Month: November 2016

Apple’s Big App Store Purge is Now Happening

Earlier this year, Apple promised it would clean up its iOS App Store by removing outdated, abandoned apps, including those that no longer meet current guidelines or don’t function as intended. That great App Store purge now appears to be underway, according to new data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. The company found that app removals increased by 238 percent in October 2016, with mobile games seeing the most deletions.

Apple had originally stated that the deadline for developers who wanted their outdated apps spared was September 7, 2016. However, Apple didn’t take immediate action during the month in terms of large-scale removals.

That seems to have changed in October, when 47,300 apps were removed from the App Store, Sensor Tower discovered.

And while it’s true that Apple does delete apps on a regular basis, this figure is around 3.4 times higher than the monthly average of 14,000 for the months of January through September. (See chart below).

app-store-purge-october-2016

The figure indicates that Apple is making good on its intention to remove the cruft from its App Store, as earlier stated.

Given that “Games” is one of the the largest, most popular, and highly-trafficked categories on the App Store, it’s not surprising that it also saw the most deletions. The report found that of the 47,300 total apps removed, around 28 percent were games. This category was followed by Entertainment, Books, Education and Lifestyle.

But there were far fewer deleted apps in the non-game categories. Entertainment and Books were practically tied for second place at 8.99 percent and 8.96 percent, respectively. Education and Lifestyle were even further behind, at 7 percent and 6 percent.

Although the data clearly points to a spike in deletions, this process is likely still underway. Prior analysis of the state of abandoned apps on today’s App Store, indicated that almost half of the apps hadn’t been updated since May 2015. And 25.6 percent hadn’t been updated since November 2013.

What we don’t know for sure is how Apple will define “abandoned.” In its message to developers this fall, the company said that in addition to those that don’t meet the current review guidelines or don’t work as intended, it would also remove apps that “have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time.” (Emphasis ours.)

That statement is vague on purpose – it gives Apple the ability to make judgement calls on individual apps, without having to commit to a hard rule in terms of when the app was last updated.

Despite this big cleanup, the App Store itself is still growing. Sensor Tower estimates that it could more than double in size by 2020, with 5 million apps available.

Apple, in addition, said that around 100,000 new and updated apps are submitted each week, and the store itself has over 2 million total apps. And with the launch of the iMessage App Store, where iOS apps can include extensions that let them be surfaced through the iMessage interface, Apple’s app marketplace will continue to expand.

Don’t Get Purged And Get Your Organic Downloads Doubled With Our Mobile Experts Here

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9 Ways to Master the Google Play Store Ranking Before Christmas

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A lot has been written about ASO (App Store Optimization) on the Apple side of things, and we are well-aware of how crucial parameters like total installs and download velocity are on iOS. It’s also well-known that the Google Play algorithm for rankings and search is a bit more sophisticated. We figured we’d take the time to compile a comprehensive memo of what we’ve learned and present you with 9 actionable tips on how to run a successful ASO campaign in the Google Play Store:

Head of Search and Discovery for Google Play, Ankit Jain, states: “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.” According to Jain, 12 percent of daily active users (DAU) search for apps every day, 50 percent of DAU search for apps weekly and Google sees six million unique phrases searched monthly.

Another interesting note is that in the iOS App Store, no app ever stays in the same ranking spot all seven days of any given week. When you look at Google Play, you often find five or more apps maintaining the same top spots for over a week. Apple appears to be much more volatile in their top charts rankings, where the Play Store does not change ranks more than once a day, resulting in much more gradual trends.

1.  Category

Find the best category for your app. Take a look at the competition in your current category and if your app can be put in another category, you may want to do that. App category placement is an essential aspect to ASO, as new or less-trendy categories are less crowded and thus likely to rank your app higher on their lists.

Google Play Store Top ChartsLess common categories, such as Business, Travel, and Location-based or Work-related Services, for example, are likely to provide more opportunities for higher ranking and optimal app store placement, as these categories have shown lower review and download numbers at the time of writing.

2.  Daily Installs

Driving installs will have the effect of a higher ranking for your game, which in turn drives more organic installs. This virtuous spiral of growth is a key goal, and burst campaigns which drive a high volume of installs at high velocity is one way to attain those top spots.

