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The Ultimate App Store Optimization Guide

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How to Get Noticed in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.

To turn heads in the Apple App or Google Play Stores, apps must first face a rigorous test — public opinion. It must be downloaded. But, competition is fierce. According to Statistica.com, as of July 2015, there were 1,600,000 apps in the Google Play Store and 1,500,000 in the Apple App Store.

While there’s no magic solution, app store optimization marketing can help. In our App Store Optimization 2015 guide, we walk you step-by-step through the fundamentals and show you how to start reaping the benefits of this mobile app marketing tactic.

Veröffentlicht in: Mobil

The Ultimate App Store Optimization Guide

  1. 1. How to Get Noticed in the Apple App & Google Play Stores App Store Optimization Guide mentormate.com | 3036 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55408 | (855)-403-5514
  2. 2. 4App store optimization explained 7Optimization differences between Apple and Google 13Where to place keywords in an Google Play Store listing 26Tactic 4: Choose the right category 8Tactic 1: Keyword research, selection & placement 20Tactic 2: Icon selection 10Where to place keywords in an Apple App Store listing 23Tactic 3: Strategically choose visuals 3Getting started Contents
  3. 3. We all want to turn heads. Get noticed. Maybe it’s by making music, sharing ideas or excelling at a craft. Regardless of the method, the end goal is the same: Make an impact. The objective of an app in the Apple App or Google Play Stores is no different. But to make that impact, share that idea or provide that new moment of understanding, simplicity or efficiency, the apps must first face a rigorous test­— public opinion. It must be downloaded. That’s where this guide comes in. Competition is fierce. According to Statistica.com, as of July 2015, there were 1,600,000 apps in the Google Play Store and 1,500,000 in the Apple App Store.1 While there’s no magic bullet to stop users scrolling through hundreds of search results in their tracks, app store optimization can help. Make a splash. Get downloaded. 1.6 1.5 million apps in the Google Play Store million apps in the Apple App Store 3
  4. 4. App store optimization explained 4
  5. 5. App store optimization is particularly important because it allows creators low cost exposure compared to the large budgets integrated marketing campaigns can rack up. Research shows users interact with app stores frequently. According to one survey, 64% of people had downloaded an app in the past 7 days.2 Low budget. High impact. Inbound marketers are charged with optimizing their websites for specific keywords so they rank highly in organic search. That’s SEO. App store optimization (ASO) is similar. One purpose is to increase the likelihood your mobile app will be found by users. Keywords help, but so too does the structure of your listing and even the design of the app icon. The second often-overlooked component is conversion optimization. You can rank first and still fail at ASO if no one chooses to download your app. What is app store optimization? 5
  6. 6. How do users find mobile apps? According to Trademob, a mobile app advertising platform, approximately 100,000 installs will propel an app into the Apple App Store top 10. The installs needed are up 25% from 2013.3 As of September 2014, Statistica found recommendations from family and friends have the most influence over what users chose to download.4 Breaking through the noise 52% 40% 27% Family, friends and colleagues General browsing in an app store Search engines How users find mobile apps 6
  7. 7. High download rates aren’t the only factor driving high app store visibility. Changes to the Apple and Google algorithms have placed a greater emphasis on reviews, ratings and meaning.5 What are the differences between how the Apple App and Google Play Stores rank listed apps? Apple’s algorithm assesses the relevancy of the keywords and content in the title and 100 character description. It puts weight on download volume, reviews and the perceived positivity of those reviews. Any press or social awareness is helpful in driving traffic to the app but doesn’t directly impact rankings. The Google Play Store takes a more holistic approach. The algorithm is more SEO-focused using the online app store listing, any associated web pages, links from blogs, press releases, articles and social proof to assign rankings. The correlation is a direct one between linked press, media or social signals like tweets, shares and +1s. Google sees this social proof as citations of popularity. Optimization differences between Apple and Google Apple Google Download velocity: Number/time Quality/Uninstalls Frequency of use Number of ratings Quality of ratings How do you rank higher in the app store? Comments Keyword density Social engagement Number of backlinks What the Apple and Google ranking systems value 6 7
