Tag Archive | "Store"

App Store SEO: How to Diagnose a Drop in Traffic & Win It Back

Posted by Joel.Mesherghi

For some organizations, mobile apps can be an important means to capturing new leads and customers, so it can be alarming when you notice your app visits are declining.

However, while there is content on how to optimize your app, otherwise known as ASO (App Store Optimization), there is little information out there on the steps required to diagnose a drop in app visits.

Although there are overlaps with traditional search, there are unique factors that play a role in app store visibility.

The aim of this blog is to give you a solid foundation when trying to investigate a drop in app store visits and then we’ll go through some quick fire opportunities to win that traffic back.

We’ll go through the process of investigating why your app traffic declined, including:

  1. Identifying potential external factors
  2. Identifying the type of keywords that dropped in visits
  3. Analyzing app user engagement metrics

And we’ll go through some ways to help you win traffic back including:

  1. Spying on your competitors
  2. Optimizing your store listing
  3. Investing in localisation

Investigating why your app traffic declined

Step 1. Identify potential external factors

Some industries/businesses will have certain periods of the year where traffic may drop due to external factors, such as seasonality.

Before you begin investigating a traffic drop further:

  • Talk to your point of contact and ask whether seasonality impacts their business, or whether there are general industry trends at play. For example, aggregator sites like SkyScanner may see a drop in app visits after the busy period at the start of the year.
  • Identify whether app installs actually dropped. If they didn’t, then you probably don’t need to worry about a drop in traffic too much and it could be Google’s and Apple’s algorithms better aligning the intent of search terms.

Step 2. Identify the type of keywords that dropped in visits

Like traditional search, identifying the type of keywords (branded and non-branded), as well as the individual keywords that saw the biggest drop in app store visits, will provide much needed context and help shape the direction of your investigation. For instance:

If branded terms saw the biggest drop-off in visits this could suggest:

  1. There has been a decrease in the amount of advertising spend that builds brand/product awareness
  2. Competitors are bidding on your branded terms
  3. The app name/brand has changed and hasn’t been able to mop up all previous branded traffic

If non-branded terms saw the biggest drop off in visits this could suggest:

  1. You’ve made recent optimisation changes that have had a negative impact
  2. User engagement signals, such as app crashes, or app reviews have changed for the worse
  3. Your competition have better optimised their app and/or provide a better user experience (particularly relevant if an app receives a majority of its traffic from a small set of keywords)
  4. Your app has been hit by an algorithm update

If both branded and non-branded terms saw the biggest drop off in visits this could suggest:

  1. You’ve violated Google’s policies on promoting your app.
  2. There are external factors at play

To get data for your Android app

To get data for your Android app, sign into your Google Play Console account.

Google Play Console provides a wealth of data on the performance of your android app, with particularly useful insights on user engagement metrics that influence app store ranking (more on these later).

However, keyword specific data will be limited. Google Play Console will show you the individual keywords that delivered the most downloads for your app, but the majority of keyword visits will likely be unclassified: mid to long-tail keywords that generate downloads, but don’t generate enough downloads to appear as isolated keywords. These keywords will be classified as “other”.

Your chart might look like the below. Repeat the same process for branded terms.


Above: Graph of a client’s non-branded Google Play Store app visits. The number of visits are factual, but the keywords driving visits have been changed to keep anonymity.

To get data for your IOS app

To get data on the performance of your IOS app, Apple have App Store Connect. Like Google Play Console, you’ll be able to get your hands on user engagement metrics that can influence the ranking of your app.

However, keyword data is even scarcer than Google Play Console. You’ll only be able to see the total number of impressions your app’s icon has received on the App Store. If you’ve seen a drop in visits for both your Android and IOS app, then you could use Google Play Console data as a proxy for keyword performance.

If you use an app rank tracking tool, such as TheTool, you can somewhat plug gaps in knowledge for the keywords that are potentially driving visits to your app.

Step 3. Analyze app user engagement metrics

User engagement metrics that underpin a good user experience have a strong influence on how your app ranks and both Apple and Google are open about this.

