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Lessons in Appstore Optimization from the Amazon Appstore | Mike Hines

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Lessons in Appstore
Optimization
from the Amazon Appstore
Mike Hines
Amazon
A B O U T
Mike Hine s
Amazon Appstore
@MikeFHines
Founder @ 2 Financial Services Startups
Founder @ 2 Software Startups
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Lessons in Appstore Optimization from the Amazon Appstore | Mike Hines

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Delivered at Casual Connect Asia 2017. Over half of your downloads will come from organic sources, so it pays to make sure your listing page on the appstores are working for you as hard as they can. We’ll share data on the impact that the right changes can make, and we’ll show you actual examples of going from not-optimized to optimized assets. Learn how to build a professional product listing page that doesn’t scream ‘newbie’ to your potential customers.

Delivered at Casual Connect Asia 2017. Over half of your downloads will come from organic sources, so it pays to make sure your listing page on the appstores are working for you as hard as they can. We’ll share data on the impact that the right changes can make, and we’ll show you actual examples of going from not-optimized to optimized assets. Learn how to build a professional product listing page that doesn’t scream ‘newbie’ to your potential customers.

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Lessons in Appstore Optimization from the Amazon Appstore | Mike Hines

  1. 1. Lessons in Appstore Optimization from the Amazon Appstore Mike Hines Amazon
  2. 2. A B O U T Mike Hine s Amazon Appstore @MikeFHines Founder @ 2 Financial Services Startups Founder @ 2 Software Startups QA Engineer @ Now Software QA Manager, Product Manager @ Microsoft Evangelist @ Amazon.com Mentor @ GameFounders, Dev Bootcamp Games Judge @Casual Connect Indie Prize, White Nights, and Pocket Gamer Very Big Indie Pitch Speaker @ GDC, GDCE, Casual Connect, Pocket Gamer Connects, AnDevCon, White Nights, CES, PAX Dev, etc…
  3. 3. KEY TOPICS W O R S T P R A C T I C E S T H E D I S C O V E R Y P R O B L E M S H O W C A S E V A L U E
  4. 4. KEY TOPICS W O R S T P R A C T I C E S T H E D I S C O V E R Y P R O B L E M S H O W C A S E V A L U E
  5. 5. WORST PRACTICES
  6. 6. M U D D Y T H E B R A N D M I S L E A D A LITTLE TO IMPLY A CONNECTION S o m e d e v e l o p e r s t r y t o l o o k l i k e a m o r e p o p u l a r g a m e w i t h o u t i n f r i n g i n g o n I P. T h e y u s u a l l y f a i l t o a v o i d i n f r i n g e m e n t .
  7. 7. C E L E B R I T Y L I K E N E S S E S A BIG (FAMOUS) NAME DRAWS A B I G C R O W D I n m o s t c a s e s , y o u m u s t g e t p e r m i s s i o n t o u s e s o m e o n e ’s n a m e o r l i k e n e s s .
  8. 8. Q U I D P R O Q U O B R I B E R Y I S W R O N G , B U T E F F E C T I V E F o r s o m e , i t ’s e a s i e r t o b u y p o s i t i v e r e v i e w s t h a n t o e a r n t h e m .
  9. 9. FA K E F E E D B A C K IF REAL FANS ARE HARD TO F I N D , C H E AT S o m e d e v e l o p e r s s p e n d m o r e e f f o r t o n s c r i p t s a n d b o t s t h a n e a r n i n g r e a l p o s i t i v e r e v i e w s .
  10. 10. I N T E G R I T Y F I R S T SNEAKY TIPS ARE N E V E R W O R T H I T Yo u w i l l g e t c a u g h t . Yo u r a c c o u n t w i l l b e s u s p e n d e d . T h i s i s t h e o p p o s i t e o f w h a t m o s t d e v s w a n t .
  11. 11. KEY TOPICS W O R S T P R A C T I C E S T H E D I S C O V E R Y P R O B L E M S H O W C A S E V A L U E
  12. 12. THE DISCOVERY PROBLEM
  13. 13. GREAT “DEMOCRATIZATION” Standardization has led to more and better documentation, detailed examples, and improved tools (often free). Fewer targets means easier development.
  14. 14. E V E RY O N E W I N S ! U s e r s a n d d e v e l o p e r s t r u l y b e n e f i t It’s easier/cheaper/faster to create apps than ever before, so there is a lot more content to choose from.
  15. 15. C O N S U M E R A P P E A L Kn o w y o u r c u s t o m e r & c o n n e c t w i t h t h e m Find what resonates—the look-and-feel, reward structure, plot device—and the unique value that you can add. The marketing you do, including your ASO, will depend on this.
  16. 16. W H Y I S Y O U R A P P O R G A M E W O RT H I T ? SHOW VALUE, BE DISTINCTIVE “ I t ’s w o r t h i t .” Wo r t h t i m e , w o r t h m o n e y, w o r t h e f f o r t … ‘ i t ’ d o e s n ’ t m a t t e r. Va l u e d r i v e s s a l e s a n d a p p s t o r e r a n k .
  17. 17. KEY TOPICS W O R S T P R A C T I C E S T H E D I S C O V E R Y P R O B L E M S H O W C A S E V A L U E
  18. 18. SHOWCASE VALUE
  19. 19. M A R K E T I N G R E Q U I R E D Y O U R J O B DOESN’T STOP AT CODE FREEZE Yo u ’ r e y o u r o w n b e s t r e s o u r c e w h e n i t c o m e s t o g e t t i n g t h e w o r d o u t a n d s o l v i n g t h e d i s c o v e r y p r o b l e m .
  20. 20. A R O S E B Y A N Y O T H E R N A M E Chartboost / StoreMaven https://www.chartboost.com/blog The most basic thing you can do to help make your app successful is to give it a descriptive name. A G O O D N A M E C A N M A K E A L L T H E D I F F E R E N C E 22% Name optimization increases conversion by 22%.
