All posts by Agata

Google Testing Instant Apps – What This Means for App Users and Developers

By | App Discoverability, ASO, Deep Linking | No Comments

Last week Google announced that it was starting limited testing of Instant Apps. The concept was first introduced at Google I/O in May 2016, inspiring a discussion among web and app marketing specialists, developers, and App Store Optimisation professionals.

What are Instant Apps?

Have you ever wished you could run an app without having to use the Google Play Store to install it? Well, Android Instant Apps will soon allow you to do this – all you need to do is tap on a link, which, instead of directing you to a website, will take you to a specific place in an app (whether or not you have it installed on your phone). So basically, you will be able to temporarily load an app for a single use.

How does it work? Native Android apps will become modularised by developers to allow users to access specific parts of their content, so only the necessary code will be downloaded on the fly. Instant Apps will be opened via links (these can come from Google search results, other apps, websites, be sent by email, text, and so on). If you decide you want to get the whole app, you will be also able to download the whole build by clicking on a button within the Instant App.

What problem is Google trying to solve?

Here are some possible benefits of Instant Apps:

  • For users – to facilitate and speed up access to apps by removing the friction caused by the current download process (users will not need to enter the Google Play Store and install the entire app)
  • For developers – publishers may potentially count on higher usage rates after the download barrier is removed. The current user conversion, acquisition and retention patterns will inevitably be altered. Transactional apps with less frequent use and lower time spend (those which are used to perform a specific task, like ride sharing or currency converter apps), will gain the most
  • For Google – more revenue. To understand why the tech giant is eager to introduce Instant Apps, it’s important to remember two things: that it is a search-first company, and that 90% of its revenue comes from advertising (mainly search ads and ads on third-party websites). At the same time, users are increasingly turning to mobile in everyday use and apps are still by far the preferred way to interact on smartphones (87% of time is spent in apps compared to 13% spent on the web). The number of unique visitors for mobile web has increased dramatically over the past 3 years however (+82% in the US since 2014), but users tend to stay on websites for much shorter sessions than in apps:

apps vs. webSource: ComScore

For Google, Instant apps are an attempt to blur the lines between apps and the mobile web and to ultimately get more people to use the web on mobile (this is part of a wider tactic by Google, as efforts to promote of Deep Linking and Progressive Web Apps show). The new technology will be compatible with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and higher – allowing Google to reach to 97% (over 1 billion) of Android users.

Will it work?

Here are some of the success factors for Instant Apps:

  • Security issues
  • Storage space needed to temporarily download a module of the app
  • Data usage
  • Loading times (dependent on network speed)
  • Developer adoption and implementation – how complicated or lengthy will the full preparation process be?
  • Evolution of mobile web design (increased responsiveness, speed and offline access)
  • Other possible disruptions – new technologies developed by Apple, Facebook or even start-ups

What if it works?

If Instant Apps prove to be a success, a major shift may occur in how users interact on mobile devices (but only those with the Android OS for the time being). Apple is earning billions in App Store revenue, so a move towards the post-app era is not something they will be happy about, unless they have something better up their sleeve.

From an App Store Optimisation perspective, the role of deep linking will further increase, with a possible decrease in the number of downloads in the Google Play store and the potential emergence of new discovery channels (Google search, Maps, Assistant and more):

value chain - appannieSource: App Annie

Instant Apps should be available to a wider audience before the end of Q2 of this year. Developers and app marketers should already start thinking about what changes in app promotion this new technology will entail.

Author: Agata Jajszczyk

Adapt Worldwide is a multilingual digital agency focused on helping clients attain growth at home and abroad. Our ASO offer includes multilingual market localisation, keyword research & analysis, description optimisation, screenshot creation, online PR and much more.

Apple overhauls the App Store Developer website

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Apple has just revamped its developer website and added some useful resources for app developers and marketers. Here’s a recap of all the new pages available:

Developer Insights – engaging videos with examples of successful strategies, from community-focused social media promotion, through app localisation, to innovative app updates.

Discovery on the App Store – different App Store sections explained and insights on how to increase your chances of getting featured.

Choosing a Category – tips on how to choose categories, overview of all categories, examples of apps that are relevant to them.

Engaging Users with App Updates – planning, implementing, and marketing updates to apps.

