Katerina Zolotareva is Marketing and Customer Success Manager at TheTool. She loves writing about App Marketing and Mobile Growth and helping app developers promote their apps! 🙂
Overlooking the predictions made for upcoming 2017 and the recent updates that the 2 dominating app stores have presented, the key trends in App Marketing that we were foreseeing are now starting to get confirmed.
The app stores are sharing more data now, especially with the introduction of Apple Search Ads, and it helps the ASO tools analyse and deliver better insights, and users can understand more about how App Store Optimization processes really work.
In this article we will cover the main trends of app marketing in 2017 that have been proven to influence the app marketing.
Apple Search Ads
Since its launch in October 2016, Apple Search Ads are increasing their popularity among brands and startups. Even though it is available only for English (US) keywords in USA, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, this new way of ad placement is already setting a new standard for paid traffic in the Apple App Store, and gives away valuable in-store data to ASO, app analytics and business intelligence tools.
Being an early adopter now means to try something new for cheaper price and without too much competition, so it is now definitely the time to learn how to use it!
In words of Apple, a huge share of downloads (65%) in App Store is driven by search, so the ad format introduced by Apple made the ads look exactly like an actual app listing in the search result page, except for a blue “Ad” tag next to it:
Intially an idea borrowed from Google AdWords, Apple Search Ads works similar way, with developers or marketers bidding for app keywords with more traffic and less difficulty. And to allow that – yes! – Apple shared real data about the keyword search popularity from the store! You can view this data easily with this amazing free Google Chrome extension.
More information from the app stores – better ASO
For the first time an app store, in this case Apple App Store, has shared search popularity data points, and Google is yet to follow.
This makes us believe that this is a beginning of a new big trend the app stores revealing more reliable data about app discoverability, user quality and user behaviors in their respective app stores. And all this information, of course, will help us better understand the App Store and Google Play algorithms and make better ASO decisions for our app businesses.
App Indexing and Deep Linking
Google brought indexing for Google Play Store apps’ content in 2012, yet only in 2015 with a new Google ranking algorithm favouring mobile apps, App Indexing started getting more visibility. Google search engine was going more and more mobile, and to meet a growing demand from mobile users, more websites started working on their “mobile-friendly” version. This was not enough, though – and Google started putting more weight on indexed app content in ranking for the users who had the app installed on their devices.
Now App Indexing is growing every year, app marketers and developers can’t avoid this strategy to grow their mobile presence, in case they have same content on website and app and a powerful SEO strategy in mind.
App Indexing is similar to crawling regular websites, in this case search engine (primarily we will talk about Google) is crawling indexed app content. To start with, in order to have app’s content indexed, this content need to have a corresponding content in a traditional website. That said, to be able to index app content, we need to have identical content on web and in app, although soon we will have a possibility to have app indexing for native mobile apps that have no correspondence with traditional web, which is so far still on the roadmap.
To have the content of your app indexed, you need to add a script to your app code, provide a secure protocol (https) and enable deep linking (a link pointing to the specific in-app content). In the beginning Google used to include in-app content in SERP independently if the users had the apps previously installed or not, making it a new channel of app discovery. This has changed though, and now in-app content is only shown to the users who have the app installed.
Effectively, App Indexing is valid for both Android and iOS apps, so users of both systems can benefit from re-engagement possibilities of this strategy.
There are different types of App Indexing. On the one hand, we have Firebase App Indexing by Google for iOS and Android apps and, on the other hand, we have Apple App Indexing only for iOS devices in Spotlight Search.
Re-engagement and improving retention
Deep linking has given us great possibilities for re-engagement of the users, this strategy is continually growing, and marketers are inventing new tricks to make the most out of it.
This short video from Google describes the essence of reactivating users with the help of deep linking and app indexing:
Both Google and Apple are giving more weight in their rankings to the apps with higher user engagement and retention levels. Naturally, the great amount of users continually coming back to the app and using it often, is an indicator of an added value provided by an app, and its overall significance.
There are various ways to improve app retention and re-engage the users:
Build a great product. There is a clear shift towards improving user experience, and the stores are doing the best they can to prevent an overpopulation of bad quality apps or app re-skinning, encouraging developers to contribute with high-quality apps.
Update an app often. By answering users needs, and providing valuable updates, developers can encourage app users to rediscover their app’s content, and thus improve retention.
Use push notifications to engage with users. A recent study by Leanplum and App Annie showed push notifications including emoji are opened almost twice as much as the ones without emoji. Now that it is possible to include images, gifs, sounds, even videos, the marketers and developers should remember to have a clear strategy of communication with their users, and to have their own voice in the overall noise that surrounds their users.
App Marketing 2017 trends conclusion
The app stores are continuously changing, and this year they have already revealed their roadmaps on Google I/O and Apple WWDC. Many great changes are awaiting – from a completely redesigned App Store 2.0 to Google Instant Apps that allows users to access in-app content without having to install the app on their device.
These and many other innovations will make mobile marketers and developers adapt and come up with new ideas to boost Mobile Growth and keep up with the market. App Marketing and App Store Optimization strategies are never a single shot, but a long-run process, a marathon, and the base for its success is always a high-quality product.
Which other trends do you see important for App Marketing in 2017? Tell us in the comments!