  21. 21. I M A G E RY T H AT P O P S Chartboost / StoreMaven https://www.chartboost.com/blog Many great apps are overlooked because of a poor icon. Make sure the icon, screenshots, and videos are high- quality and attractive. P U T Y O U R B E S T ( V I S U A L ) F O O T F O RWA R D 8-17% Icon optimization increases conversion between 8% and 17%, depending on the appstore.
  22. 22. ICON DRIVES EXPECTATION
  23. 23. After adding identical app with different name 0 100 200 300 400 500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DAILY AVERAGE USERS, 1 MONTH Freedom Quotes Founding Father Quotes T W O I D E N T I C A L A L E X A V O I C E S E R V I C E A P P S MAKING A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE Both have fewer than 100 daily average users
  24. 24. 0 100 200 300 400 500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DAILY AVERAGE USERS, 1 MONTH Freedom Quotes Founding Father Quotes T W O I D E N T I C A L A L E X A V O I C E S E R V I C E A P P S MAKING A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE Facebook campaign promoting both apps equally
  25. 25. 0 100 200 300 400 500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DAILY AVERAGE USERS, 1 MONTH Freedom Quotes Founding Father Quotes T W O I D E N T I C A L A L E X A V O I C E S E R V I C E A P P S MAKING A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE Twitter campaign promoting both apps equally
  26. 26. 0 100 200 300 400 500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DAILY AVERAGE USERS, 1 MONTH Freedom Quotes Founding Father Quotes T W O I D E N T I C A L A L E X A V O I C E S E R V I C E A P P S MAKING A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE Changed icon for Founding Father Quotes
  27. 27. 0 100 200 300 400 500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DAILY AVERAGE USERS, 1 MONTH Freedom Quotes Founding Father Quotes T W O I D E N T I C A L A L E X A V O I C E S E R V I C E A P P S MAKING A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE Facebook campaign for Founding Father Quotes
  28. 28. V I S U A L S T H AT P O P Chartboost / StoreMaven https://www.chartboost.com/blog • Show gameplay, not splash screens • Show what makes the app/game unique • Show action, not menus • Clarify if necessary B E S T S C R E E N S H O T S , V I D E O G A M E P L AY35% Screenshot optimization increases conversion 35%.
  29. 29. I T I S C L E A R A n n o t a t e s c r e e n s h o t s i f e x p l a n a t i o n i s h e l p f u l W H AT I S A N O P T I M I Z E D S C R E E N S H O T
  30. 30. I T H I G H L I G H T S T H E U N I Q U E S h o w w h a t m a k e s y o u r g a m e a n o u t s t a n d i n g v a l u e ! W H AT I S A N O P T I M I Z E D S C R E E N S H O T
  31. 31. V I S U A L S T H AT P O P Chartboost / StoreMaven https://www.chartboost.com/blog • Show gameplay, not splash screens • Show what makes the app/game unique • Show action, not menus • Clarify if necessary B E S T S C R E E N S H O T S , V I D E O G A M E P L AY35% Screenshot optimization increases conversion 35%. 19-35% Adding video increases conversion up to 35%.
  32. 32. V I S U A L S T H AT P O P A customer after seeing a 90 second game promo video on YouTube consisting of an 85 second cinematic trailer, followed by game dev credits. T R A I L E R S A R E N I C E , B U T … “But where’s the game?”
  33. 33. S H O W G A M E P L AY D o n ’ t s h o w y o u r p h o n e o n t h e k i t c h e n t a b l e . A D D A V I D E O
  34. 34. V I S U A L S T H AT P O P Chartboost / StoreMaven https://www.chartboost.com/blog • Show gameplay, not splash screens • Show what makes the app/game unique • Show action, not menus • Clarify if necessary B E S T S C R E E N S H O T S , V I D E O G A M E P L AY35% Screenshot optimization increases conversion 35%. 19-35% Adding video increases conversion up to 35%. 22% Optimizing your video adds another 22% lift.
  35. 35. S H O W S D I F F E R E N T I ATO R S W h a t v a l u e d o e s t h i s g a m e o f f e r ? S h o w i t i n y o u r v i d e o ! W H AT I S A N O P T I M I Z E D V I D E O
  36. 36. F U N , I N F O R M AT I V E D E S C R I P T I O N S Chartboost / StoreMaven https://www.chartboost.com/blog Think of your app’s description as its dating profile. G E T C U S TO M E R S E X C I T E D 11-23% Optimizing the description increases conversion between 11% and 23%, depending on the appstore.
  37. 37. L E V E R A G E Y O U R C ATA L O G M O R E A P P S INCREASE YOUR I M P A C T C r e a t e m u l t i p l e a p p s t o b u i l d y o u r p e r s o n a l b r a n d a n d m a k e y o u r w o r k m o r e n o t i c e a b l e .
  38. 38. RECAP
  39. 39. W H AT H AV E W E L E A R N E D ? R E C A P Jerks will always try to game the system. Don’t be a jerk. Know your customer and why they will want to buy S N E A K Y T I P S
  40. 40. W H AT H AV E W E L E A R N E D ? R E C A P Showcase that value on your Product Listing Market your app and optimize: S H O W C A S E Q U A L I T Y Choose the right name and icon Leverage your catalog Maximize visual impact Craft the description
  41. 41. THANK YOU! Mike Hines mihines@amazon.com @MikeFHines Facebook/MobileDevMikeHines My favorite resources bit.ly/MikeHinesDevTools

