App Store Optimization Cheat Sheet

So you’ve developed a mobile app, excellent, but what next?

There are more than 4 million apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and this number will only increase with the coming years. While each app is exclusive to the developer, only a few get the deserved recognition from users. To be precise, the fate of your app after its development depends on how many users download and use it. According to research, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches, so it is highly essential to optimize your app for the app store.

Here are some best practices to get more app downloads and to increase your rankings in the app store.

The App’s Name should be creative and informative

No, naming your app after you or your business won’t work well. A good idea would be to choose two to three keywords and using at least one of them in the title of your app. According to data, apps with keywords in the title rank 10.3 per cent higher than those without a keyword in the title. This way, your app will show easily in the search results. However, make sure that you don’t make the app name look like a spam by overstuffing keywords. The title needs to be short because that’s what users can read in a single screen. Obviously, you don’t want your title to get cut.  Titles are usually cut after the 23rd character (including spaces) in the App Store and the 30th character in Google Play. The first thing that the users see about your app is the name and icon. This is the first and the best chance to impress your users. Therefore, be cautious and creative when thinking of a name for your app.

Always include a description

Most of the times, users may need an app for some particular function, but they may not be sure which, app to download for the same. In such cases, the description option in the app store comes in handy. Reading the description of the app will help the users know what your app does, and it will also decrease the chances of uninstalls as the users know about the app well before downloading it.

SB1

Make sure the description is precise and concise and brings out what the app does exactly. Use bullet points wherever required and avoid dense paragraphs.

Also, read our blog on “10 Free Apps for Productivity, Social Media & SEO.

Have an original app icon

As we said before, an app icon and the app’s name are the ones that catch your users’ eyes easily. Make sure that your app’s icon is designed from scratch. Also, do not make it too elaborate or complicated. Keep it simple, unique, and attractive and make sure the icon breaks through the clutter. Do remember that the play store and the App Store have both varying standards in terms of size, geometry, and color scheme of app icons, so design the icons accordingly. The iOS icons should be sized to at least 1024×1024 pixels and the Google Play requires a 512×512 icon.

Use Screenshots tactfully

Have you noticed those screenshots that are shown in the app store when you check out an app? Well, that’s your next chance to capture the attention of your potential app users. To make a visitor download your app, you must place screenshots tactfully in this section. You can upload up to five screenshots for an iOS app and eight for an Android one, however, only two or three screenshots will appear in the gallery when the page loads. Only use screenshots that will differentiate your app from other similar apps.  For the best results, you could A/B test various screenshots to see, which drives the most downloads. Read our blog on “How Design Can Help Tell a Brand Story.

Update your app regularly

Like any other software, your mobile apps will also need regular updates and upgrades. If you launch your app and forget it, your users will download it and forget or uninstall it. Release periodical updates with relevant release notes explaining what’s new in the update.

Encourage your users to review and rate you

You don’t have to urge them to review or rate you with pop-ups every other minute, but gently nudge your users to rate your app. This will always help in increasing your views. Furthermore, do not ignore negative reviews, but pay attention to what was wrong in the users’ experience and try to fix it. The apps with high ratings are all ones that keep their audience engaged and take customer feedback positively. You can also make use of influencer marketing to get your app reviewed by top digital influencers.

Price it right

If your app is something that needs to be bought, set a competitive pricing. Instead of making your app more expensive than other similar apps, set a nominal price and improvise on making your app the best in the category. If your app is free, then add it to the in-app purchases category to improve its listing and visibility.

Make your app language and device compatible

When your app is available in various languages and is compatible with different OS versions, it is bound to get more view and reach than an app released only for one OS and in English. Both the iOS and the Play store allow you to localize your listings to make discovering your app easier for customers in other countries.

We hope by now you have understood the various best practices that must be followed to improve your app download. Comment below some of the other tips that you would like to add to our app store optimisation cheat sheet.

8 Digital Marketing Trends to expect in 2017

With another year gone by, new technology, tools, and trends have emerged in digital marketing. Keeping this in mind, we have put together eight key trends that we think would be ones to watch out for in 2017.

Mobile UX will be a key focus area

With 90% of mobile usage on FB and more than half of the searches happening via mobile, its already a focus area. We are going to see brands invest a lot more in the mobile user experience, especially when it comes to speed. Google has already launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles feature, both of which is going to expand their reach in 2017. Google is also pushing the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) framework to enable websites to give theirs user an app like experience via the browser. Even social media engagement via mobile is going to change with brands adapting to how they can get more engagement on mobile devices.

