COVID-19 has had a wide-ranging impact on consumer behavior, with serious consequences on the app marketplace. Some businesses have seen demand for their services vanish, while other apps and games have seen downloads flourish. At this unpredictable time, it is crucial to optimize app marketing strategies within your reach. But what can marketers do to maintain brand awareness in the stores and navigate these circumstances? App store optimization is one method that marketers can use to take advantage of an influx of organic downloads with the potential for long-lasting impact on their visibility in the App Stores.
Step 1: Optimize ASO metadata for trending keywords
Amidst the pandemic, people are finding new ways to connect with friends, stay active, entertain their kids, or even shop — all on the app store, which has seen a resurgence in browsing behavior. As a result, keywords like ‘fitness coach’, ‘board games with friends’ or ‘watch movies together’ are trending.
Many fitness apps and social networking apps have taken advantage of these changes in search behavior by adding trending keywords to their app title, subtitle or description. A great example is Peloton. They were quick to switch their messaging from ‘on-demand classes’ to ‘fitness at home’. They carried through this messaging to their app listing and on March 16th they changed their iOS app title from ‘Peloton - Live Workout Classes’ to ‘Peloton - at home fitness’. AppTweak estimates that as a result of this metadata update and given the increased search volume, the iOS app gained on average 3000+ daily installs from organic search.
Step 2: Update screenshots to align with consumer behavior
Your app screenshots are the perfect opportunity to showcase to your customers how your business is answering changing consumer needs. Highlighting certain features that are more relevant now that people have to socially distance themselves, might help your app stand out from crowded search results.
You don’t need to reinvent your screenshots, you can also change their order and highlight those features that are more relevant in today’s reality. Updating the copy can also bring a lot of value.
Two great examples are Doordash and Messenger. Doordash updated the copy on top of their second screenshot to reassure users that restaurants are still open for delivery. On the third screenshot they updated the copy to communicate their new contactless delivery policy.
Messenger added a new screenshot that highlights their group video call feature. This feature likely resonates the most with people now that they feel disconnected from friends and family and helps Messenger stand out from other messaging apps in the search results.
Step 3: Consider your video strategy to increase exposure in App store search and browse results
As users are browsing the stores to find new ways to stay connected and entertained, it is the perfect time to invest in an app preview video to help get your app or game more exposure.
App preview videos not only autoplay in the App Store Search results, they have recently been appearing on autoplay in the Google Play search results as well. For lesser-known apps that have received a lot of visibility from general keywords, a promo video is a great way to quickly explain to users what your app is about and encourage them to install.
Videos are especially important for games. In both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, your game may require a promotional video to be shown in certain parts of the stores. As multiplayer games have gained popularity, both Apple and Google have curated lists geared towards this trend — ‘Multiplayer Favorites’ on the Apple App Store or ‘Play Online Together’ on the Google Play Store. All the games that appear in these lists have a video that shows the game in action. So if your game or game category has recently gained a lot of traction, now is the right time to invest in a video to increase your exposure to potential users browsing the stores.
Step 4: Take advantage of the influx of installs to increase your ratings and reviews
The average star rating and number of reviews are major ranking factors in both stores. Moreover, these metrics now also show in the Google Play Store search results and likely have an impact on your app’s conversion rate.
For those apps or games that have gained popularity during the lockdown, there is an opportunity to translate this influx of installs and usage into positive ratings and reviews. Take the time to craft a review strategy that prompts users to leave a review at the right time as this can have a lasting impact on your keyword visibility.
Step 5: Review your Google Play Store tags
Google introduced tags back in August 2019. Tags help Google understand what your app is about and might impact where your app appears in the store, more specifically in the Similar Apps cards, search suggestions, browse etc. Since early March, tags now display in the Google Play search results alongside the app title and developer name.
If you are looking for different ways to increase your app’s visibility, it makes sense to take a closer look at these Google Tags. Find out which tags your competitors are using and research how these tags impact visibility in the Similar Apps cards.
This research is crucial! An AppTweak client changed one tag on March 27th and, as a result, the game disappeared in the Similar App cards of high traffic games. AppTweak’s Similar Apps feature can help you, as it shows you which apps point towards your app in the Similar App cards along with an estimation of the traffic your app receives from these apps.
The shift in app store search behavior we are seeing today presents a unique opportunity for many mobile marketers to review their ASO strategy and increase their app’s visibility in the long run. Take advantage of it while you can.