Apps are dead. Apps will rule the world. Despite the amount of analysis and hypothesis, the future of mobile apps is clearly still uncertain. What is evident is that, right now, we are talking about a global market estimated to grow to 143 billion dollars by 2016.
As opportunities rise, so does competition. The only way to respond to the app store competition is to get better at it. You do not just need to know what to do; you also must understand what ‘not’ to do. Here we highlight the most common myths about the app store optimization (ASO). Mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
In the recent years, apps have replaced desktop computers and mobile browsers as the main tool to access the Internet. We have reached one billion smartphones in the whole world; that means apps have become a critical touch point in the digital customer journey.
Be it smartphone, tablet, smartwatch or wearable technology, people are downloading apps; people are buying apps; people are using apps. Just think about your average day. You rely on them to:
- Check the weather forecasts;
- Track & measure your morning fitness activities;
- Verify your meetings in the calendar;
- Control the email box;
- Find the fastest way to the office;
- Receive discounts and buy your favorite products;
- Reserve a table at a restaurant and then review the experience;
- Get back home using someone else’s car;
- Post your daily thoughts and pictures on social networks;
- Chat with your friends.
Users evidently prefer free apps, but they also gladly spend their money if they get in exchange apps that increase productivity or offer something new and different. You can have the best app in the world but, if you do not know how to market it, you will not gain any consent.
With in-apps purchases and advertising, in fact, the mobile applications ecosystem cannot be considered a closed box anymore. What we have here is a broader market with huge investments and revenues (both for developers and other related industries).
Competing with over 3 million mobile apps available for the major mobile operating systems - iOS, Android, Windows Phone - how can you overcome the others and get customers’ attention? To make money on apps, your app needs to be seen. Here is where app store optimization comes in handy.
Said that the mere number of downloads is swiftly losing all its weight when measuring the success of a mobile app strategy, that is still the first thing that managers would see. The potential to drive large amounts of downloads at no cost, therefore, is still enticing to any developer.
While still overlooked, app store optimization is an incredibly important opportunity. Just like search engine optimization, though, ASO is a marketing science that requires time and devotion. It has specific rules, tips, and threats. In a few words, it demands a knowledge of what you are doing.
Searching is still the most popular way to discover apps: roughly 65% of app purchasers search, discover and purchase apps browsing the app store. Without the right approach, your app could get lost in the crowd. The right approach involves the ability to deploy best practices and to avoid common mistakes.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about the best practices in app store optimization, and how you can leverage the store to make it an integral part of the digital customer experience. Here we are going to bust the many misconceptions that might misguide you in your path to mobile marketing success.
1. YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR TITLE OFTEN
As stated by Ankit Jain, head of Google Play search, the title is the most important metadata in the store optimization. That said, you do not really need to change the title every once in a while to reach higher rankings. Adding keywords, mixing keywords or even changing the name of the product will not ensure you any advantage. On the contrary, it may harm your strategy.
Pick a title and stick to it. The title is your best tool in the app store optimization, make sure it is short, unique and memorable; and ultimately include all relevant keywords, without stuffing keywords in it.
2. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE KEYWORDS
We do not want to deny the importance of keywords, still one of the foundational elements of online - and mobile - optimization. What we want to point out is that keywords alone will not help you reach the first places in the ‘most downloaded’ list. If you just developed a great gaming app, just putting the ‘game’ keyword everywhere can’t be called optimization.
App stores have the same dynamics of traditional search engines, so you always need to work on your relevant keywords. However, you should never force them. Focus on the customer experience, be sure they are relevant and make sense in the context.
3. IT IS ALL ABOUT DOWNLOADS & RATINGS
Judging from ads and press releases, you might be misled to think that ratings and the number of downloads are the two key performance indicators you need to track to measure success. Ratings, of course, are a good signal of how customers consider your efforts; the download number is a signal of short term success. However, then?
Then you need a long-term digital strategy that involves all aspects of app publishing and distribution. Ratings do impact on user’s perception; they do not affect app store rankings. Five stars make a good impression; they do not make your ranking.
4. DESCRIPTION IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT
When you try to sell something, the first thing you do is to describe the value of your product, the uniqueness of its features. Easy, not? Well, not for many developers that still believe the description is an ‘extra’, not a mandatory element of the app store presence. This is a dangerous myth, and it can kill your efforts, leaving you app into oblivion.
Description is probably the second major element in ASO, right after the title. While not directly linked with rankings, it has a great role in the store algorithm. Don’t try to stuff it with keywords, just focus on the natural incorporation of keywords in what you are describing. Moreover, remember that apps now show up in Google’s result pages too.
5. BEING ON THE APP STORE IS ENOUGH
This is a die-hard myth: now that you are on the app store, hidden somewhere, you do not really need other work. Everything will happen as a some sort of magic, and downloads will flow as a mere consequence of you being there. Some still believe that as long as your app is there, people will find it. You do not need to advertise it; you do not even need to update it.
The truth is, with millions of apps available, it will take much collateral work to avoid failure. ASO is just one piece of the puzzle, and the competition is so fierce that you will need more ‘traditional’ marketing methods to sell it (from social media marketing to content marketing, advertising and PR).
And one last thing: do not abandon your app on the store. When you do it, your customers will do it too. So it will fade away.
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