3. App Ratings

Your app’s rating is one of the most important factors influencing its ranking in the Google Play lists and search results. It’s also one of the key metrics that the editorial staff looks for when curating apps and games. Jain says reviews and ratings are “a very strong signal for Google,” so maintaining an app rating average above 4.0 out of 5 is mission critical.

App Ratings go much deeper than the simple 4.0 stars average. All these criteria play a factor:

  •         THE AVERAGE STAR RATING
  •         THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REVIEWS
  •         THE AMOUNT OF KEYWORDS USED IN EACH REVIEW
  •         THE FREQUENCY OF REVIEWS WRITTEN
  •         HOW RECENT THE REVIEWS ARE AND THEIR RATINGS PER UPDATE

Don’t be tempted to use fake reviews in Google Play and the iOS App Store, as the risk of getting your app flagged is extremely high.

Google Play RankingsWhen it comes to reviews and ratings, Jain reveals that reviews are ordered based on relevance to the user, such as reviews from other users who have the same device or live in the same country. This means that personalized results exist, and if your friend in the network has installed and rated it, then it may appear on the first page of the Google Play Store only for you, so find a way to encourage a variety of people to review your app. The trick is to request a review from your users while they are deeply engaged in your app, while making sure you do not disrupt the UX.

4. SEO

Google Play gets the keywords for an app from the app description. This field has 4,000 characters, so there is plenty of room to add your keywords. Keywords appearing within the name of an app itself usually allow the app to rank higher for those keywords. However, where Apple allows 50 characters in the app name field, Google only allows 30 characters. Therefore, you really need to choose the app name wisely in the Google Play store.

Google also uses Page Rank to assess your ranking, which refers to the number of inbound pages pointing to your App. There are many traditional SEO activities you can do to generate links to your app, but here are some suggestions:

  •         MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE A LINK TO THE APP ON ALL PAGES OF YOUR WEBSITE, BLOG, ETC. PUT THE LINK IN YOUR WEBSITE FOOTER.
  •         REACH OUT TO MEDIA OUTLETS OR ASK BLOGGERS TO WRITE ABOUT OR REVIEW YOUR APP.
  •         CROSS-PROMOTE THE APP WITHIN YOUR OTHER APPS OR THROUGH CROSS-PROMOTION NETWORKS LIKE THOSE OFFERED BY SUPREME MEDIA.

5. +1

One of the more obvious distinctions between the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store is the ability to +1 an app’s page on Google Play (similar to ‘liking’ a company on Facebook). This is one of the unique factors that influences an app’s ranking in the Play Store, and can be used by developers looking to increase ASO.

6. Launch window

New apps tend to have an easier time ranking and getting featured in Google Play than older apps. The logic for this is sound. Users want to try new apps and games. This is about giving new titles a chance. See this as the Play Store’s algorithm giving your app a little test to see if users actually like it. Likewise, apps that have been on the market for more than a month will find it very difficult to rank, unless their app is well-represented in the app store listing, with factors such as app title, description text, and social elements strong and steady.

7. Retention

It’s still not entirely clear how Google Play calculates this, but it most likely involves a combination of active install rates and a stickiness formula such as DAU/MAU. Jain also revealed that Google takes into account statistics such as the rate of installs, uninstalls, long installs (an app that has been installed for months), and engagement, so it’s imperative to effectively re-engage with your current users in order to retain and retarget your established audience .

8. Long Tail

Steady efforts work best. Google Play’s ranking algorithm is tilted towards long-term. Download growth over the last 30 days is more important than the latest 24 hours. Use closed loop marketing to ensure you are identifying and utilizing ad sources that bring loyal users – apps that acquire and retain satisfied users are rewarded with higher ranks. Advertising campaigns should be run over a longer term and sustained over two to three months, as opposed to the short bursts of activity often seen in the iOS market.

9. CTR on search

With app store search accounting for more than 65% of all app downloads, search is clearly the leading source of app discovery. If someone searches using a leading keyword and taps on your app in the search results, your app will move higher in the rankings for that keyword search. As an example -­ if users are searching for flight tickets and click the most on Expedia, then Expedia will be the first result shown for “flight tickets” search queries.

