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

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  • February 26, 2016

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.

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