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5 Ways to Help Your App Stand Out in the Store

5 Ways to Help Your App Stand Out in the Store

September 23, 2014 0 Comments

Stand out from the crowd

Make your app stand out from the crowd.

As offerings at app stores continue to increase, the difficulty in having your app discovered is increasing, too. There are ways to make it easier for would-be users to find you, but do they really make a difference? What are the best ways to stand out in the crowd?

Earlier this year, Apple's App Store celebrated six years of offering consumers access to an app library that now features more than 1.2 million titles (that have been installed a staggering 75 billion times). Google Play is able to boast similar statistics, with more than 48 billion installs stretched across their impressive selection of 1.5 million app titles. These are big numbers, and they sound rather promising to mobile developers -- until the reality of trying to stand out in the crowd starts to set in.

Now that you've finished developing an app, making it easy to discover can be difficult, but taking advantage of the best practices laid out in these five tips might just help you beat app store discovery challenges:

1. Getting Your App Recommended

The foundation for app discovery is built on trust. Users are looking for suggestions from others willing to assume the role of trusted advisor.

Word-of-mouth endorsements from friends and family are always valuable, and can often be motivated by offering incentives such as bonus in-app currency. To leverage this advertising opportunity, be sure your app includes a convenient way to communicate -- whether that means by email blast or Facebook posts.

These days, reviews provided by bloggers can be incredibly effective. Take some time to find online journalists and news outlets that offer the best fit for the genre of your app, and engage them by offering it to them at no cost in exchange for their public opinion.

Cautiously embrace social networking. By adding relevance and increasing search engine saturation, social networking can give the illusion of a larger install base (indicating the popularity of an app) and also makes your app seem sophisticated and supported. As you begin this strategy, be careful to come across as genuine, or your efforts may be dismissed as spam.

2. App Store Optimization (ASO)

Employing ASO techniques should help your mobile apps rank higher in search results, making you more visible to potential customers. Using ASO effectively means understanding your target audience and accurately predicting the keywords they will be using to search.

The main factors of ASO are title and keywords:

  • Title. Your title should include the keyword that you expect will drive the most traffic. This can be difficult to predict, so the best advice we can offer is to use common sense: Do not try to be clever and use terms that are misspelled intentionally, don't use competitor brand names, avoid jargon, be functional and obvious. While it may seem boring to call your app something common-sounding, it may just be the key to your success.
  • Keywords. Improving your search ranking is an ongoing task. Be sure to review your statistics regularly to determine the terms used most often by your target demographic. It can also be valuable to perform reviews of landing pages for competing apps that rank above yours.
  • Keep testing and experimenting with keywords until you find the selection that consistently improves your rank among search results. In addition to user-provided ratings and reviews, the total number of downloads for your app also factors into your total ASO score. So the best ASO strategy is to keep stimulating downloads of your app -- and your ranking will rise.

3. Use Traditional Search Engines 

There is no question that the algorithms used by major search engines such as Google or Bing are far superior to those used by the app stores. Use this to your advantage by creating a full-featured webpage dedicated to your app, complete with direct links to download and install it.

Using this approach, you have a chance to add in any and all relevant details -- communicating keywords and important concepts while providing detailed descriptions and videos that will work together to ensure that you are found when users come looking.

As an additional benefit, having a proper Web presence will also make you appear more successful and professional, inspiring confidence in your app.

4. Create Relationships With Other Apps

Build on the success of existing apps by finding ways to attach yourself to their brands. Finding ways to make a new relationship mutually beneficial can be an easy way to get your foot in the door while also adding value to the original app that is essentially endorsing you. For example, you might advertise using incentive-based cross promotion, offering virtual goods to the other app's already-engaged users -- virtual goods that can be used inside your app once they have it installed).

This approach may ultimately require sacrificing a small portion of your profits or sharing the eventual spotlight, but it also may mean the difference between app success and failure.

5. App Distribution Platforms 

More and more distribution platforms for mobile apps have been emerging, with most specializing in a particular genre of app or type of target audience. There also are mega-portals -- like Facebook and LinkedIn -- that isolate apps by community.

While distribution platforms can be highly effective, they can also come with aggressive revenue-sharing splits. Of course, if using them means having a profit worth dividing, it is hard to argue against the method.

Rinse and Repeat

There are countless strategies you can take advantage of when trying to make sure your latest app stands out to app-store customers. Although no method makes any guarantees, taking advantage of these five tips should improve your chances for success.

Michelle Tackabery

An experienced content and social media marketing professional, Michelle writes frequently about the practical applications of information technology.

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