You may be a small firm spending hours of resources into mobile app development or you could be a lonely coder working late nights inside you hostel room bashing your brains to build that wonder app. At the end of the day what everyone wants is people downloading your app. Besides creating your one magical app, the whole process of getting your app noticed is a mountain to climb.
This got me curious into knowing what makes people notice apps in the app store. I went through tedious amounts of articles and various mobile app statistics websites including App Annie, Statista, Appdata, Smartinsights and countless more. Upon completing a satisfactory research I found the following four key metrics that define your visibility and noticeability in app stores:
App Store Optimization (ASO)
The first and foremost step upon entering the world of mobile app market. This is just like search engine optimization (SEO) and likewise consists of using keywords and phrases to direct users to a product. But it is hardly as simple as it sounds, Google and Apple keep their search algorithm secret to themselves, mastering ASO can be a tough nut to crack but with a good set of keywords and phrases you can see it working out for you.
Start with a simple search term and see which apps are showing. On the flip side, check out your competitive apps and develop an understanding of their search terms. Create a hierarchical list of search terms that tend to generate that app popping up in the searches.
What you come up with in research can determine not only how you describe your product, but maybe even how you name it. When Clash of Clans hit the market and soared to become the highest grossing game in mobile app store history, lots of other gaming apps took the keyword “Clash” and “Clan” and gained a smartly earned visibility backed by downloads.
So now we have the name settled, pay very close attention to the tiny picture that represents your app in the store. This will grab people's vision like nothing else. We are beings who have forever been lured by sheer aesthetics and thus what image you choose to represent your product matters.
Take a crash course on what users like, have a look at some of the most popular apps in an App Store or Google Play search and take note of how their icons look like. You will most definitely notice that many of their icons have a distinctively similar feel — that is for a reason! (Check the icons in the picture above)
The play here is to grab people’s attention, enforce a similarity with popular genre of apps and it will become relatively easy to up the numbers of your app downloads.
Another very good example is the genre of messenger apps. You will notice a similarity of ‘chat’ icon, also known as the ‘dialogue cloud’ in almost all of the top messaging apps including Whatsapp, Messenger, Hike, Viber, Line etc. Such visual symbols are cues to the customer in understanding what the app is about and you app might just go unnoticed if you forget to set these visual cues in your app icon.
Reviews, Ratings & Exposure
It is important to understand you own behaviour before downloading an app. What is it that you do before downloading an app? You check the app ratings and the reviews. Even if your app is popping up first after using proper keywords, a rating of 2 stars with an even abysmal review can shake things up in a bad way. Grab hold of analysts and critics whose reviews matter, get your friends to up the stars of your app (treat them with donuts later that day).
Incorporating social components into an app is a good way of upping the chances that your product will go viral. Engage with your friends, family and colleagues, make sure there’s a system within the app itself to get a person to engage their friends through incentives if you really must. Connections with Facebook, Twitter work like divine intervention.
App stores make services accessible to everyone in the globe with a simple smartphone device. That’s a massive business opportunity but increases the intricacy because different countries speak different languages and foster different cultures. Differences between cultures are bigger between Asian and western markets that can span everything from how the app is used to how the game is distributed.
For example, Candy Crush upon launching in South Korea chose the omnipresent local messenger app Kakao to advertise their app. It was easier to reach out this way as app store ASO could might have well been tricky and possibly fruitless.
In markets such as Japan, Brazil and India Android is heavily dominant and smartphone penetration is rapidly increasing. In Japan and India it is a common practise to advertise on TV, with a very large population watching daily soaps it is easy to get noticed with constant iterations. Also revenue approach matters, in India and Brazil access to money for app purchases is very less with the majority of population running on debit cards which do not work on Google Play stores. In such cases it is better to get your app noticed if it is devoid of in app purchases and play store purchases. Chose in app advertisements instead.
I hope this will help you in developing an understanding of how some apps get more downloads than others. Building a superb app is one thing whereas getting it noticeable in the store is completely another.
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