ASO Tip #5 – The Importance of Reviews & Ratings

ASO Tip #5 - Ratings and Reviews

Welcome back to the last of our 5-part series of App Store Optimization (ASO) tips.

The goal of this series was to help app publishers and developers with a critical part in the app ecosystem: the app store product page. So far we have covered off improving your name; looked at how important it was to get your icon right; reviewed what to do to improve your screenshots; and, last week, revealed the secret formula to writing a successful product description.

This week we focus our last tip on the importance of reviews and ratings especially as it relates to discovery and downloads.

We all know how important customer feedback is. Comments and ratings provides invaluable information direct from the consumers of our applications. This is obvious a great source of learnings which can be taken back to influence the application’s product roadmap whether its through a bug fix or feature enhancement.

What might not be well known is how important ratings and reviews factor into discovery and download of your app.

From a Discovery perspective: ratings and reviews are considered as metadata for search and can even help to categorize your app in search results according to news which broke this week on TechCrunch on possible enhancements Apple is making from their recent acquisition of Chomp, a leading app search engine, which uses customer feedback to influence discovery. If this is true, then gaining reviews becomes key for app publishers not only to get valuable feedback but also to ensure that their page is rich with keywords which can help them be found in search results.

From a Download perspective: ratings and reviews could mean the difference of a potential user downloading your app over a direct competitors – especially in list view on the device. We covered how important it was to stand out from the crowd with a great name and especially a killer icon. Well those little stars that get lit up when you get a rating and the numbers that grow when reviews are written are another way for your app to get noticed. If there is an app in the list that is similar to yours and you have stars (any stars) and more reviews, you are much more likely to be the one that is tapped on to continue forward and downloaded. Of course, when you start to be compared to others that also have many reviews and ratings, the importance of what your star rating and how many positive reviews you have become a factor.

So what to do? How do you get reviews and ratings? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started

  • Ask for them! Have a call to action to “Rate and Review Our App” on your product description, in your marketing materials, your emails and newsletters, your social networks – wherever it makes sense
  • Use pop-up notification reminders in your app to ask for active users to give their feedback
  • Build a resident area in your app, like in your menu, which prompts users to rate and review
  • Hold contests and promotions to gather feedback leveraging your social networks and databases

We hope you have enjoyed the ASO (App Store Optimization) Series. Please feel free to reach out to us directly at info@app-promo.com if you have any questions or keep the conversation going on our Twitter account @AppPromo.

 

ASO Tip #4 – The Secret Product Description Formula

App Store Writers BlockWelcome back to the ASO (App Store Optimization) article series.

We have covered so far in this series ensuring that your name and image assets: icon and screenshots are working hard to sell your app within the app store environment. Today we tackle the product page element which usually takes the most time to complete and because of this work effort is often left untapped – the product description.

App stores provide developers and app publishers with 4000 characters to tell potential downloaders in words what their app is all about. Since often marketing copy is not there forte, we find app descriptions with a few lines, incorrectly focused on providing support and FAQ or even left blank.

Product descriptions are powerful marketing opportunities for two reasons:

  1. They spell out what your app is and why the consumer should download it (in this way they are the word counterpart to your screenshots). A great product description will convince users who have tapped onto your app for more information to download.
  2. Descriptions, if done correctly, will also be keyword rich making them a powerful tool for search engine results helping fuel additional discovery.

So why do app publishers often resort to not utilizing this area properly? Bottom line is that they are often overwhelmed and don’t know how to begin writing it. In essence they get app store writers block.

To help you move past this block and to ensure that your app description is written to maximize conversions and search discovery, we break down our secret formula.

  • Start with your Elevator pitch – what is this app and why should the user download it (USP/Benefit)
  • Move into reconfirming your price or use this area for price promotions
  • Highlight ratings/reviews/awards/press – keep this area updated as you receive these
  • List Features make sure to include all core features and avoid being too technical
  • Wrap up with a final sentence which reconfirms why the consumer should download the app
  • Provide additional contact points – links to your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and your website
  • Remind users to rate and review your app

ASO Tip #3 – Screenshots Sell Your App

Welcome back to the App Store Optimization Series (ASO).

In this series we are focused on better positioning your app within the app store environment to increase the saleability and discovery of your app which will ultimately help you succeed. We’ve covered improvements on your app name and tips to better your app icon and in today’s post we will tackle selling with screenshots.

Like your app icon which is another illustrative asset on your product page, your screenshots go along way in telling prospective downloaders what your app is all about, even moreso than what you explain in words in your product description.

Here are 3 things you should be considering when creating your screenshots to ensure you are representing your app in the best way possible to help it gain downloads.