  8. 8. Tactic 1: Keyword research, selection & placement 8
  9. 9. Keywords are a ranking hunter’s best friend. And for those pursuing them, there’s no need to wear camouflage. They are the foundation of app store optimization, though their placement, frequency of use and structural limitations of the listings differ between the Apple App and Google Play Stores. Choose your keywords wisely Name: ~25 recommended to display in search Keyword field: 100 Description: 255 before users must click to read more Title: 30 Keyword field: N/A Description: 4,000 Characters available in the Apple App Store 7 Characters available in the Google Play Store8 9
  10. 10. Research has shown adding a keyword to your title will result in a 10.3% increase in app store search rankings.9 The best way to incorporate this is to use the following formula, “App Name - Keyword.” Technically the title can be 255 characters long. Though, it is worth noting Apple penalizes apps with titles “stuffed” full of keywords. Twenty-five characters is the recommended number, but some of the top apps average 50 characters in the title.10 Unlike the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store has a keyword field. Keywords are placed here. The caveat? There are only 100 characters, so don’t waste time with spaces. Add your keywords using the formula word,word,word,etc. The title Keyword field Where to place keywords in an Apple App Store listing 10
  11. 11. Don’t bother adding multi-word keyword phrases or spaces to the keywords field in the App Store. For example, if you’re targeting the phrase “mobile conference app” you would want to add the keywords individually like this: mobile, conference,app. Keywords should not be repeated. Pro tips for ranking in the Apple App Store Use single words Don’t bother adding multi-word keyword phrases or spaces to the keywords field in the App Store. 11
  12. 12. Repeat keywords Include categories Type out numbers Include filler words (a, the, and) Title don’tsSince keywords in the Apple App Store description field have no impact on your rankings, make sure you use it purely to market your app to potential users and highlight its value proposition. Keep it short, concise and impactful. Choose your words wisely to capture and convey your app’s brand personality in the limited space. Write a human description 12
  13. 13. Similar to the Apple App Store, placing a keyword in the title can only help to improve the optimization of your listing in the Google Play Store. Avoid common terms. Instead look to reinforce what your app is about. Try to keep your title focused and as short as possible while conveying meaning. Depending on the size of the form factor the viewer is using, the title may be truncated. Google Play doesn’t offer a keywords field like the Apple App Store does. This means it’s important to write your 4,000 character description so it appeals to humans and robots. What does this mean? Your description should repeat important keywords five times each, but should also not feel like SEO bait.11 The title Description Where to place keywords in the Google Play Store listing 13
  14. 14. As you enter characters in the Apple App or Google Play Stores, it will recommend queries based on the characters you have entered. Do this to brainstorm good keyword ideas for your app. If this isn’t yielding enough results for your app, try Google’s Suggested Search results instead. Put some effort into getting as many +1’s as you can on Google+. Post about your app in relevant Google+ communities, and get your coworkers and friends to help promote it on their Google+ profiles. Link to your Google Play App listing Leverage Google+ Pro tips for ranking in the Google Play Store 14
  15. 15. Keyword placement APP STORE Highest impact on rankings Highest impact on rankingsTITLE No impact on rankings Impacts rankingsDESCRIPTION Impacts rankings No keyword fieldKEYWORDS FIELD Impacts rankings Impacts rankingsRATINGS & REVIEWS No impact on rankings Impacts rankingsAPP LISTING LINKS APP GOOGLE PLAY 15
  16. 16. To jumpstart your brainstorm session have a solid understanding of your target audience and precisely how your app benefits them. This can provide parameters for choosing your keywords or even knowing where to start. Begin by anticipating the need your audience is trying to solve. Are they satisfying their urge for fun, organization or maybe both? Put yourself in your users’ shoes and anticipate how they might search for it. Assume the vernacular of your audience. How a 60+ business man searches for an app could vary markedly from a 16-year-old athlete. Ask yourself—is my query searchable and is it sensible? Now you know where to place your keywords in an Apple App or Google Play Store listing. Choosing them is a completely different ball game. It’s a little intuition, a lot of research and a good dose of time. Yes, time. Proper placing and spacing of your keywords won’t matter if they aren’t the right ones. Know your target demographic How to choose your keywords 16
