Tom Leclerc works at Wooga and gave a talk at App Promotion Summit Berlin on the topic of Sexing Up Your App Description, Keywords And Promotion. The talk covered the key ways to help get your app noticed in the crowded industry.
You can find the video of the talk below along with the full transcript.
Hello, everyone. My name is Tom Leclerc. I’m the ASO Manager at Wooga, also a copywriter, and I work with a lot of non-game apps for app store optimization. I wanted to talk to you today about App store optimization for launch and how that differs from working with existing apps. I broke this talk down into three: Firstly, talking about the app storefront, secondly, talking about keywords, and thirdly, talking about promotions. Going back to what Andy was saying earlier, a lot of this sort of stuff is secondary or complementary to analytics. So a lot of this is theoretical, not too deep a dive but hopefully you should get something out of it. So first off, when I talk about the app storefront, what am I talking about? Basically, this is the last stage before your user downloads your app. So the last supportive call you’re looking at icons, titles, app descriptions, screen shots, etc. So altogether those makeup the app storefront, and I just wanted to go through something first before I really get into stuff. Looking at the traditional timeline of an app’s lifestyle, you start with concepting, prototyping, production stages, soft launch, and then global launch. Sales very often comes in at the end of soft launch moving into global launch. Actually what I would argue is that it should come in here, when you are concepting, prototyping, that sort of stage. There is an easy way to do this, to start your dialogue with your sales team with this question: “Are your sales team, whether that’s community management, whether that’s user acquisition, your copywriter, designers, marketers, etc….are they happy to sell your app?” It’s not an absolute, but if they’re not, if they have reservations, then it may well be worth going back and looking at the development of your app and using your sales team during the development of your app. Basically, what I find this delivers is a more salable app and an app with far stronger USPs. So speaking of USP’s, for me, any app storefront starts with USPs. They should be defined early, and they should be absolutely integral to your app. I think the development process is a very complicated one. Lots of things go into your app. Lots of things come out. So making sure that your sales team are always looking at your USPs right away through your development, I think can be very handy.
It can lead to a much stronger app in the long run. When you’re looking at your USPs, there’s two points: Firstly, do they offer a specific use that your competitors can’t? And secondly, are they strong enough? If you can offer both of those questions with a yes, a confident, honest yes, then that’s a strong USP. In my mind, it’s much better to have one very strong niche USP than a hundred watery ones. So one of the big problems when you’re launching an app, I know this sounds very obvious, is that you’re new to the store. One thing that builds confidence in users, it helps users download your apps, is things like reviews, ratings, social proofs. These are scary numbers, the amount of apps going into the app store everyday. How can you sort of rise above this if you have none of this and you’re going into the app store? Actually, one thing to use in your app storefront which can build credibility in your app is social proof and, okay, your app itself won’t have any social proof because it’s new, but perhaps you have a previous app. Perhaps you have a large community. Perhaps you have evangelists. Perhaps you have a web app that has helped a lot of people. That’s something to consider when you’re new. Include the social proofs no matter where it comes from. The second thing about being new to the app store is that we’re very, very good, as an industry, about telling people why they should download our app, but we’re not very good about telling them why they should download it now. That’s a really, really important thing. If you ask yourself, “Why should my users download my app now?,” and you can’t find a real answer to that, then go back and find a reason. Look for a reason because that first week, that first month can be really important to making your app a success. So the third and final point about the app storefront is all about focus. This first sentence…a lot of people say this and it’s often meaningless, but what I take from this sentence: “Making your storefront zing,” when you’re creating an app storefront, it’s not about putting your app behind other apps. It’s not about copying the design, the wording, the layout, the USPs. It’s not about copying your competitors or those people that have been successful. Creating zing in a