Google states that user engagement metrics like app crashes, ANR rates (application not responding) and poor reviews can limit exposure opportunities on Google Play.

While Apple isn’t quite as forthcoming as Google when it comes to providing information on engagement metrics, they do state that app ratings and reviews can influence app store visibility.

Ultimately, Apple wants to ensure IOS apps provide a good user experience, so it’s likely they use a range of additional user engagement metrics to rank an app in the App Store.

As part of your investigation, you should look into how the below user engagement metrics may have changed around the time period you saw a drop in visits to your app.

  • App rating
  • Number of ratings (newer/fresh ratings will be weighted more for Google)
  • Number of downloads
  • Installs vs uninstalls
  • App crashes and application not responding

You’ll be able to get data for the above metrics in Google Play Console and App Store Connect, or you may have access to this data internally.

Even if your analysis doesn’t reveal insights, metrics like app rating influences conversion and where your app ranks in the app pack SERP feature, so it’s well worth investing time in developing a strategy to improve these metrics.

One simple tactic could be to ensure you respond to negative reviews and reviews with questions. In fact, users increase their rating by +0.7 stars on average after receiving a reply.

Apple offers a few tips on asking for ratings and reviews for IOS app.

Help win your app traffic back

Step 1. Spy on your competitors

Find out who’s ranking

When trying to identify opportunities to improve app store visibility, I always like to compare the top 5 ranking competitor apps for some priority non-branded keywords.

All you need to do is search for these keywords in Google Play and the App Store and grab the publicly available ranking factors from each app listing. You should have something like the below.

Brand

Title

Title Character length

Rating

Number of reviews

Number of installs

Description character length

COMPETITOR 1

[Competitor title]

50

4.8

2,848

50,000+

3,953

COMPETITOR 2

[Competitor title]

28

4.0

3,080

500,000+

2,441

COMPETITOR 3

[Competitor title]

16

4.0

2566

100,000+

2,059

YOUR BRAND

​[Your brands title]

37

4.3

2,367

100,000+

3,951

COMPETITOR 4

[Competitor title]

7

4.1

1,140

100,000+

1,142

COMPETITOR 5

[Competitor title]

24

4.5

567

50,000+

2,647

     Above: anonymized table of a client’s Google Play competitors

From this, you may get some indications as to why an app ranks above you. For instance, we see “Competitor 1” not only has the best app rating, but has the longest title and description. Perhaps they better optimized their title and description?

We can also see that competitors that rank above us generally have a larger number of total reviews and installs, which aligns with both Google’s and Apple’s statements about the importance of user engagement metrics.

With the above comparison information, you can dig a little deeper, which leads us on nicely to the next section.

Optimize your app text fields

Keywords you add to text fields can have a significant impact on app store discoverability.

As part of your analysis, you should look into how your keyword optimization differs from competitors and identify any opportunities.

For Google Play, adding keywords to the below text fields can influence rankings:

  • Keywords in the app title (50 characters)
  • Keywords in the app description (4,000 characters)
  • Keywords in short description (80 characters)
  • Keywords in URL
  • Keywords in your app name

When it comes to the App Store, adding keywords to the below text fields can influence rankings:

  • Keywords in the app title (30 characters)
  • Using the 100 character keywords field (a dedicated 100-character field to place keywords you want to rank for)
  • Keywords in your app name

To better understand how your optimisation tactics hold up, I recommended comparing your app text fields to competitors.

For example, if I want to know the frequency of mentioned keywords in their app descriptions on Google Play (keywords in the description field are a ranking factor) than I’d create a table like the one below.

Keyword

COMPETITOR 1

COMPETITOR 2

COMPETITOR 3

YOUR BRAND

COMPETITOR 4

COMPETITOR 5

job

32

9

5

40

3

2

job search

12

4

10

9

10

8

employment

2

0

0

5

0

3

job tracking

2

0

0

4

0

0

employment app

7

2

0

4

2

1

employment search

4

1

1

5

0

0

job tracker

3

0

0

1

0

0

recruiter

2

0

0

1

0

0

     Above: anonymized table of a client’s Google Play competitors

From the above table, I can see that the number 1 ranking competitor (competitor 1) has more mentions of “job search” and “employment app” than I do.

