The Importance of an App Landing Page

The Importance of an App Landing Page or App Website

 

An app landing page is so important that some experts suggest that you create one even before writing the app’s first line of code!

 

The importance of an app landing page evolves with the app itself from concept to post-launch. It’s more than just a destination. And as you read further, you’ll realize there are  lots of benefits in having a dedicated app website.

 

Pre-launch App Landing Page

An app landing page has promotional power even before the product is out in the market. This allows you to create buzz about the app and includes your potential app users into the development process. The concept of your app may catch the interest of several people. Intrigue them with a promise of more information along the way. Over time, they can become invested in your app and download it once it goes live. Furthermore, you can make the most out of the other benefits of having a pre-launch app landing page:

  • Building an email list. Ask people to subscribe to updates about your app’s progress or its release date. You can also ask for information about your app’s potential users during the sign-up process. These can include things like the reason for their interest in the app (for work or leisure), monetization preferences (in-app purchases or ads), and  features they want to see on the app. This is basically a peek on your user demographics!
  • Get a head start on SEO. It’s important to position your app in the SERPs early on. This would also give you ample time to test keywords that you could use in your app title and description.
  • Test branding strategies. Your app’s pre-launch landing page should shape its identity as a brand. Here, you can get initial feedback to your app’s design especially the color palettes and typography. The app landing page should evolve according to the app’s stage of development. More and more design elements and features should be revealed at each stage.
  • Easily branch out to social media channels. A social media presence is a must for marketers nowadays. But it’s also important for these channels to lead to one landing page where you can establish a solid grounding for the app’s web presence.

 

App Landing Page for a Live App

Once the app goes live, all information about its features should be presented on the landing page. The app descriptions on the app stores are sometimes not enough for some and the presence of an app landing page can also serve as an assurance that the app came from a reputable source with avenues for technical support and inquiries.

 

Aside from that, an app landing page or app website should contain elements that can help increase the app’s discoverability outside the app stores and increase conversion. These important elements are:

  • App name and icon – create recall using a memorable app name and icon. Create a strong brand experience from the beginning, as if you are marketing a tangible product.
  • App pitch and call to action – it still all boils down to selling your apps to potential users. Just like any product, it should have a slogan and strategically placed calls to action. Download calls to action would now replace subscription calls to action.
  • Device compatibility – this is mostly to remove the ambiguity that most mobile app landing pages or mobile app websites present. State from the very beginning that your product is a mobile app.
  • Feature presentation (screenshots and video previews) – you can creatively present app features using a trailer or demo. It should be more extensive than the screenshots and video previews available in the app store.
  • Social media channels – as your app landing page is evolving, your social media presence should too. Build a community around your app through social media channels and make sure that users are aware of this community. This way, it is important to engage users and receive real-time feedback from them.
  • Contact and support information – It is important to assure users that they will get answers for their questions and problems with your app. Aside from the contact information you provide for the app stores, set aside another contact channel.
  • Social proof – showcase any user or expert testimonial about your app, including any contests and awards that it won (or been nominated to).
  • Press Kit – organize essential information about your app for ease of access in case a journalist or blogger want to feature your app.

 

These elements all contribute not only to an app’s discoverability but also in engaging users and prospective users into sharing and talking about your app. An app landing page or a full on mobile app website is just another way to gear up your app for success. As your app evolves, so should your marketing strategies and in turn, your app landing page.

How to Get a Slice of the Holiday App Bonanza

Modern holidays are becoming more like marketing ploys to make people spend money. According to a 2014 data, people spend the most on these holidays:

  1. Winter Holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year) – $616.9 billion
  2. Valentine’s Day – $17.3 billion
  3. Easter – $15.9 billion
  4. Mother’s Day – $20.7 billion
  5. Father’s Day – $12.5 billion
  6. Halloween – $7.4 billion
  7. Patrick’s Day – $4.8 billion

 

These numbers are bound to fluctuate but not by much. This is surprising especially that this data is only for the US. It is estimated that online shopping will increase up to 45% this year. As a result, e-commerce revenue is estimated to reach $327 billion.

 

Christmas day app downloads can increase up to 91% and Apple reported New Year’s Day 2015 as having the highest sales in its short history. Surveys also show  that online spending in other countries increased in the past years.

 

So how can you have a slice of the holiday app bonanza?

 

Skin the app according to the festivities. 

