Have you ever dreamt of becoming the next Evan Spiegel, Travis Kalanick or Sean Rad (respective CEOs of Snapchat, Uber or Tinder)? What they have in common is that they have earnt great loads of money in little time thanks to their apps. Well, building apps is trendy: you may think that it only requires an idea and a developer, but it turns out to be much more complicated. Here, we are going to talk about two ways of optimizing apps in order to help develop them: app store optimization and deep-linking. I am not going to explain how to make in-app marketing, but we’ll see how to ensure that channels which drive people to your app are set for the best.
Why do you absolutely need to optimize your app UX?
On a global scale, in 2015, smartphone users download on average 35 apps on their device. It is already hard enough to be within these 35 downloaded apps, but the fact is that only 11 apps are truly used every week. This lets very little room for new apps. I mean, do you remember this old 2048 app you keep on your smartphone even if you actually dropped the game two years ago after not succeeding in reaching this bloody number?
ASO (App Store Optimization)
Word-of-mouth is an important source leading to app downloads, but most downloads actually come from people browsing in the store. Thus, store optimization is mandatory to convince people to get your app.
What are the main app store discovery steps?
Source: These 3 icons are made by Freepik from Flaticon.com and licensed under Creative Common by 3.0
1/ Search: People are looking for particular app types (platform game, city guide…), so you have to appear in search results to reach users.
2/ Ranking: People won’t scroll indefinitely before downloading an app. You must be within the first results to maximize your chances to be the one.
3/ Categories: Stores home-pages are filled with categories: new-in, seasonal ones (summer best etc.), most popular… This is what people see first when they land on store homepage: if you appear here, you have a chance to catch their attention before they even start searching for an app.
How to infer in the discovery process?
1/ App names: It has to encompass your app name, but also some keywords. It will help increase your ranking.
Please see an example below: it is the app for the famous French luxury retail store Vestiaire Collective. We don’t even see the end of the title, but it will help to increase the ranking as it underlines that their app is about selling and buying luxury clothes. Thus, people who are not familiar with their concept yet will quickly understand what it is.
Source: Screenshot from Apple App Store
2/ App icon: It is one of the first things that people will see. It is more efficient to be sober: no full texts or fuzzy details.
3/ Keywords: For Apple app store: It is 100 characters, including space and commas which separate them. You should prefer niche keywords, because if you use mainstream ones, you’ll be overwhelmed by competition. App Keywords can be very different from the ones you choose for AdWords since app ecosystem has its own specificities. If you are looking for help to select proper keywords, SensorTower and AppCod are great tools.
Another important thing to remember is that Apple app Store and Google Play work differently: for instance, for both store, the number of downloads infers a lot on the ranking. However, for Apple app Store, they use the number of downloads over the past 3 days whereas on Google Play, they total the number of downloads and work on a 30-day basis.
Deep dive in app deep linking
I talked about dark posts in one of my previous articles; here, we face deep linking. Anyway, again, you get more frightened than hurt.
Do you wonder what deep linking is? Deep linking allows you to open a specific section or page when clicking on a link.
“What could be more common?” you would ask. Indeed, deep linking for website has become generalized throughout the web. On the contrary, we are currently experiencing the early stages of app deep linking.
Indeed, app deep linking development aroused because of an annoying observation: when you click on a link (on a mail for instance), you are redirected to the mobile site, even though you possess the app in question. It will definitely not help us to make our app gain momentum.
“Why is it taking so long to be generalized?” you would ask (Yes, I know, you are very curious).
App deep linking is more difficult to implement because app structure is way more complex than website structure. It requires a lot of time and work to allow deep linking in-app.
However, as deep linking is a very useful and powerful tool, Apple has decided to launch in 2015 its “Universal links”: now, all apps can be opened thanks to http links, users are asked if they want to open the link on the app or on the website.
Google has also recently put deep linking at the heart of its concern with the recent creation of App Indexing: Google now indexes app results in traditional search queries through deep linking. App results are different from website ones, so users can easily recognize them. If they click on the link, they are instantaneously redirected towards a specific page of the application
Thanks to the upcoming mobile-first approach, apps seem to have their best days ahead of them. This is why app marketing and optimization have to be carefully taken into account.