  17. 17. Tools that can guide your search As you enter characters in the Apple App or Google Play Stores, it will recommend queries based on the characters you have entered. Do this to brainstorm good keyword ideas for your app. If this isn’t yielding enough results, try Google’s Suggested Search results instead. Google Suggested Search Best for brainstorming keywords Use Google Trends to identify keyword phrases that have a lot of interest and seem likely to trend upwards in interest in the immediate future. If a similar app has a website, scan its website with SEMRush to see the kinds of keywords it’s ranking for. Then assess their popularity and value. Type your app’s name into SensorTower to see whether apps with competitive names exist. Google Trends Best for checking the popularity of keywords SEMRush Best for comparing the keywords competitors are targeting SensorTower Best for checking the uniqueness of your app title 17
  18. 18. Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine first wrote about the long tail in an October 2004 article. He later released a book on the same topic in 2006. The idea of the long tail is one of fragmented consumerism. In today’s age, Anderson argues mainstream products and markers are less important. They have been replaced with niche products. If this holds true, it’s good news for app developers.14 For our purpose, the short and long tails relate to the specificity of targeting. A keyword that could be considered part of the short tail is popular with high search volume. By comparison, a keyword that falls into the long tail is highly specific. When choosing a short or long tail keyword, consider the potential search volume. Analyze whether the high traffic of a short tail keyword will be more impactful than what could be a highly specific or motivated audience searching for a long tail keyword. Best case scenario? Find a happy medium, a golden zone keyword where the competition is low enough and the search volume is high enough to provide the desired download rate. Apple App and Google Play Store users aren’t afraid to explore. It’s important to note general browsing in the app stores isn’t far behind recommendations from friends and family as an impetus to download. This could indicate the “long tail” as noted by research firm Nielsen is playing an increasing role in user behavior navigating both app stores.13 What is the “long tail”? The long tail in the world of app listings Considering the emergence of the “long tail” in mobile app keyword selection Long Tail Products Popularity Head 18
  19. 19. A large part of keyword research is understanding the landscape and where your competitors have decided to play. So, make a list and note how they’re ranking. Look to determine how popular they are. Use downloads and the positivity of their reviews as your guide posts. Begin to determine where your app would rank in the list. Competitive listings can also provide inspiration. You may see important keywords in their listings that you hadn’t thought of yourself. Also consider looking at competitor’s reviews to see what their users are talking about. This can be helpful for keyword selection, as well as crafting a compelling app description (based on what users are calling out and talking about the most). Keep an eye on the competition If X number of apps exist in the competitive space, how hard will it be to rank for those keywords?12 • Easy - 25 apps • Medium - 25-100 • Competitive - Keywords used in 100+ apps Although these numbers provide a good benchmark, it’s all relative. If all 25 of the apps in a given competitive space are optimizing their listings really well, it could be more difficult to break through then in a category where 100 app lists are optimized very poorly. It’s also entirely possible that ranking eighth for a competitive keyword could serve your interests better than ranking first for a keyword no one is querying. Approximate difficulty ranking for keywords 19
  20. 20. Tactic 2: Icon selection 20
  21. 21. Besides your title and category, the icon you choose to represent your app is one of the first ways users assign credibility. The cleaner, more unique and more impactful your icon is, the more visual credibility it conveys. So don’t leave your icon selection up to intuition. Test it. There are a variety of ways you can assess whether your icon choice is a good one. The most common is to leverage social, search or banner advertisements to see how potential users are reacting to the visual identity system and how effectively the icon you choose drives conversion action. Make a good first impression Conversion optimization differs from rank optimization and is measured by how likely users are to actually download the app after they view it. A more polished icon with a more concise title might attract users to convert and download your app compared to a more highly ranked option. Create a few different visual styles to test and release them as paid social promotion via Twitter and Facebook. Also consider Google Ads. Target the same keywords you are planning for your app store listing and see what performs best. Then use that intelligence to make your icon selection. You only have a few seconds to entice users to download you app. Make them count.15 Pay attention to conversion optimization A/B test your icon options • Consider omitting text • Ensure consistency between your icon, app and corresponding website • Create a border within your icon, so no matter the user’s phone background, it stands out Icon pro-tips 21