In order to best leverage search then, make sure to categorize your app with relevant keywords. Don’t overstep and stuff your description with popular and less applicable keywords dominated by huge apps with millions of downloads. Not only does Google Play penalize spam, but it’s not beneficial for your app to have it appear in the search of a popular but irrelevant keyword, where few users will actually click to download your app. Instead, focus on the edgy keywords that are more applicable to your app, that enjoy a respectable amount of traffic, and that provide low competition – ensuring a high CTR on search. After all, you’re looking for those who are most likely to actively engage with your app.

Google Play continues to reap the lion’s share of global app downloads, as the store’s worldwide downloads were about 90% higher than on the iOS App Store in Q3 2015. Optimizing your app’s page in the Google Play Store isn’t optional, it’s critical. Perhaps most important is to always educate yourself on new ASO. With app-store optimization constantly evolving, make sure you stay up to date on the latest techniques in order to improve your app’s rank.

Get a Free ASO Consultation With Our Experts Here

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6 Ways To Maximize Installs During The Holiday User Acquisition Madness


Last December brought in an astounding 9.2 million iOS app downloads, a 44 percent increase from the year before. App marketers anticipate yet another record-breaking season as they prepare their user acquisition campaigns for the upcoming holidays.

But as downloads climb, so does the competition to garner them. Finding the right audience at the right price will be as challenging as it is rewarding. Here are six tips to help app marketers plan for the holiday user acquisition spree.

1. Plan before December (aka now!)

Competition is fiercer than ever with nearly 4 million titles in the app stores combined. Get a head start by planning your user acquisition campaigns before December. Doing so will provide insight into looming holiday costs and allow time to adjust around KPIs and budget.

If organic uplift is a key goal this holiday season — common with many new apps — plan for a media mix that favors volume. A burst strategy will help boost your app store rankings which in turn can lead to higher app discoverability and more organic downloads.

During the cold season, users are more likely to spend from having increased leisure time and holiday money. App marketers should look to leverage this by structuring sustained campaigns around these high spenders. It’s a great time to target “whales” while re-engaging lapsed users to explore new seasonal content in your app.

For both new and existing apps, plan to frequently evaluate organic growth to make adjustments to your bids.

2. Be wary of ad blocking

While mobile has generally been safe, the recent content blocking capabilities in iOS 9’s Safari are compromising its immunity.

It’s not entirely clear what percentage of users will use this functionality, but it is reason enough to rethink the mobile web as a long-term user acquisition channel. Marketers with extensive budget tied into web should look to shift some budget to in-app — where publishers have more control over ad units and how they are displayed.

3. Pay for performance on peak days

Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas are some of the busiest days of the year for user acquisition. Consider a performance-based approach around these peak dates. Paying for performance will more than likely assure you see a return on each invested user.

It may also help to map out your competitor’s planned bursts when planning your own. Although this information is not entirely accessible, observing other channels such as TV and web can give you some insight. For instance, a sudden increase in holiday TV commercials for a competitor’s game may indicate an impending burst campaign to complete the cross channel effort. A performance-based campaign here will ensure your budget is not diluted and maintains ROI.

4. Avoid over-targeting

The holidays attract a wide and diverse range of mobile users. To capture all this period has to offer, avoid building overly-specific assumptions about your target audience. Over-targeting can limit your campaigns, and discovery of new, potentially more profitable user segments.

Rather, explore broader targeting and let the data speak for itself — you may be surprised. Start by spending small while scaling only top-performing segments, ensuring you’re optimized in both revenue and new audience discovery.

5. Utilize high performing, creative video ads

Imagine the install ad as part of your app’s onboarding process. If the experience is compelling, users will want to engage and learn more, perhaps even go on to install your app.

For this reason, performance and brand advertisers count on video ads to deliver their message. Whether it is to encourage a quality install or communicate a strong brand message, the video format has an innate ability to engage users and promote action. It’s also an excellent format to brand with festive copy and visuals, helping guide users wrapped in holiday nostalgia to value your content over others.

