Your app and Apple’s App Store: Top 10 dos and don’ts
No matter the size of your brand, you may be considering creating or relaunching an app for Apple’s operating system to meet your consumers where they are. You know technology is important, and that app use continues to rise, in fact, Audiobooks CEO Sanjay Singhal points out that as of 2014, 86 percent of time spent on a smartphone is devoted to app use as mobile web browsing continues to fall.
Singhal notes, “Looking to cash in on the historically high popularity of apps, many companies are developing and launching apps with the hope of gaining valuable real estate on their customers’ screens and driving revenue.”
But there’s a catch – there are over a million apps already in Apple’s App Store, with over 75 million downloads, and Singhal opines that the competition for consumer mind share is fierce.
Singhal offers the following tips to best position your app for success, in his own words:
1. DO make sure users can find your app.
Your app can’t make a splash if users don’t know about it, so create a keyword strategy that lets users easily find your app in the App Store or via search engines. Craft a compelling description of your app, highlighting the value it delivers to users so they’ll wonder how they ever lived without it.
2. DO link directly to your app in your Google AdWords campaign.
Google AdWords are a great way to reach millions of potential users, but it’s important to make sure you take full advantage of available site links. Add a link that takes users directly to your app download page. Make it as easy as possible for people to access your app.
3. DO use enticing screen shots.
Keep in mind that your app download page has to sell your app to potential users. It’s a marketing document, so you’ll need to position your app as fun and relevant to the user’s everyday life. Compelling screen shots that highlight the value your app delivers are essential to completing the sale.
4. DO update your app regularly and minimize permissions.
Keep your app fresh with regular updates, which drive additional downloads. The App Store doesn’t like stale apps, and updates indicate continuous improvement. Updates also offer an opportunity for users who had previously rated your app lower to leave a new higher rating and better review. Also make sure you require the bare minimum of permissions for the app. Asking users to share their personal data can scare them off and reduce downloads.
5. DO promote your app outside the App Store.
Some users will find your app via ad campaigns and searches, but you can expand your pool of potential downloaders with a robust promotion campaign. Place your app in directories. Generate buzz via blogs and online news websites. Issue press releases. The more people hear about your app, the better its chances of success.
6. Do minimize clicks with a direct path to the App Store.
When promoting your app on blogs, on your site, at online news outlets, in press releases and via other digital pathways, make sure you always include a clear path to the App Store download page. It’s never a good idea to make potential users search for a download opportunity – they might find a competitor’s app first.
7. DON’T use pay-per-download and pay-per-review app promotion schemes.
The App Store favors apps that generate organic growth and frowns on those that use paid download and review techniques. It’s widely known that App Store rankings include factors other than the number of downloads, and developers who pursue a pay-per-install strategy may find that their app lags in rankings or is rejected outright.
8. DON’T rush a release.
In the run-up to a launch, issues inevitably crop up in the development cycle that may affect the deadline. It’s important to stay on track, but it’s even more crucial to get the app functionality just right before releasing it. If you need more time to tweak your app, take it. It’s easier to push back a deadline than to deal with disgruntled users.
9. DON’T make users jump through hoops to gain functionalities.
Some apps lock up functionalities until a user performs a specific action or gains access via incentives. Incentive-based downloads and functionalities were a popular idea a few years ago, but the strategy has waned for a simple reason: it doesn’t work.
10. DON’T ignore negative reviews from users.
If a user leaves a negative review for your app, look at it as an opportunity to improve. It’s important to stay connected to your user base and to continuously improve your app. Carefully evaluate critiques, and if they have some validity, make the necessary changes.
“Apps are a terrific way to gain customer mind share and extend your product reach to wherever users go with their mobile devices,” Singhal concludes, “But the app market is a highly competitive space. By following these tips, you can dramatically improve your chances of success.”