User Acquisition Marketing with App Analytics – insights on how to use the Analytics tool to measure the success of marketing campaigns.

Choosing a Business Model – free, freemium, paid and paymium models explained.

Offering Subscriptions – how to set up in-app purchase subscriptions.

Using the Freemium Model – what to keep in mind when offering a free app with in-app purchases. Includes case studies.

Whether you’re an iOS developer or an app marketer, make sure you go through these resources and videos to get a better view of what’s important in app development and promotion, from Apple’s perspective.

Author: Agata Jajszczyk

Adapt Worldwide is a multilingual digital agency focused on helping clients attain growth at home and abroad. Our ASO offer includes multilingual market localisation, keyword research & analysis, description optimisation, screenshot creation, online PR and much more.

How using iTunes Preview can help in your App Store Optimisation projects

By | ASO, Localisation | No Comments

Six years ago, Apple launched iTunes Preview, a feature which lets you look at app pages in your web browser, without the need to open iTunes:
itunes preview

It makes browsing easier, as you can access details of several apps at the same time, if you open them in separate tabs (there’s no need to navigate back and forth in iTunes or on the App Store).

What you might not know about iTunes Preview is that, under this link, it offers you a chance to browse through different categories:
app store categories

When you click on Sports for instance, you will see a list of popular apps in this category in a chosen country. In our case, it’s Great Britain (see URL):
sports apps

You can also reach this category list view by clicking on the category name on a particular app’s page:
app page

If you want to see apps that are popular in a different country, you just need to change the two-letter code in the URL:
app url

You can find the code for each App Store Territory here.

The reason we’re showing you these iTunes Preview lists is that their algorithm differs from that of the Top Charts. A lot of apps overlap but we’ve seen instances where an app showed up in 8th position on the iTunes Preview list, but ranked outside of the top 300 in the category chart in that particular country. So there’s definitely potential to spot some competitors you weren’t aware of before. If you have an idea about how this “Popular Apps” algorithm works, let us know in the comments!

In any case, here’s how you can benefit from these listings in your App Store Optimisation work:

    • Competitor and market research

iTunes Preview provides you with a one-page list of 240 apps that are popular in a particular category and country. You can look for and identify potential competitors by looking at the app names listed one after another. Note that these are not displayed in full.

Quick hack: To see complete app titles, just highlight and copy-paste the whole list into an Excel file and remove the hyperlinks.

You can see how popular cricket is in India, for example, just by taking a glimpse at India’s popular apps in the Sports category:
cricket apps

Make sure you look at these local category lists before localising an app in a particular market. Identifying and tracking the right competitors is a crucial part of a successful ASO campaign.

  • App Name Analysis

On iTunes Preview you can also display apps in alphabetical order. By using this menu…:
alphabetical list
…you can see full lists of all apps available in a particular store and category. So thousands of app titles.

This feature may come in handy when you’re actually working on a name for your app.

If you’re thinking about publishing a baby sleep app for instance, you might want to check what names other publishers are already using and treat it as a benchmark and a way to differentiate your product:

baby sleep apps

You might even find some keywords in your competitors’ app names that you weren’t aware of before – that’s another source for the keyword research phase of App Store Optimisation.

Again, this feature will be specifically useful in app store localization projects – by changing the country code in the URL, you’ll be able to see a list of apps with their localised names in a particular market. So before choosing a localised name for your app, make sure you look at what your competitors are doing in that market! And to ensure high quality ASO in local markets, make sure you take advantage of a professional app localization service.

Have you ever used iTunes Preview category listings in your ASO work before? Maybe you can think of another way to use this feature? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Agata Jajszczyk

Traffic Optimiser is a multilingual digital agency focused on helping clients attain growth at home and abroad. Our ASO offer includes multilingual market localisation, keyword research & analysis, description optimisation, screenshot creation, online PR and much more.

How App Analytics can help with your ASO efforts

By | ASO | No Comments

Apple introduced its long-awaited App Analytics service just over 3 months ago. Despite criticism from publishers who were expecting a bit more after almost 12 months of waiting, this new iTunes Connect feature offers some invaluable data for developers and ASO agencies. We’ll try to show which metrics are particularly useful from an ASO perspective.