Notas do Editor

  • I’ve had a lot of jobs, among them four startups, and jobs at Microsoft and Amazon. My favorite job is the one I’m doing now, where I get to travel around the world telling developers what is and isn’t working to make money in the Amazon Appstore.
  • A lot of the Amazon stats that I share are actually fairly platform-agnostic. They support best practices that you can apply anywhere, not just on our store.

    So today, I’m going to share a few of those observations—things that we’ve seen be effective on Amazon, but that will likely serve you well no matter where you publish your mobile app or game.

    And I’d like to start with Worst Practices.
  • Have you ever seen those warnings at the top of ladders:
    “WARNING: Don’t stand on the top rung of this ladder while working on live electric wiring outside during a rainstorm!”

    Well, guess where our worst practices come from….
  • Sometimes, a great app will have the perfect name. "Plague." "Cut the Rope." "Microsoft Office." If your app is similar—or exactly the same—as some megahit, take a cue from its name and choose one that—while not *precisely* the same—conveys the same sense. One that, if you're not paying close attention, you might accidentally confuse for the more popular title.
  • You may heard how Kim Kardashian's mobile game made millions of dollars very quickly… It turns out, that might have had something to do with Kim being kinda sorta famous. But you know, she's not the only famous person out there. I bet you can think of a bunch of celebrities who would add a little pizzazz to your mobile app. You could totally cut them in if it's successful, right? And if it's not, what do they care? It's not like they had to do anything.
  • If you want to jump to the top of the lists, you should make sure your users say good things about your app. Unfortunately, a lot of customers unreasonably reserve their good reviews for apps that are actually good. Don’t worry: others will happily support you in exchange for… consideration.

