The amount of downloaded apps from the Google Play store doubled downloads from Apple’s App Store in 2015, according to app metrics company App Annie.
However, the App Store still generated 75 percent more revenue, pulling in a healthy $1 billion in December alone, according to a Sensor Tower report.
As these numbers indicate, app downloads are big business, but only if you know how to market them. If you are working in specific niches, like finance, banking and wealth management, there are specific ways to optimize mobile apps for banks.
Here are five ways to get more downloads and your share of the growing app market.
Your app name, keywords and developer name correspond to what would be considered on-page optimization factors in SEO terminology, and user ratings, reviews and number of downloads correspond to off-page optimization.
Your choice of your app name affects both your branding and your ASO, making it one of the most crucial factors for effective marketing.
A catchy name is good, but titles that include relevant keywords average 10 percent more downloads, according to MobileDevHQ.
Your app name can be up to 255 characters long, but iPhone users only see the first 35 characters, so lead with your keywords.
However, as with SEO, avoid artificial-sounding keyword stuffing.
2. Create a Promotional Graphic and Video
Graphics and video play an important role in promoting your app.
The App Store lets you include screenshot images and Google Play lets you display video.
Select images and videos that show off your app in action. Host your video on YouTube and display it on your Google Play page.
You also should embed your YouTube video on other sites and share it on social media.
3. Drive Traffic to Your App Store Page
Get the most out of your promotional video and app download page by creating a website to drive traffic to your download link.
The site can be a standalone microsite or it can be a dedicated page on a larger website that you use for other purposes.
Balasa says it is best used in short bursts after you’re already getting a decent download rate from other methods because it gives your app a temporary push into the top 50 on Google Play and the App Store.
Leadbolt and Tapjoy are a couple of ad networks that specialize in CPI.
5. Extend Free and Discount Offers
Balasa also recommends offering your app for free or for a discount for a limited period to accelerate your downloads.
Use this technique in conjunction with a CPI ad campaign to strengthen your CPI offer.
To promote your discount, use apps that are similar to daily deal services, such as AppGratis.
It’s a process that’s just as important as optimizing a website for prime placement in keyword-targeted search results.
With millions of mobile apps competing for the same set of users, on just two major platforms (Amazon is “tiny” in comparison), the difference between a bank that finds its app in the hands of consumers and one that languishes at the bottom of app store rankings can be traced directly back to the preparation and planning for app store optimization.
Below are essential “store” optimization strategies and procedures that need to be addressed before and during the app development, which also include submissions and finally, getting listed on Google Play and the Apple App Store (iTunes).
Before listing a new banking app for listing and subsequent download and installtion, there are nine ASO steps that must be taken.
Here’s the process to follow:
1. Conduct Market Research
One of the biggest mistake that app developers make when creating a new banking application is that they don’t conduct market research.
Many developers assume that their app is the solution to a long-held customer problem, and that the sheer amount of demand for mobile banking services will help the app be discovered and routinely downloaded by the bank’s customers.
This is simply not correct.
Today, mobile apps must be thoroughly researched so that they can be effectively optimized and marketed after development is complete.
What does this mean?
Target the appropriate customer language and location.
Research the app keywords used by competitors in the industry.
Search for banking apps as a customer would and examine the results.
Consider the size of the competition and the prominence of their keywords: Can those keywords be effectively targeted by this new app?
What are the pros and cons of targeted obvious, or less obvious, keywords in each of the app stores?
By working through this list of key questions and considerations, it becomes easier to focus on what the app does, who the app works for, and who will find the app in a particular search.
This will help to create a blueprint for app store optimization practices that will give the bank a head start in reaching its target market.
2. Choose the Right Keywords
Choosing the right keywords can be an intimidating process for developers and banking executives who have never given them a thought before.
When it comes to making optimizing bank apps, however, there are a few places to start.
First and foremost, keywords should always be localized.
Does the bank serve only a certain city?
A smaller geographic region of the country? If so, that local area is a key addition to the keywords.
Everyone searches for “mobile banking,” but how many customers search for “Cincinnati mobile banking” or “Ohio bank app?” or even “mobile deposit app” (broader).
By localizing a keyword, and targeting phrases that customers often use to find bank applications on Google Play and the Apple App Store, two goals are accomplished.
First, the application is associated with a local identity that makes it easier to discover in its target market.
Second, the bank is competing among localized keywords. It’s easier to “win” search results and appear at the top of those results because there simply is less competition in a narrow geographic area.
