Stay Ahead of the (Flattening) ASO Curve

As things change, the less they stay the same. I mean, toilet paper is suddenly the most highly prized commodity. Our ASO Food for Thought from Mar 19, 2020.

Corona is officially an undeniable reality, remote work is the new black, and children and dogs are attending more meetings than ever. 

A new era of isolation and digital reliance is here. We will adapt.

The only constant is change itself. And world events are proving it to us every day. Because when we fail to adapt, we might get caught in the whirlwind. Unless we act. Unless we evolve with the changing times and changing interests. 

But I’m not Greta Thunberg, so I’ll keep this rallying cry to ASO capabilities. 

It’s simple really. Abandonment leads to decay. Like that bit of pasta that got lodged behind the oven and has slowly become a flourishing ecosystem with way more rent-leeches than you realized. That pasta might look alive, it’s still there after all this time, but it ain’t no food anymore. It’s slowly dying and you haven’t even realized it yet.  

That moldy wonder of an amalgamated unplanned Funghi pasta dish is a metaphor. When you don’t freshen up your creatives, conversion rate decay sets in. 

It happens for two reasons:

1. Fickle user preferences

2. Competition doing… things

As things change, the less they stay the same. Especially when it comes to humans and their tastes. I mean, toilet paper is suddenly the most highly prized commodity as opposed to that last stick of butter the night before the bake sale your kid forgot to tell you about. I wouldn’t have lined the walls of my apartment with Huggies a month ago. Or even a week ago. But I am now. What I’m trying to say is that people want different things at different times. And if you leave your creatives up offering something that worked a season ago your potential new users are looking at them like it’s a right hand being offered post-social distancing. 

It’s also about people changing, not just their preferences but the people themselves. The humans who saw your page a week ago are different from the humans today. 

Your targeting is A+ and you perfectly target your core audience and bring all those eyeballs to the app stores. Amazing. As those eyeballs start converting core audience eyeballs, less of those perfect eyeballs exist. The pool of eyeballs changes and the makeup of humans is different. 

As you update your creatives, the most receptive users will quickly convert and then your pool of potential users are made up of more and more users that aren’t receptive to the messaging. So it’s time to change your creatives to become more effective for the remaining audience. It’s the circle, the circle of life. 

But the other side of the ever-changing coin of life is that your competitive landscape is also always changing. Who your competition is and what they’re doing impact on your efforts. 

The average amount of tests per app last year was 11.3 experiments, or ya know, about once a month. This is amongst the top apps in the stores. The top of the top, the top 5%, were running around 19 experiments a year. That’s about once every 6 weeks. They understand the need (and value) of continuously updating their app stores with proven creatives. Just because a certain variation won today, doesn’t mean it’ll win next month. 

And here is where I become a slightly stuck record and ask the rhetorical question of ‘how do you know which creatives to refresh and how?’ You test. So you can know. Life is a guessing game but the app stores don’t have to be. 

Good research, smart hypotheses, accurate tests. Real results.

App Icon do’s and don’ts plus six steps to testing

    Getting (keyword) stuff right

    So we’ve been told not to stuff them. We’ve been told to write them for an algorithm. We’ve been told to write for humans. We’ve been told to hack them. 

    But we shouldn’t listen to whoever they are. We should listen to Alexandra De Clerck, Growth Marketing Manager at AppTweak. She knows what’s up. 

    She has a simple 5-step system and like all good new-age gurus say, the first step is to look within. 

    1. See where you stand.
      It’s about analyzing your current performance and finding the low hanging fruit. Start with the questions: what keywords does my app rank for? Where do they rank? See if there’s a trend of long-tail searches where you have more clout. Find your niche and own it.
    2. See what the neighbors are doing. 
      Check on the keywords they’re ranking for and get a sense of where they’re standing. If they’re ranking in a field you didn’t even know to look at, you might want to work out why. Watch their moves and see what ideas you can borrow.
    3. Find the gaps.
      This is really actually just point B of point 2. As much as you can see where they’re doing well, you can also see where your competitors may have missed an opportunity and left an opening for you. If they’re not targeting certain keywords, no one says you can’t. 
    4. Read your reviews. 
      It may sound simple but it’s often overlooked. It shouldn’t be. It’s your users telling you exactly what they think and how they describe you in their own words. If you see some words you hadn’t considered, try considering targeting them. Users are the ones typing into a search bar and they type in the words they think are relevant. Match them.
    5. Describe what you actually do. 
      High volume keywords are competitive and highly volatile. That makes them difficult to handle and there’s often a lot of moolah and featuring involved in getting ranked for them. While high volume keywords can be an enticing mistress, don’t let them. You’re better off being a big fish in a small pond this time. And that means matching your keywords to your app’s functionality. 

    That’s it. Keywords are simple. Maybe, maybe not. But at the very least the path you need to take is a clear one.

    The Corona Effect

    The world is going through something. All of us. As we sit alone in our houses and keep to ourselves, we (well, they, I don’t actually) watch the markets and ponder our fate. For some, it is (and will be) a rough ride. For a few lucky others, it’s been a goldmine. 

    1. Zoom is fully moving into verb territory. Zoom Cloud Meetings topped the free charts ahead of Facebook Messenger, Tiktok, and Netflix. With the corporate world going remote seemingly overnight, some apps were just at the right place and the right time. Italians seem to prefer Skype though.
    2. It seems Apple is reemphasizing tools that better help people work remotely. Some business tools that only work in a physical, three-dimensional space have seen major hits to their rankings dropping tens of points. 
    3. Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Reddit, Twitter, Youtube. Spot anyone missing? Apple is. That is a line-up of the tech giants who banded together and wrote a thing. The thing they wrote was about how they’re working together to prevent the spread, not of the virus itself, but of the misinformation surrounding the coronavirus. They’ll also work with government health departments to share critical updates. Such good guys. 
    4. Some industries have been hit worse than others and recovery will be slow. But depending on your agility, you can beat the slump and adjust to changing restrictions and habits. Food & Drink apps in China took an understandable dip on the 2nd of January. But KFC and Starbucks quickly upped the ante when they started allowing mobile pick up orders.
    Stay Ahead of the (Flattening) ASO Curve - 1

    There’s a new normal happening and we need to put our heads down and do our jobs. Just as before. Just as we always have. 

    The times they are a-changin’ and I, for one, am eager to see what the next chapter holds.

    About Kim Feldman
    With a BA in Economics and Drama from the University of Cape Town and Honours Degree in Theatre Directing, Kim left it all behind to join the world of advertising before jumping ship to marketing. A recovering technophobe, she has now found a new home making sense of all things data, mobile, and hi-tech. At work, they call her the Content Marketing Writer but she’ll always be a copywriter at heart.

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