As many PC users may have noticed, the Google Play Store has undergone a massive update to its layout and design. The old version of the Play Store did have its issues. Poor navigation, limited access to subcategories, difficulty in discovering free apps and over-reliance on editor’s choices (problems not dissimilar to other app stores, by the way) made it difficult to discover new and useful applications.
The new version however has been, well, less than well-received:
Here’s a glimpse of the new Google Play Store homepage layout:
The homepage itself actually seems to include a number of solutions to the problems that plagued the old Play Store.
A recommended section is forefront, rather than hidden away, helping users discover apps that are more relevant to their personal preferences and use cases. There are also a greater number of categories on the home page, rather than just editors picks and top downloads. Now, new groupings of apps, including Movie Apps, Communication, Personalisation and Apps to Watch. A greater number of apps now appear on the homepage increasing exposure for developers. There are fewer display characters for app titles, a change which may impact how some developers have named their apps, but overall the homepage looks like a step in the right direction.
Yet for all of the improvements in navigation and discover-ability, there is a hugely critical flaw with the new Play Store design – and that is the updated individual app page.
From my point of view as an app creator, here are a few of the problems:
– G+ recommendations no longer show at the top of the page. A few hundred ticks of social proof seem to have disappeared with the new G+ button at the top.
– New layout for screenshots is ungainly and unattractive, and developers with less than 6-7 screenshots will need to rethink that real estate.
– Additional information, which previously sat alongside the description and made it easy for users to see number of installs (social proof), device compatibility, rating and file size are now almost hidden at the very bottom of the page.
– Reviews are displayed in an ad-hoc, almost Pinterest-style next to the star rating. This alone isn’t a huge problem but one of the Play Store’s greatest features was that it allowed developers to respond to reviews on their app page, indicating both a solution for previous issues and an involved support team. These responses have now vanished unless you click on the reviews themselves. Likewise, the ability to rate reviews for their usefulness is hidden too.
Overall the new layout seems to provide less information in a larger amount of space while diminishing the importance of developer involvement.
Besides the new design changes, the rollout of these Google Play Store updates seems to have introduced quite a few bugs. While we can expect these will be dealt with swiftly, expect some issues if you decide to take a look at the new Play Store.
What are the takeaways for app creators?
There are a few important steps app creators should take right away.
1) Do a search for your app. In search results, has your app’s name been truncated by the new title length restrictions? You may need to update your app title.
2) Check your app screenshots. Do you have enough to make the page look nice? You may need to add some new screenshots to the page.
3) Check your app description. The new Play Store is currently experiencing a number bugs that are affecting font and style, particularly if you previously had any special characters in your app description. You may need to remove those characters (like stars or bullet points) to get the description to display correctly.
4) Get familiar with the new Play Store layout. This may be your app’s new home for quite a while, regardless of how you feel about the layout, so it’s worth taking a look!
Yesterday I spoke at the App Promotion Summit, the first event of its kind to bring together app developers, marketers, promotion agencies and networks to discuss how to effectively drive app downloads and engagement.
I was invited to give an overview of the app store landscape, covering the obvious (such as the App Store and Play Store) but also the less well-known (such as Opera Apps and Amazon App Store). I also provided some insight into how 23snaps got featured in the App, Play and Windows Stores, and how other apps could position themselves for featured placement opportunities.
Here are the slides from the talk, with video available shortly.
In my previous role at Spoonfed Media Ltd, I undertook a project to migrate the team one CRM to another, administer the system and train the team on the new system. I learned a ton about how the right or wrong CRM can make a big difference in a small company and wanted to share a couple of comments.
Our team made the decision to migrate from Zoho CRM to Salesforce for three primary reasons. Important metrics were inaccessible to key decision makers, our talented top-performers were doing repetitive tasks and we were missing out on sales opportunities because customers did not get responses quickly enough.
In a small company, there may not be a specialized data analysis team so the CRM needs to make it easy and quick to view key metrics. Fewer people means that the more automated processes, the better, otherwise top staff might end up doing data entry or data cleansing. Finally, limited man hours in the day means that without powerful tools in the CRM to either auto-respond to customers, auto-assign leads or quickly qualify sales opportunities will mean missed sales opportunities or time spent on the wrong opportunities.
The impact of switching to Salesforce was dramatic. Reporting tools allowed us to determine critical metrics including total revenue, customer lifetime value and churn rate, making us more efficient in our spending. Talented recruits who previously focused on data maintenance spent more time analysis, a more satisfying and productive role. And automated processes improved our response time for new prospects from days to minutes, significantly increasing the likelihood of a sale.
For your small business, consider the following when deciding on a CRM:
– How accessible is your data
– How robust are the data management tools, and can they reduce man-hours spent in the system
– Can marketing be automated to improve response times and sales
If your CRM isn’t checking out against those three points, it might be time to consider a switch.
I love my job and working with technology companies and later today, I get the chance to share that experience with a group of Girl Guides (that’s Girl Scouts for the Americans).
Mobile apps and careers related to mobile are becoming increasingly important, relevant and lucrative as the industry grows. The mobile apps are expected to generate $25 billion in sales this year alone (Wall Street Journal, March 2013).
However, with more than a billion apps available for download for smartphones, companies need people who can help them stand out in a crowded market. They need people who understand where to target advertising, how to attract downloads and how to acquire users that stick around (and ideally pay money).
In addition to explaining what I do, I’ve also been asked to put together an activity that helps the girls understand how my job works. I thought the activity I prepared might be useful for other groups that want to introduce girls, teens, students or young people in general to the ideas behind how mobile apps get promoted and make money. This activity is aimed at getting teens to think about where they might place adverts for different mobile apps, in order to encourage the most relevant people to download their app – at the best price.
Want to use this activity for your group? Download the activity sheets here:
If you do have a chance to use them, please leave a comment below and let me know how it goes!