Less is more when it comes to content

Brands often believed that more content is always better, but with millions of content pieces and social media posts going out every day, the opposite is true. 2017 is going to see a sharp trend towards brands focusing on high value content, which is engaging and far more personalised. With voice search growing in scale (currently at 20% of mobile searches in USA) many of our digital activities are going to be conversation. Even more a reason why content needs to be unique and stand out from the competition. Google also tends to pick more structured and details content for their “Answer Box”, which comes above the regular search results.

Everyone can run digital marketing at scale with automation and machine learning

With automation and machine learning playing a large role in advertising this year will see even smaller brands adapting programmatic advertising. With platforms like Double Click for Google as well as Power Editor for Facebook, a lot of elements will get automated. Google has also launched responsive display advertising allowing for brands to run ads of multiple sizes without having a design team. YouTube is also soon launching a feature to allow for automated product showcase below videos, wherein machine learning would determine which product it is, rather than the brand manually having to tag which videos showcase their products.

Regional language content will grow multi-fold in adoption

The last time Google reported data on this, it showcased that Hindi content was growing faster than English content and this is likely to grow even further in 2017. With Netflix, Amazon Prime and others spearheading the video content in multiple languages, we are also going to see written and visual content growing in regional languages, especially Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali. Facebook has also launched an auto-translate feature for all the Brand Pages – though nascent it is bound to improve this year.

Even small brands will leverage the video medium

Building the brand is key and what better way than videos? Its never been easier to create videos with the help of free and low cost tools. As per statistics by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Facebook has made it even easier with its Facebook Live feature, which is a very engaging tool, especially for the entertainment, fashion and hospitality industries.

Attribution will continue to be grey area

Especially for online/offline the attribution will continue to be a grey area. While there have been many initiatives launched and many in the pipeline, most restaurants, retailers and offline stores find it difficult to attribute walk ins and business results to the digital medium. Facebook and Google Maps have been improving their proximity data to understand if users are at a specific location and encourage them to review the location. Google is also in early stage testing of beacons to allow for better attribution but it’s still 1.5 – 2 years away from mass adoption.

Consolidation in the social media networks

Brands have always found it difficult to be active on multiple social media networks and we do expect some consolidation. Twitter has been in talks of selling out and even growth of Snapchat has not increased. As platforms evolve and mature, we will see brands also focusing on select platforms that make sense – usually a maximum of 2-3 platforms.

Virtual Reality will not take us over by storm, just yet

There has been a lot of talk around virtual reality devices, including the launch of the DayDream by Google. While the experience it provides is phenomenal, it is not going to be main stream yet. While the cost of devices is getting lower, the adoption of these rather bulky devices is still limited to a select few tech savvy individuals at least in India.

The article was originally published at Business Standard

The Ultimate Guide on How to Advertise on YouTube

Consumers are spoilt for choices across multi-devices and multi-channels, thus making sales competitive for marketers. As consumers become more and more digitally sound, marketers constantly feel the need to evolve and source new ways to reach their relevant audience to drive long-term online sales. This has lead marketers to venture out and capitalise on brand and product videos along with text and display ads. Here is an ultimate guide on how to advertise on YouTube, types of ad formats, the best way to optimise and measure results for your campaigns.

Why it’s time for every brand to experiment with video content?

Videos are entertaining, engaging and help increase customer retention. Do see our guide on videos can help in content marketing and in engaging with your customers.

As per Google, there are only two things users do more than watch video: sleep & work. Every day, people spend hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. Users consume videos to feel the rush, laugh, connect and learn. The youth, younger generation and savvy users are on YouTube most of the times through their mobiles, thus making this channel the most preferred media mix on the go. Studies also claim, 42% use YouTube for pre-purchase research and 64% buy products after watching a video on YouTube, making videos the future of entertainment and online marketing.

Advertise on You Tube, Video Marketing, YouTube Video Ads

Fusion between YouTube and Video Ads

YouTube, being the second largest search engines is a powerful media mix to retain old customers, gain new customers and engage savvy customers through video content.

YouTube is also a community-driven social media channel that values genuine content and meaningful engagement with real people and stories. To get the most out of YouTube, the video content and ads need to build a relationship with YouTube users above and beyond the traditional advertiser-customer relationship.

Since consumers purchase decisions are influenced by the video content, promoting content with advertising messages can make it difficult to increase viewer engagement with the brand.

Videos that are light, fun, humorous, emotional, real and true make it through the consumer’s heart and mind. To know more about how to capitalise on online video and how YouTube can play a bigger role, get hooked on this blog for some more time. Do have a look at some of our work with the Murugappa Madras Song to get a sense of it.