Or better yet, submit a holiday app. There’s a study  that shows how the right type of holiday music and atmosphere influence the behavior of customers in malls and retail shops. This same principle is applicable to apps. A lot of people chose holiday-themed apps just to get into the “holiday vibe”. The use of holiday themes is also an effective strategy to increase your app’s exposure, engagement and click-through rate especially if the app is newly published.

 

Offer holiday-themed promos.

Decorations are good, but adding seasonal  features and in-app goodies can make your audience feel the holiday spirit more. It could either be collectible items or sales that mimic real-world promos. After all, 70% of online shoppers are in holiday shopping mood all because of the promos.

 

Adjust your ad campaigns.

Make sure that your targeted demographics and ad campaigns coincide.  This is very important since app stores are very competitive during these peak seasons as the quality of users increase.

 

Try your hand on app retargeting.

Some advertising networks offer an app retargeting service where you can send ads to users that installed your app but haven’t used it for a while. This way, you can re-engage them to the app, increasing both engagement and retention rates. This advertising strategy can become a boon during the holidays. Users are more forgiving of advertisements and more ready to spend on in-app purchases.

 

Take advantage of in-app messages and push notifications.

These messages can increase user interest in your app. Users are more likely to open your app if they are given a prompt using timely, relevant and persuasive , messages.

 

Prepare for high CPI costs.

CPI costs usually increase during the holiday season due to high demand. It is important to have a balance between user acquisition costs and estimated installs.

 

Submit the app early.

Almost every developer wants to take advantage of the high-spending trend of the holiday season so it is best to submit a holiday app early for review. The length of the approval process can double starting the third or fourth week of November.

 

Make sure that all’s set with your app.

Last year, the ‘App Store Freeze’ was implemented on December 22-29. The freeze would mean that manual changes on the app version updates, descriptions and prices won’t be allowed. This is also important since for the duration of the ‘App Store Freeze’, app ranking would remain mostly static so it is important to rank higher and give a good impression to possible users.

 

Aim for the holiday charts.

The ‘App Store Freeze’ is beneficial especially for apps that rank high in their categories. But another way to gain high exposure is through holiday app charts that feature the best holiday-themed apps. Visitors of the App Store is immediately drawn to this listing.

 

Plan ahead for eventualities post App Store Freeze.

A few days after New Year, things would go back to normal.  After the holiday fever subsides, your holiday app may experience high churn rate. Another update may be necessary to shed off the holiday app skin and return to regular marketing strategies.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It

App Store Optimization

Just like in any industry, App Store Optimization (ASO) has its own standard procedures and tricks down its sleeves. In this article, we’ll examine the best App Store Optimization strategies (even the downright sneaky ones) that developers thrust in the battlefront of app marketing. App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It doesn’t discuss though the strategies used by popular brands that crossover to the app industry. Most of these brands have a strong following and uses App Store Optimization to market their product to a new market – an advantage that indie and studio apps do not have. So we will be focusing on breakout apps and the most noticeable App Store Optimization qualities about them. (Note: Because of the app store’s volatility, apps featured in this article may no longer be in the top charts after its publishing)

 

App title: the name that ranks

It is advised that the app title contain the main keyword. But it’s almost always not enough that it’s just there. Some developers utilize some adaptive App Store Optimization strategies to maximize the effect of the keyword.

 

The catch line

Intrigue, curiosity, and interest are some of the reasons why someone would click on your app. The title and the icon would be your first line of defense so the two should complement each other.

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Alpha Betty Saga
AlphaBetty is an excellent play on the word “alphabet”. It seems like they developed the gameplay around the title, creating eponymous characters Professor Alpha and Betty as the main protagonists together with a sidekick we will not name.

 

A catchy title can also help in the name recall. It could sound funny or weird that your audience can’t forget about it soon enough that it creates a buzz, gaining your app free advertisement.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Plague Inc.
Plague Inc. provokes a certain reaction within the audience. There is an instant interest in the mechanics of the app. The app ranked number 1 for the keywords [plague], [disease] and [infect] among many other related words.

Image Source

Other examples are WhatsApp, Shazam, Dubsmash, aa, Zomato, Bloons, Geek-Smarter Shopping, and many more.

 

The subtle stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a no-no but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it with style. You can use permutation and conjugation; this is so that your keywords will rank with every variation of the word.  This can be effectively used in the descriptions since there is more leeway in the number of words.

