An independent survey reports that almost 41% app customers discover new apps by browsing in the app store only. Some of the other platforms for app searches would be Facebook and Instagram where the user sees the ad based on their preferences or recent search history. We could have said Google but that isn’t as good when it comes to app downloads because not many people go about searching for “good apps of the day” or “good apps for something something” till of course, they are looking at writing a listicle for it. And these people, the ones who write listicles are in most cases not looking at downloading apps. So, marketing your app via app store optimisation, is pretty similar to marketing any other product or service. One needs a good ad copy, mostly videos work better, a good targeting, some decent budgets and one are all set to have a good number of app downloads. But, alike other product marketing, before starting to market the app, one must ensure it has a strong backbone. And this strength is determined by how well is your app optimised as per app store guidelines.
Why App Store Optimisation?
Now, that we have established the ease of app or mobile-based marketing, let us have a look at another set of data too! Close to 63% of the apps actually get discovered through app store search only. In addition to this, most people search for apps on Play Store or app store only making them search engines for apps. According to a recent study done by Tune, while over 50% of the iOS apps were discovered through the App Store, close to 55% of the app downloads on Google Play Store were triggered by the search.
Clearly, App Store/Play Store optimization is the thing one cannot miss out if one is targeting a decent number of app downloads.
So, how does App Store Optimisation Work?
One can say that App store optimisation is pretty similar to Search Engine Optimisation, just that, it doesn’t involve much of link building and in most cases works best when coupled with search engine optimisation.
App store optimisation, in turn, comes with its own set of parameters that need to be worked upon. A few of them are listed below:
- The application’s name
- The application’s URL
- The subtitle being used
- The quality of keywords being optimised for
- The use of keywords in the description of the app
- The ratings are given
- The number of reviews
- Number of in-app purchases if applicable
- The number of downloads
- Backlinks (mostly relevant for Google Play Store since it syncs app store optimisation with search engine optimisation)
- The frequency of the updates
- And finally, some hidden factors which neither of Apple of Google has yet made clear to the users.
Where should the Focus Lie?
A pretty logical way to approach this question would be to begin by touching the points which could be termed as low hanging fruits. These would be The App’s Name, The App’s Description, The Keywords to be used and The App’s URL
The next in this sequence would be search engine optimisation. This is because, whatever we do, google follows and since most apps are available on Play store too. And whatever one might feel, the majority audience lies there too. As part of Google’s extended ecosystem, it is only obvious that all search engine optimisation activities are going to impact an app’s searchability results on the play store. Given the fact that there wouldn’t be much to do here online; hence offline link building will have a major role to play.
This brings us to our next observation about having a website for the app. A mistake that most of the budding app promoters do is that they miss out on having a dedicated website for their app. While a lot of apps do have a functional website. More often than not, the website is nothing more than a single page that redirects to the app store/play store. However, if one gives in enough focus to the website and puts us some blogs, relevant pages, reviews, etc or in short optimizes the website; the search rank of the app in the play store will be positively affected too.
And finally would be things like managing the App Updates frequency and increasing the number of reviews and ratings in addition to, of course, increasing the downloads.
How to increase downloads via App Store Optimisation?
The increase in the number of downloads is where paid campaign management will have a great role to play. Our suggestion would be to go for Facebook and Instagram and when it comes to Google, go for Google Display Network. While search ads would work, but that would depend a lot on the purpose your app is solving. If it is a content-based app that talks about generic things or even news for that instance, search ads might work. However, if it is for instance about healthcare or photo editing or anything operational, the display element would be required.
Getting in-app installs would definitely boost your app store search rank . As more the number of downloads, more would be the establishment that your app is relevant to the users.
Another factor that could also be considered would be the app stickiness . Because if someone just installs and deletes the app; it means that the app isn’t as good and hence would have a lower ranking. Similarly, the number of user sessions on the app would also be something one will have to manage.
A lot has been said in this blog piece and as someone who has been working in this domain; we feel that once someone covers these things well, a lot of optimisation would be done. Yet, we mentioned the hidden factors and hence maintain that once you start optimising your app; you will discover a lot of things too! And when you do discover, make sure you write back and enlighten us too!