    That may be discounts, virtual goods, "prizes," even cash, although that kind of defeats the purpose for most sneaky developers.
  • Of course, if you don't have the resources to offer goodies to real reviewers, you can take a different approach. Who says each customer is only entitled to just one vote? With a little creative scripting, you can let them show their enthusiasm for your app. Strong feelings require a strong statement, and how better to convey that than with 12,450 5-star ratings delivered from a single IP address over the course of 37 seconds?
  • Let’s just commit to never stooping that low. We’ll always take the high road. The minute we don’t, you’re instantly lumped in with a lot of bad company. It makes it harder to report infringement, first of all, which ultimately jeopardizes your revenue, as well as your reputation.
  • Ref: page 35 summer report
  • Everyone is dealing with this issue, of course. The explosion of mobile has been great for developers. The market success of a few standard platforms has made development easier, it’s made it easier to reach vast consumer groups on similar devices, and it’s led to standardized, easy-to-use tools that are often completely free.
  • So, more developers means more content, more content means more selection, more selection means more competition for the customer’s limited attention.
    So how do you stand out from a crowd?
  • Look for ways to connect your app to what a customer knows—this could be a common task, a game mechanic, or look-and-feel, a reward structure, or plot device. It doesn’t have to be a knock-off to succeed. But, it has resonate somehow or it won’t even get installed.
  • You showcase value. Every customer you’ll get has, at one point, thought: “Is it worth it?”
    The effort it takes to download. The cost of a premium game. The time it takes to launch. The opportunity cost of playing or installing other games.
    What makes your game worth it? Are you showcasing that on your listing page and in your video? Is it clear?
  • Lets take a look at showcasing value.
  • Your app product listing page is the single most important marketing asset you have. It will drive more than 50% of your sales, and that’s why it’s really critical to invest some time making sure that you set it up right. Just because the app is written and published, doesn’t mean your work is over.
  • To start with (and it may seem silly or obvious, but) even the name you choose is critical. Be descriptive. “Goat Simulator” tells you everything you need to know, right? Be distinctive. Avoid overly common words or phrases (”task list")—remember potential users may be using a search engine to find you—don’t make them wade through hundreds of unrelated results.

    On the Amazon Appstore, we’ve seen games and apps significantly improve their downloads with simple optimizations to their name. I’m going to give you a concrete example in just a moment, but I want to highlight an interesting stat about this. Chartboost has quantified the typical improvement in conversion at 22%. That’s a lot.

  • Also critical to your listing’s success: image assets that actually do your app justice. This includes a great icon, attractive screenshots, informative video, etc. Another interesting statistic: depending on the store you’re in, icon optimization alone can lead to a conversion bump of between 8-17%.

    Many great apps are overlooked just because their icon sucks.
  • Quick, which of these icons came from big-name developers and which didn’t. You have two seconds. Actually, you have a lot less time than that. Users will spend 2 tenths of a second looking at an icon before they decide it represents a high-quality or low-quality app. It doesn’t matter whether you ACTUALLY have a big budget or you’re just one person working on your own; the icon you publish becomes a proxy (in the user’s mind) for the quality of your app.