FACT: Over half of the discovery of new mobile apps are done via SEARCH.
3. Pick a Relevant App Name
In a bygone era, apps might simply be called “Mobile Banking” or “Mobile Accounts.”
That era is bygone for a reason: It was simply too hard for a customer search to find the right application for their financial needs.
In the modern era of ASO, the appropriate approach is to pick an app name that is inclusive of targeted keywords.
Both the Apple and Google app stores allow developers to submit an app with a short name for display on the home screen, and a longer name that is used for search discovery.
Leverage these two app names carefully.
The short name should include the bank’s name and a one-word description of what the application does.
The longer name should use a few words to describe what the app does with keywords.
A bank in Philadelphia might use the following title: “My Bank Accounts – a Delaware Valley mobile banking, check deposit, and payments app for [Bank].”
Good keywords are localized, relevant, and descriptive, whether they’re being used for SEO or ASO.
4. Create a Compelling App Icon
A plain white icon with a dollar sign is probably a terrible way to optimize an app for easy discovery.
Instead, paint with a colorful brush, get creative and make the bank’s logo front and center.
The icon is one of the first things people look at.
In fact, many people choose their banking apps based solely on the icon.
The most important job a bank has is to drive merchant loyalty and CRM. Provide this from a visual point of view as well.
With color and a centrally placed logo, trust and relevance are established at first glance.
5. Include Screenshots or Videos of the Most Important Features
Customers have found the app that they believe works with their bank’s accounts and features.
That’s a strong first step in the world of app store optimization.
Showing that the app is not only relevant, but also useful.
That type of information is conveyed visually by inserting a few key screenshots.
First, they fix key bugs and increase the number of positive reviews written by customers.
Second, they help the app stay in the “recently updated” category on both the Google and Apple app stores.
This increases “clicks,” or taps, and can help boost both relevance and download rates over time.
9. Take App Promotion Beyond the Walled Garden of the App Store
The App Store can’t do all the heavy lifting required when promoting a new banking app.
It’s important to think outside the walled garden of the app store and do a little promotion on the bank’s website and at its retail locations, if they exist.
Use these opportunities to show a screenshot of the application, describe its key features, and provide a QR code that will allow mobile device users to go directly to the app store listing for a quick download.
These are the 9 Key Ways to Boost App Store Relevance.
An application won’t promote itself.
Instead, developers and banking professionals need to take time to perform market research, create keyword and marketing strategies, and give their app a solid introduction to the world when it’s first listed for download.
That includes a competitive analysis and complete technological and marketing audit, including fully understanding customers and their needs.
A strong start will help create momentum, drive keyword relevance, and push the app toward the top of search results.
Of all the ways to connect to the Internet today, there is one way that our children will not understand — fuzzy static followed by the obnoxious series of siren noises that made connecting to dial-up possible. This sound was replaced long ago, first by DSL, then by cable, wireless and now, mobile Internet.
Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center reported that 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and many of those people rely on their smartphones to connect to the Internet. Take your business to today’s customers with smart, mobile marketing strategies.
1. Simplify Customer Decisions
According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, simplifying decisions for the customer is the best way to foster loyalty. Rather than overwhelming the customer with increasingly loud and relentless marketing messages, smart companies help customers make decisions by offering trustworthy information, crafted to the individual needs of the customer.
Herbal Essences does this with its online product guide to shampoos. Its guide allows customers to click through a step-by-step process for selecting shampoo based on personal needs and preferences rather than reading about and choosing from 95 products. For companies like Herbal Essences, faster decisions result in a faster purchases.
2. Design a Responsive Website
In a world of ever-changing screen sizes, your company’s website needs to be adaptable. No more zooming way in on a tiny, desktop version and moving around the site with your finger. No more designing multiple versions of the same site to accommodate the next new iPhone. Today’s successful companies automatically engage with customers on whatever screen is on their laps, in their hands or strapped to their wrists.
Companies like Amazon and ESPN have leveraged their responsive web designs to gracefully deliver more content to more customers in more places. From a designer’s standpoint, this will mean fluid grids, flexible images and media queries that apply CSS rules to the page based on the browser size.
LifeLock capitalizes on the social media platform by posting news and identity protection tips every couple of days, including with each post a direct link to the company’s website with more information about the topic. The company’s bio is simple, visually appealing, and appears directly under the logo on the upper left side of the screen before you scroll down.
