What Makes a Good App: Apple and Google’s Best of 2019 & ASO

December 13th, 2019

What Makes a Good App: Apple and Google’s Best of 2019 & ASO
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

With 2019 coming to an end, Apple and Google have announced their picks for the top apps of the year. Apple’s “App of the Year” and Google’s “Best of 2019” winners are good examples of what makes a successful app. Of course, even the best apps can still benefit from App Store Optimization, so we can see how ASO impacts these apps and their success. Let’s take a look at some of the winners and see what they can tell us about what makes a good app.

1. iPhone App of the Year

Apple’s App of the Year is the Spectre Camera, an iOS camera app that provides AI assisted photo effects. Spectre Camera provides photo editing, adjustments, long exposure shots and more with professional quality results.

The Spectre Camera app ranks for a number of keywords, such as “light trail” and its competitor, “lux camera.”

What helps Spectre Camera succeed is the number of high-quality features it provides. Photo apps need to use the screenshots to provide visual examples of great photos users can take and edit with the app.

Using all of the allowed screenshots can give app developers multiple opportunities to show off the kinds of pictures and effects the app can create. Adding callout text to each screenshot also helps, as it tells users what kind of editing effects the app provides with visual examples of how the effects look.

2. iPhone Game of the Year

Mobile games are a different beast than apps, although they’re both available on the App Store (and thus both require ASO). Apple’s iPhone Game of the Year is Sky: Children of the Light. The creators, thatgamecompany, are also known for 2013’s Game of the Year, Journey.

The game ranks #1 for terms like “fly” and “sky game,” thanks to its title and subtitle, “Fly with Friends.” It also ranks in the top 10 for keywords like “light game,” “peaceful games,” “play with friends” and “journey games,” which helps make it easier to find in searches.

Games that want to stand out in the store need to offer something unique or particularly well-designed, which Sky has done. The app’s screenshots show off unique visuals, such as sprawling cell-shaded scenery and characters in flight. The description also describes the story and gameplay in a manner that’s easy to read and lists unique features like the social elements and musical aspects.

3. Google’s Best App of 2019

Google’s “Best of 2019” awards include several categories. If we want to see what makes a good app, we can look at the winner for “Best App:” Ablo. This app combines social networking with live translation features to provide a unique social experience.

Ablo targets several important keywords in its title and description, such as “Make new friends” (#20), but it is still building rankings for many more. Its description allows it to target terms like “live translation” and “video chat,” which are high-volume keywords.

Google stated: “We love the app’s worthy mission of creating unlikely connections and its encouragement to learn about unfamiliar cultures.” The app serves an important purpose, and its blend of three different functionalities (social networking, text/video chats and live translations) helps it stand out from other apps in its category.

Apps that can offer something new, differentiate themselves from the competition and target multiple demographics can potentially reach a wider audience. Calling out these differences through creatives and descriptions can help inform users of what makes the app special.

Ablo uses eye-catching colors in its creative set, along with bold callout text, to quickly grab attention. The description also emphasizes important aspects through bold text to call out features like “translate” and “video calls.”

4. Google’s Users’ Choice App

In addition to the internal selection from Google’s own team, Google Play users can also vote on a “Users’ Choice” app. This year’s winner is Glitch Video Effects, a video editing app with over 100 effects and editing tools.

Glitch ranks #1 for keywords like “Cool effects for videos” and “video effect editor,” as well as the top five for terms like “filter for videos” and “cool video edits.” It’s achieved this by targeting terms throughout its description via feature headers like “Free Video Editor” and including “Video Effects” in the title.

Like with photo apps, video editing apps need to stand out by showing users what they can create. Screenshots and videos are important for this, as they provide visual examples of the effects they provide. Using callout text that includes high-volume keywords can also help with conversions, as users searching for those terms will see them highlighted with relevant imagery.

5. What Makes a Good App

Looking at these winners, we can see several factors that help make these apps succeed. They stand out from other apps in their category with high-quality features or unique functionality users are unlikely to find anywhere else. These unique points are also emphasized in the creatives and description to show users why they’re different.

No matter how good an app is, it still needs App Store Optimization so that users can discover it. ASO can also help highlight the apps’ values and show users why they should download them. With proper App Store Optimization, a good app can become a great success.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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