 

Let’s have a look at this app for example:

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Videoshop

Videoshop had been in and out of the top 500 overall ranking since 2013 but it seldom went below the top 500 overall in the photo and video category. Recently, it is constantly in the top 50-100 download ranks in popular countries.  It actually ranks for the keywords included in the title and description (iPhone data only); videoshop (rank 1), video (rank 10), videos (rank 15), editor (rank 13), and editing (rank 132).

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Pic Collage

 

This one would probably be banned in Google Play Store (it’s a June 2015 iOS version of the app) because of the keywords it uses. Even though the app isn’t really ranking for commonly searched terms like Youtube Videos, Maroon 5, Beats Music, Universal Pictures and Sara M. Lyons; this can still be considered keyword stuffing by the virtue of using these words as references. Be careful with this but Pic Collage actually used these keywords since they are relevant to the services offered by the app.

 

Who said that I can’t spell?

Of course, you can spell your keywords right but that won’t be the same keyword anymore! You can actually target a huge market by taking advantage of some searchers’ spelling shortcomings. A great example would be the developer Ahmed Ismail’s “Walkthrought”.

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Walkthrought

 

This is an ASO strategy in order to gain traction in a very competitive market. There are many cheats and walkthroughs out in the app store targeting keywords that are not used by competitors. Due to the “fat fingers” phenomenon, there are a lot of misspelled words that can be used as permutations of keywords. Ahmed’s keyword [walkthrought] ranked number 5 for iPhone and iPad until it reached rank 3 but only for one month (April 2015).

Another strategy is to make the app’s spelling distinctive or homonymous.  Examples include Swype, Joinz, Lyft and many more.

 

App Icons turned eye candy

Crossy Road – Endless Arcade Hopper’s top keyword is actually [chicken], you can tell why. App icons can create an impression that can stick into the audience’s mind that even if they can’t remember your app’s title, your app icon would represent your brand and market the product for you. Amidst many crossy road game apps, this one stands out because of the unique graphics that is well represented by its icon.

 

App Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Crossy Road
The “chicken” is actually just one of the many diverse characters of Crossy Road – Endless Arcade Hopper by the developer Hipster Whale.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Clash of Clans
This guy looks persuasively intense.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Five Nights at Freddy's 3
You can’t call this an eye candy but it’s quite eye catching.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - My Very Hungry Caterpillar
Some icons are intricate works of art.

 

App description that rocks

Why type when you can Swype? Right? Descriptions also need to be catchy but most importantly, informative of what the app is all about. The description length limit is 4,000 characters but most app description doesn’t reach the limit. Detailed overviews are often delegated to the release notes that are also limited to 4,000 characters. But probably the most important part of the description is the first 1,255 characters that are located in what is called “above the fold”.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Waze
Providing solutions for common day-to-day problems can be a great selling point.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker
“What is in for me?” and “Is there a better alternative?” are some of the questions that your description needs to answer.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Billionaire
Catch your audience hook, line and sinker. Who doesn’t want to be a billionaire?

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Surgeon Simulator
Nothing draws more crowds than “massive sale” also, it sounds like so much fun.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Subway Surfers
Make a call for action. This will give the impression that your app is engaging and exciting.

 

Bite-size app showcases

 

App screenshots

It is through screenshots that potential downloaders judge the quality of the app. But this can also be misleading. It’s not uncommon for some apps to show high-quality screenshots that don’t actually represent the actual graphics used in the gameplay.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Monument Valley
Monument Valley’s screenshots are truly pieces of art. Aside from its breathtaking beauty, the screenshots are also of high quality and are suited for Retina display.
App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Candy Crush Saga Screenshots
Texts can also help in showcasing the features or mechanics of the app especially if the screenshots aren’t self-explanatory.

 

App video preview

Video previews not only increase downloads but also ratings. Not all of your target audience would spare some time reading through descriptions; if they do, it might not be convincing enough. In this age of visual learning, anything short of high-quality video and graphics can stimulate your audience.

Sky Guide is a stargazing app and it did not fail to deliver in this video preview, showcasing the beauty of the universe.

You can use video previews to show actual gameplay and to further explain features.

 

Previews can also introduce a storyline that can make games more interesting.

