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.

ASO Barcamp 3!

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We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came to ASO Barcamp 3 last night, we had an amazing time and hope you did too! Special thanks to Olivier and Apptweak for sponsoring the event, and also to Loren and Nick for their great presentations. Photos from last night and all three of the presentations are available here.
ASO Barcamp will be returning in October, so if you’re keen to join us again, keep your eyes peeled on Twitter and ASOBarcamp.com.
We look forward to seeing you there!

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.

TALKS FROM ASO BARCAMP 2

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And that’s a wrap!

 

Here are the three talks from the evening:

Mythbuster: Debunking App Store Optimization Myths

Ryan Kelley | Gummicube

 

The (past, present and) Future of ASO

Hugh McCallion | Traffic Optimiser

 

How To Make Friends and Influence People

Thomas Petit | 8Fit

 

Hope to see you at the next one probably in March 2016, where there will be ketchup served with the chips not that odd salsa. That’s our promise to you.

How App Analytics can help with your ASO efforts

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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

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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?