Be Spoiled for Choice – Multiple Video Ad Formats on YouTube

To advertise on YouTube, there are several video ad formats and each offers a unique opportunity to attract consumers and achieve goals. Before making an ad, it is prudent to have a clear marketing goal and know the audience to reach them in the most cost effective way.

The Ad formats include: –

True View In-Stream Ads – Skippable Video Ads

Skippable ads are designed to capture the attention of the relevant audience in the first five seconds of the video. After five seconds, the audiences are given a skip button, to skip the ad and continue watching their initially selected video. These are an excellent way to increase visibility on a Cost Per View as YouTube charges only after the ad is watched for 30 seconds and more. Skippable YouTube Ads appear on YouTube watch pages right before, during and after other videos and to top it all, gives free visibility for first few seconds. These ads contain a call-to-action button that often links to a landing page.

You Tube True View Skippable Ads

Skippable ads work best for branding and often have a lower conversion rate. Although these ads are best for people who view similar content on YouTube, avoid targeting by keywords as this could significantly limit the frequency of the ads. To keep viewers from skipping the ads, create an engaging video that can grab the viewer by their collar within the first five seconds.

True View In-Stream Ads – Non- Skippable Video Ads

They are similar to In-Stream Video Ads, but viewers do not have the option to skip the ads. The ads usually play for 15 – 20 seconds and up to 30 seconds. Non-Skippable YouTube Ads also appear on YouTube watch pages right before, during and after other videos and viewers have to view the entire advertisement. They work best when videos are short, simple and showcase good offers.

You Tube True View Non-Skippable Ads

Bumper Ads

Bumper Ad formats are designed to increase brand awareness and impressions and reach a wider audience. They are usually non-skippable short video format of six seconds or shorter and plays before, during or after another video. Advertisers are charged on impressions (cost-per-thousand-impressions).

You Tube True View Bumper Ads

True View Discovery Ads / In-Display Ads

These ads appear at the top right of the YouTube search results page and to the right of the feature videos. They also appear below the player (for larger players) and are meant to capture the attention of the viewers while watching other videos. They blend with organic listings. They have a thumbnail image with a short text, and the advertisers are charged when the viewer chooses to click the thumbnail and watch the ad.

You Tube True View In-Display Ads

The images on the thumbnails make first impressions and need to provoke the viewers to click and watch further. Choose the video still that highlights the content the best. Also, try and match the image to the content in the promotional text or keywords

Display Ads are best suited to increase subscribers rather than directing them to the landing page.

YouTube In-Video Overlay Ads

As the name suggests, these ads are semi-transparent and appear on the lower 20% portion of the watch video space on YouTube. Link the call-to-action to the relevant landing pages as these ads have a higher chance of lead conversion.

You Tube True View Overlay Ads

With these ad formats, advertisers can advertise their ad inside the videos of their competitors. Overlay ads work well as they get more views without causing interruptions.

Video Optimisation & Best Practices for Video Ads

Try these tips to optimise your YouTube Videos and keep your viewers engaged for long: –

Link AdWords account and YouTube channel

Link AdWords and YouTube to allow both the networks to work together and provide deeper insights like click and engagement performance, reach and frequency, video viewership and other advanced data and reports.

Try the KISS theory – keep it (the video ad) short and simple

Hook viewers in 5 seconds. Create an engaging video content to elevate your customer’s video experience to get more viewer engagement.

Clearly, communicate the brand/service and provide a strong call-to-action button to guide the viewers to the next process i.e. make a purchase, visit a landing page, subscribe, like, share, comment and so on. Having a clear call-to-action within the ad helps direct traffic from the ads to your YouTube brands channel or website with additional video content

Deliver the most relevant message when the video begins, so the audience gets the crux of the video content, in case viewers plan to skip the ads after five seconds.

Use the remarketing list to define the audience

The demographics and other details help to create venturing into a new platform.

Creation of relevant playlists based on search

YouTube uses playtime or watchtime a factor in the algorithm to suggest videos and creating playlists can be used to boost the overall playtime for your videos. When the next video automatically starts playing at the end of the first video, there is a higher probability of keeping the viewer longer on your page.

Use Call-to-Action for subscription in the video to enable more channel subscribers & engagement

YouTube has a feature to Create “Subscription Links” that asks the visitors who click on the link to subscribe to the channel before playing the video. This can help gain more subscribers for the channel, thereby boosting the long-term reach & engagement. This Is How Many Brands Have Grown Their Subscriber Base.

Be open to comments from the viewers

As they say, any publicity is good publicity. While you receive comments and critics, it is also important to respond to the viewers.

