How much of an impact will changes to app store analytics by gatekeepers affect mobile marketing?

George Osborn

In App Marketing. May 28, 2015

App store marketing is on the cusp of considerable reform. The news that Apple’s store analytics tool is preparing to move out of beta and that Google are about to announce A/B testing for store assets will likely change the app store marketing equation.

But by how much will it do so? And what kind of impact will it have? We asked our panel of mobile marketing experts to find out:

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Thomas Sommer, AppLift

“These initiatives by the platform incumbents are part of what you could see as the “coming of age” of the mobile ecosystem.

Until now the app stores have remained a black box for marketers, who could only assume which factors, such as icon, descriptions, and screenshots, were influencing their click-to-install rates. App store analytics, along with A/B testing (which will also hopefully be brought onto iOS), are the last missing piece in mobile performance marketers’ “full stack”: they can now have a bird’s view and exert control over all touch points along the user journey, from impression to monetization.

We also recently saw Google launch the app indexing initiative, including for iOS apps, which will greatly help the discovery and accessibility of mobile content. Such innovations will hopefully make it possible for the mobile experience to finally catch up with the online world, and even eventually even get ahead of it.”

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Andy Sun, YeahMobi

“App store marketing is a crucial part of the mobile marketing and user acquisition ecosystem. Whilst marketing campaigns on social media or via search engines lead to awesome CTR with A/B testing, conversion rates (CR) can still suffer from poorly set up app store landing pages. So optimizing these pages is essential to getting users quickly, and A/B testing will change the game.

One problem with the current user acquisition model is that it is too slow. It takes a long time to optimize a marketing campaign at the app store level because creative has to be tested chronologically, day-by-day, to improve CR. It is difficult for app developers to feel out what icons or descriptions resonate with users and lead to installs.

With A/B testing in the Google Play store, developers could quickly figure out what gets user to install the app. Marketers could also give better feedback and advice by matching A/B testing at the gateway level with social, affiliate or display ad campaigns.

Marketers would be able to figure out quickly which traffic sources are working well with which app store landing page and give better advice on the best graphics, icons and descriptions to use for the client’s landing page. The changes really could help our clients get better conversions and help marketers like YeahMobi optimize campaigns more rapidly and efficiently.”

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James Kaye, Big Ideas Machine

“These are all positive moves – especially when you couple it with recent initiatives by Google to introduce the app deep linking function and the ability to pre-register apps.

App store marketing has been hampered largely by the lack in insight into landing page conversion rates although Google did integrate page visitor stats with Google Analytics a couple of years ago so its good that the App Store is now catching up.

Thats said,Google and Apple can give devs all the tools at their disposal to analyse their pages but the question is always whether the devs will have the time or inclination to take the information and be able to analyse it to their advantage in addition to the other mountain of data they get via Flurry and other sources.”

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Kristian Rabe, Dynamo Partners

Regarding App Store Marketing blind spots I see the one big point which everyone is somehow missing: Keyword Search Volume in the store. Without this data, you can’t really optimize Keywords – you only guess. In general the ranking algo is still a black box (more on google play).
The latest improvements in both stores didn’t tackle any of these points. But they help developers to increase the conversion rate from app detail page to the app download. Only bigger companies had time, money and resources to a/b test their metadata outside the stores. But know everybody can do so easily and hopefully will do so.

With this data you can be a bit more efficient in your whole app marketing strategy planing and execution. But it can only be a first step. The gatekeepers should do even more, by providing more data to developers.