As you might have heard, Rovio Entertainment has just released a new version of its super popular title – ANGRY BIRDS 2. The app got more than 20 million downloads during the first week after releasing the game. SplitMetrics can be credited for at least 2.5 million downloads. For a game like that it is a huge cost cut. The Rovio team ran a series of experiments to discover which combination of icons, screenshots, description, video preview and cover maximizes the number of installs.
The world of mobile apps keeps evolving, thousands of new apps debut in app stores each year triggering fierce competition for customers. Mobile app publishers have to perfect their marketing strategies in this fight for app downloads. Our guest author Timur Taepov from app marketing agency JustForward.co shares how mobile app companies can integrate ASO with regular marketing activities to minimize costs and create solid customer base.
Why Do Mobile App Publishers Have to Care about User Acquisition Costs?
At present there’s a huge challenge for mobile app companies to overcome – how to create a mobile marketing strategy which’ll drive more app downloads and customers while minimizing costs. In most cases there’s an obvious relationship: a growth of app downloads leads to an increased app marketing budget. Let’s have a look at some figures.
There’re two major marketplaces that deliver mobile apps; Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Both are crowded, with 1.5 million apps in Google Play and 1.4 million apps in the App Store. That’s million with an “M”, and the numbers keep rising. According to Fiksu, the “Cost Per Loyal Customer Index” reached $3.09 for iOS and the “Cost Per Install Index” reached $1.53 for iOS and $1.74 for Android. All these figures show that mobile app companies have to care about user acquisition costs creating their mobile marketing strategies.
App Store Optimization as Conversion Rate Booster
Every mobile app publisher dreams about free app downloads with high retention rate and loyal customers with high “Lifetime Value”. That kind of quality traffic usually comes from organic searches in app stores. It’s important to emphasize that app store searching is the most popular app discovery method of majority mobile app companies. According to a Forrester study, about 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. Despite the crowded app stores, it’s still possible to use this source of customers effectively.
It doesn’t matter what size your company is – indie developer, medium-size company, or a major player. It’s also not that important what app marketing activities you choose in order to drive mobile app customers’ downloads. However, App Store Optimization (ASO) should be a substantial part of any app marketing strategy. ASO allows you to improve visibility in app stores by using relevant keywords and increase mobile app’s conversion rate on an app store landing page for inbound traffic.
App Marketing Loop
Let’s take a look at how ASO can increase marketing performance of an app. Any mobile traffic source leads potential customers to an app store landing page. At this stage, on-page app store optimization helps increase conversion rate of inbound traffic. Thus, a mobile app gains more downloads with the same amount of inbound traffic than before app product page optimization.
The more downloads a mobile app has, the higher app ranking it gains making it easier for customers to find this application in an app store. This means that a mobile app receives additional velocity that allows it to rank higher in a store category and on the app store search by selected keywords. The more proper keywords are selected, the more organic app downloads an app has. Thus, the next iteration of a loop happens.
As a final result total Cost Per Install decreases, no matter which traffic channel a mobile app publisher employs. The entire concept looks like a loop, where ASO adjusts the basic mobile marketing strategy and gives additional high-quality organic app installs, decreasing CPI for the entire app marketing process.
Image Credit: Timur Taepov
Key Components of ASO Strategy
As mentioned, ASO consists of two main parts: keywords optimization and app store product page optimization. Keywords optimization is different for the App Store and Google Play. For the App Store there’re two places for keywords: an app title and a keywords field, which is not visible on an app store landing page. Google Play also has two places for keywords: an app title and an app description, which is visible on an app landing page.
App store product page optimization is another important part of ASO and usually includes the following assets: app icon, visible part of a title, app reviews and ratings, screenshots, description, ‘what’s new’ area, and localization.
ASO Is an Ongoing Process
Another crucial point is that App Store Optimization isn’t a one-time action. This is a continual process that is started on the early stages of any mobile app development. As a process it includes on-page A/B testing, keyword tracking, and rotation. An awesome thing about ASO is that it’s the cheapest way to drive organic app installs, draw more customers, and improve current app marketing activities.
Major app directories are getting more crowded, and customer acquisition costs keep rising. This means that mobile app companies have to care about app marketing costs more and use available opportunities to optimize app marketing performance. App Store Optimization is a great tool for that purpose, as it adjusts any app marketing activity, executing as a loop.
Timur is an expert in mobile app marketing and provides services for app publishers who need organic app downloads, helping them to optimize apps in app stores, go viral, gain traction with customers, and employ new mobile traffic sources. He’s also well-known as the host of the App Marketing – Growth Hacking Podcast. You can connect him via e-mail: [email protected]
In a recent case study, we’ve partnered with Bamboo Apps studio to run an experiment for their respectful customer – Skoda Auto. The idea was to check what set of screenshots among those they had brings the biggest number of downloads. They already had a few sets and were not sure what to choose – like everyone these days Bamboo guys were about to the one that they like most. But we offered to test everything using real user data.
From our side, we added a new alternative by simply reordering the screenshots. Since in SplitMetrics we create that types of tests semi-automatically it took about 5 minutes to set everything up.
After setting up the experiment we brought a good number of targeted clicks from Facebook to make sure that the audience that visits the landing pages is relevant. So the numbers we got were quite impressive. The winning alternative improved conversion by 15% resulting in stunning 50% conversion rate. That basically means that if you have, say $10,000 budget for user acquisition – you are able to get 15% more installs just by having properly organized screenshots on you App Store page.
- So let’s have a sit and think – why this alternative won the race?
- From our experience, we already know that simple background with a minimum number of details always works better.
- The first screenshot clearly explains what you are able to get from the app – short and straightforward caption is just what people want to see.
- Interior view, steering wheel, all buttons – are simply calling – press me, touch me, start using me
While discovering Apple’s App Store Top Grossing charts, a keen observer may notice an interesting fact. Supercell uses green colour for the most of its screenshots and, naturally, the games UI. Other big names, like Machine Zone and King.com follow that practice using green or its shades for the most of their products….
From childhood we know that green is the color of life, renewal, nature, energy, and is also associated with meanings of growth, harmony and environment. But additionally, green also stands for money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy, and wall street… Is there any interconnection between top grossing, green and publishers…? What do you think?
Have you thought that your App Store landing page might be more converting? We all know that there’s always something that can be improved but rarely have time to test our ideas.
Mobile app market is getting more and fierce in terms of competition for a user. Each and every app developer wants to acquire a quality user at a reasonable price. Mobile advertising is booming and prices go up every month… They only way to optimize your advertising budget is to be smart, test everything you can and find out the most effective combinations.
Ok cool, but in any case a user gets to your app page in App Store or Google Play and makes the final decision right there. So it’s crucially important to have your page optimized towards conversion as it brings you more users, lower CPIs as a result of higher conversions.