  22. 22. MDPI(1x) Icon size guide 22 Apple App Store16 The short answer: 512×512 pixels, PNG format. The long answer: Different screen displays require different display densities marked as dots per inch. The table below captures the size variety needed.17 Google Play Store iPhone 6 Plus (@3x) 180 x 180px iPhone 6, 5, and 4 (@2x) 120 x 120px iPad & iPad mini (@2x) 150 x 150px iPad 2 & iPad mini (@1x) 76 x 76px App Store Icon (@1x) 1024 x 1024px MDPI (1x) 160 DPIICONS HDPI (1.5x) 240 DPI XHDPI (2x) 320 DPI XXHDPI (3x) 480 DPI XXXHDPI (4x) 640 DPI 48px 32px 16px 24px Launcher Action Bar Small/Contextual Notification 72px 48px 24px 36px 96px 64px 32px 48px 144px 96px 48px 72px 192px 128px 64px 96px
  23. 23. Tactic 3: Strategically choose visuals 23
  24. 24. Beyond the app icon, screenshots are the next best way to help users connect with your app visually. Better yet — it gives them more insight into the experience. The first two screenshots are the most important. These appear in search.18 Get visual with your listing Think beyond a screen capture. This is your chance to communicate information to users in a small amount of time and using a small amount of real estate. Consider adding additional text or overlays to explain the functionality of your app. • 5 screenshot maximum • 1 screenshot minimum • 72 dpi, RGB, flattened, no transparency • High-quality JPEG or PNG image file format Create your screenshots in any of the following sizes: • 640 x 920 pixels for hi-res portrait (without status bar) minimum • 640 x 960 pixels for hi-res portrait (full screen) maximum • 960 x 600 pixels for hi-res landscape (without status bar) minimum • 960 x 640 pixels for hi-res landscape (full screen) maximum • 8 screenshots allowed for each supported device • 2 screenshots required at a minimum • Minimum dimension: 320 pixels • Maximum dimension: 3840 pixels Pro tip: Add additional information to your screenshots Apple19 Google20 24
  25. 25. Adding an informative video to your listing that shows your app in action can be a very good thing, enticing potential users to convert and download. There’s no question a video shows an app’s capabilities better than five or eight screenshots ever could. On the other hand, if it’s not well- executed, users will be able to tell, and with a swipe of the finger they’re on to the next thing. Only include this if you have the dedicated creative and financial resources to create media that offers an informational or visual wow-factor. When writing your app descriptions, think about what should go above-the-fold versus below-the- fold (where you need to click to reveal). Extra visual considerations Considering a video? Plan what to show above the fold 25
  26. 26. Tactic 4: Choose the right category 26
  27. 27. 27 Most popular apps in the Apple App Store, July 2015 22 Picking the right category to classify your app can also spell the difference between high visibility and a great idea gathering dust. Apps can be listed in two categories in the Apple App Store, and three categories if it’s a game. The Google Play Store allows only one category to be assigned.21 App store category selection Games Business Education Lifestyle Entertainment Utilities Travel Books Music Health & Fitness Productivity Sports Food & Drink Photo & Video Finance Reference News Medical Social Navigation 21.8% 10.33% 9.79% 8.57% 6.5% 5.05% 4.42% 3.67% 3.05% 2.81% 2.81% 2.6% 2.5% 2.41% 2.36% 2.34% 2.32% 2.05% 2.03% 1.16%
  28. 28. Since both of the app stores factor the positivity of reviews into their algorithms, reputation management is key to boosting the visibility of your app. The best way to do this? Mitigate negative reviews and nurture highly-engaged users. One way to accomplish this is using your app for two-way communication with users and building review collection into the experience. That way it’s easy for the most highly engaged users to add their input and help boost your scores. However, don’t be too aggressive. 1. After a certain threshold of engagement (maybe opening your app five times), add a prompt asking users to rate/review your app. Only display this once. 2. If the user responds, “Yes,” link them to provide a review. If the user responds no, direct them to a form where they can offer constructive criticism. Using this process you’re helping to gate the reviews your app receives, encouraging positive reviews and deflecting the negative user feedback that can harm the visibility of your app. Manage your reputation Recipe to successfully collect reviews 28
