Increasing sales with iOS app store optimization

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The app store is getting more competitive and search results are becoming more diluted. This talk was for teaching developers about App Store Optimization techniques and how to gain some competitive …

The app store is getting more competitive and search results are becoming more diluted. This talk was for teaching developers about App Store Optimization techniques and how to gain some competitive advantage.

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  • 1. Increasing Sales with App Store Optimization (aka How to make more money) Rob Phillips Find me on: FB, Twitter, Github, etc. /iwasrobbed Comfortably self-employed for almost 4 years selling my own iOS apps, reached #5 in Top Grossing charts for the US Sports category, all with the help of a little luck and constantly evolving my sales strategy.
  • 2. Wishing upon on a star The Problem: The app store is getting more competitive and search results are becoming more diluted. This means it’s harder to become a multi-millionaire by making fart sound apps. What You Need: A miracle.. sometimes. Other times, you just need a competitive advantage. The principle behind selling apps is to “work smarter, not harder.” The same should apply with your marketing and search optimization approach.
  • 3. A mistake not worth making Step 1: “I created an awesome photo collaboration app! I’m going to be RICH!!!” Step 2: Creates app on iTunes Connect named “Foto” and fills out these keywords: foto,social,photo,the,best,app,ever,instagram,winning Step 3: No app downloads = Oops. Picking keywords is like picking your child’s name… Not something you should do after a night of drinking or without a lot of thought, research, and consideration.
  • 4. But why? First off, Apple heavily weights the app title. Choosing it to only be “Foto” means you missed an opportunity to include extra “super keywords” for FREE beyond that 100 character keyword limit in iTunes Connect! Example: “Notability - Take Notes & Annotate PDFs with Dropbox & Google Drive Sync” Careful though: Some app team reviewers don’t like when you do this! Keep it relevant and brief.. and keep trying in future updates if they reject you the first time. Proof: Removing a keyword from my app title and putting it into the keywords textbox dropped my ranking for that keyword by 100 spots from #5!!! This cut my sales in half! :( Luckily I saw this, fixed it, and all is good with the world. 7 keywords for free! (and they rank highly for those crucial keywords)
  • 5. “the,best,app,ever” Common Mistakes: ● Obviously, entering a crowded category. Create something completely new or else you’ll have to blow away the competition with value-add or lower prices! ● Not using your most important keywords in the app title (i.e. super keywords!) ● Not using all 100 characters available to you ● Repeating words in the keywords box that are already in the app title ● Putting spaces between words “best, app” ● Using common words like “the,best,app,ever” or awkward words that no one ever searches for like “collectiveness” ● Not researching which relevant keywords have the highest search volume and number of apps associated with them ● Not sneaking a peek at your competitor’s keywords ● Using keywords that you could probably never rank highly for (“highly” means > 100) → Example: facebook, youtube, social, photo
  • 6. Iterate, and then iterate some more Unless you get featured by Apple or TechCrunch, you won’t rank for “photo”, “picture” etc when you launch… Pick keywords that you can actually rank for! Then once your app becomes well known, try those higher volume keywords.
  • 7. What you really want Relevant keywords that drive more downloads which drive higher rankings which drive even more downloads! A big, happy circle.
  • 8. Your app description matters Put the best description “above the fold” on iTunes and in the App Store app Explain why they should use your app (i.e. sell them the idea!) ● Featured by Apple, free to put on other devices, #1 app for X years, what value do you add to their life?
  • 9. What else? ● Apple currently uses a 4-day average of your app downloads/sales to rank your app in their “top” charts. Figure out a way to drive a lot of installs within a 4-day period and enjoy the ride to the top (and the money that comes with it) ● Localizing your app means more opportunities to use keywords in other languages ● More 5 star reviews = higher in search results ● Update your apps! Outdated apps = lower in search results ● Your app name should be unique, easy to remember, and easy to guess the spelling (iHunt = I hunt. Easy & unique.) ● Do NOT use a common word as your app name since you’re giving yourself an immediate disadvantage in search results ● App icon = first impression = extremely important! ● Who is the #1 app in your category? You are! (At least, that’s what you should tell your customers) ● Freemium apps are downloaded so many more times than paid apps. The “Top Paid” list means nothing.. the “Top Grossing” list is where the money is made.
  • 10. Your job is never finished ● You should be tracking your daily downloads, conversion ratio (free downloads converted into paying customers via IAP), trends (15 day, 30 day, 90 day etc), events (just launched v2.0 with these new keywords, what happened to my sales?!) I use AppViz for this ● Do not just “set it and forget it”! Iterate on your upgrade screens, try different keywords / icon / description with each new update, design your iTunes Connect screenshots to grab attention, include Appirater to get user reviews, use Flurry for free analytics, create mobile install ads on Facebook to a target audience, use affiliate links from your other apps to drive new app installs, etc. ○ It’s one big game you automatically lose if you don’t play it or if don’t evolve your strategy over time. ● Responding quickly to emails matters: half of my reviews mention “great customer support” or come from me asking someone to write a review after they gave me great feedback via email. I built a “Leave feedback” button into the app now
  • 11. Extras: SensorTower: Spy on keywords, check search volume and difficulty to rank for keywords, track rankings for each keyword, intelligent keyword suggestions, etc. ● http://blog.sensortower.com → Tons of good info. 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Short book, incredibly useful for branding your app, knowing how to compete and when to not compete (i.e. are you creating a new category or are you trying to compete in a saturated category, what colors should you choose, what name should you pick, and much more) AppViz: Sales tracking & trending, reviews, rankings, events and reporting. I check this every single morning
  • 12. When to spend money If you advertise at all, which I don’t recommend you do at the beginning, be very selective about your target audience.
  • 13. We’re in this struggle together Who wants to help create “iOS Office Hours” at Notman House once a week alternating between morning and evening? What you get out of it: ● Code with other people: a real, live StackOverflow ● Meet new people, help others fix code and learn iOS, exchange ideas, start companies, make billions of dollars and buy a gold-plated helicopter ● Free internet and coffee (yay!) montréal