General App Store browsing is the number one source of new app discovery. In fact over 60% of app discovery happens in the App Store and Google Play, beating every other user acquisition channel. However, there are over 1.5 million apps there and most users only download about one app a month. Don’t have your app get lost in the crowd. Make sure you nail the basics.

App Title

The title is the ‘most important’ piece of metadata, according to Ankit Jain, who used to be the Head of Search at Google Play. Catchy app title can grab attention and even communicate your value proposition.

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Your app name can be 255 characters long but remember that on the iPhone, users will only see the first 35 characters. From the marketing point of view, you want your app name descriptive and definitely contain a keyword.

If you’re going to use some generic keyword, like “productivity,” for example, make sure the entire title is unique. When app store ranks apps in with the same keyword, the ones that are all alike are pushed down in the search results.

Icon

An icon plays a huge role in conversion optimization. In the results, it’s one of the few things users notice. Quality design communicates trust, and it can even grab attention and make your app stand out from the rest. It should be pretty but clearly communicate what your app is without any additional clutter.

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Description Copy

Your copy is your sales pitch. Make sure it’s credible, informative, outlines benefits and contains a clear call to action. Some marketing experts claim that keywords in the copy don’t matter much, however another data suggest the second most important relevance factor for app store rankings. In any case, your keywords should be organic, as you may get penalized by Apple if you act spammy.

Screenshots

With screenshots, it’s a different kind of game. You want to show the value proposition by showing the relevant pictures of your app. Walk users through it so they get how they can benefit from using the app.

screen-shots-app-store

Don’t show all the features or random shots, focus on the key thing, so the users get the point of the app. Make sure they have a logical flow. If they don’t get it, they won’t download it.

Video

The video is the recent feature introduced only the last year. It is probably the best tool of all when it comes to selling your app. You can tell your story, describe the customer pain, show the solution and provide a powerful reason to download your app.

And that’s by the way how great demo videos are made. It’s a mix of selling, storytelling and educating. An excellent video involves a mix of selling, storytelling, educating and inspires action.

Ratings & Reviews

Alongside with the title and description, ratings and reviews are a key factor in app ranking. A study from Apptentive shows that most of the 100 highest ranked apps have 4+ ratings. Obviously, ratings and reviews also play a huge role in convincing people to download the app. But is there a way to improve your ratings?

ratings-top-apps

Firstly, you want to make sure that your app is well tested before you launch. You don’t want have its buggy as that’s one of the main reason people complain. Then provide a support forum or an easy way to contact the customer service.

ratings

A great hack that can help you eliminate some of the potential negative reviews is to asking users if they like your app. If they respond negatively, send them to the support forum, if positively ask them to rate your app.

Regional Ranking

App Store is also known as the 1% economy.  That means that to see massive results you need to rank in the top 25 chart. In the US, you need at least 100,000 downloads in 72 hours.

However, the threshold to rank in top 25 is much lower in countries other than US e.g. Spain, Germany, Sweden, UK, etc. Without a huge marketing budget, getting to the top 25 in the US might be very difficult. But there certainly are some quick wins in the regional markets.

Vertical & Horizontal Distribution

Some apps hacked to growth by using a strategy of horizontal distribution. That means having multiple apps in the App Store. For example, Udemy has its the main app, but there also are separate apps for each specific course, e.g. physics, mathematics, accounting, productivity, etc. As a result, Udemy gets to rank in all those categories.

horizontal-distribution-app-store

Obviously whether you can use this strategy or not, depends on the type of the app. In general, quiz apps and education apps are a good fit here.

App Bundles

App bundles are another recent feature. You can get your app packed in up to 3 bundles of up to 10 different apps. There’s a special section for bundles in the App Store’s ‘featured’ page, so you can get extra opportunity to have your app discovered. Also, the ‘deal’ aspect of bundles is quite appealing to many users.

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Word of Mouth

A great way to hack the app store competition is to avoid the crowd altogether and get users to bring you more users. Not only this tactic worked for most of the top apps it’s also a highly efficient marketing tactic in terms of ROI.

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As you could see in the chart, word-of-mouth and referrals are the second most popular way how people discover apps. So make sure to build in some viral mechanisms and referral features.

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