Video creatives take time to produce, so plan ahead and aim to have several options available before the Christmas rush. As always, A/B test and optimize for the highest conversion.

5. Do App Store Optimization aka ASO!

There are two commonly overlooked components of your app store listing page that can increase your downloads — reviews and in-app purchases.

The words that are in your app store reviews — those left by your users — and in-app purchases are all indexed by Google Play and iOS. Having targeted, relevant keywords in both areas will help you see a dramatic increase in downloads.

Get your Free ASO Consultation Here

 

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Google Has Changed Play Store Ads: Organic Goes Back To First Position


When it comes to promoted app ads, Google changed things in a big way a few weeks ago.

We know that it is always trying to appease both the developer and the Android consumer and these changes are another push in that direction.
The first big change is the addition of a second ad placement for non-branded searches in the Play Store (see below).

Before the change, there was only one promoted ad at the top of the search and now two appear in the results. This gives advertisers more inventory in the Play Store and mirrors the number of placements advertisers have on Google.com.

This is a slight blow to your non-brand App Store Optimization (ASO) efforts as you lose another spot to those with the budget for ads.

Before:

After:

The second and much bigger change Google made involves brand searches.
Before we get to the implications, let’s check out the changes.

Before:

After:

You can see the big change is in the ad position, the brand term goes up and the paid ad moves down to the second position.
Competitors seem to be winning the promoted ads for brand searches, meaning Google appears to be pushing (and suppressing those who own the first ad position) more competitor based searches.
My assumption is Google expects to make up lost revenue from advertisers not having to pay for their own brand terms with this higher quality competitor traffic.

So what should you do with these new changes?

1. Test competitor traffic again

This inventory might come cheaper since Google is suppressing developer’s brand terms, so it might make sense as an evergreen strategy.
Be very careful with these terms as they can get pricy for lack of relevancy.

2. Conquest yourself

If you have another relevant app, leverage apps against each other to push competitors out.

3. Invest more in your best Android keywords

There is additional low funnel inventory in Google Play now.
If you can spend more on keywords that are driving quality installs, you should see a better conversion rates.

4. Get ready

Did you see a drop in brand Android installs and quality from your SEM campaigns?
You should get most of these installs for free from organic, but if you are buying search you are going to lose some quality from your channel from being pushed out of the auction.

Get Your Free ASO Consultation here

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Why App Store Optimization is So Important ?

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With over 2 million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered is one of the biggest issues facing mobile app publishers today. If you’re in the mobile app space, it’s important to understand the various methods for marketing your app. We’d like to share with you one very important technique that continues to be overlooked by most – app store optimization (or ASO for short).

 

New Mobile App Discovery Methods

More apps are discovered through search than any other method

So, what is ASO?

ASO is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers. That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.

The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: downloading your app.

Also, the ASO process requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours. When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will have a better understanding of the language of your potential customers – a crucial piece of any marketing plan – and you can home in on your keyword choices.

Why is ASO important?

According to Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. This makes search, in the app store, the most used method for discovering and downloading new apps. Recently, at Google I/O, Ankit Jain reported that “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.” Simply put, this means that:

If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.

With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the amazing reality is that the majority of publishers are not investing in app store optimization. So here’s our gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.

Keep in mind that ASO takes time

ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.

Today, the most common approach to ASO is no approach at all. Developers often pick keywords and write descriptions at the last second during an app’s submission process. In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden and the likelihood of discovery quite low.

“ASO is having dramatic effects on our client apps. For those who put the time in to understand, iterate, and test, we’ve seen many apps increase their downloads by a factor of 2x-10x, and an increase of revenue by a similar, or bigger, rate due to the increase in engagement of users earned by ASO. ASO is not a simple process, and you might not see the impact overnight, but if you’re willing to invest in it, the outcome can be incredibly worthwhile.”

App developers need to consistently track their own rankings and the rankings of their competitors over time. More apps are published every day, and the constant stream of new ratings, reviews, and downloads can affect your search rankings. Keep testing and experimenting with your keywords in order to consistently rank well and drive more traffic to your download page.

Get Your Free ASO Consultation Here

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