Even since way back in 2015, there were already over six million apps hosted across android and apple app stores – one intensely crowded market. Developers are jostling for position and competing with each other in a fierce battle to win over customers.
Businesses can’t rely on sheer luck for their app to get discovered. Creating an app is not an easy process – it requires a long period of time and dedication – not to mention serious financial backing. But sometimes, despite their efforts, app entrepreneurs fail to get users to download their app at all. It doesn’t matter how great it is – greatness counts for nothing if people don’t know it even exists.
Luckily, today there are billions of smartphone users, and this number is increasing year by year. Users are hungry to download apps to help them with every element of their lives – from mindfulness to video conferencing. Getting people to download your app requires more than just creativity and building a great product. You will also need to be strategic about marketing – engagement with users is key to generating downloads.
Get Your App Noticed
Visibility for an app is like quality culture in an organization – neglecting it can prove fatal for your business. Getting your app noticed is the single most important factor in your app’s success. We have six tips for you that have a proven track record of getting apps noticed. And the best thing? They won’t cost you a fortune in paid publicity.
1. Understand Your Users
The majority of apps are discovered by people searching in app stores – what does this mean? It means that people are entering their app store with an idea of what type of app they want to download rather than discovering apps at random. They have an idea of what they want the app to do and then search for the one that fits the bill.
What does this mean for you? It means you need to think about your users in the same way developers think about wireframes. Make sure you research your target market as well as the people who are likely to download your app. What do they need and what could be considered their typical behavior?
Think about why and how they are using the app, using testing methodologies. Also, where are they located, and what language do they speak? Having an image of your target buyer means you will be armed with knowledge that will help you prepare essential app information.
2. Focus on Your Brand Awareness
Starting in 2020 and over the course of the pandemic, app users moved away from making speculative searches in the app stores. Countries shut their borders, so searching for flight and travel apps became an exercise in futility. Users shifted towards making specific searches for apps they already knew they wanted to download. They knew the exact name of the app they wanted – random searches were no more.
If this trend continues, as some experts claim it will, then focusing on creating, improving, and sustaining your brand awareness is critical. You need to start thinking about questions such as the relative merits of bluehost vs siteground to promote your app, among many things. However, even if the trend does not continue, brand awareness will still continue to be important.
We can also imagine a future in which user acquisition changes and the traditional channels that have been used to download apps become redundant. This scenario means that developers will have to focus on users trusting the brand and creating brand loyalty if they want to generate downloads and then retain app users.
Along with essential actions such as continuous testing, there are many strategies to improve brand awareness, but one simple move is to put your brand name on the app’s icon. This is easy to do and ensures that your users will instantly recognize your brand, remember it, and won’t have to waste time thinking about whether they want to download your app or not.
Some users might not download your app at first, but if you create this form of brand awareness they might the next time around. You will have already created that recognition, which could trigger a download.
If you build multiple apps, having strong branding will help your future developments. Strong branding is crucial for both App Store Optimization (ASO) and paid user strategies.
3. Write Accurate App Descriptions
You are given a 4000 character limit by the app store to write your app description. This is a requisite component of the app’s metadata and will provide users with all the information about the app. Clear, concise, and simple writing is key here. You should use natural and easy-to-understand language composed of simple sentences that are coherently connected.
Your description should answer a series of questions. Potential users will need the following questions answered clearly before downloading your app:
- How much does it cost?
- What does it do?
- How does it solve a problem that the user has?
- Will it make the user’s life easier?
The description is also important for how your app ranks in the app store, which is based on ranking algorithms. With Google Play, much like when you think about your website ranking while writing a software testing blog post, keywords taken from the app description are used to help index an app. For the Apple App Store, however, keywords are less important for app store keyword optimization.
4. Ratings and Reviews
Ratings are essential for the success of an app and feedback is necessary for ASO. Both Google Play and Apple base their positioning of the app on users’ comments and reviews. A higher rating means the app will be deemed more relevant, and both the quality and quantity of reviews are important.
When deciding upon which app to download, the vast majority of users check both the star rating and read a selection of the written reviews before making a commitment to download. However, frequent updates and promotions in app stores are also important factors that can help improve your ranking in the app store.
The most vital job of any app developer is creating a great product. When people love your business and your app they will leave favorable comments.
However, even if your product is the best on the market, you should always try to encourage users to review your app. Why not use either in-app pop-up notifications or push notifications? Make sure you allow the user to engage with your app at least twice before requesting a review. It might be different from the one they have used in the past, and so they need a little time to get used to it.
Remember – don’t be pushy and continuously ask for reviews. If people want to comment on your product they will. If you keep asking them, you are likely to alienate them.
5. Include High-Quality Screenshots and Icons
Once a customer lands on your app page, the hard work really starts. You now have to convince them to download your app. Communication here is key. Just like your written description needs to be clear and concise, your visual communication also needs to speak concisely. Screenshots can help show potential customers the functionality of your app and provide them with a preview of how it works.
The key here is telling the customer a visual story. People like stories and a good story helps a customer relate to a product and, ultimately, make a purchase.
Your visuals need to be impactful. Most people make decisions after only having seen a product for a few seconds, so first impressions definitely count. Therefore, you need to pay attention to every aspect of your visuals including size, shape, color, and layout. Always have the continuous testing definition in mind.
The app rating is the most important factor for a customer to decide whether they are going to download the app, but screenshots come a close second. They are indispensable for conversion optimization and a critical component of ASO. The following tips will help your screenshots make a great impression:
- Use large captions
- Use combined screenshots
- Highlight how your app is unique
You are allowed to upload eight screenshots on Google Play Store and ten on Apple’s App Store. For both app stores, you should use a vibrant template for your screenshots to have an aesthetic appeal when placed alongside each other. Focus on the visuals rather than the text, and always think about how you can answer the question: how is my app better than competitors?
6. Create a Video
Making sure your title and visuals are impactful will have a big effect on your downloads, but creating a video will have an even bigger impact.
Video has overtaken writing as the most consumed type of content – especially for younger generations. Posting a video on the app store will make it more likely your app is discovered, talked about, and recommended. You should create a video that is up to 30 seconds long that mainly focuses on the functionality of the app.
To be successful, users need to know two key things about your app:
- What does it do?
- How can they use it in their daily lives?
The six ASO tips above help you provide users with clear answers to these questions.
Incorporate all these tips into your app promotion and you will have greater download potential, which means higher rankings, which in turn means more downloads. Discoverability and visibility of your app are key – but don’t neglect the quality of the app itself. Exploratory testing in agile environments should help you develop the best possible product.
Emily Rollwitz is a Content Marketing Executive at Global App Testing, a remote and on-demand app testing company helping top app teams figure out when to automate testing. She has 5 years of experience as a marketer, spearheading lead generation campaigns and events that propels top-notch brand performance. Handling marketing of various brands, Emily has also developed a great pulse in creating fresh and engaging content. You can find her on LinkedIn.