In an effort to emphasize the importance of App Store Optimization, The Mystic Media Blog is applying its expertise into a six-part series on ASO. In our previous entry Maximize Your Exposure by Getting Featured on the App Store, we detailed techniques on how to get featured on an App Store landing page. This week, we will explore the differences in ASO for Google Play and Apple App Store.
App Store curators look to surface the most relevant content for users. Although the ultimate goal may be the same for both Google and Apple, their approach to achieving their goals are different. The exact details of Apple’s processes are shrouded in secrecy as they promote discovery through curation, while Google focuses more on analytics and prioritizes transparency in their processes. Check out their recent I/O speech on Getting Discovered on Google Play for a bevy of useful information. While our ASO series thus far has focused on the common ground, this chapter will delve into the differences between the two app stores and what techniques can be used to optimize for either store.
Google Play favors bigger mobile-focused enterprises, while Apple favors independent developers. A recent study at MobileDevHQ found independent developers generally rank higher in the Apple App Store, while Google Play is more favorable toward mobile focused enterprises. MobileDevHQ recorded the top apps for each store and found that 65% of the top apps for iPhone were independently developed, while 90% of top apps in Google Play store were developed by mobile-focused enterprises.
Granted, out-of-context, the above statistic can be misconstrued. Big mobile-focused enterprises do better on Google Play because they have the brainpower and workforce to analyze the statistics which factor heavily into Google Play’s search algorithm. Google Play also does its part to give independent developers an opening through regional-specific results and Google+ recommendations. Apple’s App Store, on the other hand, relies on curation. The Mystic Media Blog previously discussed how Android is considered more developer-friendly since they feature open-source coding and skip the process of approval Apple uses to filter bad apps from making it onto their App Store (review our post on Why Android Rules the Mobile Application Market). Apps receiving approval before making the the app store filters out sub-par entries, allowing Apple to curate more effectively. Every app on the Apple App Store, big or small, starts with an evaluation.
Apple’s App Store is much more volatile and reactive to trends than Google Play. Within the same seven day study at MobileDevHQ, the top ranking apps in Apple’s App Store fluctuated—no single app stayed in the same rank through all seven days—while of the top ten ranking apps on Google Play, five failed to change position once. In addition, no new apps broke into the top ten for Google Play.
While it’s recommended developers include keywords in their app description, the Apple App Store barely weighs the description, unlike Google Play which weighs the keywords in app descriptions heavily. For more on keywording and app descriptions, review App Store Optimization Part 2: Master the Art of Writing a Catchy Title and Effective Keywords.
Google Play also allows developers to post a video preview of their app. The purpose of the video is to show the app in use, to preview the graphics, the sound, the UX, the function, etc. Google Play preview videos are hosted through Youtube, which creates a new avenue for app developers to market their product through Youtube SEO. For more on the topic, check out this cool article on How Youtube Videos are Ranked.
Google’s recent talk about getting discovered on Google Play yielded a lot of great information concerning Google Play’s display strategy. Ankit Jain, Google Play’s Head of Search, Discovery & Store Infrastructure, explained how Google Play attempts to create a UX which is simultaneously personalized and personal.
Personalized, as it relates to Google Play, means the results are catered to the user based on their history of searches, purchases, what device the user is on (remember, unlike iOS, Android allows third-party companies to develop devices on its OS), and what’s popular in their geographic region. The amalgamation of user history and geographic popularity factor heavily into Google Play’s search algorithms.
Personal means results are annotated by Google Play analytics with reasons why the user should download the app. This involves linking to the user’s Google+ account to allow the Google Play store to show if anyone in a person’s Google+ circles has given an app a +1. Apps relevant to a search which are recommended by people in a user’s Google+ circles will surface high in the search results, thus targeting Google+ for social media campaigns pays off for developers releasing through Google Play.
The goal of any app store is to effectively promote the top apps for the platform. Both Google and Apple look to share the apps which will best please the user and make the most of the technology of their respective platforms. When it comes to ASO, no keyword, app title, icon, or description will change anyone’s mind about a bad app. No curator will elevate the status of a bad app because it is well-marketed. Thus, it’s fitting remind you: the first step to optimizing any app for an app store is to create a great app. By observing the rules of each app store and excelling in each of the processes of ASO with intelligent strategy and an efficient external marketing campaign, a great app can catch the attention of app curators and rise to the top of any app store search. The rest, as they say, is search history.
Mystic Media is considered among the most versatile and capable web agencies in the US. Our workforce includes experts across a variety of fields including app development, strategic marketing, social media, web design, Search Engine Optimization, radio streaming, and more. We have the resources necessary to effectively develop and market applications for any platform. Contact us today by clicking here or calling 801.994.6815