 

Riding on a trending coattail

 

Banking on Hollywood

There is a trend wherein game themes are based on what is trending at the moment to ride into the popularity of the search keyword. A couple of these actually make it to the top, but most of the time it’s just until the trend wanes. Some of the common themes are from movies, pop culture subgenres, and controversial celebrities. Some examples include Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Star Wars: Force Collection, and Despicable Me: Minion Rush among others.

 

“Emulating” established apps

Some apps, on the other hand, are based on other apps as a form of spoof or reskin. Examples are the many clones of Flappy Bird, Block City Wars – Mine Mini Game Edition based on the hit game Minecraft, and Crossy Roads based on the popular Frogger arcade game.

 

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It
Block City Wars actually ranks for the keyword [minecraft] and other Minecraft-related keywords.

Being indexed with the big brands

Apps for big online brands like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook do not only ride on the success of these companies but also on their names. Being indexed with these big names is almost like being on the first page of Google SERPs. Tweetbot 3 for Twitter actually ranks number 19 for the keyword and number 15 for the keyword [twitter] (both for iPhone (June 23, 20016).

 

Cross-promotion is the way to go

There are actually a couple of ways to cross-promote your app.

 

Using cross-promotion networks

Chartboost is a cross promotion network created by app developers. Here you can either promote your own apps or publish ads for advertising apps. Candy Crush, DirtyBit, and Rovio are just some of the developers that made testimonies about this network’s efficiency. Other alternatives are Playhaven, AppFlood and TapForTap.

Your apps promoting each other

There’s this handy icon at the upper right hand side of Candy Crush Saga that not only informs you of new games Candy Crush Soda Saga and Candy Crush Jelly Saga but also gives you a direct link towards the game if it’s already downloaded into your device; not to mention the animated ads at the lower right hand side of the screen promoting other King games.

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Candy Crush Saga Screen Grab

This is actually a nifty strategy. You aren’t just advertising your other apps but also convincing the downloader to patronize your brand.

App bundles

According to a report from App Annie in mid-2014, 98% of Google Play Store’s income comes from freemium apps. Convincing someone to buy your app needs a push in marketing but when they do buy your app and actually enjoy it, you can actually convince them to buy your other apps in bulk.

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Toca Toy Box

Toca Boca AB actually has a couple of bestselling apps. What they did in this bundle though was group the least popular apps with the most popular so that their exposure will increase, together with the downloads. And since you can save 40% in buying the bundled apps, it’s safe to say that one app is actually a giveaway, a good deal if you ask me.

Make the most out of your brand

Once you established both you and your app’s reputation in the app store, it’s easier to market consecutive apps – especially if it bears the trusted name with it.

Create sequels

Grand Theft Auto is quite a successful franchise. Rockstar Games made 26 apps out of this series and even has bundles.

App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It - Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto’s mechanics and theme allow for almost infinite sequel options.

Expand your app monetization scheme

Aviary is a photo editing app acquired by Adobe.It  now extended its reaches beyond in-app purchases. Aviary now sells licenses for the incorporation of their UI in  apps. An app developer can download the Aviary SDK and become a “partner”.

Benefits of the Shark Tank Effect on Apps

Publicity is always good they say especially in the ‘Shark Tank’. The premise of the show is straightforward enough: a budding entrepreneur comes in and makes a pitch in front of “sharks” that could potentially offer an investment deal. The main goal is to bag the deal but an entrepreneur can actually go home empty-handed and still gain more. For example, several entrepreneurs would refuse any offer from the “sharks”. So why appear on the show?  Here’s why: the show packs on an estimated $4-5 million worth of marketing exposure.

 

What is the Shark Tank Effect?

Marketing exposure is the very backbone of the Shark Tank Effect. An appearance is enough to boost an app’s downloads with some apps featured on the show amassing up to hundreds of thousands of downloads within a few hours of the show’s airing. This boost can last for several days with a secured deal helping bolster the Shark Tank Effect for a few more weeks.

 

The Shark Tank Effect is considered as a popular example of the impact of publicity on a product. The same effect is attributed to an app featured in tech websites like TechCrunch and Mashable. There’s even something called “The TechCrunch Effect” that works similarly to the Shark Tank Effect. In this effect, featured start-ups experience a snowball effect from almost all aspect of the business from inquiries, orders and down to capital investments. For apps, benefits can be:

 

Mass Exposure

According to a study, mass exposure is the second most effective publicity strategy for apps (the most effective being featured in the new apps charts). In the USA alone, there are 285 million TV viewers as of the fourth quarter of 2014. About 7.9 of these people watch Shark Tank. TechCrunch peak on a million visitors while Mashable can peak up to 4.9 million visitors for a given month.

