There are more than 11 billion mobile devices in the world with that number is projected to increase to more than 16 billion by 2020. In 2016, there were over 1500 apps published in the Apple App Store and 6000 in the Play Store each day. Ads on mobile devices accounted for more than half of Google’s ad revenue last year, and that trend is expected to increase.
While every publisher hopes that their app will be the next Snapchat or Candy Crush, the sheer volume of newly published, as well as active apps, is making it increasingly difficult for new apps to be discovered. Here are some of the tactics that the Appyness team will be focusing on in 2017 for our clients, as well as some current and upcoming industry trends.
App Store Listings Localization
Localization is key for any app that is looking to expand its user base beyond its native country and language. It is important for publishers to understand that content, keywords, and even use cases for an app, can be different for users depending on their specific demographic. For example, on an app that I previously worked on in the utility space, the purpose of the app for a user in China was vastly different than a user in France. This differentiation was reflected in the app store listings’ content, screenshots, and even the copy on the app’s website by language.
Knowing your demographics and use-cases for ALL users is key for not only improving your App Store Optimization (ASO) efforts around the world, but also if you are looking to enter into new markets. It is important to understand that localization goes further than just a specific language and keywords. That being said, according to Apple, simply having your content translated, along with your App Store Metadata, can greatly improve how your app is received by others cultures.
App Store listings localization also goes beyond the Google Play store. This is especially true for Android. Outside of the United States and other Tier 1 Western Markets, there are countless numbers of other third-party app stores, such as Yandex, which is a popular app store in Russia, as well as Aptoide (Europe), and Myapp (Tencent) (China). Claiming and optimizing listings on these third-party stores can greatly expand your app’s reach.
At Appyness, we use Sensor Tower to monitor our clients’ ASO performance. From keyword ranking to competitor updates, Sensor Tower can keep track of your efforts in multiple languages.
Apple Search Ads
Last year Apple launched Apple Search Ads for the App Store. Unlike iAds, an in-app advertising platform abandoned by Apple in late July, Apple Search Ads are Cost Per Install (CPI) campaigns that are placed directly into the Apple App Store itself and allow agencies, such as Appyness, as well as app publishers, to easily create and manage CPI campaigns.
Similar to Google AdWords, campaigns can be created with ad groups that are granular in structure, have broad and exact match keywords, and even have negative keywords. One key feature about Apple Ads is that for publishers that self-managing their own campaigns, there isn’t a need to create ad copy. Ads that are served in Apple Search Ads’ platforms are automatically populated from an app’s individual app store listing. This eliminates the needs to create multiple ads and ad copy, which helps make the management of campaigns be less time consuming
The platform also makes it easy to create ad groups based off of geographic areas, age, and gender, which can be useful for A/B testing very specific user segments and demographics, while measuring conversion rate and cost per installs. At Appyness, this has yielded some surprising results and eliminated assumptions about different user segments for some of the apps that we’ve worked on in the past. In addition, Apple Search Ads have had an overall cheaper CPI then other platforms, while also producing higher quality downloads.
Increase app usage and revenue through messaging
According to an article published by TechCrunch, 62 percent of people use an app that they have downloaded less than 11 times, and 23% will only launch an app one time. With over half of users having such low interaction with apps that download, it is difficult to get users to use the app and to turn them into revenue.
One of the most useful tactics that we’ve found to increase app usage and engagement has been the use of automated in-app messaging and push notifications, based off of users’ behavior within the app, or in some cases - lack of usage of the app. By using solutions, such as Localytics, apps are easily able to create messaging programs to increase app usage and engagement. Targeted groups can be highly segmented, such as by country, recent (or lack thereof) app usage in the last X amount of days, completed a specific in-app event, or even bey app versions. We’ve had a lot of success reaching those one and done users and getting them to complete desired actions, including converting them into revenue streams.
Expand acquisition efforts through other messaging apps
The explosion of messaging apps in the last couple of years has greatly shaped how users use their mobile devices to communicate. Apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp are now some of the most popular messaging apps and have also been turned into revenue streams for publishers and apps looking to gain new users. For example, in Snapchat stories, advertisers are able to place a 3 to 10 second video ad directly after a user views their friends story. When a user swipes up on the Snap Ads, they can be directed to download a brand's app, their mobile site, or an extended version of the video ad.
While this is a new trend, that being said, publishers should be very careful to not go overboard with their ads. Similar to social networks, users see messaging apps as part of their own space and too many ads can actually be detrimental to an app’s brand.
App acquisition extends beyond more that just perfecting app store listings and executing mobile ad programs. Paid search advertising and SEO now have the ability to drive app installs and revenue as well. A website is an extension of an app’s presence from the app stores and should be part of any app’s acquisition efforts. Here are some of the key factors that the Appyness team are focusing on, outside of the app stores, for 2017.
Site load time on mobile devices
The increase in mobile usage is coming from more than just apps. According to a report done last year by Hitwise, roughly 58 percent of online searches made in the US came from a mobile device. Similar to desktop, users are wanting to get the information that they are looking for faster. Research done by Google states that the average mobile site loads in about 6.9 seconds, but 40% of users will leave a page if a site times longer than 3 seconds to load.
Look into Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Google’s AMP is an open source project that is designed to help publishers create “websites and ads that are consistently faster, beautiful and high-performing across all devices and distribution platforms.” Similar to above, Google’s AMP is designed to help improve load times and create a better user experience.
While AMP is a Google product, Google has stated that by using AMP, sites will not see a direct impact on SEO. However, site speed is still a major factor in SEO. If an AMP is faster and can reduce the number of bounces coming from a site, then Google will see that page as more valuable and it’s likely to get a higher placement.
Decrease the use of popup ads
Popup ads can be a great way to generate revenue off of a site. Whether they are utilized to promote specials or abandonment offers to new customers or to generate signups for customer newsletters, popup ads are a tool used by many sites to drive acquisition. However, as of early 2017, according to Google Webmaster Central Blog, popup ads can now be detrimental to SEO efforts.
In recent years, for on-page SEO, Google has placed an higher emphasis on the overall user experience. Popup ads have been shown to greatly increase a mobile sites bounce rate and create a poor experience for users on mobile devices. In a sense, they act as an impediment for users to be able to find relevant content quickly, which creates accessibility issues, as popups usually covers the main content. Google states that “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from a mobile search results may not rank as high.” Popup ads tend to be intrusive and can cause a site to be penalized.
Focusing on the overall user experience, both within apps, as well as on apps’ websites, will be keys to success for apps looking to drive acquisition and growth in 2017. An app’s presence extends beyond the typical stores, such as Android, and channels such as SEO and PPC can drive significant amounts of revenue.
If you’re looking to take your app marketing efforts to the next level, contact us at Appyness today. We specialize in creating unique and ROI-positive campaigns that maximize our our clients’ budgets. Whether you’re looking to get your app users in the United States or looking to expand into Western Europe or China, the Appyness team can help. Contact us today to Find Your Appyness!