Whilst there are many factors that decide the position at which an app ranks, I could deduce that I need to increase the frequency of said keywords in my Google Play app description to help improve ranking.

Be careful though: writing unnatural, keyword stuffed descriptions and titles will likely have an adverse effect.

Remember, as well as being optimized for machines, text fields like your app title and description are meant to be a compelling “advertisement” of your app for users..

I’d repeat this process for other text fields to uncover other keyword insights.

Step 2. Optimize your store listing

Your store listing in the home of your app on Google Play. It’s where users can learn about your app, read reviews and more. And surprisingly, not all apps take full advantage of developing an immersive store listing experience.

Whilst Google doesn’t seem to directly state that fully utilizing the majority of store listing features directly impacts your apps discoverability, it’s fair to speculate that there may be some ranking consideration behind this.

At the very least, investing in your store listing could improve conversion and you can even run A/B tests to measure the impact of your changes.

You can improve the overall user experience and content found in the store listing by adding video trailers of your app, quality creative assets, your apps icon (you’ll want to make your icon stand out amongst a sea of other app icons) and more.

You can read Google’s best practice guide on creating a compelling Google Play store listing to learn more.

Step 3. Invest in localization

The saying goes “think global, act local” and this is certainly true of apps.

Previous studies have revealed that 72.4% of global consumers preferred to use their native language when shopping online and that 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

It makes logical sense. The better you can personalize your product for your audience, the better your results will be, so go the extra mile and localize your Google Play and App Store listings.

Google has a handy checklist for localization on Google Play and Apple has a comprehensive resource on internationalizing your app on the App Store.

Wrap up

A drop in visits of any kind causes alarm and panic. Hopefully this blog gives you a good starting point if you ever need to investigate why an apps traffic has dropped as well as providing some quick fire opportunities to win it back.

If you’re interested in further reading on ASO, I recommend reading App Radar’s and TheTool’s guides to ASO, as well as app search discoverability tips from Google and Apple themselves.

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Store visits now available for Google Ads smart bidding optimization

Now smart bidding can take foot traffic and online conversion actions into account.



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Fiverr Is The Everything Store For Digital Services, Says CEO

“Fiverr is the everything store for digital services,” says Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman. “The way people usually find freelancers is they post on Facebook asking if someone knows a good graphics designer. What we’re doing is we’re making it a one-click experience. There’s no bidding, betting, negotiating. There’s browse, search, buy. It’s an Amazon experience to buy a digital service.”

Micha Kaufman, CEO of Fiverr, discusses today’s IPO and how Fiverr has become the Amazon for digital services in an interview on CNBC:

Fiverr Is The Everything Store For Digital Services

Fiverr connects freelancers with businesses of all sizes. Really, the uniqueness of the platform is that the experience of buying a digital service on Fiverr is very similar to shopping on Amazon. You browse, you search, you find something, you click order, and it’s done. Graphic design is one of our most popular services on the platform. Also popular are content marketing, videography, animation, music services, and marketing and advertising. Anything you can imagine.

It’s the everything store for digital services. The system helps you productize your offering. You can define what you’re offering, how much time it’s going to take you to deliver, and the asking price. All the buyers have to do is screen through the offerings, find something they like, click order and pay, and they are done.

It’s An Amazon Experience To Buy a Digital Product

In the categories in which we operate there is a volume of activity of $ 100 billion in the US alone. It’s still only a single digit percentage online. It’s a very old-school business. The way people usually find freelancers is they post on Facebook asking if someone knows a good graphics designer. What we’re doing is we’re making it a one-click experience. There’s no bidding, betting, negotiating. There’s browse, search, buy. It’s an Amazon experience to buy a digital service. Nobody has done it before. The average time to make an order on Fiverr is 15 minutes. this is unbeatable. It’s unmatched.

