Testing is an important aspect of App Store Optimization – it provides valuable insights on what appeals to users and drives conversions. As testing will demonstrate, not every change is necessarily for the better, but failure can provide information as valuable as a success.
Sometimes, changes and tests yield the opposite results from what we were hoping for. When this happens, don’t panic – identifying what caused it and fixing it will help inform the next step in your App Store Optimization strategy.
Understand What Happened
First and foremost, you need to identify where the drop-off traffic or conversions is coming from. Is it from paid channels, browse or search traffic, web referrals or something else? This can help you identify probable causes of the drop. For instance, if an app is no longer featured, this could impact visibility. Similarly, reducing paid marketing expenses could result in a decrease in clicks as well. You may also want to look into the territories where the declines are occurring – it could be a localized issue to a specific region.
Understanding the cause and source of a performance change can provide directions on how to best remedy the situation.
Once You’ve Identified the Cause
After you’ve determined what’s causing the drop, you can determine a strategy to amend it. It’s easy to panic and look for a quick fix when installs begin to decline, but the most important thing to do is come up with a strategy to address it.
For example, if the drop in installs comes after a change in creative assets, the solution is to change it back and see if installs return to normal. However, the issue could be more complex. There could be a bug in the app that caused a decrease in star ratings, which may dissuade potential users. In this case, you’ll want to fix the bug and address user reviews. Following this, assess how your keyword rankings were impacted before and after the issue to determine where you need to focus.
How to Prepare for and Avoid these Issues
Sometimes, declines are out of your control. This could be due to seasonality (a Christmas app is unlikely to see many installs during the summer) or from an app no longer being featured on the App Store or Play Store. Other times, however, the changes are unexpected. Either way, it’s important that you use ASO best practices when assessing declines and strategizing updates.
When developing deployable assets, you should ensure that they’re backed by the right data. It’s easy to change something tied to branding or “what feels right,” but these mean nothing without data to back them up. In many cases, changing the messaging or creative elements on a whim or hunch can lead to a serious drop in performance. This is why researching and testing before fully deploying changes is so important.
It is also important to understand how each channel influences the others. For instance, organic and paid search are tied together as Apple Search Ads and Google Ads have a direct impact on keyword rankings. Changing one will impact the other.
The best way to be prepared is to research and test thoroughly. Determine what keywords are valuable, what creative aspects drive conversions and what features users respond best to. Analyzing competitors can help provide insights, and running A/B tests can help uncover what layouts and positioning work best for your app.
Performance drops can be unpredictable, or even self-inflicted at times. When they happen, the important thing to do is respond with a clear strategy, rather than a stressed reaction. Figure out what’s causing the drop, and once you determine its origin, you can see if it’s something you can control or not. If it’s within your power to change, research successful competitors and trends to come up with and execute your strategy. A measured response using App Store Optimization can help your app recover and improve after setbacks.