App Units by Territory

This is an obvious one, but cannot be overlooked. This metric tells you how many times your app was downloaded in a specific country in a particular period (on iOS 8 or later):

ANONIM00001

 

Simply looking at the map in the overview tab lets you realise what opportunities in terms of localisation you are missing out on.

Localising your app and your app’s assets to languages where your app is most popular can help it gain even more traction in terms of downloads, as it is widely agreed that high quality localisation increases conversion rates in the app stores.

You can also have a look at App Store Views by territory. There might be a country in which people view your app page but don’t convert. Some translation work might be what’s needed to convince them to try out your app.

For detailed information on all countries go the Metrics tab and choose “View by Territory”. Don’t limit yourself to the countries visible in the tool, though – try to spot opportunities in emerging markets as well. And remember that localizing to more languages increases your chances of getting featured!

Conversion Rates

This metric is crucial in ASO and can now be tracked thanks to the “Compare” feature in App Analytics. To see your app’s conversion rates in a given period go to the “Metrics” tab, click on App Units on the left, then in “Compare to” choose “App Store Views”

ANONIM00002

You’ll get the most straightforward visualisation of your performance when you choose “Ratio” in the menu above the chart:

ANONIM00003

This chart shows how your conversion rates have changed over time and is a source of invaluable information, especially if you update your app often (which you should do if you want to have a quality product). Even though Apple don’t have an A/B testing option in their console yet, publishers are able to draw some conclusions from this chart. To be able to do that though, it’s best to change only one element of the app listing in each update. Because of the lengthy review process it doesn’t allow for much experimentation where you would compare multiple variants, but it does give you some hint about how your changes are perceived. In the example below you can see that conversion rates rose from 23% to 82% percent after a single update!

ANONIM00004

By adding a filter to the chart, you can also view conversion rates by territory, platform, etc. So if you’ve localised your screenshots in, say, 6 countries, you can compare what results the changes brought in each of the territories. If you decide to update only your icon, you might get some surprising findings about how your icon is perceived in different countries. EverythingMe’s example shows how important language barriers can be in the perception of visual assets.

Usage data

In order for ASO efforts to be successful, developers need to ensure the app is of highest possible quality. Some of the usage data shown in App Analytics lets ASO professionals get a wider picture about the app’s performance, e.g. crashes, retention or number of sessions. This helps understand ranking fluctuations better and is a basis for good review optimisation and effective customer service, hugely important for the app’s performance in the App Store.

Summary

We’ve listed the most important App Analytics metrics that all professionals should look at when conducting ASO. This data may prove invaluable and let you spot major opportunities for optimisation.

Do you have any thoughts about App Analytics and its role in ASO? Leave a comment below!

Traffic Optimiser is a multilingual digital agency focused on helping clients attain growth at home and abroad. Our ASO offer includes multilingual market localisation, keyword research & analysis, description optimisation, screenshot creation, online PR and much more.

ASO Barcamp Presentations

By | ASO | No Comments

We are still brimming with relief, excitement, and content over the fact that we successfully pulled off Europe’s first ever ASO-focused event last night. It was an incredibly insightful experience and we’d like to think everyone took away something positive from ASO Barcamp! Here are the presentations from last night!

The Relationship Between Paid and Organic Installs

Jean-Vincent Chardon | Tune

The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked ASO Questions

Tom Leclerc | Wooga

How is the arrival of PPC in Google Play going to shake things up

Huw Aveston | Traffic Optimiser

Unravelling the black box – Advanced Screenshot Optimisation

Moritz Dann | Soundcloud

When will there be paid App Store placements?

By | App Branding, App Ranking, ASO | No Comments

“Search online for Orange” when will that become “Search in the app stores for Orange”?

Will PPC ever come to App Stores? Could that solve discoverability?

Above the Line adoption:
When was the first time that a TV ad finished with “Search for {brand}” or “Search for {brand message}”? complete with a magnifying glass, which is even less relevant than a floppy disk is to save. Recent examples would be “Search for Army Jobs online”, I also remember one for “Search Orange Online” and being quite excited about that at the time (as I’m sure everyone else was….).

