The mobile app market, though future-forward, is still just like any other marketplace. The winners win big, and the losers go home crying. Your potential revenue is hug — if your app gets found.
Unfortunately, that if gets bigger every day. Total app inventory across the iOS App Store and Google Play was 3.1 million in 2015, and by 2020, it’ll be 5.9 million.
“App marketing,” says Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology at VentureBeat, “is really a very very very tough job. It’s like selling sand to a Bedouin.” Most CMOs agree.
And that’s why app store optimization (ASO) is essential. Japheth Dillman, CCO of Yetizen and Aaron Kardell, CEO of Homespotter, joined Rogers in a recent webinar to discuss the new VentureBeat Insight report on ASO, which found that, on average, implementing ASO boosts organic downloads by 20 percent, and can, in some cases, double or even triple organic downloads.
Organic installs are hugely important for mobile app marketers, Rogers says — in terms of lifetime value, user engagement, and customer life-cycle, and they’re usually significantly cheaper than paid install campaigns.
Early marketing efforts were essentially experiments in jamming keywords into titles and descriptions, but over time, Apple and Google have continued to makes their algorithms ever more sophisticated.
Dillman notes that for both Apple and Google, the vast majority of the ranking is based on velocity of installs that you receive: the faster and the higher the number of installs, the higher you’re ranked in both stores. “However,” he warns, “each store has its own set of complexities as far as what other things they take into consideration.”
“It’s really paying attention to how they’re trying to assess how apps should be ranked.” says Kardell. “It’s evolved a lot over time and it takes constant iteration and practice.”
On the Apple side, the algorithm evolves very slowly, updating only once or twice a year, and involves few components. Dillman calls them “vanity metrics,” which include stars, rating, sales, and in-app purchases.
The Google algorithm has over 200 components, and it’s updated roughly biweekly. “The good news,” says Dillman, “is with Google, there’s a lot more you can take advantage of as a developer for free or inexpensively, because they have so many components to the algorithm.”
“ASO is about the entire holistic view,” Rogers says.
Kardell agrees. “It’s really important to look at the whole thing as a full funnel,” he says. “It’s not just a matter of where you’re ranking in the charts or where you’re ranking for specific keywords, but really optimizing those screenshots and looking at every single detail in the process.
It is, he admits, a little bit of guesswork sometimes, because neither app store will reveal the secrets of their algorithm. However, there are a ton of great tools available that offer essential metrics, and new ones keep popping up all the time.
All the panelists agreed that it takes a mixture of some of those great tools, constant iteration, and experimentation — and carefully tracking how changes impact customer response.
The top way to ensure that your app store listing is consistently performing is implementing conversion rate optimization (CRO) — which, Rogers says, has an average return of over 220 percent. He cites Traity as an example. The company added 4 million users to their service in the space of a year as a result of A/B testing several versions of their logo.
It takes some time to develop enough data in split testing to make relevant decisions, and that’s one of the reasons Rogers warns that patience is one of the top requirements for ASO. ASO is ongoing, and it can take many months to see incremental benefits.
Rogers recommends a 30-day period to assess results after an ASO project, but admits that can be challenging in such a rapidly changing market. But if you want to get found — and you do — it’s your golden ticket
Need more insight into how ASO can transform your install strategy? Listen in for free on our panel of optimization experts today!
Don’t miss out.
In this webinar, you’ll:
- Learn how to position your app on the top of app store lists
- Help your customers find your hot mobile properties
- Gain new methods for generating demand for your mobile content
Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
Amanda Bradford, CEO, The League
Japheth Dillman, CCO, Yetizen
Aaron Kardell, CEO, Homespotter
Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat
This webinar is sponsored by NativeX who specialize in helping developers meet their ASO (chart and keyword ranking) goals.