1. Start by showing the “meat” of your app

If your app is a game, start with a screenshot of game play. If its a recipe selector, start with a screenshot showing how a recipe is selected. Whatever your app is, your first screenshot should focus on the “meat” or the core action the app has to offer. Often times prospective downloaders scroll to the bottom of the page to review screenshots and don’t bother to scroll left and right to see more than what the few that are immediately available leaving your first screenshot with the heavy burden to depict your app in one still image enough to get the consumer interested. Don’t waste this opportunity with a settings page, a splash or title page or a shot of your app that doesn’t resonate what your app is all about.

2. Use High Quality Images

Work with your design team to use the original design assets to create screenshots using the correct aspect ratio and sizes dictated by the particular app store your are submitting to. Stretched, low quality, fuzzy screenshots will degrade the impact these selling assets have on your product page and may ultimately detract from the download.

3. Give some context to your screenshots

You don’t have to just use a screenshot still from your app. Use this opportunity to layer on some marketing copy and branding on the image before submitting. Adding short, impactful phrases which put the screenshot in context are extremely beneficial and go along way to communicating to users what your app is all about. Additional branding elements like brand colors, game characters or fonts also reinforce the style and flare of your product to the user adding a professional and polished look to your shots.

Here are some great screenshots from our client, City King, which we worked with them to apply ASO tips to maximize their effectiveness in the app store.

City King Screenshot  City King Screenshot

ASO Tip #2 – An Icon is Worth a Thousand Words

App Store Optimization Tip #2 - Icon

Welcome Back to our App Store Optimization (ASO) series.

Last week we took a look at how to improve discoverablity of your app by using keywords in your app name. This week we will focus on another key branding element of your app, your icon.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The impact of your icon, being an image or picture, is extremely powerful. In many ways, your app icon is even more important than your name is as it is the first thing a user will notice in the list of applications and is often the element of your app branding that is most remembered by a potential downloader. This shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing how much real estate and prominence app icons get both in the store and on device.

Your app icon is like the packaging for your app. It is there to catch people’s attention and communicate in seconds what your app is all about. Its in those seconds that a potential user will make their decision as to whether or not they will want to download or pay for your application.

In our experience a potential user is factoring in the following when they look through a list of app icons to decide their next download:

Design: Is the icon overcomplicated or crowded? Is there text or an image that is hard to make out. Your app icon is pretty small so don’t try to fit the entire app in it. Avoid just using a screenshot and if you have a long title don’t even bother trying to squeeze that in. Work with a graphic designer to create an eye appealing icon that is easy to read and even more importantly recall.

Color: Are the colors of the app appropriate for the genre or subject of the app? Do they stand out from the crowd? Are they too dark and bland? Choosing the right colors is just as important as the right design. You want to make sure that your app stands out from the crowd while not selecting colors that take your app too far out of the genre norm.

Quality: Is the icon fuzzy? Are the images pixelated? Are the colors faded? A poor quality app icon can make or break a decision against you and your competitors. Take the extra time to create high definition icons that are crystal clear and meet the specs of the devices that are out there. Keep this updated as screens improve. It will go a long way to selling your application.

Context: What is this app all about? Does this icon make sense to the user in context to the category they are in and in reference to the name that you have given it? Often times users make their decision right at the list view so you will not have the chance to explain yourself like you can when they hit the product description. You will want to make sure that your app icon relates to the core features of your app so that there is no confusion what this app is all about.

 

 

ASO Tip #1 – Use Keywords in Your App Name

App Store Optimization Tip 1 - App NameOne of the most popular services we provide at App Promo is ASO or App Store Optimization. Our App Store Optimization service includes a thorough review of how your app is positioned or will be positioned within the app store and recommendations on potential changes that would better serve your app within this environment to increase discovery and sales.

We have created a series of articles that break out 5 tips we have found to be most useful when it comes to optimizing your app within a storefront. This is the first post of the five. In this post, we will take a look at one of the critical marketing elements of your product in the app store – your App Name.

Your app name is at the core of your product brand. This along with your icon act like the cover of a book for your app. It is essential that your app name be creative, thoughtful, enticing and indicative of what your app does but often times app publishers forget that it is also critical that the name itself contains keywords which are core to your app.

The name of your app is one of the strongest areas search engines both within the store and outside the store online will use for search discovery. For this reason, it is important to think about what your user will search for when they are looking for your app and consider using some of these keywords in your name. If your app is an Apple Puzzle game that be sure to use Apple or Puzzle in your app name somewhere, for example.