We take a take out of every transaction. It’s one of the industry-leading take rates of over 26 percent. If you look at the EBITDA margins, you see that they’re shrinking. The way we actually structured the business is that we continue to grow aggressively while shrinking our negative EBITDA. There is a clear path to profitability. We are operating in over 160 countries. Our growth is coming globally from the adoption of freelancing online.

Our Primary Competitor is Definitely the Offline Market

Our primary competitor is definitely the offline market. I don’t know if it’s 96 or 97 percent of the activity offline, but we don’t need to eat anyone’s lunch to grow. We just need to move offline activity to the online. The offline freelancing market is massive. we’ve estimated that market to be a hundred billion dollars in the US alone. Europe is 1.5 times bigger than the US. There are over 162 million freelancers between the EU and the US. The opportunity is massive and it’s just starting to come online. This is like 1995 for ecommerce. This is so exciting.

Fiverr doesn’t hire its freelancers. It’s just the market that connects freelancers with businesses that have their digital needs. The way the marketplace is structured is such where we don’t have any employee-employer relationships. We are not relying on freelancers. We’re just connecting that supply with a demand that comes forward. We’re the platform on top of which they actually conduct their transaction. We just provide the platform to make that happen. It is very different than Uber and Lyft.

Fiverr Is The Everything Store For Digital Services, Says Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman

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Google Ads store visits, store sales reporting data partially corrected

Google says it is making progress, but there are still days for which reporting is inaccurate.



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How to Optimize Checkout Flow in Your eCommerce Store

It’s a sad truth that a lot of eCommerce stores don’t put too much thought or effort into their checkout page, leading to cart abandonment. However, making a few changes and optimizing the checkout flow can do wonders for your store.

What’s the Deal With Checkout?

Most online stores tend to focus on their home page and product pages. It’s easy to understand why since the goal is to catch and hold the customer’s attention. But what eCommerce businesses should remember is that the checkout process is also essential and has to be given proper consideration.

Consider this—research firm Statista determined that as by the end of 2017, nearly 70% of shopping carts worldwide were abandoned. What’s worrying is that the rate of shopping cart abandonment has remained relatively high for the past decade.

The data also suggests that most established eCommerce businesses that garner over 100, 000 visitors per month would likely see and an astronomical boost in revenue if their conversion rate went up by even 1%.

Online shopping cart abandonment rate worldwide from 2006 to 2017

People who reached the checkout page are obviously motivated to buy something. The mystery here is what caused their desire to fizzle out. Retailers should also think about what they could do to optimize the checkout flow.

3 Tips for Optimizing Checkout Flow

Never Force a Customer into Making an Account

Forcing a customer to create an account just to purchase a product is one of biggest reasons why shoppers abandon their cart. It’s easy to understand a business owner’s point of view on this matter. Aside from the desire to make a sale, they also want to get the customer’s data in order to market to them again.

However, requiring customers to register or create an account before they can even finish their purchase slows down the transaction and leads to frustration. Remember that they’re on your site because they want to purchase something and they want to do so in a quick and efficient manner.

A better solution would be to wait until the checkout process has been completed and the deal closed. At this juncture, you can simply ask the client if they want the information they provided to be saved for future purchases. A good transaction experience will likely prompt them to agree to have an account created. You can also take a page out of Speedo’s handbook and offer an incentive if the customer agrees to register.

Image result for speedo checkout page

Choose Forms That are Well-Designed and Easy to Fill Out

Retailers should also pay attention to how their forms are designed. Aside from following the usual web form standards (ex. using asterisks for required fields), the field size should reflect the information that the user is expected to fill in.

Asking the right kind of information is also essential. Do away with unnecessary data as it only makes the process longer and makes customers wary. For example, an Apple customer in one study complained about a form asking for their phone number and worried that they’ll be hounded by salespeople. Make sure that when you ask for a customer’s personal information, the reason is obvious to the customer or is explicitly explained (ex. for shipping purposes).

Ask Credit Card Details Last and Provide Proof They’re Secure

It’s a good idea to ask for the customer’s shipping information first and credit card details last. This is because the former is easy and the latter is harder to input. Follow the same principle in other forms. Start with easy information, like name and address, and end with hard details like the credit card number. The credit card form should also look secure. Put the SSL logo prominently, along with explanations about the security code and card expiry.