4. Make Mobile Payments Possible
Time is money, for you and your customer. And now that customers are increasingly using mobile phones to shop and share information, savvy businesses should make mobile payment possible and convenient.
Look to game-changing apps like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal for inspiration, or to the wildly successful Starbucks app, which integrates mobile payment with a rewards program.
According to Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz as quoted in The Washington Post, this important mobile payment strategy has increased short-term revenue as well as a long-term loyalty.
SoLoMo is on the tip of every savvy marketer’s tongue, and there’s good reason for this. SoLoMo (Social-Local-Mobile) marketing adds local information to search engine results in order to capitalize on the increasing use of mobile devices.
According to data compiled by Monetate:
nearly 90 million (or 78 percent) of the 116 smartphone owners search for retail content on their smartphones every month.
In 2012, these searches influenced over $159 billion worth of sales, and these numbers are only expected to keep growing.
Unexpectedly High Conversion Rates
Online marketers may be depressed to note that most people who are searching for items on their mobile devices do not tend to purchase them while they are on the device. However, these low conversion rates should not make marketers shy away from SoLoMo efforts. Instead, according to MarketingLand.com, they should look more deeply into the statistics.
Within 24 hours of performing a search, 90% of smartphone users make a purchase. Approximately 70% of smartphone users call the business they were searching, and 66% of users actually visited a local store after performing a search. These incredible numbers underscore the huge importance and potential that SoLoMo marketing has.
Geo-Location Technology May Drive Sales
For years, search engines have been targeting users with local content based on their IP addresses. However, this tactic is flawed as many use computers with IP addresses that are registered to addresses thousands of miles away from where they are really located.
By relying on the far superior geo-location technology that is embedded in a smart phone, advertisers can achieve this same feat but with far greater accuracy.
By closing the gap between online searches and brick-and-mortar shops, business owners have the opportunity to reach more clients and garner more sales. Shopkick.com has capitalized on these efforts by sending users coupons the moment they step into a store. According to Mashable.com, these coupons and offers can be sent to potential clients without infringing on their privacy.
The Power of Apps
Although an increasing number of consumers are using their smart phones to research buying decisions, many retailers are not capitalizing on this fact. According to MarketingLand.com, less than half of all retailers have optimized their websites for mobile use. Even fewer retailers have designed apps for their potential clients to use while on their smart phones.
Although building an app may sound superfluous to many business owners, the fact remains that while more than 80 percent of smartphone users spend time using apps, less than 20% of them spend time using their mobile browser.
Enticing Clients with Visual Content
When designing a mobile advertising campaign, advertisers should think carefully about the compelling nature of the visual. Hubspot reports that most Internet users perfer pictures to text, and they are moving more and more toward visual content every day. Facebook users upload nearly 300 million photos daily, an increase of 20% from the number they were uploading in early 2012.
Their uploaded pics garner 53 percent more likes than the average status update.
Is there a way for business owners to capitalize on this trend? Break.com seems to think so. Their funny videos and racy photos with headlines like “The Web’s Most Rockin’ Pic of the day – twins!” and “iPad Saves Man’s Life” have enticed a huge number of people to their site, and according to the Huffington Post, Mobilewalla has ranked their app as the 4th best free IOS app of 2011.
More Than a Passing Fad
Karen Hitchcock, vice president of marketing for SoLoMo Technology says SoLoMo is not a passing fad. She calls it an integral part of a successful marketing campaign and claims it is the perfect way for businesses to connect with their clients in novel ways.
Consumers want personalized experiences, and when you integrate SoLoMo into your marketing, you give them just that.
As the chief responsible person for the growth for your business, there are still too many options for marketing and sales initiatives, it seems.
In most business cases, it becomes overwhelming to think about the strategies, plans, systems and people you will need to employ – just to make it all happen.
As you re-visit your original business plans, work with your executive team and continue to develop new ideas from live white-board sessions, your mind exclaims: “we don’t need any more ideas around here – we just need tactics that work, can be implemented quickly, and that have long term sustainability.”
One of the ideas that seriously may need a deeper review — is the massive expansion and opportunities for Mobile Marketing and mobile technology. The year of mobile is (finally) here.
The evolution of mobile devices to smart phones has changed the marketing playing field.
Because smart phone users have a lot of options when it comes to giving their attention to something. Updating a Facebook status, Tweeting, Angry Birds, etc. When the user receives an email alter on their phone device, chances are they’re receiving a text message, getting a social media update or checking-in to a location.
The trick in the new mobile marketing platform is how to get a person to choose to read your email above other options.