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.
Increasing Sales with App
(aka How to make more money)
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.
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
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:
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.
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)
● 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.
● Not using all 100 characters available to you
● Repeating words in the keywords box that are already in the
● 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,
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
What you really want
Relevant keywords that drive more downloads which drive
higher rankings which drive even more downloads! A big,
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
● Featured by Apple, free to put on other devices, #1 app
for X years, what value do you add to their life?
● 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.
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
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
AppViz: Sales tracking & trending, reviews, rankings,
events and reporting. I check this every single morning
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.
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!)