Related image

Security credentials should also be placed in highly visible places. Customers are understandably wary about giving their credit card details. A 2015 survey by Experian that included over 1000 participants, revealed that more than two-thirds of the surveyed group worried about being scammed while shopping online.

It’s your job to reassure customers that their credit card details are safe. Use padlocks and https where needed or put security icons in the header, footer, and beside the “Checkout” or “Sign In” buttons. Adding Trust seals and SSL Certificates also go a long way in calming people’s fears. It can even increase conversions by as much as 30%. Conversely, one survey concluded that 61% of the respondents did not continue with their purchase because they didn’t see a Trust Seal.

Always consider your customer’s feelings, even during checkout. Consider the kind of experience you want them to have at this all-too crucial junction. Make some changes and optimize your checkout flow. A quick and painless checkout process will reduce cart abandonment and result in happy customers.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Apple App Store Growing Fast, Paid $20 Billion to App Developers in 2016

The Apple App Store has paid out over $ 20 billion to developers in 2016, which is an increase of over 40% over 2015, according to Apple. They also said that January 1, 2017 had the highest dollar volume of app purchases of any single day in the Apple App Store’s history, with over $ 240 million in sales. Since the App Store launched in 2008, developers have earned over $ 60 billion.

“2016 was a record-shattering year for the App Store, generating $ 20 billion for developers, and 2017 is off to a great start with January 1 as the single biggest day ever on the App Store,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We want to thank our entire developer community for the many innovative apps they have created — which together with our products — help to truly enrich people’s lives.”

Apple also noted that December 2016 was an amazing month for App purchases, hitting over $ 3 billion in sales.

Subscription billings, which became available just this Fall in all categories, are one of the fastest growing segments of app sales. There are over 20,000 apps that can be subscribed to for a monthly fee including popular services such as Netflix, HBO Now, Line, Tinder and MLB.com At Bat. Subscription based apps generated $ 2.7 billion in billings in 2016, up 74% over 2015.

Apple also recently announced a Best of 2016 Music list:

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SearchCap: Google rich cards, AdWords store visits & fake news

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google rich cards, AdWords store visits & fake news appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Google adds Store Visits data to AdWords distance & location reports ahead of Black Friday

The company also released a compilation of insights on Black Friday mobile and in-store shopping behaviors.

The post Google adds Store Visits data to AdWords distance & location reports ahead of Black Friday appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Report: Apple building AdWords-like ad product for the App Store

AdWords for the App Store could be potentially very useful for developers and lucrative for Apple.

The post Report: Apple building AdWords-like ad product for the App Store appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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The App Store Optimization Checklist: Top 10 Tips

Posted by AshleySefferman

App Store Optimization, or ASO, is a way of ensuring your app meets app store ranking criteria and rises to the top of a search results page. But how does a marketer optimize for better discoverability in an app store?

To help you boost your app marketing strategy (along with your app store ranking!), I’ve put together a list of 10 favorite ASO tips, many of which have their roots in well-known SEO strategies marketers know and love.

Let’s dive in!

1. Understand your customer and your competition

How well do you know your customers and your competition? A well-formed ASO strategy hinges on understanding how your customers use your app, along with a deep view of your competitive landscape. To start, ask yourself the following:

  • What language do my customers naturally use?
  • How would they describe my app?
  • What are their top reasons for downloading and using my app?
  • What is my competitive advantage?
  • What keywords do my competitors target?
  • How easily can I compete against these apps on the same keywords?
  • Should I target the obvious keywords or the less obvious (and less trafficked) keywords that better speak to my unique offering and points of differentiation?
  • Your ASO strategy begins with putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your goal is to improve discovery in app store searches and target those keywords that drive the most traffic. The best way to identify these optimal keywords is consumer research — finding out exactly what search queries brought your customers to your app and the natural language they use to describe it.

