ASO Experts Roundup Recap (June, 21) - What Was It About?

Have you missed our first online roundup? Cheer up! We have prepared this post and included all the information for those of you who could not make it to our first roundup dedicated to ASO.

Why did we dedicate our first roundup to ASO?

ASO has become a crucial step in the App Marketing strategy. It has evolved a lot throughout the last years and new App Store Optimization tactics and tips arise “day-by-day”, as the main app stores introduce updates and changes in their algorithms and layouts.

Meet the ASO Experts on 21, June

We thought there is no better way to start this new way of learning and sharing knowledge with our readers than organizing a roundup dedicated to App Store Optimization.

PS: Don’t you know what ASO is? Read this!

We could count on top international ASO Experts for our roundup: Luca Giacomel from Bending Spoons, Ekaterina Petrakova from Rocket Internet, Ilia Kukharev from JetRadar, Peter Fodor from AppAgent and Georgina Palau from PickASO. We would like to personally thank all of you for participating and sharing your knowledge with us!

And, of course, we could not forget about our audience, thank you everyone for watching and throwing cool comments and questions out there!

ASO Experts Roundup by TheTool – 21 June 2018

Enjoy!

Roundup Q&A

After the speakers introduced themselves (question 1), and told us a bit about their background, we started with the questions we prepared for this ASO Roundup:

2. Which of the latest updates in Apple App Store and Google Play Store have had the biggest impact on the App Marketing industry? How do you handle these challenges?

Luca: I think the biggest revolution was iOS 11 with the autoplay Video and the Subtitles. It changed the way people interacted with the store and decided to download one app or the another. Apple did a nice job and allowed people that were really into doing a good job in metadata optimization, allowed developers to get better Conversion Rates because they showed the product better. Now, I am curious to see the Beta Version of Google Play that is probably going to launch something very similar to what Apple is doing.

Peter: I have to agree with Luca, he just mentioned what I wanted to say, because the Video and the autoplay is able to translate the message in much better way than Screenshots. I will talk about it later, but we analyzed how people behaved in the store and most of them, I’d say more than half, basically don’t interact with the content on the app page, they make a decision in a couple of seconds and then the Video plays a major role. And as for the the newest stuff, the potential of testing assets to Search Ads and also Installs per Keyword.

Ekaterina: I definitely agree with the guys. I would also add reviews like now, on both app stores, you can actually really see the reviews basically on top of the like the whole page, and I think it attracts also potential people and users and they are not afraid anymore to write a Review and they really write what they want to write. Despite the fact that we don’t really have limited space or storage in our phones, we actually kind of read it just because we want to know what we are downloading. There are so many apps out there and these Reviews are really more and more important. I think it’s one of the biggest challenges for our companies now, especially who scared up and to manage those Reviews it’s it’s a big challenge yeah.

Debate after this answer > Go to minute 10:10

Ilia: When Apple announced this new App Store layout the only thought in my mind was… Oh my God, I have so many localizations, I have 30 localization for every app, I have to change all the Screenshots for all these localization. It was really surprising! I had about two months before the release so we made a great job and optimized all our Screenshots or our App Names and other stuff. Actually we saw about 20% growth from our own Screenshots to the new ones. So I guess for us, it was a great update!

Georgina: I just wanted to highlight the fact that with the new App Store layout the number of characters that we could like a use for working with keywords was reduced significantly, so that made us to really do this exercise of synthesizing and it was a challenge but with time you just go with it and just like trying, testing what is working with what doesn’t. So, yeah I guess that the biggest challenge in the end is just to keep up with these new trends and try to overcome them just as they come!

Anecdote from a speaker > Go to minute 15: 33

3. In your opinion… What are the main Conversion Rate elements?

Peter: I will talk about a Research we did last August 2017, we analyzed 5 apps from our portfolio. Altogether was 25,000 visitors, 10,000 installs and we figured out how people really behaved in the stores and is quite surprising I would say. So I already mentioned that the average duration during which people decide whether to install or leave the store page is about 7 seconds, and that half of the people don’t engage at all with the content. Also, what was shocking to me, that only 13% of users scroll through Screenshots in general. For games it’s a little bit better but it gives us the learning that we really have to focus on the first one or two Screenshots, especially if you have a Video then the space is even more limited for Screenshots.