  29. 29. Parting tips Let’s say you release your app and it becomes apparent that another set of keywords would fit your app and target audience better. Know that when you release an update, you can replace or add keywords.23 If users can’t understand your app, how can they use it? That’s why only apps in the user’s language will show up in their search. By investing the resources to translate your app, you open up usage to a whole new population. Think of the potential to earn a leg up over the competition. 1. We all need a “take-two” sometimes. 2. Expand your reach. Translate your app. 29
  30. 30. MentorMate has designed, delivered and staffed digital experiences since 2001. Along the way we’ve learned a lot. Now it’s time to share. That’s why we founded MobCon in 2012 and MobCon Digital Health in 2015. Each year we host conferences for the top minds in mobile and digital strategy to do just that. Be part of what’s next and dive deep into the trends and technologies revolutionizing engagement in today’s business landscape. Connect. Listen. Grow. We’ve taken the leap. Have you? Register for our next event at mobcon.com MobCon developed by MentorMate 855-403-5514 info@mentormate.com Ready to innovate? Contact us to learn more about App Store Optimization. We’re all ears. Talk with an expert mentormate.com | 3036 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55408 | (855)-403-5514
  31. 31. Parrish, Adam. (Accessed: 2015, August). Simple Android icon size guide for Lollipop 5.1. https://www.creativefreedom.co.uk/icon-de- signers-blog/simple-android-icon-size-guide- for-lollipop-5-1/ References 1 8 15 16 17 18 10 12 13 14 11 9 2 3 4 5 6 7 Statistica. (2015, July). Number of apps available in leading app stores as of July 2015. http://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/ number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app- stores/ Saccomani, Pietro. (2015, March 10). App store optimization in 9 steps. http://www.mobiloud.com/blog/2015/03/ app-store-optimization-9-steps/ Johnson, Robin.(2015, March 17). Actionable tips for app store optimization [infographic]. https://blog.optimizely.com/2015/03/17/ actionable-tips-for-app-store-optimization-in- fographic/ iOS Developer Library. (Accessed: 2015, August). Icon and image sizes. https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/ documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/ MobileHIG/IconMatrix.html Galazzo, Laurie. (2015, March 6). Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store: 3 major ASO differences. http://www.applift.com/blog/ios-app-store- google-play.html Urban, Diana. (2015, February 6). How to name your app to get more downloads. http://info.localytics.com/blog/how-to-name- your-app-to-get-more-downloads Kissmetrics. (2013, June). App store optimization – a crucial piece of the mobile app marketing puzzle https://blog.kissmetrics.com/app-store-opti- mization/ Perez, Sarah . (2014, October 3). Roughly half of users are finding apps via app store search, says study. http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/03/roughly- half-of-users-are-finding-apps-via-app-store- search-says-study/ Anderson, Chris. (Accessed: 2015, August). About me. http://www.longtail.com/about.html See Tune. Tune. (Accessed 2015, August). How users find apps. http://in.tune.com/MAT-How-Users-Find-Apps Chou, Jacky. 2015, Jun 11. Extensive guide to app store optimization (aso) in 2015 – part 1: apple app store. http://www.trademob.com/app-store-optimi- zation-guide-apple/ Statistica. (2014, September) Smartphone app awareness and discovery channels of users in the United States as of September 2014. http://www.statista.com/statistics/268054/ find-smartphone-apps-for-download/ See Chou. Walz, Alex. (2015, May 27). Deconstructing the app store rankings formula with a little mad science. https://moz.com/blog/app-store-rankings-for- mula-deconstructed-in-5-mad-science-exper- iments Developer. (Accessed 2015, July). App Store product page. https://developer.apple.com/app-store/prod- uct-page/ See Galazzo.
  32. 32. 20 22 23 21 Google Play Developer Console Help. (Accessed: 2015, August). Graphic assets, screenshots, & video. https://support.google.com/googleplay/an- droid-developer/answer/1078870?hl=en Statistica. (2015, June). Most popular Apple App Store categories in June 2015, by share of available apps. http://www.statista.com/statistics/270291/ popular-categories-in-the-app-store/ Rossi, Evaldo. (2014, September 19). How to discover if apple have blacklisted your keywords. https://medium.com/app-store-optimiza- tion-aso/how-to-discover-if-your-ios-app- has-blacklisted-keywords-and-keyphrases- 804359ec96e3. See Leeflang. References 19 iOS Developer Library. (Accessed: 2015, August). iTunes connect app properties. https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/doc- umentation/LanguagesUtilities/Conceptual/ iTunesConnect_Guide/Appendices/Properties. html