Tag Archives: Google Play

Best Sleep Apps: Get Better Rest Using your iPhone

25% of people in the US report trouble with sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause decreased performance and alertness, impaired memory, stress, depression and more. Luckily, we live in a golden age of technology. App developers are actively working to develop iOS and Android apps which will help you get better sleep using your iPhone or Android smartphone. Below find some of the best iOS & Android sleep apps on the market.

BEDDIT

Beddit has made a name for itself as one of the consensus top sleep apps on iOS and Android. Beddit measures cardiorespiratory functions by detecting movements caused by respiration and heartbeats. The app uses an ultra-thin film sensor which goes under your sheet in order to  measure sleep time, sleep latency, awakenings, resting heart rate and snoring. While the Beddit app is free, the sleep monitor ranges from $99.99 – $149.99.

Beddit is available for iOS (iPhone and Apple Watch) via iTunes, as well as Android devices via Google Play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak3ireBUEnw

SLEEP CYCLE

For those looking for a more cost-friendly sleep app, Sleep Cycle is another of the top Android and iOS sleep apps—and it’s only $0.99. Developed by Northcube, Sleep Cycle uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to track sleep phases. When we sleep, we go through multiple states in our sleep cycle, the deepest of which is REM sleep where dreams occur. Sleep Cycle monitors movements using sound analysis and wakes users up during light sleep to ensure users feel naturally rested.

Sleep Cycle is currently available for Android and iOS for free with in-app purchases.

SLEEP GENIUS

If you’re searching for the most high-tech sleep app, look no further than Sleep Genius. Designed with the help of research by NASA, Sleep Genius helps you determine the perfect bedtime, revives you with a soothing alarm, and even helps you make the most of your naps with psychoacoustic music scientifically designed to trigger a relaxation response. NASA’s magazine, SPINOFF, recently celebrated the app for its use of NASA technology to create a better world.

At $4.99, the app is moderately priced in iTunes and Google Play. It’s a steal considering the level of high tech utilized to make it work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COo0qiJHEqc

Looking for more great sleep apps? Check out these awesome curated lists from HealthLine and Tom’s Guide.

Mystic Media is an Android & iOS app development, web design and strategic marketing firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815

Keep Your Competitors Close: How to Leverage the Power of ASO to Crush Your Competition

At Mystic Media, we’re no strangers to App Store Optimization. Every app development project we take on has its specific ASO challenges. ASO remains one of the most vital processes in the marketing process. We’ve detailed our knowledge in our six part ASO series where we explored techniques for the ASO Basics, Title and Keywords, Increasing Downloads and Ratings, Getting Featured on the App Store, Differentiating between Apple and Google Play App Stores, and Changing Your Title.

In this article, we’ll detail how to get the most from researching your competitors, what to look for, and how to go about maximizing your analysis.

As with any aspect of marketing, understanding your competitors is vital to finding a search opening in the app store for an app. The app store allows for anyone to do detailed research on competing apps. Simply search the keywords you’ve selected for your app in app stores in order to find primary competitors.

It’s easy to see which app competitors come up in search results; however, it’s important to differentiate between which apps are significant and which have no competitive value. An old sub-par app may rank high in the app store, but it’s not in-competition with a well-designed app. Understanding the value of competing apps will allow you to narrow the list your true competition.

The following factors are vital in appraising the value of a competitor:

The app’s last update: Apps that are not generating revenue will not be updated frequently as it’s a futile endeavor. If a competing app hasn’t had any recent updates, it’s safe to deem them an irrelevant competitor.

App launch date: The app launch date not only dictates whether the app is still active, it informs you as to whether it’s ranking in the search results is being boosted by the “new app” factor. Apps get a boost in downloads and ASO at their launch. If the app has been around for a month or two and retains its ranking, then it’s definitely a competitor worth researching.

Amount of reviews since last update: With iOS apps, the reviews an app receives lose value after an update. This makes for hesitation every time an iOS developer decides to update their app. Evaluating the amount of downloads and reviews since the previous update will also give insight into the amount of traffic being generated by the keywords used.

Other factors include: The publisher of the app, the average user rating, the keywords targeted in the title, and what other keywords the app is emphasizing.

Subscribe to Gabriel Machuret’s Youtube channel for a bunch of awesome videos containing information on how to increase an app’s ASO ranking:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6A0qWOOJ0fGfzW48KCcXw

Here’s one on the best ASO tools available to developers:

When you’ve identified the apps with which your app is in direct competition, you can begin to analyze their strategy and decide what techniques you wish to emulate and where you might be able to counter them. This takes consistent monitoring of what techniques the app developers are using to improve their app’s ranking. Analyzing what demographics competing apps are targeting will help define where there might be an opening for your app to appeal to an audience. Knowing what share of the revenue competing apps have will give insight into which app store an app might appeal to (perhaps a competitor has Google Play locked down, in which case one would focus their energies on the Apple App Store.)