In addition, as mobile app store users make most of their download decisions within the list of apps they scroll through on their device, it is essential to grab their attention with your name. Using keywords which accurately and succinctly describe what your app is all about will help users understand in the a small amount of time what your app is all about and will help increase downloads but more importantly qualified downloads of your app.

Here are some TIPS when selecting a name which is optimized to market your app using keywords:

  1. Select a name that has something to do with the core offerings of your app – don’t be afraid to state the obvious here
  2. Be creative but don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness (again a spade can be a spade)
  3. Identify keywords for your app by thinking like a user and figuring out what they would search for and include some of these keywords in your name
  4. Look to your direct competitors to understand the format and keywords used in their app titles to learn from those around you
  5. Utilize a two part name separated by a dash or a colon to free up room to use keywords e.g. Monkey Madness – Kids Puzzle Fun

Look for the next post in this App Store Optimization article series next week at www.app-promo.com.

ASOLE- App Store Optimization- Limited Edition

@AppPromo we understand the importance of ASO (App Store Optimization).  That is why we created A S O L E  App Store Optimization Limited Edition. It is our breakthrough package to help you get started with your application’s best chance of being discovered.

Optimization of Your App Store Product Page is Key to Your App’s Success

It is the destination for all of your marketing efforts – ads, search, social media – and is the first thing users see when they come across your app within the app marketplace. We offer ASO services for New or Existing apps on iOS and Android platforms.

Benefits of App Store Optimization

  • Improve search results and immediate app comprehension within app store lists with an optimized name
  • Take advantage of app ranking opportunities with our category and sub-category recommendations
  • Improve brand recall and rapid app comprehension and increase conversion with icon & screenshots suggestions
  • Increase sales conversions and improve search discovery with a SEO focused Product Description

To ensure that you are leveraging the power of your app store page, choose from one of our App Store Optimization packages – rapid, ready-to-go services created to improve discovery, downloads and success of your app within any storefront.

Its easy to reach out to one of our ASO Specialists,  you can reach us on Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom, or email gary@app-promo.com to get instant response and results.

🎄 Over 90% of App Developers have seen more downloads as result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

🎄Holiday App Marketing Spend increasing by 67% according to latest survey of App-Promo.

🎄 Over 90% of App Developers have seen more downloads as result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Oct 13, 2020
Toronto, Ontario

App-Promo, an award-winning App Marketing Firm, is pleased to share the results of its Holiday Spend/Covid-19 App Marketing survey. Over the period of Oct 1-7th, 540 app marketers in the USA and Canada were sampled with three questions.

How has COVID 19 affected your App Marketing Spend this holiday season?  Over 67% of users responding said they would be spending more on app marketing over this holiday season, with 17% saying they would be spending the same amount.  Only 8.4% responded they would be spending less.

When will you be starting your App Marketing Holiday campaign spend? Over 67% of users responding said that they have already started their App Marketing Campaign spend in October, with the remaining 33% responding they would start no later than November 2020.

Are you seeing more or less app downloads as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?  An overwhelming 92% responded they are seeing more downloads, with no one responding they are seeing less downloads.

“In the worst of times we see the best of times for App Developers. It is reassuring to note that the App Business has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic with developers seeing more users and more revenue than previous times” commented Gary Yentin, CEO of App-Promo.

In response to this increased demand and revenue, App-Promo is pleased to offer App Developers a 20% discount on its App Marketing Services for the Holiday period.  The goal is to empower the app community with professional and proven marketing services to help them make even more revenue during these challenging times.

 

About App-Promo
App-Promo’s (http://www.app-promo.com) mission is to educate, equip and assist app publishers (developers, brands, advertisers and agencies) succeed in the Business of Mobile Applications: App Strategy, Marketing & Monetization and App Store Optimization (ASO) services.

With over 3 million applications in the app marketplace today, App publishers can no longer lean on the idea that “if they build it, they will come”. We believe that a proper plan, a strong business model and a robust marketing strategy are necessary ingredients for any app to thrive in a saturated and noisy ecosystem. Follow us @AppPromo or contact gary@app-promo.com

Apple launched a website to prove the App Store isn’t a monopoly

Apple launched a new website this week that says its App Store platform, the only way for most people to install apps on an iPhone, welcomes competition.

Apple recently lost a Supreme Court case involving competition on the App Store. One subsection on the page is titled “A store that welcomes competition.” The page highlights apps that compete with Apple’s built-in software and services, including Spotify.

App developers who make tools for controlling device addiction and family screen time recently said that they believed Apple was targeting its apps for removal from the store because they compete with Screen Time, a feature recently introduced to iPhones. Apple faces an EU antitrust complaint stemming from that episode.