 

Promotion of Virality

In the same study, mass exposure exhibits an epidemic curve right after a publicity event. For excellent apps, the magnitude of the curve is larger but the duration of the epidemic is shorter. The Shark Tank show, therefore, provides a different type of virality. Most viral apps circulate through recommendations with the app first tested before it receives marketing exposure. But some apps featured on Shark Tank don’t hold up to the audience’s expectations  and thus, don’t really make the most out of the effect.

 

Gives the App Credibility 

Being associated with a trusted brand can create a “halo effect” wherein the audience’s’ impression of your app is based on the perceived image of the brand that endorses it. Even though Shark Tank and TechCrunch don’t necessarily endorse your app, the trust the audience has for these names creates an impression that the featured apps are legitimate and are pre-screened.

 

Increase of Visibility in More Ways

One of the indirect effects of publicity is the increase in visibility as search frequency of the app’s keywords increases. The app’s ranking in these keywords increases so is its ranking in mobile SERPs. The app’s exposure in social media also increases as it becomes viral. The audience would also most likely access your app’s web page for more information instead of downloading it directly from the App Store. Some blogs and review sites may even cover the app as an analysis on the before and after effects of the publicity.

 

 

 

 

Common Features of Best Apps to Bust Boredom

Everyone gets bored, even annoyed with boredom sometimes. But the sight of a very bored 20 something guy waiting in line is quite rare nowadays with the rise of smartphone users. There are apps that can keep boredom at bay after all.

 

Game apps don’t have the highest retention rate but it is the most engaged app category. Games are engaged 10 times more per day compared to other app categories (as a whole). Strategy games average 3 sessions a day, closely followed by adventure games and then cards and board games*. Session length is longest for card and board games with users engaging on the app for 12-14 minutes. Strategy games place a far second with an average of about 11 minutes. Adventure games start in the same range on the first day before plummeting down to 8-9 minutes per session.

 

This just shows that users open game apps frequently but doesn’t really sit down for a long time to play, not even with the best of apps. It’s difficult (almost impossible) to ascertain what users are doing while playing these games but what is sure is that they spend some amount of time with the app and then return to it several times later in the day, which brings on the following questions:

  • Why are users engage this type of app more than others?
  • What makes the user continually return to the app?

 

To answer these questions, let’s have a look at common features of best apps that fall under the category of adventure, card, and strategy. All these boredom-busting apps have these common denominators:

 

Fast action

There is more time for gameplay instead of following through a storyline. Unlimited lives or tries is also a big bonus. While gameplay set against time gives the impression of time quickly passing by in real life.

 

Metagames

Mini games and adventures can keep users from leaving the game since has an option for quick and manageable sessions for non-hardcore gamers or for those who do not have plenty of time to sit through a full game session.

 

Easy interface

Access to navigation and gameplay should be only a few taps away. Most importantly, controls should not be something that needs a learning curve – it should be almost instantaneously instinctive.

 

No linear progress

There are level advancements but no storyline to follow with only one recurring goal in the gameplay. Games like this are called “Super Casual”. Some of the best apps are considered as super casual.

 

Strong character connection

This is in combination with interactions in the game environment wherein the user can customize characters and other game elements. Examples are the collection and combination of objects they can keep as accessories or as aides in gameplay. The user should have something to fixate upon.

 

Offline play and guest user option

A casual gamer should be able to access the app anytime, anywhere. Some users are also more inclined to download an app if it can be played offline since Wifi availability is limited in many areas.

 

Immediate feedback

Users should immediately learn how they did in a single game and not wait for the entire storyline or multi-level chapter before they receive scores and other stats. Immediate gratification should be at play.

 

Competitive play

Attract competitive players through leaderboards and social players through co-op plays. You want competitive and social players in your game. As long as they have someone they know to compete (or cooperate), they would return to the game again and again.

 

Game attachment

Facilitate attachment to the game with progress investment (the amount of time and money the player already spent on the game). Give a sense of progression even if they just started playing (free coins after the first game, etc.).

 

There are certainly more features and genre-specific formulas. If you noticed more features in game apps that could’ve contributed to its time killer status, let me know in the comments.

 

*Data is for iOS games only