With more and more apps hitting the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, developers need to take advantage of every piece of metadata to put their app above its competitors.
App developers and marketers can’t afford neglecting any piece of their metadata, especially the often-forgotten creatives and user reviews. In recent years, these two aspects have become even more critical to an app’s overall performance. Despite being important factors, they are typically left unattended because developers tend to rely on their app’s merits alone.
Now, developers may be trying to figure out why they need engaging creatives and address their users’ reviews? When it comes to App Store Optimization (ASO) best practices, creatives are the key piece of the ASO equation that converts users.
With the recent release of iOS 11 and App Store redesign, it has proven that apps need to become visible first and then worry about converting users. After an app has increased its visibility, it needs to show users how the app works and how it sets itself apart from competitors. Using the available space (Icon, Screenshots, Video) to highlight how the app works is essential to converting users.
On a similar level, reviews of an app are some of the first pieces of content a user sees when they want to learn even more about the app. Monitoring user reviews on an app listing and even responding to them could play a major role in how a user perceives the app. Monitoring reviews takes an app to the next level and shows users that the developer wants to address any possible issues and eliminate it quickly and effectively.
Developers cannot afford to overlook any area of their metadata, unlike apps like Facebook, Instagram and Clash of Clans who can rely on their name alone. Other apps need to make sure that their creatives are engaging and that their users are paid attention to in order to successfully convert.
Breaking Down Creatives
When it comes to marketing an app, developers need to use the icon, screenshots and preview videos, otherwise known as creatives, to successfully engage and convert users. Developers cannot create successful, engaging creatives without first looking at ASO best practices.
Some best practices to consider are:
- Emphasize core/unique/popular features of the app (particularly, in the first 3 screenshots)
- Minimal, highly visible Callout text that emphasizes the apps keywords
- In-app images should clearly reflect the feature being highlighted
- In-Line with app branding
- Design screenshots for the target demographic
By addressing ASO best practices to understand user trends and behaviors, developers will ultimately design creatives that convert users by catering to what users are looking for. Users want to see how the app looks and moves, and without that context, they are less likely to convert. This key reason is why developers must create an icon, screenshots and preview video that clearly demonstrate the app’s core features while displaying the app’s UI.
The app icon needs to be unique and memorable. Since users are going to be scrolling through thousands of apps, the last thing developers want is a forgettable icon.
Make sure that the icon relates to the app name and addresses either a core feature, a branded image, or a recognizable character that users can quickly latch onto.
Developers should think of the creatives as a movie poster that clearly displays a first look into an app’s UI or gameplay. If users are confused by what they are seeing, they more likely to exit that app and go with another.
It is also important for developers to consider which orientation they should display their screenshots in. Developers can choose either portrait or landscape, and should consider just how much of their app they can show with each. Choosing an orientation that does not engage users well can lead to disastrous consequences, meaning developers should carefully gauge which would be more prevalent to their audience.
iOS developers need to keep in mind that with the recent iOS 11 updated, users will see the first three portrait screenshots. This means that more than ever, developers need to pay attention to ASO best practices to create screenshots that emphasize the app’s core features and successfully convert users.
Be careful with how the preview video displays (portrait or landscape) as this will ultimately affect the way that it appears in search. Here are tips to note for portrait vs landscape.
- One portrait video will replace the first screenshot
- Second and third screenshots will appear after it
- Landscape videos will continue to appear first if there are also landscape screenshots
- Landscape preview video and portrait screenshots, the video will not appear in search
While the screenshots provide some insight to the app’s UI, users want to see the app in action. The preview video is a great space for developers to highlight their app’s core features and get users excited about downloading the app. Developers should keep in mind, however, that there are different guidelines for the preview video depending on if the app is in the App Store or Google Play Store.
If the preview video is for the App Store, developers must adhere to Apple’s strict guidelines or face the possibility of being rejected. The Google Play Store, however, does not have any rigid rules other than the time length, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Developers can also test their icon, preview video and screenshots if they are unsure which will convert users best. They can utilize A/B testing to test different creatives over a given time. Testing various creatives allows developers to see what performs better to ultimately convert users.
Breaking Down Reviews
When it comes to monitoring user reviews, developers need to engage with their users to make sure they are aware of any bugs, issues or any glaring complaints from users.
Google proved how important it is to monitor reviews and made major changes to the search algorithm in the Play Store, which resulted in hiding low-quality and glitchy apps back in August 2017. Apple echoed Google’s recent change in their iOS 11 update by making reviews an active presence.
Developers can adopt the concept of Reputation Management to monitor their user reviews daily. This allows developers key insights into any bugs, issues, common complaints and positive reviews users are leaving.
While developers may feel inclined to respond to every review, they should consider responding to every negative review (3 stars and below), then picking a select group of positive reviews (4-5 stars) to respond to. Responding to reviews will engage with users and show them that are leaving negative reviews that they are being listened to. It will also encourage users that left negative reviews to update their review/star rating because the developer took the time to address an issue.
Despite redesigning the App Store, users must still scroll down to read the reviews. Unlike iOS 10 where users could filter by version of the app, Apple is currently showing all reviews. Since users can read all reviews, it is important now more than ever that developers start going through old reviews to address any possible issues.
Responding to reviews not only does helps developers stay on top of their app’s performance, but shows users that they care about the current user experience, and establishes a conversation that can be revisited.
Maintaining Your ASO Strategy
As more competitors start to crowd the app stores, developers will need to take advantage of ASO best practices to make sure their app is successful and effective. Developers will need to pay special attention to creatives and user reviews, and even go as far as dedicating their time towards optimizing them to see overall success.
Developers need to think that well-known apps started somewhere too, and that they won’t be able to reach the same level of notoriety unless they take the time to optimize their creatives and respond to users. Creating engaging, stunning creatives and monitoring user reviews will ultimately be a key factor in how well an app performing is in the app stores.
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