa free.” Creatives: The Google Play Store creatives start off identical to the iOS ones, including the same video. The images show the same screenshots and features, with the same callout text, except for the “personalize your message” screenshot using a different photo (although both the iOS and Google Play screenshots use a photo that’s not relevant to the gift being requested in the text box). After the seven portrait mode photos, Google Play then shows the same screenshots in landscape mode. These do tend to make the screenshots more cramped, though, such as one screenshot not showing any relevant imagery, just the bottom of the screen where it has the video sharing options. Description & Metadata: The description on Google Play is identical to the one on iOS, but as a result it’s not optimized for Google Play. In order to index for keywords on Google Play, an app should place the relevant keywords and phrases near the front of each line and sentence. As it is now, the description does not properly utilize keywords like “call Santa” or “personalized Christmas videos, so it does not rank for either of those relevant terms. If “Portable North Pole” were to restructure its Google Play description with an emphasis on keywords, it could index for more relevant terms and improve its ranking for them. As it is now, it will have difficulty ranking for terms hidden in the middle of its description, like “free Santa videos” (which it also does not rank for).
On iOS, “Portable North Pole” makes good use of its keywords by utilizing all the space in its title and subtitle as well as its keyword bank, and its creatives are well-designed in spite of having room for three more, although its description could still use a little cleaning up for maximum efficiency. The same description performs even worse on Google Play, as it is not optimized for that store. It’s important to optimize for each store – what works on one may not work on another. If it were to improve its optimization and focus-fire on each app store individually, it could improve its rankings and conversions for each of them. With a proper App Store Optimization strategy, “Portable North Pole” could have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.