The cost associated to that comes from: brand spend on PPC and SEO. The risks include spoiler tactics from competitors pushing the PPC price even higher to satisfy the CTA needed for this ATL campaign. So when will “Search the App stores for Army Jobs” or “Search the App Stores for Orange” come out? We all know app users are more loyal, spend more, and are less likely to move to a competitor. Wouldn’t it make more sense to use this as a call-to-action rather than “Search online”?

The things that will need to happen:
1) Smartphone ownership needs to hit 90% of the market. In the UK that will probably be by the end of 2016.
2) Marketers need to feel confident that they understand the app stores. This happened with GOOG (and Bing) allowing paid placements to ensure coverage, and the maturing of SEO as a tactic.

How do you make marketers comfortable?
So the question is: when will marketers feel comfortable with ASO? And will the app stores begin to offer paid placements to ensure coverage?

App downloads and discoverability are the victim of “choice apathy”. It’s like trying to work out which American series to watch when at least 10 a day are shoved in your face. Netflix, Sky Atlantic, Amazon Prime Instant Video and all the rest of it.

App Discoverability has been driven by Apple: they want a curated, controlled, experience that theoretically ensures quality of apps. The key way they do this is:

– Featured: the majority of apps that are riding high in the category ranks will come from being featured, as opposed to any Paid app marketing or ASO.

But App discoverability is already being taken away from Apple, Youtubers driving downloads e.g. FlappyBird and Pewdepie, Dumb Ways to Die and Lonniedos, and The Akinator and TobyGames.

Given the information that we know, when do you think marketers will use ASO as a call-to-action and incorporate it into their marketing efforts?

Escape from Zombieland by localizing your app

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A recent report said that 83% of apps cannot be found in the Apple store. This figure is even higher when an app is not translated into a local market. Localising your app will increase its visibility in local app stores.

The app economy has a bright future following Apple’s announcement that users are spending nearly half a billion dollars on in-app purchases throughout the world, which last year generated over $10 million in revenue for developers. By 2016 the number of smartphone users worldwide will reach a billion and is expected to drive further growth in this industry.

1Source: Flickr

However, if you are thinking of tapping into this booming market, another recent report released by Ajust.com, stated that 83% of apps in the app stores are zombies. These are the ‘living dead’ of the app stores as they never achieve any consistent level of ranking. This means that an app would not be discovered through generic organic search unless the user types for a specific sort of app or the app’s name.

Instead of having an English app to target a global market, you must choose a local category/subcategory and local app store in order to minimize the chance of your app becoming a zombie. How competitive a category is may vary from country to county, as well as the language. Apple showed that zombie rates decreased when it comes to non-English app stores. See table below:

2Source: Ajust.com

In fact, the report shows that the zombie rate is reduced when a local/translated version of an app is provided locally. The actual zombie rate for English app versions within the four non-English Apple stores are significantly above the average. For example, the zombie rate in the German Apple store reaches 91%.

Translating your app appears to be the quickest route out of Zombieland. This is partly true, but also an app needs to be localised, which goes beyond a simple translation.

First of all, do you really know the difference between Internationalisation and localisation?

Internationalising is the capacity of an application to be adapted to different languages, regions and cultures. This is an important effort to reach a global market and is usually done before localising any application.  The first step is to identify the culture-specific information and internationalise time, dates, region format, and so forth.

Localisation comes after translation and it is how to translate the app resources into different languages. People tend to think of localisation as the same process as translation, which is not completely true. App localisation involves a proper translation in terms of images, video, keywords, description, icons, and the app’s name. This guide further explains both Internationalisation and localization for Apple Store. Also, take a look at the Android localisation checklist.

3Source: Internationalization and Localization Guide

In this case study, Abe the Dragon, a game app, has increased its download rate by 700% after doing keyword localisation.

 Here are 4 key tips that will help you to localize an app

1) Choose the right language:  The largest app stores, the iTunes app store and Google play, are present in over 130 countries. Only the Apple store itself covers more than 100 languages/dialects. Yet, bear in mind that an English app designed to target the American market may not fit Australian local expressions and way of speaking. Take into account cultural differences. Additionally, for countries such as Belgium you might consider having both a French and Dutch version of the same app, as well as different dialects in India. Remember that users are keener to connect to what it’s familiar to them.

