Home » Posts tagged "apps" (Page 3)

Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.


A few weeks ago, I was monitoring our App Store rankings with SensorTower, a great tool to help you keep on top of your ASO when I noticed something odd. One of our competitors, who we regularly out-performed for a wide range of relevant keywords had jumped hundreds of places in the rankings for relevant keywords such as ‘mom’ and ‘photobook.’ I was surprised. ASO is not very well understood but two important factors are considered to be download numbers and reviews – and in both areas we were stronger. Additionally, we had those keywords in our app keyword list, an important way to drive ASO.

I had the competitor’s app on my phone and I didn’t notice anything usual about it – but when I looked at their listing in the App Store online, I was shocked to see their title was now four lines long, packed with keywords (see the image above). The app on the phone still displayed their old, one-word name, but the official title according to the App Store was packed with more keywords than were even allowed in the keywords section of the app meta data. No wonder they were out performing us!

We had an upcoming release scheduled for 23snaps and in order to compete with the competitor who was now, according to Apple, more relevant for the keywords they had been less relevant for only a week before, I proposed we pull the same trick. We could keep the name on the device the same, so users wouldn’t be stuck with a 50-word app title, but change our App Store listing name to something that could compete with the others in the space. I was even more keen to make this change when I saw another player in our small space add some additional keywords to their own title (clearly we were all keeping an eye on one another).

The new app was submitted with a title that would give our competitor a run for their money. I used every one of those characters with relevant keywords to describe and explain our app. I justified it with the knowledge our competitors were doing the same thing – and besides, 23snaps wasn’t very explanatory… I was actually providing a service to the users who were searching for our app by giving them more context.

However I don’t think I should have been surprised when, a few days after submitting our newest version to the app store, we received the following:


We had been rejected for both inconsistent naming and for keyword stuffing our name. This rejection meant we were sent to the back of the review queue, waiting another week for approval for a release that included a number of important new updates.

So what’s the moral of the story? I hope that the moral is Apple is cracking down on keyword-heavy titles. Perhaps Apple will deprioritize app name keywords in their App Store rankings. Maybe the moral is just don’t have stupidly long app titles. Regardless, it was an experiment we had to undertake to keep up with the competition, but Apple seems to be one step ahead of us (though annoyingly one step behind our competitor). It will be interesting to see if that same competitor is penalised in their next release, and has to revert back to their original, one word name.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Continue to test new ways of boosting your ASO, but don’t do something you’re not comfortable with or you don’t think is within Apple’s terms and conditions just because your competitors are doing it. Also, if you are going to test something new for ASO purposes – make sure it doesn’t affect the timing of an important release.

Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.

app store featured spots

If you’ve seen a spike in downloads that doesn’t necessarily related to any of your other marketing activity, you may have been featured in the App Store somewhere in the world. Additionally, if you want to be featured by Apple, it’s important to know what your options are.

I’ve written before about App Store Collections as a possible feature location but I thought it’d be useful to give a full run through of all of the locations where apps can get featured. Just to note – this review looks at the Apple App Store, but the Google Play Store is very similar in placement opportunities. I’ve added a brief note at the bottom on how these two differ from the Windows 8 Store.

The Main Page

The main page of the App Store offers a number of opportunities for featured placement.

  • The Header. This is the primary real estate on the App Store. Apple is showcasing fewer individual apps in this section, instead saving this space for Apple’s own collections or apps, but they do include one or two individual apps each week.
  • New & Noteworthy. While a new app or an updated app might get a nod in this section, in fact this seems to be another place for Apple to feature certain apps regardless of update time.
  • What’s Hot. Like New & Noteworthy, the apps in this section are not necessarily the most downloaded or popular that week, but are simply apps featured by the App Store team. In many cases, you will see apps here that were in New & Noteworthy the week before.
  • App of the Week. This promotional placement is often reserved for a paid app that is offered for free by the App Store for a week.


The subcategories, such as Games, Lifestyle, Education, etc offer more featured placements. While apps featured here may have fewer downloads overall, the audience is likely to be more targeted.

  • The Header (US App Store only). In the US App Store, subcategories get a large header image like that of the homepage. This is a highly prominent placement and in the subcategories, it usually features individual apps rather than collections or Apple’s own apps.
  • Small Banners. These button-like banners showcase a single app in more detail than the New & Noteworthy or What’s Hot sections. These same placements exist on the main page but are rarely, if ever, used to promote a single app rather than a collection.
  • New & Noteworthy.
  • What’s Hot.


As of July, 2013, Apple has the following App Collections to showcase apps that may not stand out in the subcategories but are useful for particular interest groups.