It’s equally important to survey your competition to identify which keywords are being targeted by apps similar to yours. You can then determine whether or not it makes sense to target these same keywords or a separate set of keywords unique to your individual value proposition. Similarly, you’ll have to decide if it makes more sense to rank in the top 10 for a few highly competitive keywords or to rank in the top spot for keywords with a lesser search volume.

2. Choose the right app name

Coming up with a unique name for your app isn’t just a matter of branding. For best results with ASO, include relevant keywords within your title, as this text heavily factors into app store search results. In fact, our friends at TUNE recently conducted a study of the top 25 ranking positions and found that apps with a relevant keyword in their title ranked, on average, 10.3% higher than apps without a title keyword.

Titles in the App Store can be up to 255 characters, allowing for plenty of keywords or keyword phrases. However, don’t take this as an opportunity to stuff every keyword you can think of into your title; after all, your app’s name is, first and foremost, your first impression to a potential mobile customer. Longer titles, however, will be truncated on a search results or top chart page. Titles are typically truncated after the 23rd character (including spaces) in the App Store and the 30th character in Google Play. App titles for installed apps in a device’s navigation menu or home screen are truncated after 11 and 14 characters, respectively.

To ensure that your app can be clearly identified, keep the actual name short and sweet. You can augment this short title with nonessential keywords after the name, typically preceded by a dash or vertical bar, to associate your app with select keywords.

It’s also important to use only URL-friendly characters in your title, particularly in the App Store. Special characters or symbols will detract from your ASO strategy and cause iTunes to refer to your app’s numeric ID, rather than its name, to scan for relevant keywords.

3. Maximize your keywords

While many of these strategies apply across the board when it comes to the different app stores, the App Store and the Google Play Store have two very different approaches when it comes to ASO keywords.

The App Store

The App Store has a 100-character keyword field. It exclusively uses title and whatever keywords or keyword phrases you include in these 100 characters to determine which search strings your app will show up for. With this in mind, it’s important to use all of the allotted characters and carefully research your keywords to maximize your organic traffic.

Google Play

On the other hand, the Google Play Store takes an approach more similar to modern SEO. Google does away with the specified tags and scans your app’s description to extract relevant keywords. In this scenario, you’re given 4,000 characters to describe it in natural, customer-facing language. Without trying to jam as many keywords into this text as possible at the expense of your messaging strategy, try to sprinkle relevant keywords where they logically make sense. A recent Sensor Tower study showed that the optimal number of times to repeat a keyword in an app store product page is five, at which point you will maximize the likelihood of ranking prominently for that keyword. Additional mentions have little to no effect on ASO and may even turn off potential customers if your description appears intentionally repetitive.

With this in mind, everything consumer-facing in your app’s product page should be designed not for an algorithm but for the customer. If its description is a hodgepodge of contextually irrelevant keywords, that coveted rank will become meaningless, as your wordy description will struggle to entice customers to take the next step and download it. For best results, write for the customer first, and make small edits for keywords next — remember that the ranking algorithms take both keywords and conversion metrics into account.

4. Create a compelling description

With the exception of a few of the aforementioned strategically placed keywords, your app’s description should be targeted toward your customer base, rather than a search engine index. Your description should be viewed as a call-to-action for potential customers. Describe what it does in simple and concise language, list the unique benefits it offers, and compel the reader to download it. You’ve already convinced the app store that your app is relevant to a specific list of keywords, and now it’s time to convince your potential customers that it meets their needs.

We recommend focusing the bulk of your energy on the first three lines of your description to immediately grab your reader’s attention. Given the ever-growing number of apps in the marketplace, customers are sure to have a few — if not several — alternatives to consider when evaluating yours. Make their decision easy by immediately communicating what it does and why they should use it.

Your app’s description, as well as the rest of your product page, should be treated as a living document. As it changes with each new update, so should your description. Each time you submit an update, take the time to reflect the changes in your product page’s description and screenshots to call out new features and accurately portray it.

5. Stand out with a unique icon

As your potential customers browse a nearly endless list of apps, your visual icon is the first impression they’ll have of yours. It’s important to make it count!

