Top Five App Store Mistakes to Avoid

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store are places where, for some, fortunes are made. However, for many other people they are places where their precious apps can sink below the millions of others on offer – dashing previously high hopes of success. As you no doubt know very well, the app marketplace is a competitive one, so we can’t pretend it’s easy to rise to the top. A good app store optimization tool is key. However, there are also a few “schoolboy errors” that are easy to avoid when it comes time to publish apps. This article discusses five big app store mistakes, and helps your agency avoid them.

1. Explaining the “What” but not the “Why”

Concentrating on benefits instead of features is straight out of “Sales 101” but getting this the wrong way around is a common error. Essentially, people choose and use apps that solve a problem or make their lives easier or more enjoyable, so app store sales copy needs to reflect this reality. Let’s take a photo app as an example: the app may have 100 filters and a dozen sharing options, but it’s better to point out that it has filters that will “enhance memories” or even “make selfies look better!” Instead of listing all the possible sharing options, it’s better to highlight that the app makes it “easy to share your photos with friends across all platforms.” If you have clients producing their own sales copy, you should be on the lookout for this, and encourage them to focus on the “what’s in it for me?” attitude that customers have when choosing apps.

2. Assuming YOU Know all the Keywords

Everyone who’s “close” to an app during development will inevitably start to form an opinion of what kind of thing people will search for to (hopefully) find the app in store. However, it’s possible to become too close and too set in an opinion. It’s therefore crucial to step back and think from an outsider’s perspective. It takes some lateral thinking (and often some specialist SEO knowledge) to really optimize an app store listing so that it attracts searches from the right potential customers. An app store keyword search tool will almost always reveal some rewarding keyword opportunities that will have been missed by people too attached to the project.

3. Ignoring Video

Adding a video to an app store listing is very straightforward and can improve conversion. App users are a demanding bunch with a tremendous amount of choice at their fingertips, so if you can quickly show them exactly what they get if they download, you should see better results that using screenshots alone. The potential mistake here is ignoring the video option due to assuming it’s a big extra job or something particularly time consuming; An annotated screencast style video takes a very short time to put together.

4. Forgetting About Google

Not everyone who arrives at an app store listing does so as the result of browsing or searching their respective app store. Plenty of people still arrive “the old-fashioned way” – i.e. by searching Google, or finding reference to an app in an online article. As such, ensure some promotional effort is going into pushing the apps outside of the app store too. A good example of this is game apps. There are simply so many of them that an app store browse isn’t always the best way to find or choose them. Many people would instead Google something like “best iPhone games for 2017” and choose from a curated list, of which there are dozens! So, don’t let the app store be the sole focus of promotional efforts. Other online avenues are often involved in the sales process.

5. Not Keeping Watch on Reviews

A run of bad reviews can be the kiss of death for an app – so it’s essential to keep an eye on what customers are saying. This needs doing on a consistent basis, otherwise bad things can happen.

One example of this is when a new operating system or device release results in compatibility issues. If someone’s not watching the reviews when customers start to discover such a thing, average review scores can plummet, along with download numbers.

The Google Play Store allows a “right to reply” and interaction with reviewers, who can often be convinced to amend their reviews if you fix their issues and provide good customer service. Apple’s store doesn’t, so it’s important to put out a new release quickly after discovering issues, which effectively “buries” the poor reviews a further click away for people browsing the store.

Obviously, however, the best thing is to keep a constant watchful eye on the reviews and respond quickly to issues that are making customers unhappy. It should therefore be agreed who (agency or client) should keep an eye on these scores and respond.

These five tips are simple but essential. If you take a look around the app store, you’ll quickly be able to find hundreds of examples where people have made these five app store mistakes to their cost.