The marketing industry has always relied on data and statistics in order to prosper. Marketers have become accustomed to the power of measuring every junction in the marketing funnel in order to grow, yet as the world shifted its media consumption habits to mobile, the most important link in the funnel had become a black box, preventing fully optimized conversion rates.

To shed some light on that part of the funnel, we’ll share some app store statistics and best practices based on more than 500M sessions and 4+ years of analyzing the leading developers cross-industry (Google, Facebook, Uber, Zynga, Vinted, WB, HBO, EA and more) to help you regain control of your marketing funnel.

 

The Role of the App Store

The app store is the last and most crucial point of decision in your app marketing funnel. No matter which channel your visitors come from (cross promotion, organic search, paid campaigns, or social media) they all land on a single app store and make their decision to bounce or install.

Understanding their decision making process and the reasoning behind their actions enables developers to customize their app store messaging, design and layout towards the target audience.

App Store Traffic Sources

Getting to Know your Visitor Flow

The creatives you use in the First Impression determine how many visitors will fall into each category (Decisive or Explorer).

A good app store page is one that has high install conversion rates for both groups.

App Store Visitor Behavior

The app store user journey


TIP #1: A good First Impression will increase conversions by 35%

Test your First Impression creative to:

1. Maximize Decisive install rates
2. Increase Explore rates
3. Convince more Explorers to install

First Impression Frame: Apple App Store vs Google Play Store

60% of your visitors won’t scroll beyond your First Impression
50% of your installers make their decision based on the First Impression only
Tell users what your app does in under 3 seconds
Test screenshots, icons and text to find the optimal combination

 

Make sure to convey your strongest message in the First Impression

Different approaches for the app store First Impression

Customize your First Impression to align with audience expectation

 

TIP #2: Use different creatives on Google Play and the App Store

Although the new Google Play Store design now looks more similar to the App Store, they are fundamentally different platforms, and they should be treated as such in the area of ASO. This is because:

  • The overall design of the stores are still not the same (e.g., no autoplay feature on Google Play videos, image resolutions are different, etcetera)
  • Developers often drive different traffic to each store (i.e., different sources, campaigns, and ad banners)
  • Different apps are popular in each platform so competition varies
  • The user base for Google is not the same as iOS—user mindsets and preferences are different.

Testing separately on both app stores will help you identify which messaging and designs work best on one platform compared to another. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to app store marketing, and we’ve seen instances in which using the same creatives on both platforms led to a 20%-30% decrease in installs on iOS.

Different Stores, Different Strategies


TIP #3: Different app store layouts require special attention

Every change to the First Impression must get extra focus, which is why you should wisely choose Gallery orientation when designing your creatives. You can use portrait-oriented assets, landscape-oriented assets, or a mix of both. Each of the orientations comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but there are a few givens.

Screenshot Gallery Orientation

When using landscape Screenshots, you showcase one main message in each frame since landscape assets take up the full width of your Product Page. With portrait Screenshots, you’re able to display multiple messages in each frame since more than one asset is visible.

Based on our analyses, apps are more likely to showcase portrait Screenshots because a majority of apps don’t support horizontal use or functionality. Games, on the other hand, have a wider mix of Gallery orientations since there’s more variety in the way they’re played. For more information on how Gallery orientation impacts your iOS App Store Product Page, you can check out our detailed infographic.

 


TIP #4: An app video can increase install rates by more than 25%

Adding a video increases Exploring behavior and reduces Decisive behavior. Visitors who watch the video are 3x more likely to install. In iOS, your App Preview Video is on autoplay, which means a majority of visitors are now exposed to it. Use our 5 tips for a better performing Video to make sure it captures quality installs.

How many of the top 50 iOS apps are using video?

App store statistics for the use in app video for the top 100 apps

Ingredients for a great app store video

Come Out Strong
Starting with your most convincing message is key to drawing more engagement and increasing the install rate of users that choose to watch your video.
Sound
Engage visitors with subtitles, callouts and timed transition screens that contextualize the rich visual experience without depending on sound.
Length
Keep it short. Every 5 seconds, 10% of your video watchers will drop.
Localization
Bear in mind that Apple doesn’t allow customizing App Previews per geo. Make sure to test the effect of the video on each geo.

TIP #5: Design your Poster Frame to act as a standalone screenshotApp Store Poster Frame

The Poster Frame is your Video thumbnail, which plays a dual role for both Decisive Visitors and Exploring Visitors. The Poster Frame should be an important creative consideration as you begin to build your Video since it is taken directly from your Video assets. You should make sure no important text or visuals are hidden under the play button, and it should aesthetically and effectively convey your best app USP.


TIP #6: Encourage Explorers to continue scrolling along your gallery

  • App Store: The Gallery is above the fold and takes up the most significant real estate of the page. The gallery may include up to 10 screenshots.
  • Google Play: Gallery is now above the fold, thanks to Google’s Play Store design update, so scroll rates are now much higher than before the update and the Gallery is a much more significant aspect of the First Impression Frame. The Gallery may include up to 8 screenshots.

Learn how to design and run better Screenshot tests using best practices from our guide.

Panoramic Screenshot Gallery

Another design consideration is to implement a Panoramic Gallery that extends across multiple Screenshots. This can be used to encourage additional exploration from visitors. For best practices on designing a Panoramic Gallery for iOS, read this. For best practices on designing a Panoramic Gallery for Google Play, read this.


TIP #7: Localize your app store content. It’s your lowest hanging fruit.

Same language – different affinities
Many countries share the same language, creating the illusion they can be treated as one unit in marketing terms. But that is not the case. For example, countless tests of ours have shown that the UK generally has different winning variations than the US. If your app is available globally, you should expand its reach through localization.

Localized App Store

Localizing stores is one thing. Culturalizing them is a whole other story.

  • Localization = translating the text to different languages
  • Culturalization = creating a custom store with creatives and messaging that relate to each country’s culture and jargon

Culturalized App Stores

We’ve found that in tests we have run that included both a translated app store variation and a culturalized app store variation, the culturalized variation won. This goes to show that there is an even higher CVR potential for culturalizing app stores. Read more about our best practices for localizing and culturalizing your app store here.


TIP #8: Markets behave differently

Often has higher explore rates than most regions and is almost 2x higher than UK. US visitors are more likely to scroll the gallery than other regions
In more than 50% of tests, the winner in the UK was different than the winner in the US
iPhone owners often prefer English over local Portuguese
Favors images with locals. Well crafted tests can increase conversions by 80%
Dramatically different behavior than any other region. Accustomed to heavy text images and reading descriptions (200% increase from US benchmark)

 


TIP #9: Refresh your creatives frequently; aim for once a month

The users you’re targeting today are not the users you’re targeting next month.

Continuously fighting CVR decrease

Developers continuously test their titles on the App Store and Google Play.
They test each element of the page (icons, video, screenshots) multiple times.

Increase in-app install conversion rates over time


TIP #10: People only read the first line of your description. Make it count.

The description is meant to provide your audience with highlights of the features and functionality of your app. It also plays a significant role in Keyword Optimization.

Both platforms require adding a description of the app and divide it into a Short Description (80 characters for Google Play and first 3 lines for Apple) and Extended Description (limited to 4000 characters in total for both platforms). With the iOS 12 update, you can now include emojis in your App Store description. Please note, though, that when using a Portrait Gallery on iOS, your Description may be pushed below the fold.

 

Top Recurring Tests

1. Screenshot Messaging & Design

2. Icons

3. Localization

4. Video Poster Frame

5. App Video

1. Screenshot Messaging & Design

2. Localization

3. Icon

4. App Video