Category Archives: App Branding

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?

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).


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).


 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.


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!