Apple said in a statement at the time that the removals were related to privacy and security, and said the developers were misusing Apple software intended for other uses.

“All developers have the opportunity to have a rejection reviewed by the App Review Board. And the App Review team makes about 1,000 calls a week to developers to help them diagnose and resolve any issues that led to rejection — so they can get their app onto the App Store,” Apple said on its website.

App developers have also complained about the 15%-30% fees Apple charges for payments processed through the App Store.

“Like any fair marketplace, developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers. We only collect a commission from developers when a digital good or service is delivered through an app,” Apple said on its website.

The site says 40% of apps are rejected per week through Apple’s approval process that relies on human reviewers, mostly due to software bugs and privacy concerns.

The site also lists a series of apps available in the App Store that Apple says competes with its own apps like Music, Notes and FaceTime.

The page was posted in the week before Apple hosts thousands of developers for its annual conference in San Jose. Apple said that over the past year, developers have made $120 billion on Apple’s platform.

I want to be an ASO specialist … what will my salary be?

Job: App Store optimization (ASO) specialist

The role: Similar to a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, only confined to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store environments, ASO specialists are responsible for landing their clients as close to the top of the results page in relevant searches as possible.

A relatively new discipline within the mobile marketing industry, ASO specialists can increase an app’s search ranking by adjusting the description, icon, video and image previews as well as other elements when presented in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

“It’s a lot of data analysis; you’re comparing the app with its peers,” explained Gary Yentin, chief executive and founder of Toronto-based mobile marketing agency App Promo. “If you’re an application in the calendar space, you’re going to be mapping yourself against competitors in the calendar space, seeing what their keywords are, seeing how they rank, seeing what they wrote in their description, each of which is a data point you can use to evaluate your own application and hopefully increase its ranking.”

While there are some Canadian firms that specialize in ASO services, the majority of the industry operates within larger mobile or digital marketing agencies.

Gary Yentin, the CEO and founder of Toronto-based mobile marketing agency App Promo, says career opportunities will increase as ASO services become a necessity in the industry.

HANDOUT/HANDOUT

Salary: As a specialty within the mobile marketing industry, ASO specialists typically command a higher than average salary. “It would probably start around $50,000 [a year] and it can go up to $150,000, but it’s based on what you bring to the table,” said Mr. Yentin, explaining that an employee’s results are very easy to measure. “It’s driven by success, because you can show what you’ve achieved based on your campaigns. If they can show positive results they can [command a] higher salary.”

Education: The Apple App Store and Google Play Store are themselves hardly older than 10 years, and ASO has only really become a stand-alone profession in the past three or four, Mr. Yentin said , meaning there are few formal standards and educational programs.

Instead, the industry typically requires practitioners to have a university-level education in either computer science or marketing, and some experience in either SEO or mobile marketing more generally. “The best training in this field is hands-on training,” Mr. Yentin said.

Job prospects: While there are few companies that only offer ASO services, many larger mobile marketing firms have incorporated the service in recent years.

“There’s a lot of technology, app development, app marketing companies in Canada, but the reality is to have a successful business you need to be global. There just isn’t enough business in ASO in Canada to sustain a company of three to five people,” Mr. Yentin said.

Mr. Yentin does, however, believe that career opportunities will only increase as practitioners further establish their services as a competitive necessity within the wider mobile marketing industry.

Challenges: There are two primary challenges that ASO specialists contend with, first and foremost being the gradual nature of the work. “People want to see instant results, and like SEO, ASO takes time,” Mr. Yentin said.

Another significant challenge, according to Mr. Yentin, is the ever-evolving arena in which ASO specialists work, as Apple and Google can make changes to their search algorithms at any time.

“You’re at their beck and call,” he said. “You really have to be up to date on what they’re doing … If you’re static in this environment, you’ll fail.”

Why they do it: ASO specialists typically have a passion for digital marketing and enjoy the added challenges that come with the confined space of the App Store and Play Store. “You can make small suggestions that have big results,” Mr. Yentin said. “It’s very rewarding to see how what you recommend produces results.”

Misconceptions: Mr. Yentin says many still confuse ASO and SEO, even within the digital marketing industry. Furthermore, he suggests many in the industry fail to appreciate how the practice differs from other roles that fall under the mobile marketing umbrella.

“It’s a specialty, you can’t just generalize it as mobile marketing, you need experience to do it,” Mr. Yentin said. “Saying any mobile marketer can do it is a misnomer; you need to earn your stripes by doing it on a regular basis.”

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