Also, that we have to put a large font in Screenshots when we have one-liners because only 3% of people enlarge screenshots and if you go through the store even today, you will find that majority of apps are still using very small letters and long sentences. This means it’s unreadable on devices, except if you don’t have iPhone 6 or 7 + or an iPad. So it was quite shocking to me to get over the fact that on Google Play only 3% of people played the Video and I think this number reveals why Google follows Apple and is testing the new layout  that will be placed on the first spot, in the front of Screenshots because obviously didn’t work too well when it was just “play button” on the Feature Graphic.

Luca: What doesn’t work in my opinion for Conversion, like there are many things, I think that the autoplay Videos work like crazy. One very important thing to always consider is the Poster Frame as a Peter correctly said. I think it’s still fairly important to have a very good Poster Frame because for some people the video will not load in time even though the autoplay is enabled. Or, some people, they will have the autoplay disabled because they have battery settings or whatever other reason. So, we noticed a huge difference in Conversion by changing the Poster Frames in the past and very poor Poster Frames had very poor Conversions in the store even though the Video was great.

And also, I’m sometimes puzzled by the impact on Conversion, on Search Conversion of the Icon because sometimes there is a bit of a difference, but unless you upload something that is very very terrible and different from what users would expect from your app we didn’t see huge impacts on that, especially because it has a smaller real estate on the page so for that I think that still two biggest elements for Conversion would be Screenshots and Videos, and Poster Frames for the moment.

Georgina: I completely agree with you guys, Visuals are very very important Conversion Rate elements if not the most important ones, but I in my opinion, there’s another thing that really plays a role in Conversion that is the Average Rating and, of course, the Ratings and Reviews because, in the end, that’s what draws people to download the app. If you have like really nice Visuals but you have pretty bad Average Rating, I don’t know how many users will download the app. So, for me, Reviews and Average Rating are really important Conversion elements.

Ilia: I guess when we are talking about Google Play, the Icon is a crucial part of the Conversion Optimization because you don’t see these Screenshots you just see the Icon and you have to have to select this app from the Search results based on Icon. When we added this small percent mark, like discount on the Icon we were able to make + 20% for our Conversion Rate so just this small mark and such a boost, so as for Google Play is definitely Icon. And as for App Store it’s about Screenshots and of course Ratings because you have to show to your users what your app is doing, they have to understand. Actually, when I see high level of Conversion Rate from Impression to the page view I guess this ASO job done not very good because here the users have to click on your app to find out better what what is your app about.

So, I guess you should aim to 1% or 0% Conversion Rate from Impression to the page view because this way our Conversions will go directly to the Installs. So this is about Screenshots and, of course, Ratings because I guess everyone, maybe not us, because we are professionals and we know that even if an app has 3-stars it still can be good. Just because you can see like apps like Facebook and Instagram and VK in Russia they all have 1-star or 2-stars and that doesn’t mean that they’re bad, that means that they have lots of users that not like something but there is still good. But for usual apps like for Indie apps, Ratings are very important so I guess developers should work more with this Rating sense. I was trying to tell everyone about importance of localization about one ago and now I’m trying to tell everyone about importance of their Average Rating, so it’s like small things that build your success.

Debate after this answer > Go to minute 23:26

4. What is the best way to keep track of your implemented ASO strategy?

Ilia: When I’m doing the text optimization, I’m always watching on the Impression Rate so if my Impressions goes up that’s I did a good job and if my Impressions goes down I did a bad job. So, I guess this is the only way to track your Visibility. And, also when I’m doing some Graphic I am looking at Conversion Rate from Impression, that’s all just two charts. I guess Apple or Google they don’t give us any any other tools to track our success so just these two charts for me.

Georgina: For me is really important the Keyword Distribution so I use TheTool to track lots and lots of apps. If you have done like a really good ASO implementation, you will see that the Keyword Distribution is a skyrocket and that’s the main thing that I track. Also, what Ilia said, Impressions are really important because, in the end, it’s numbers that say if people have seen your app or not but yeah I think, Keyword Distribution is the best, well not the best but the thing that I look the most. And also, of course, Top Charts and Ratings.

Luca: For me, I try to have this very data-driven approach to ASO, the problem with that update is that you might have gained a position like in ten keywords but you lost one position in this very important keyword that was driving most of your downloads, right? So, at the end of the day, you would need to be able to translate from keyword position to actual downloads that you make from those keywords. And, if you’re able to do this precisely, basically you could be able to build back the number of estimated downloads that you get from every Search and then see whether your textual ASO update, because the Visuals it’s more complicated to test, but with the textual you will be able to see whether you actually grew or or went worse. But, of course that we had to build these complicated models that try to tell us how many downloads we get for every keyword and those models need to be very precise otherwise all this job is unpractical.