Targeting and reaching the right audience for the content

YouTube has a potential to reach a vast audience. YouTube is the world’s second most-used search engine and the third most visited site after Google and Facebook. It has a total of 1.3 billion users and 300 hours of new video is uploaded every minute.

By Targeting video ads on YouTube, advertisers can reach relevant customers at the spur of the moment, just when they are interested in a particular product or service. YouTube’s varieties of targeting options help reach the right customers when it matters.

Advertise on YouTube, Video Marketing, YouTube Video Ads

Advertisers can use contextual placements to show ads on specific videos, channels or websites – places that attract audiences with high conversion potential. Advertisers can also target by keywords, interests, placements, remarketing lists, location and demographics – age, gender, and parental status.

Advertisers can also place their ads on your competitors’ videos and steal leads from right under their noses.

It is not only the volume of users that make advertising on YouTube so interesting, but also the nature of the platform and how audience interact with videos and the brands.

Cost of Video Advertising

The cost of making the video depends on the subject, message, length of the video, the kind of the video and depends on from one brand to another. Here is a guide on how your brand can create low cost videos. But advertising on video can be completely controlled and measured. An advertiser can spend as per his/her convenience and only pays when someone engages with the video ad or watches the video for 30 seconds and more. There are also other ways to optimise your Adwords and YouTube campaigns.

Tracking & Measuring Results

YouTube’s easy to use in-built analytics helps advertisers monitor the performance of the video ads and channels. Data’s like demographics, watch time and traffic sources help the advertisers to optimise the campaigns further. Advertisers can make adjustments to the ads at any time and also are free to run multiple ads at once to see which works best.

Google AdWords also provides certain key metrics to analyse the ad performances in detail. Want to increase leads and multiply your revenue? Log into AdWords account, click on the add new campaigns, select online video and start creating your campaigns. Remember the call-to-action button must make viewers click the ads and optimising the video ads is the key to better results.

Get started and leave comments in case you have any queries.

13 Ways to leverage Local SEO and Google Maps for your Business

When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing for your business, one must pay attention to things beyond just the website, especially if you own a local business. In the past couple of years, digital marketers have gradually understood the importance of strong online marketing efforts that include local SEO and Google Maps (or Google My Business) as well. Read our blog on Demystifying the Basics of Search Engine Optimization if you are getting started on this for the first time.

If you think it’s enough to just optimise your website to perfection, then you are on the wrong path. Since July 2014, Google uses an algorithm called Pigeon. This is one of the Google’s local search algorithm updates. The aim of this algorithm is to increase the ranking of local listings in a search.

The changes in the ranking made by this algorithm are also shown in the Google Maps’ results. In other terms, when a person searches for a particular kind of business in a locality, the results will be based on user location and the listing available in the local directory.

For example, if you are searching for Spas in Chennai on Google, the search result will be like this:

spas in chennai - 1

Even before the pages are ranked, there will be three map listings. The map listing will also have a toggle button – “More Places” that allows you to check for more map listings. Similarly, another search result for “Bakeries in Egmore” shows this result:

bakeries egmore - 2

When a person searches for “bakeries, Egmore” in the query box, he gets a result where there are three map listings and 5+ organic listings. So, even if you have the best website, it might be there at the 8th or ninth position. How many users would scroll down all the way through 8 or more entries to click on the actual website?

The amount of people who will reach until the end of the page will definitely be lesser than the ones who would click directly on the map listing or any organic listing. Hence, you must constantly watch these listings and optimise your presence in the map and directory sites. The 3-pack map listings by Google can be a marketing game-changer for your business for these have a highly-valuable exposure, thus generating quality traffic and new customers.

Here are some of the best practices that you must follow to implement a successful Google Maps Marketing and Local SEO strategy.

1. It’s is important to maintain a physical address for your business

No matter whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is important to maintain a local address for your company. This is important to rank in the Google local 3-pack map listing. Also, having a local address is an important search engine factor for local SEO. Google has reported that there is an increase in queries containing “near me” – for e.g.  restaurants near me or salons near me. The distance from the location of the user is critical in these searches. This is why adding the locality name after the name of your business can help in ranking.

2. Set up and maintain a Google My Business Account

Your Google My Business (GMB) account plays a major role in Google Maps Marketing and local SEO. In fact, your GMB determines and has an effect on your online presence in Google Maps, Search, and G+.

Google My Business offers a simple and easy way for you to create a listing for your business. You can also claim an existing one. You must just make sure that all the information listed in your GMB page is accurate and complete. Adding pictures of your business along with videos (especially 360-degree videos) and the opening date of the business can also help your business gain greater visibility. It’s also important to choose the most appropriate primary and secondary categories to list your business under. This can have a direct impact on what kind searches you show up for.