storefront is about highlighting the differences between your app and competitors. The second point here is a bit of a bug bear for me. I work with a lot of new apps, and I very often see icons and titles, to an extent, not being used properly. Make sure if you’re new to the app, if you have no brand awareness, that your icon and your title really say something about your app. They have an icon, a picture, that describes your app as opposed to a couple of letters or a logo. The third thing here about focus, it seems fairly obvious, but don’t try and cover all the bases. The more people you try please with your app storefront, the less focused it will be. Okay. So that’s all about the app storefront. So what about keywords? Most of this really applies only to iTunes, but the biggest difference I think between launch and an existing app is something I’ve tried and succeeded with, a number of times, is for launch having three keyword sets as apposed to just one. So you would have your 100 character limit and three of those. There can be some crossover but the first week will include things like a launch boost, your burst marketing, featuring perhaps. The second grade of keywords, whichwould be sort of a step lower, would be for after your major marketing pushes, after the launch boost, after any featuring has gone. The third keyword set should be for when your app is out on the open water, when you’re not really doing any burst marketing. Your just doing performance or something like that. These three keyword sets will help accelerate your app store optimization for the first month. So how do you create these keywords? This is a very standard way of creating keywords, sort of a five-step process where you generate hundred, two hundred, three hundred keywords and then you filter those by relevance and using tools like SENSITHow, MobileDevHQ, etc. You then select which keywords go into which category, so you sort of split out the stronger ones from the weaker ones. Then you should after your initial month or six weeks, audit that every one to three months. It doesn’t necessarily need to be big changes. You just need to be checking this stuff.
Much like with conversion, being new to the app store gives you a disadvantage. One way to get rid of that disadvantage is to use your week one launch boosts at any featuring to really kick start your app. So don’t launch your app and then think “Oh, we’ll do the marketing in a week, we’ll sort out our storefront in a week.” Make sure that it’s there and ready for day one. I see this so much. The other benefit of being new to the app store is that it’s actually quite easy to find those hidden gems, that sort of lower strength of keywords. They can actually be pretty easy. The one big thing here about keywording as a new app is to try to make sure that you’re not trying to rank for those super, super strong keywords. That isn’t how an ASO works. So third and finally, talking about promotion, this is something I’m directly related to in terms of copywriting. What I mean by this, is any kind of promotion of your app, whether it’s user acquisition, community management, all of that kind of stuff that isn’t directly related to the app storefront. So I went with a lot of new apps outside gaming, and this is one of the scariest figures. Although it’s debatable, what I take from this statistic that 70% of smartphone usage comes from 200 apps, I take this to mean that it’s probably better to work in a niche and grow rather than try and enter the app store and give the idea that your app is trying for the top 200 apps. So working in a niche I think is beneficial. What about community? I think one of the things I’ve seen succeed a number of times is evangelism, and when you’re trying to create evangelists for your app, it’s far, far better, whether it’s a single Twitter influencer or a large community, it’s far better to get them involved in the development phase rather than create your app and then try and get evangelists involved. The second phrase “Making new the new old,” it’s a bit of a silly phrase, but it means that – much like with the app storefront – try not to focus on the similarities between your app and the big competitors, but try and focus on the differences, because that’s where you’ll find more interest from users.
Finally, with promotion there’s a couple of things not to forget, particularly with GooglePlay, your old-school web promotion, web tactics, outreach, or blogging, backlinking, all of that kind of stuff. It can work, so if you have those skills in-house, try them out. Use them. The second thing about promotion is about starting early. It’s great to start early, but it’s also terrible to start early and then let it tail off. So if you start your promotion early, whether it’s discounts, whether it’s content marketing, start it early and keep giving value to your users or your potential users. The third point here is an old sales adage: “Promise the world, deliver the universe.” I’m not talking about under-selling your app. What I’m talking about here is delivering on every promise. Going back to those USPs, deliver on every promise and then extra. That’s how virality starts. That’s how word of mouth starts. It’s not about “Oh, look how good this app is.” It’s “Oh, this app is much better than I expected.” So there’s one more thing. If you’re interested in any of this stuff, please feel free to talk to me today, or email me, whatever. I’m always happy to talk about this sort of stuff. Okay, lastly I just wanted to thank James and the App promotion summit for hosting me and you guys for listening. Thank you very much.