Peter: In addition to the Conversion Rate Optimization, I tried several times to test similar Icons or similar Screenshots in the Google Play Store and I’ve seen that what happens is that there are differences of by 70% so based on these learnings I’ve made the simple rule that we always re-test the experiments we switch the A/B version to B/A and run it again, and also ignore anything, any change or improvement which is below 5% or below 10% be really sure that the result is statistically significant.

Ekaterina: I agree with everything that was said, but from my point of view, more like Benchmark point of view, I would say when you look at each particular like KPI that I have tracked, you can already see whether the ASO is actually something that company is working on or not because, I know guys you’re all very advanced and you’re really focusing on this but, in my world, many companies are still not that advanced. So, you still have to convince them that Keyword Optimization should be done properly, that you have to invest time in changing your App Icon because of the season or because of like special Sells. And what really helps is actually like showing where is your app and where is average in the vertical, and then you see which particular KPIs and the area your application is in something.

Debate after this answer > Go to minute 31:42

5. What was your biggest ASO epic win? And epic fail?

Ilia: I have even two files for you guys well yeah the first one was the classic mistake of the newbie when you’re just working for like six months, and you see that everything is working what you’re doing and you say okay I am the boss here I can do whatever I want. And that this was about my first flights searching app, JetRadar. One day we got rejected for them for the description in the our Title like airline names so I guess why not I have to remove all these – because my app is work successful here so I just placed my brand name on the first day and say just try the cheap flights. So, okay let’s release this and the next day we made this release so what do think we see? We see about sixty percent decrease in downloads so and it was my sixth sixth month in the company. I talked guys in the morning okay, guys we just lose half of our downloads and because of me because I thought that I’m the boss here but I not. This was the time when Apple reviewed our app for about a week, it’s not just ten hours later now, it was about a week then and we have to wait a week to fix this I think. And we got rejected several times with same reason so the description in the App Name. But, finally I was able to to even boost these downloads, and since then, I never think that I am the boss so I’m just doing my job and I’m trying not to fail.

And the other thing we’re trying to launch our apps in the in China like working with all these Chinese app stores like Salami, Hawaii and other stuff but it was also the fail. Even I don’t know how to work with China, Chinese guys but we have lots of downloads for China for our main apps, but for in Chinese apps it was about remind about maybe 1000 per month from all the stores so we spent lots of time and lots of money on this stuff but never succeed in this. So, if you guys want to go to China to all these Chinese Android app stores, you have to be prepared for it or just hire the company who are doing ASO in the stores and work it so it’s really complicated think. I guess we won’t try again in next year!

And, well good stuff one of our meetings we decided why not we have to localize our app to Arabic and just for Arabic countries and we did this, it took about maybe one week we just copy to the app bundle and to make the different app name. And now Arabic stores help us to boost our downloads and we have about 30% percents of all our downloads are coming from Arabic countries so it was just test why not let’s do it and it I guess this is was the my biggest win. It was a really hard job to localize to Arabic language and to make a Keyword Research on Arabic and I don’t sleep well until then but but finally it was the biggest win I guess so I think that’s all!

Peter: We created a pretty good  Preview Video for a client and was basically simplified UI app to highlight the most important part of the UI of the booking process. I took us like oh like 5 -6 weeks to produce that and then Apple rejected the video so we had to start again from scratch. And explained the client what happened so we created a Portrait Video, that leads to a second failure, because once we upload a Preview Video in the new iOS 11 store just on the time when start of switching to the new layout, all the horizontal Screenshots which were on the right from the vertical video were turned 90 degrees so basically unreadable and it’s probably some sort of bug in the App Store which we have to fix them. So it was basically another fail in a short time.

So since then, we changed those Screenshots to this traditional portrait orientation. But these were like two Conversion Rate fails but in all we are able to reach 82% increase in Conversion Rate for the client and also in terms of the organic growth in the US we reach 72% and then in five other non- US countries around 60%. So, there are also some successes what are the over issue is you fail like three or four times then you have one successful experiment that’s my learning!