3. Optimise your business description

Building an effective GMB listing doesn’t just end at creating a listing. There are several features you can implement on your GMB listing to ensure it delivers good results. Your GMB profile should have unique content that has all the information your customers might require. Clickable phone numbers are important as they make it very easy for your customers to contact you. Another way to help your customers get in touch with you is by enabling the messaging option whenever possible. Your store hours (opening and closing hours) should also be included as priority information. If you have special timings for certain days (like weekends or public holidays), make sure you specify those as well.

4. Concentrate on your business’ NAP

Your business’ NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number should be consistent in both your GMB page as well as on your website. Also, make sure that your business’ NAP appears exactly the same across the web on third-party websites, directory listings, and social media profiles. These citations, i.e. your company’s NAP in other websites and listings, determine the legitimacy of your business and its beneficial if your NAP is available in various websites.

5. Have a separate web page for each of your products or services

Your business might have multiple products or services. Dedicating a separate web page for each and every type of product and service can help in optimising every page. In other words, instead of over-optimising a single page with a lot of keywords, you can optimise each page of your website with the relevant set of keywords around a theme. It doesn’t mean you need to have a page for every keyword, but make sure each type of product/service and each service area (i.e. locations) are covered.

6. Make sure the website URL contains the target keyword

Adding your website URL to your Google Maps listing can be an effective way to direct traffic to your page. However, your goal shouldn’t be to just generate higher traffic, but relevant traffic as well. One of the best ways to do this is by adding the focus keyword (the keyword you are targeting through your listing) on the web page that your listing directs traffic to. This can help you rank for relevant keywords and provide real value to your consumers.

7. Build an effective schema markup

A schema markup helps optimise your listing for search engines. It helps search engines understand what your business is about by speaking in their language. Luckily, it takes minimal effort to structure your listing based on schema markup. There are many tools such as Microdata Generator where you can simply enter your details and they will automatically generate a code which you can then paste in your website’s back-end.

8. Create mindful citations

Be it a citation in Zomato for your business or a mention on another website, you must make sure that the mentions are made sensibly. If you can build citations in trustworthy websites and good listing directories, you can increase the value of your local SEO significantly. Do also check out our infographic on 21 SEO Link Building Techniques.

Some of the things that you need to keep in mind while creating or building citations are:

  • Make sure that any citations about your business in 100% accurate, especially the NAP.
  • Remove or place a request to remove any duplicate listings in listing directories.
  • Try to build mentions in websites that are relevant to your industries.

9. Work towards generating Google Reviews (of course, positive ones)

Reviews in Google Places are a crucial ranking factor for the search engine. Having good reviews in Google will definitely assist you in being listed in the Google 3-pack map listings. You can ask your customers to leave a review. Alternatively, you can also offer incentives or discounts on next purchase for customers who review your service or product on Google. Even reviews from social media channels are now displayed on Google. You may also find it interesting to read our blog on Why Social Media Matters for SEO?. It is important to remember, however, that you shouldn’t add to many reviews at the same time because this can appear suspicious.

10. Embed Google Maps on your site

You should embed the Google Map of your business’ location on your website in the “contact us” page. This technique is a proven way to boost the SEO value of your website. This needs to be combined with Local Schema to give Google complete visibility on what kind of business is being run.

11. Make sure your website & blog are super fast

In recent times there has been a lot of talk on website speed and implementation of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure that experience on mobile and desktop is fantastic. This is critical even for a local business because blog content focussed on your city or location of business can be crucial in attracting the right audience. For example, one of our most popular blogs is on marketing events in Bangalore and we created this to target marketing professionals in the city when we first launched our services there.

marketing events in bangalore -3

12. Update your GMB posts regularly

Google allows you to add posts on your GMB listing which will show up along with the rest of your description. As these posts have a Call-to-Action button, it can be an important tool to drive traffic to your website. GMB posts can also be used to promote special offers, events and product details. Since these posts automatically expire within 7 days, it’s important that you continuously update them.

13. Build a brand

Google and other search engines are starting to not only reward content that is customised to users (in this case content can be customised to a local audience) and they continue to show preference for sites and brands that users already know of. Hence its critical to keep track of how many users are searching for your brand (Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help with that) and not just for the product & service that you are offering.

Many business owners have found Google Maps and Local SEO marketing to be intensely helpful and beneficial for their businesses. Have you started applying these best practices? Let us know in the comments below.

[wpsp]