    Make sure your icon communicates polish, professionalism, and quality in the time it takes a user to glance at it. [[x]] Let’s take as an example the quotes icons. These actually refer to the exact same code, but obviously one shows a bit rough while the other looks like an actual graphic artist might have pitched in on the design.
  • Here’s a tale of two apps. It’s actually my real-life experience, and how I experimented with different aspects of his product offering. I created a little Alexa voice app of famous quotations. I didn’t know exactly what to call it, so he actually released two versions to get some hard data about what name would be more effective. Initially, neither version was a runaway success, but he definitely saw a marked advantage to the second title.
  • This was especially true for my first attempt at marketing the apps. I ran a Facebook ad campaign for each version, and you can see that one did substantially better than the other one. Things settled down again, pretty quickly, after the campaigns finished, but there was no question that one name was more popular.
  • I saw similar results—on a smaller scale—when he did marketing on Twitter for both apps. So, the first bit of advice—choose the right name—seems to be borne out. And here’s where I decided to apply the second suggestion: I optimized the icon. [[x]] Up until this point, both apps were using the same one, that simple programmer art I generated myself.
  • At this point, I decided to try something a little more polished. For the app version whose name was performing best, I switched to a nicer icon and immediately saw an uptick in daily average users.
  • A subsequent Facebook campaign was also much more successful than before, and convinced me that the original name and icon could be abandoned. I had pretty clear evidence of a winner in that head-to-head comparison.
  • So obviously the icon is important (and the name), but don’t forget the other visual components I mentioned. Choose attractive screenshots and videos to put your best foot forward. As you can see, they make a huge difference to conversion: 35%

    If your app is a game, be sure to show the actual gameplay, not just the splash screen or interstitial artwork. Regardless, your goal should be to show what makes your app unique—what does it offer over your competitors? Hint: it’s not a stellar menuing system (at least it shouldn’t be)—again, show the action or utility.

    Video is a great way to do this. Just adding a video can boost your conversion; but optimizing it according to these guidelines has a substantive impact on how effective it can be. Sometimes seeing your promo video is all the customer needs—that’s it, I’m ready to download.
  • Annotate your screenshot if necessary. A little explanation goes a long way.

  • So obviously the icon is important (and the name), but don’t forget the other visual components I mentioned. Choose attractive screenshots and videos to put your best foot forward. As you can see, they make a huge difference to conversion: 35%

    If your app is a game, be sure to show the actual gameplay, not just the splash screen or interstitial artwork. Regardless, your goal should be to show what makes your app unique—what does it offer over your competitors? Hint: it’s not a stellar menuing system (at least it shouldn’t be)—again, show the action or utility.

    Video is a great way to do this. Just adding a video can boost your conversion; but optimizing it according to these guidelines has a substantive impact on how effective it can be. Sometimes seeing your promo video is all the customer needs—that’s it, I’m ready to download.
  • Annotate your screenshot if necessary. A little explanation goes a long way.

  • So obviously the icon is important (and the name), but don’t forget the other visual components I mentioned. Choose attractive screenshots and videos to put your best foot forward. As you can see, they make a huge difference to conversion: 35%

    If your app is a game, be sure to show the actual gameplay, not just the splash screen or interstitial artwork. Regardless, your goal should be to show what makes your app unique—what does it offer over your competitors? Hint: it’s not a stellar menuing system (at least it shouldn’t be)—again, show the action or utility.

    Video is a great way to do this. Just adding a video can boost your conversion; but optimizing it according to these guidelines has a substantive impact on how effective it can be. Sometimes seeing your promo video is all the customer needs—that’s it, I’m ready to download.
  • Annotate your screenshot if necessary. A little explanation goes a long way.

  • And finally, write your description like you would write a dating profile:
    Start with a bang—the first line sells
    Highlight the stand-out features—use the second paragraph tohit all the high notes and explain your advantages over the competition
    Begin each section with some written artistry to keep the users reading
    And remember that while creative titles reel them in, details sell. It’s the details that convince users to download
    Punching up the description like this can add 11-23% to your conversion, depending on the appstore, according to Chartboost, so it’s worth your time to get it right.

  • Leverage your catalog:
    The more titles you create, the more noticeable you are
    A catalog of apps allows you to cross-promote them and build your personal brand
    Every new release is an opportunity to bring users back.
  • So what do we take away from this?
  • <see slide>
  • As I mentioned, the key to gaining appstore rank is to produce quality and showcase it. Connect with your customer, and choose your business model as appropriate. Publish everywhere you can. And put in real effort to create an effective product list page. That means high-quality assets and copy, starting with basics like the name and icon. Build your brand and catalog. From there, take a hard look at the other visuals that will appear on the page, like screenshots and videos. Make sure they show what you offer over the competition. Finally, craft your app description thoughtfully. Remember that details sell, so don’t skimp.

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