When approaching your icon design, it’s important to note that the App Store and Google Play vary in their approach to, and rendering of, app icons. Both stores have preset standards for the ideal size, geometry, and color scheme of app icons, designed to match the rest of the OS.

For iOS icons, the most important thing to note is that icons should be sized to at least 1024×1024 pixels, the dimensions required by the App Store. From here, the Apple OS will resize your icon for any other applications, including app icons (180×180), navigation icons (66×66), and tab bar icons (75×75). Your image must therefore be designed with the meticulous detail of a 1024×1024 icon and the simplicity necessary to still look good scaled down to the smallest size.

Additional resources: iOS 9 Design Guidelines and iOS Icon Sizing Reference Chart

When designing an Android icon, the only difference is that Google Play requires a 512×512 icon, rather than 1024×1024. While not required, Google recommends designing app icons in accordance with its material design guidelines, which details everything from icon anatomy to lighting and shading.

Additional resources: Android Material Design Guidelines and Android Icon Sizing Reference Chart

Regardless of which OS you’re designing for, you need an icon capable of breaking through the clutter. Icons should be clear enough that they immediately convey what your app does, even in its scaled-down form within the apps menu. As such, don’t overcomplicate your icon with unnecessary words or logos that demand extra time from your customers.

To get an idea of what works historically, simply browse the top-rated apps in your category or Google/Apple’s top picks. Across the board, you’ll see a trend toward bright colors, unique shapes, and simple imagery. Few icons use words, and some will incorporate a border or drop shadow to make them pop, regardless of their background. And once again, it’s important to do a little competitive research to ensure that your icon is different enough to avoid having your app confused with a competitor’s.

6. Include screenshots and videos

Like icons, screenshots in your description may not have a direct effect on search rankings, but they do drive downloads. Images convey more about what it actually is and bring your descriptive text to life, allowing potential customers to visualize using your app before they make the download.

While you can upload up to five screenshots for an iOS app and up to eight for an Android app, only your first 2–3 screenshots will show in the gallery on page load. Take special care in ensuring that these screenshots speak to your biggest customer benefits and are strong enough to convince the reader to browse your additional screenshots or download it.

While the app stores prefer images that are representative of the customer’s experience in your app, you can technically upload any graphic into the screenshot field — including concept or character art. Commonly, publishers will blend graphic design with their screenshots to incorporate a text overlay describing key elements or new features. For example, Candy Crush Saga adds a graphic overlay to its screenshots to promote its new update.

Whatever your approach, your screenshots should show off your app’s most pivotal features, latest updates, and the pages on which your customers will spend most of their time. Skip the pretty splash pages and show the customer what they can expect during everyday use. For best results, A/B test different screenshot sets to determine which screenshots drive the most downloads.

7. Localize your app listing

When it comes to global marketing, a “one-size-fits-all” approach simply won’t cut it. Today, only 31% of app revenue is generated by North American consumers. And of those consumers outside the English-speaking world, 72% prefer to use their native language when shopping, even if they’re fluent in English. These two statistics speak to the massive opportunity available to app publishers. That is, those app publishers who are able to tap into this market by catering to the unique preferences of its customer segments.

In other words, if your audience goes beyond the English-speaking world, consider adapting your brand communication and language to the wants and needs of each audience segment.

At the most basic level, speak to your customers in the language they use at home. There are myriad solutions for low-cost translation or localization services that can translate your app’s title, keywords, description, and screenshots to the languages of your largest segments.

Both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store allow you to localize your listing to make both discoverability and readability easier for customers in different countries. By doing so, you can increase both adoption and conversion, as more customers find your app using keywords in their language and as more customer download it after seeing a welcoming product page in their language. Together, these two effects can add up to as much as a 767% increase in downloads.

For example, Clash of Clans publisher Supercell translated its app description and screenshots to capture the Chinese market:

8. Increase traffic with outside promotion

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that on-page optimization is just one tool in your mobile marketing kit. And this is where your SEO knowledge really comes in. It is widely believed that both Google and Apple factor in your app’s total page visits and product page backlinks when determining your search and overall ranks.