 

2) Localize into your overall strategy: Localizing your app will enable users to find your application by country/region. Keywords, the app’s name, video, description, icon and images must be localised and at the same time should reflect your overall marketing strategy. This is likely to require a native speaker to carry out the task. You may find online tools to do this job, but it doesn’t guarantee that the localisation will tailor the overall brand strategy along with reflecting the local content. Yet, the process of adapting language and app elements must suit your target audience in a certain region.  Achieve consistency by having the same language partner translate all the content.

3) Localize to the local regulations: Uber and Lyft are facing regulatory battles in the US and worldwide. Lyft is pausing its operations in a few cities after being accused of creating a category for transportation network companies. The Reserve bank of India asked Uber to adapt its payment model, which could have become a pricey move for the start-up. Localising your app to local regulations and payment methods should be seriously taken into account by avoiding the risk of turning customers and the regulator against the company. Besides, m-commerce apps must adapt payment models to every region otherwise it may result in sales losses.

4) Testing: Always! Always! When building your app strategy ensure you reserve a portion of your budget for testing. The way that users react to a marketing strategy could be very tricky and vary from one marketplace to another, however, by the end of the day it’s up to them to decide on which app they are going to download. This article, for instance, has shown, that A/B testing can boost in-App purchase conversation.

Yet, it doesn’t matter how well your app is localised, if customers cannot find it. Localisation should be part of a sustainable mobile strategy, which goes along with overall optimisation and a strong PR campaign driving positive reviews and downloads.

Branded vs. descriptive – how a simple classification will help you create the perfect icon for your app

By | App Branding, App Icons | No Comments

Companies love to visually associate products with their brands in the hope of increasing awareness and trust among consumers. In a traditional “real-life” economy, it’s hard to imagine someone selling their product with no logo on it. But in the app store, where functionality matters most, not all rules of traditional marketing apply and the customer decision-making process looks slightly different.

For the sake of this blog post we’ve distinguished three types of app icons – branded, descriptive and combined. We’ll try to explain why each of these approaches works for some apps and doesn’t for others.

Branded approach

First of all, your app icon may differ from your company logo, as you are limited by the small square-shape area available for your design. There are several options for publishers that want to adopt the branded approach and include the following: using their logo (if it fits), using a slightly changed version of their logo, featuring only the first letter(s) of their brand name and even including their whole brand name (even though using words in icons is generally discouraged).

The branded approach generally works best for publishers who fit into one of the following groups:

- Huge brands with instantly recognisable logos:

Capture- Publishers who want to link their app with an established and recognized product or service, for example a website. The visual link between the two services is a good way to keep your customers loyal to your brand. This applies to hotel booking apps for instance.

Capture2- Brands which are positioned on reliability and trust, e.g. banks, news publishers. Customers will be looking for the brand’s distinct logo which reassures them that the app is safe and published by the company they trust.

Capture3- If a brand, even the unrecognisable ones, has an amazing logo it will make the app stand out in its category. If you feel your logo will do the job of catching the users’ attention then you might want to consider using it for your icon. You can use an internet survey tool to ask users which of your designs appeals to them more.

Descriptive approach

A descriptive icon uses a visual element that serves as a metaphor and instantly tells a potential user what the app is for. It usually shows the main feature or functionality of the app. So you’ll see a lot of envelopes when searching for a mail app and a lot of check marks when looking for a to-do list app.

The descriptive approach works for:

- All apps unless they have what it takes to use the branded approach.

- Apps that focus on functionality, for example Productivity apps (calendar, mail, task apps and the like).

Capture4

Combining the two approaches

In the combined approach you mix a descriptive and brand element within the icon. It also applies to logos that already convey some kind of meaning and are used as the app icon (examples of Expedia and National Rail Enquiries are shown below)

The combined approach is a good choice for:

- An established brand (see above)

- A series of apps. This ensures continuity (Nike and EA Sports examples below).

Capture5

 The trick here is to keep it simple. If the icon is too cluttered, it may become illegible and be disregarded by the user who is skimming the charts or search results.

Conclusion

Keep this simple classification in mind at the very beginning of the design process and you will surely get the perfect solution for your app. Your icon design is one of the most important elements of ASO and will have a direct impact on your download and retention rates.

Can you think of any examples of apps that capitalise on their brand in an appealing way? Or maybe you use other icon categorisations for ASO purposes? Post your thoughts in the comments below!