Tools such as App Annie,  Mop App, and more give app developers and marketers a time-efficient way of attaining the analysis they need to understand their competitors and adjust their strategy accordingly.

ASO is a thorough process with many ins and outs. Understanding both your competition and how each of the app stores rank apps in search results requires both experience and a great deal of research. Using the techniques given in this article, in conjunction with those outlined in our six-part ASO series and a well-designed app, you will be able to conquer your competition in the app store and rise to the top of search results.

App Store Optimization Part 6: How to Change App Titles While Minimizing Impact on ASO

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 Key Differences in Apple Vs. Google Play App Stores, we detailed how to optimize specifically for either app store. This week, we conclude the series by exploring the effects of changing your app title after release and how to efficiently change titles while minimizing negative effects on ASO.

One of our clients recently wanted to change the title of their app on both Apple App Store and Google Play. While their previous title was okay, they came up with a new title which would potentially attract more of their target audience. They consulted us on the process of changing app titles and its effects on ASO. While it may seem like a simple fix, the process of changing titles is not seamless and can make the developer look unprofessional if improperly executed.

First and foremost, one must weigh the negative impact of changing titles. Changing the title of an app will not wipe out the number of previous downloads and ratings & reviews, but if an app has an established brand, changing titles can be highly detrimental to ASO. Whatever word-of-mouth or brand recognition an app already had will dissipate. App Store users looking for the app under its previous name will be unable to find it. So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

A name change can ultimately attract more users if the name is catchy and features a keyword optimized for search. One of the most interesting findings we came across in our ASO research came from a blog in which a developer discovered a hole in the Apple App Store’s keyword search and exploited it (check out Master the Art of Writing a Catchy Title and Keywords for more info on writing keywords). The developer originally released Texties, an app which allows for users to easily send unicode artwork. Frustrated with the limited amount of downloads, the developer discovered searching “texties” in the App Store returned 2200 results and Texties wasn’t at the top. He soon realized searching “txts” yielded the same search results. It became apparent Apple was using some fuzzy auto-correcting on search strings. The developer proceeded to change their app title to “Textables”, which now comes up first in title searches.

Check out Mark Rickert’s blog for more information on this story.

If the developer elects to change app titles, the process is laborious. The developer must change the title everywhere it’s previously appeared—on their website, social media, app description, and screenshots—not to mention all the places the app title appears within the app itself.

So long as the function of the app is not different, ASO shouldn’t be affected dramatically by a title change, but one has to keep in mind the keywords must be optimized for the search terms associated with both the app’s function and title. If the title change is drastic enough that the developer thinks the keywords which would lead to it have changed, they must change the keywords to search terms more befitting of the new title. If the developer feels the keywords associated with the old title apply equally to the new title, there’s no need to change them and it should not have a noteworthy effect on ASO, assuming they are right.

When changing an app name on Google Play, it’s crucial to note that Google looks through the app description for keywords (as we detailed in Key Differences in Apple Vs. Google Play App Stores). If the keywords have changed, it’s vital the developer proceed to revise the app description appropriately.

The app name can easily be changed on the Apple App Store through iTunes Connect. On Google Play, changing the “android:label” attribute of your application tag in “AndroidManifest.xml” file will do the job. However, changing the app name on devices requires the developer to change the metadata to reflect the new title and upload the newly-titled app as an update. Users who already have the app must download the update to change the name of the app on their phone. This makes changing a name on the Apple App Store  more difficult than on Google Play since Apple must approve all updates before they go live on the app store.

Changing an app name on Google Play presents its own challenges. Apps on Google Play retain a package name, which is a URL owned by the app to prevent name collisions. Changing the title of an app does not alter the package name, any links previously used will remain unbroken despite the change in app title. However, the package name is one thing that cannot be changed unless you’re uploading a new app. If a developer is so concerned about the original title being in the package name that they decide they must change it, they would have to start from scratch, post the newly titled app in a separate package on the app store as a new app, and lose all traction and reviews they previously had earned.

Check out this article at Android Developers Blog for more information on package names.

As we explored in Master the Art of Writing a Catchy Title and Keywords, app titles are vital to ASO. Changing an app’s title can be helpful to ASO granted the new title is catchier, more functional, and it’s early enough in the release that the app does not have a big following.

This concludes our six-part series on App Store Optimization. Thank you to our readers! We hope this serves you well in your future app development adventures. In the meantime, stay tuned!

Mystic Media is, among many other things, a premier Search Engine Optimization firm. Our Marketing Strategists recognize the importance of ASO and can work with the tech side to ensure all websites and applications designed will succeed in the marketplace. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815

App Store Optimization Part 5: Key Differences in Apple Vs. Google Play App Stores

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.

GENERAL THEMES

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.

DESCRIPTION

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.

VIDEO

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.