Luca: I still remember we were doing the release for an amazing app, that you should download that is called “Pic Jointer”, and that was stuck in in the process of release because ASO was not ready with the metadata because unfortunately our designer was busy that day. I decided to say hey guys no worries I will Photoshop the new UI into the old Screenshots and yeah it looked like a good idea because the old Screenshots were doing fine but, once I put new UI and actually release the app, the app started losing downloads like crazy so conversion went to how to say that yeah went a very cool place! So that was an incredible fail because they didn’t test it and I thought that you know, just by changing the UI inside the screenshots I would I would only get a very tiny difference and instead it was a detrimental so this improved my idea of always test stuff!

And as for the win I think there is another app for which I did as ASO team because it was not just me, of course, we have five people team. But we did an amazing video for another app that is a slideshow maker that got a lot of downloads after we released the video. I think we were able to gain between 50% to 100% of downloads thanks to that and improving the Conversion so very happy about that!

6. What would be your 3 ASO tips for a new app or game?

You might be interested | List of 20 awesome ASO tips

Georgina: I think that the biggest tip that I can give someone who’s starting with a new app would be to conduct like a really really exhaustive research like at the beginning and both with a competitors and the keywords in order to see what are the other applications in your vertical are working with. So, then that will be my tip and also another one a little a little one for new apps that want to launch in Google Play and it would be to add some keywords in the bundle ID because and that is also indexed and I find it interesting to just put some
keywords out there.

Ekaterina: I definitely agree with looking at the competitors but, I would say sometimes it’s more interesting to look at completely different verticals because you can find other ideas and how to actually stand out from the crowd with your application. Then, definitely localize as much as possible if you want to launch in several countries it really matters, and I saw it in so many countries like in Arabic or in Russian app store for example it really like significantly increase your Conversion Rates and number of Downloads or Installs. And I would say that don’t fill up with A/B testing, it’s really powerful tool but only when you already have a certain number of users and you’re not afraid to lose, especially with the tools which are actually like faking the app store.

Luca: My only thing would be to track a lot of keywords, as I also said in Applause and Barcelona, track a lot of keywords with tools like TheTool and try to always watch out for your competition because they’re coming at you all the time stay on top of them and yeah attract the market!

Ilia: Try to use long tails don’t try to rank high for example Instagram keywords and long tails is everything for the newer apps so just use them!

Peter: Conversion Rate optimization, already told this before, try to be very bold in your experiments with very different executions and don’t be too rigid when it comes to following your brand on the beginning because you need to figure out what we apply out what messaging will make the most with your customers and converts also.

7. What do you think of Google Play Console new feature “Installs per Keyword”? Have you tested it? What kind of results did you get?

Ilia: We tested it we don’t have this to in our account yet but we tested in TheTool account, so I think this should be in really pre pre pre alpha version. So, it’s good one but for our apps just 50% of the Search Terms are just branded keywords and then and then there are high high traffic keywords that I already know about without this Google Play feature.  So 90% of other keywords are hidden for the “Others” and you just open it okay I know that, I know my branded keywords I know my high traffic keywords and that’s it. So I guess when they will when they throw out this to all users I guess they will have the breakdown by country and two more keywords just open for checking so now it’s not really useful so but it’s it so it was good to check it but as for usability I don’t think that this is very useful now.

Luca: I also used it a bit with TheTool which is the only one at the moment providing it to people, there are not better I guess, so I think it’s an essential thing that Google should be doing should a bit better since you don’t have the split by country at the moment which I think it’s essential. So I know that it gets some downloads from a keyword but I don’t know in which country it could be in Australia US or anywhere else and also it’s the biggest keywords but I think it’s already a huge step in the right direction because you will actually understand between those big keywords which one is the first which one is the second. And you know, it will allow us to understand how to evaluate better our ASO efforts in the future so hopefully they’re gonna roll it out to everybody and good more keywords.

Georgina: I completely agree with what they said, like for the moment it’s not really that useful unless you are working with really big big apps with a lot of downloads and users because then you can you can really have like a really long list of keywords. But, in the end, most of them are like hidden in the other section. One day I hope that they will really improve this feature because for now okay yeah it’s useful but to some extent!

Debate after this answer > Go to minute 49:18

Thank you for participating and watching us!

Again, from TheTool, we would like to thank to all the participants for taking part of this ASO Roundup. It was really interesting to hear your stories and learn from your experience.

And of course, we are glad that so many people from all around the world, were watching us and asking really interesting questions!

Stay tuned – More Roundups coming soon!

Feel free to share this post. Looking forward to your comments! 

Cristina Stefanova

About Cristina Stefanova

Cristina is a Content & SMM Strategist TheTool, follow her on Twitter or via LinkedIn

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