  • Hall of Fame
  • Apps for Kids
  • Camera and Photography
  • Music Discovery
  • Apps for Parents
  • Social Networking
  • Cooking
  • Travel
  • On the Town
  • Band in Your Hand
  • Get in Shape
  • Apps for Shopping
  • Get Stuff Done
  • Your News
  • TV Time
  • Money Management
  • Apps for Business
  • Apps for Heathcare Professionals

More are being added all the time and there are different app collections for iPhone and iPad apps.

Other App Stores

Beyond the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, there are opportunities to get featured in third party app stores like Amazon or Opera.


For other platforms, there may be slightly different featured requirements or options. For example, for the Windows 8 Store, featured options are very limited – which means being featured can lead to a lot more notice for the apps that gain that placement. With Windows 8, there are only three levels, the featured apps on the home page, the apps that have passed Windows’ design review process that sit one click down in the subcategories (such as Social, Entertainment or Games) and then the apps that have been submitted but haven’t been through the Windows design review process that sit one click down from the subcategory.

As a final note, being featured can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand you get a boost in downloads but on the other, you can potentially acquire a lot of users who don’t stick around, especially if you have a free app.

Anything I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.


In marketing, it’s always worthwhile knowing what your competitors are up to. Their messaging and ads may inspire, or provide fodder, for yours. Their new channels may prove or disprove an audience. Of course you don’t want to be playing catch up or entering the market late but it’s unlikely you’ll always make the same choices as your competition when it comes to marketing and knowing what they’re up to can be powerful.

You might think that studying the competitor’s app is a job for the product, rather than the marketing team. For the same reasons it’s important to pay attention to your competitor’s marketing strategy, their product strategy can influence and caution yours as well. But there are a number of important reasons why marketers should be fully aware of competitor’s apps, and use them regularly. Here are my three top reasons for downloading and using my competition’s apps:

1. In-app user acquisition

Word of mouth is one of the most important drivers of app downloads. If you think the marketing stops when someone starts using the app, you’re wrong. Inside the application are often clever tricks, features and text to drive the user to invite their friends and share the app or its content with others. Monitoring your competitors, and how they encourage viral sharing of their app, can give you ideas or, in some cases, show you what you really shouldn’t be doing (*cough*Path*cough*).

2. Onboarding / Sign up copy

Just like marketing isn’t finished when a customer starts using the app, as there are plenty of opportunities to turn that user into many; marketing isn’t finished when someone downloads the app. If you require a registration, or if someone never plays your game, it’s as if they never existed in your userbase. How do your competitors convince downloaders to become engaged users? While you never want to directly take their copy, understanding what language they use, where copy is placed and the imagery included can give you some ideas for your own app.

3. What’s New Messages

One the most underrated places to communicate with customers is through the What’s New messages in both the App Store and the Play Store. More and more apps are getting quite creative with their What’s New text – including little asides to their loyal users as well as simple feature updates. If you’re not making full use of this space and your competitors are, you’re missing a trick. Do you competitors do a good job of encouraging their loyal users to upgrade the app? Does their What’s New text work harder than a simple feature list? If not, is this a place where you could overtake them?


My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Download your competitor’s apps. Yes, all of them. Even if you don’t use them all, you’ll get to see their ‘What’s New’ text. Now use them. Maybe not all of them – but at least those of your main competition. Look in particular at the messaging that takes a new download to a registered/engaged user, and the messaging that helps users share the app or app content.

A few weeks ago, at the App Promotion Summit, I was interviewed by George Osborn of MagicSolver for The App Show on Star Radio. The show aired on 30 July and here is my clip from the show where I speak about how developers can go about getting their apps featured in the App Store.


You can listen to the full show, or subscribe to The App Show here.

Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked for me (and what hasn’t).


Arguably one of the most important elements of your entire app is the icon. You may have a brilliant application, but if no one bothers downloading it because the icon is unattractive or misleading, it doesn’t matter. On the flip side, a brilliant icon can make the difference between an app that gets passed over in the App Store or one that gets downloaded purely because it looks interesting.

Creating a great icon isn’t easy, but even when you have a number of designs on the table, it’s hard to tell which one will be the best for your audience. And with the App Store approval process taking seven days or more, it’s hard to quickly test different variations (or change your icon if you think things aren’t going well). You also don’t want to change your app icon too often if you can help it as it’s the primary branding material that customers use to recognize your app.

However there is a way to test a variety of icons without actually uploading them to the App Store, and that is to run a small ad campaign where all of your creative elements are identical except for the icon. For a small cost, this will allow you to quickly determine which version generates the most clicks (and therefore is likely to perform best in the App Store).

You can run these ads through AdWords, Facebook, or another platform of your choosing but with a small budget and in a short amount of time, you have a much better idea of which icon will work for your app and audience.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Create an ad campaign on Facebook or Google AdWords to test different variations of your app icon. Is your current icon performing as well as other variations? Use this campaign to decide on the most effective icon before releasing it into the App Store.