DISPLAY

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.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

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

App Store Optimization Part 4: Maximize Your Exposure by Getting Featured on the App Store

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: “Boost Your App’s Profile, Increase Downloads and Generate Better Ratings”, we detailed the secondary factors which affect ASO, such as Ratings and Number of Downloads. This week, we will explore how to get featured on the app store landing page.

Intelligent ASO will bring you to the top of search-strings specific to your app’s functionality. However, imagine if rather than having to search, your app was presented to viewers the moment app store users go to the app store. Sounds like a dream scenario, but it’s entirely possible through clever ASO. Both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play App Store feature top-tier applications on their landing pages, as well as in several mini-categories.

The App Store curators are not looking to help developers out by featuring apps. They are looking out for the best interest of their company, which means pleasing the viewer. In order to satiate their customers, they showcase the coolest, most visually-engaging, best executed, most high-tech apps. Developers can take advantage of the curators’ needs by catering to their desires and utilizing the latest iOS and Android features in their apps. App Stores are much more likely to feature an app if it showcases the best features of their product.

Keeping up with the latest technologies is easier said than done in a constantly evolving landscape. With every OS update from both Apple and Android, the capabilities of devices are increased. Curators looking for the most high-tech apps must react to the OS updates and seek out apps which utilize the new technology to feature in the app store. Your app can fill that void. Stay up to date on the latest iOS update by reviewing our recent post Bite the Apple: Maximize iOS 8 to Vanquish Your Competition. Review our Android L Beta Preview: First Impressions of the Latest OS to plan ahead for the forthcoming Android L OS. If you’ve already designed your app, you haven’t missed out. Working the latest technology into an app update can also get the app featured. For example, Apple has been pushing the iCloud for all of their apps as of late. Finding some way of incorporating iCloud into an existing app’s software update would be beneficial for ASO.

In service of ensuring your app retains the look and feel of the most state-of-the-art technology, we recommend investing heavily in the User Interface and User Experience design. Perhaps the most important aspect of any app, poor UI/UX design will both alienate customers and guarantee your exclusion from the app store. Great UI/UX design will charm your customers and make your app look state-of-the-art. The details which go into an app’s gestures and audio make or break an app in the eyes of the critic, while retaining the potential to dazzle an audience. When directing your UX designers, be sure to take into account the branding for device-specific apps. If you’re releasing your app on iOS, review Impervious Appeal: How to Design Jaw-Dropping iOS Apps to make sure the UX design is consistent with Apple UX aesthetics, including “flat design.” The upcoming Android L OS specifically pushes Material Design aesthetics in an effort to distance the look of Android apps from those of iOS. Check out Android’s official Guide to Material Design for Developers to learn more. Impressive UX is debatably the most important aspect of any app, but it’s especially vital in the eyes of app store curators looking to show off the graphics capabilities of their devices.

Check out the screenshots below which detail the process of how Transit, an app which aggregates public transportation information, developed their UX design through multiple drafts. In 2012, Apple announced they would develop their own Maps app to replace Google Maps on iPhones. Instead of creating public transit functionality from scratch, Apple found it cheaper to buy Transit, an already successful app, and utilize its functionality. Now under Apple, Transit’s quest to perfect UX which would seamlessly integrate with Apple’s evolving aesthetics is a great example of aesthetic adaptation and the process of developing UX.

 

Via blog.pickcrew.com

Via blog.pickcrew.com

With over 1,000 app submissions per day, standing out in the sea of content within the app store can be a challenge; however, a great app will find its audience if properly marketed. While ASO is vital, it must be only one facet of any app’s marketing campaign. The app store curators react to trends. If an app gets external publicity, they are more likely to feature it. This works against independent developers who generally don’t have the same budget for marketing as they do for app development. Established brands stand a better chance at getting and staying featured. But independent developers can still find their niche. The app store curators are taste-makers looking to please their users by offering the best apps the exposure they need, as if they were curating a critic’s “Best of” list. The curators do not want to give the viewer the most obvious choice, but rather the best-in-class. Thus, a great app can transcend limitations.

Developing multiple native applications catering specifically to both device and OS improves your chances of success in all facets of app design, including ASO. Review Making the Most of your Tablet Design Part 2: Custom Device Design to learn more about the benefits of custom device design. App stores are more likely to feature apps which are available and optimized not just for smartphones, but also for tablets and computers as well. The more app stores on which your app is available, the more places it could get featured. Staggering your launch to start exclusively on one app store can also work toward your advantage because Apple and Google are more likely to feature apps exclusive to the Apple App Store or Google Play App Store respectively.

There are no rules the curators of the app stores must follow. They live in the shadows seeking out the best apps to showcase the full potential of iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, and computers. As we’ve stated before, ASO starts and ends with a great app.

Next week, in Part 5 of our series on ASO, we will detail the differences between the Apple and the Google Play App Stores. Stay tuned!

At Mystic Media, our teams of expert application designers and strategic marketers have the means to effectively both develop and market apps for iOS and Android. Contact us today by clicking here, or by phone at 801.994.6815