This months guest post comes from Leia Ostermann who is the Games Account Manager for Appency PR & Marketing; one of the forefront global leaders in mobile application marketing,working with clients such as the National Geographic and Fox Digital Interactive. Enjoy!
The benefits of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are fairly straightforward: over 90 percent of web traffic is driven by search engines, content creation and social media. App Store Optimisation (ASO), the process of optimising your app store listing so you are more easily searchable, is a completely different game. With over 700,000 applications fighting for attention and iOS 6 changing all the rules, submitting your app to the App Store has become a strategic process.
The iOS 6 App Store was designed to incorporate a massive visual overhaul. The screenshots, descriptions and functionality for scrolling and searching for apps have departed from the previous iterations, giving the app store a more intuitive feeling.
Here are the biggest differences we have found that affect the marketers and developers of today’s applications:
Appearance and Coherence
Users will now have a similar experience on App Stores across all devices; iPads, iPhones and even desktops. As the discovery experience on the iPad App Store has been highly praised in the past, this new coherence across platforms provides an opportunity for app marketers to increase ASO with visual tools. Search results now display “cards” for each app. These “cards” contain a screenshot of the app and the first sentence of the description. This experience, however, means that users will tend to scroll through less apps when performing a search, and without the list format, ASO becomes an even more essential tool for app discovery.
Categories and Genius
One of the biggest changes in the iOS 6 App Store is the disappearance of categories from the main menu. Although categories can still be accessed through different sections of the App Store, the main focus on the iOS 6 App Store is the search functionality or “Genius.”
This number will only increase as iOS 6 App Store moves away from pushing the category browse function. To replace this loss of category searching, Apple has inserted the “Genius” button which acts as an artificially intelligent search engine to help users find exactly what they are looking for.
The question for marketers and developers still remains: how does Genius work and will it helpyour app be discovered? Chances are, app developers will have very little control over these algorithms and how they utilise keywords.
Along with the visual updates to the new App Store, the details pages have gone through some major modifications, most importantly being the prevalence of screenshots above the description. The description itself is only given a small space and requires the user to click for more information. These first lines within the description must completely pitch the app in order to encourage a download or at least a click through. Below the description are the “What’s New” section, providing a list of any updates the app has undergone, as well as a more predominate reviews section.
This allows users to also “Like” the app’s Facebook page, review a recap of all app ratings before seeing the good (or bad) reviews,and click through directly to the developer’s page to ask questions or complain directly.
With these functional and visual changes, app marketing must change their strategy as well. The most important question still remains: how do we stay at the top of the charts? How do we become the most searchable? How does the App Store search algorithms affect my app?
In order to better understand how to optimize our app, we must first discuss what has changed with the search algorithm, shown in the image below:
In addition to these search algorithm changes, we have also discovered three things to consider as you submit an app to the App Store and develop your marketing plan:
1. SEO is important for developing ASO. Despite the search algorithms functioning in different realms, SEO actually benefits ASO by providing another source to link to the App Store and another way to search and utilize keywords and keyword names.
2. Ratings and reviews are more important and more beneficial than ever. According to user behavior, an app is much more likely to be trusted if it receives four stars from 900 people than five stars from 5 people.
3. Visuals are everything. To make your app stand out from vast competition, app marketers need to completely understand that the rules of the iOS 6 App Store mean not only good app search optimization and relevant ranking in the top charts, but a great App Store landing page with an engaging appearance.
Back when Apple’s iTunes Store launched with the iPhone 3G in 2008, no one expected that applications would become the lucrative dominion they are today. As the number of apps in the App Store continues to grow over the next few years, we can only expect more evolution (and algorithms) from here.