You’ve created an amazing app. Your team has done extensive research, so you know there’s a market for it. You’ve tested all aspects of its usability and functionalities, and they’re all responding great. Surprisingly, this ground-breaking app has been available on the market for months, and it’s all crickets. No one is downloading except your family and friends, and a few social media followers.
How did this happen?
The answer is very simple. You probably have a great app, but your target users just aren’t seeing it. This is a problem that many app developers face. Sadly, some of them quickly lose interest and choose to abandon all their plans for the low-performing apps.
This is why I will not be giving you ‘tricks’ to apply. Rather, I’ll be explaining the things you need to avoid so you don’t unknowingly hurt your app’s visibility on either the Play Store or App Store.
Common App Mistakes to Avoid
1. Keyword Stuffing
You’ve probably been told that using the right keywords is how your app gets discovered. That’s partly true, but it’s also a good way to crash your app’s rankings if done wrong. On search engines like Google, keyword stuffing is already a blackhat method that incurs a permanent suspension from search pages. This is because it is considered an underhand method.
So what is keyword stuffing? Keyword stuffing means an overuse of a target keyword. It’s okay to use it in your metadata, title, subtitle, and description. However, it is not okay to make that same word or phrase appear in every sentence. If out of 100 characters in your description, your keyword makes up a huge chunk of words used, then you’re keyword stuffing.
Descriptions stuffed with keywords also don’t make sense to the reader, because they were written for a bot, not a user interested in learning about the app. This means that if a user eventually finds their way to your download page, it wouldn’t mean much as they will have no clear understanding of what your app does. The description section, which is supposed to fulfill that, has been filled with unnecessary words. Eventually, your app will get flagged and penalized by the app store.
On the Google Play Store, keyword stuffing is basically pointless. Google’s bots crawl descriptions for more than one keyword. They search for relevance that is proven by a mix of long-tail keywords (phrases), which make it easier to determine who your app is more likely to appeal to.
2. Competing with big players using their model
In the current marketplace, it is very difficult to think of and create an app that doesn’t already have major competition waiting. The best way to ensure that your app stands out and finds its users is by using niche targeting. For example, it’s very difficult to expect a new app to overhaul YouTube, even if they have millions in their marketing budget. Yet, we see apps every day with variations of the name ‘YouTube’, offering very similar services. The truth is, we don’t really expect those apps to take off.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a video streaming app that will get millions of downloads. You can achieve that, but you have to find a very small niche that YouTube isn’t catering to, and go after it aggressively.
If might seem smart to remake YouTube, add ‘Tube’ as a suffix to your app name, and upload it to the app stores. However, this strategy won’t work because users already have YouTube. They need something new.
If you really want to succeed in the app market, you should purposely stand out from the popular apps by offering something new and valuable to your target consumers.
3. Unclear descriptions
Even after your app starts getting noticed, users have to know, “What is it useful for?” If you have a great app, but a poor description, no one will pay it any attention.
Your app description must:
- Be clear about the features and functionalities included
- Communicate the value it offers
- Use the right keywords and phrases
- Be divided into sections for better readability
- Make use of subheadings for easy scanning
- Use simple, easy-to-understand words, rather than technical talk.
As obvious as they might seem, many developers don’t apply these pointers while creating their app description. After reading your description, a user must know what they will gain by using your app. If they see no value, they won’t see a need to download it.
4. Poor creatives
Your app must have visual appeal, especially in a marketplace filled with top-quality creative work. If you want to catch the eye of your target audience, your initial contact with them must be impressive. This includes all graphic material such as your app icon, app preview videos, screenshots, and other material used to share the features of the app.
It is important that your visuals are unique, especially in your industry. If you have a couple of apps that already dominate your industry, your visuals must look nothing like theirs to avoid blending in with the hundreds of app trying to do so on purpose.
From its first second, your preview video must be entertaining and communicate value. Use music and relevant images through the video to make it informative, but also engaging. Put as much effort into creating your visuals as you did with the app because they determine if your viewers feel interested enough to hit that download icon.
While creating your visuals, it is important that you stay within the guidelines provided by Apple and Google stores to avoid any penalization.
Now that you have a good idea of the mistakes to avoid while optimizing your app, here’s how to maintain it, and ensure a steady inflow of downloads.
How to Maintain Your App’s Visibility
1. Review your app before the bots do
Often times, algorithms are changed and app developers notice a sharp decline in download rates. It is important that you monitor your apps at the end of every day or every week. If you notice a decline, it could mean that your app is violating a new rule, and you could possibly get penalized. It is important to catch these things before the bots do.
2. Stay updated on policy rules and spyware
Ensure that you are up-to-date on the policy rules of both the Google store and the App store. If you choose to run ads on your free apps, confirm that they are not malicious ads that collect unauthorized user information. This type of violation can get your app permanently removed from the store.
3. Respond quickly to negative reviews
Negative reviews are often not expected, but they must be dealt with quickly. If a user has reason to leave bad reviews, contact them directly and do the best you can to fix the issue they have encountered. Make this conversation public in the same comment section, so that your page visitors can see that they received the assistance they needed.
If you fail to do this, many users will just assume that the app’s developers have abandoned it, and no one wants a faulty app on their device.
4. Constantly improve user experience
Don’t upload your app and dust your hands off it. There is always a new way to make your app better, and more accessible to your target users. Take user suggestions seriously. If you notice that several users keep asking for the same feature, you should explore that feature, and what it will take to develop it.
Your UX improvements could include anything from new functionalities to a new color, fewer ads, smaller ad spaces, and many others.
5. Learn from other developers
One of my best sources to learn from other developers is through Google’s top developer’s story page. On this page, the best developers on Google share their strategies for free in a post and video format. They talk about what worked for them, and the steps they took to grow their app(s).
Another way to do this is by tracking your top competition. Since they have the same target audience as you do, watching them closely can help you understand why users are drawn to their products. You can even identify a loophole, an important feature they are not providing, and use that to drive your app upwards.
There will always be unforeseen reasons why your app’s visibility might be put at risk, top of them being algorithms and policy changes. However, you can stay above all of these through constant monitoring, using detailed descriptions, the right keywords and keyphrases, eye-catching creatives, and consistent marketing.
All of these factors are important to support the effectiveness of the other and will need to be maintained consistently.
Need help? Reach us on live chat support if you need help getting your app promoted. We know is hard, we’ve been there so many times 🙂