Simply put, the more traffic you drive to your listing, the higher it will rank in search results. To drive traffic, build an online presence around your app with social media and content, soliciting press and reviews, and investing in online advertising.

For many publishers, app indexing has proven the most effective strategy for driving traffic to an app’s product page. A relatively new concept, app indexing is the process of making Android or iOS app content searchable and linkable from a web or mobile web search. Customers who see you indexed in a search result can click on your link and be deep-linked to either it’s product page (if they don’t have it installed) or to the page in your app from which that content is indexed (if they have it installed). Indexing, therefore, helps with both re-engagement and acquisition by promoting your content in new channels.

App indexing allows you to drive downloads and app store traffic directly from a search engine results page.

App indexing has quickly shaken up the world of search, with 40% of searches now returning app indexed results. The world is going mobile, and those apps ahead of the curve in ASO and app indexing trends will be those that nab market share from traditionally web-dominated search results. (For more ways to move beyond the app store with your marketing strategy, check out our guide The 2016 Guide to App Marketing Channels.)

Additional resources: How to Get Your App Content Indexed by Google

9. Update frequently

Mobile customers are looking for apps that are constantly improving, with regular updates based on customer feedback. Apps that are frequently updated are seen, by both the app store and the customer, to be of a higher value and more customer-centric. Consequently, app updates highly correspond to better reviews as each new and improved version of the app should naturally receive higher ratings than the version before.

Of course, releasing the update is only half the battle. The next step is to encourage existing customers to download the update. To help sell your next update, try these three strategies:

  1. Entice customers within your app (such as a note prompted at login, a push notification, or an update link prominently displayed in the main navigation) notifying them of the new update and what improvements they have to look forward to.
  2. Update the app description and the “What’s New” field in your app store product page to outline new/improved features with a compelling call-to-action.
  3. Maintain a large volume of five-star reviews for your app, and especially its latest version. Our 2015 Consumer Survey revealed that one-third of existing customers check an app’s ratings before downloading an update. Maintain a positive rating for an easy win.

To come up with a general recommendation for update frequency, we scoured the 500 top-ranked apps and found that the average update frequency was between 30 and 40 days. Keep in mind, however, that each time you update an iOS app, your ratings reset — and with that, your rank temporarily plummets. As a result, frequently updated iOS apps experience slightly higher app store rank volatility, while frequently updated Android apps experience reduced volatility.

10. Encourage ratings and feedback

Last but certainly not least, a consistent flow of positive reviews serves as the highest possible validation of your app’s quality and one of the highest determinants of rank. In our analysis of the 500 top-ranked apps posted last year on the Moz blog, we found the highest correlation between ratings (both average rating and rating count) and ranks than any of the other factors we tested. Across the board, apps with a large volume of positive ratings dominate the top charts.

We also found that rating volume almost always trumps rating sentiment when it comes to determining rank. The app stores are looking to recognize apps that have the largest fan community — and the best proxy for determining that is the rating count.

The apps with the highest rating counts are those that keep their customers engaged and proactively solicit customer feedback to shape their product roadmap and future updates. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that app store ratings provide just a myopic view of customer satisfaction. Typically, only your vocal minority — those who either love or hate your app — will take the time to write a review. In reality, most of your customers lie somewhere between these two extremes and require that extra engagement or prompt to give their feedback. With intelligent rating prompts, you can boost your rating — and ultimately, your rank — by prompting only those customers most likely to give you a 5-star review.

Wrapping it up

Backed by an understanding of the data and science behind app store ranking algorithms and these top tips for App Store Optimization, you’re well on your way to a bullet-proof ASO strategy. With careful measurement and a little trial and error, you’ll soon catapult past your competitors in the app store top charts.

Of course, App Store Optimization is an ongoing process, thanks both to the continually evolving ranking algorithms and to the competitive nature of the app stores. A successful ASO strategy requires a keen eye, a penchant for analytics, and regular check-ins. Manage this, and your investment will pay off many times over.

See you on the top charts!

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