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How to optimize for higher app store ratings

How to optimize for higher app store ratings Ram Parthasarathy

Users around the world are demanding personalized, contextually relevant, and real or near real-time experiences from the places with which they do business and apps are their preferred way to get those experiences. And they are spending an unprecedented amount of time online. In 2015, adult users in the U.S. spent 5.6 hours a day with digital media and over half of that time was spent on their mobile devices.

But to get your app on a user's home screen and to earn that coveted place among their 10 most-used apps requires more than just a catchy icon and a place in an app store. It takes some careful, strategic thought and planning to get your app downloaded and even more thought to keep it from being left unused or the final blow, uninstalled!

The iOS App Store is reported to contain more than 1.4 million apps, yet 83 percent of those apps are what's known as "zombies," apps that the user will never see unless they search for a specific type of app or the app name. Unless your app is in the top 300, users will never see it in the category lists. More and more, users are finding apps by searching after reading articles, and getting referrals from other apps.

Lots has been written about optimizing your app to get higher app store ratings, such as using the right keywords, having the right screenshots, and having a good name and icon for your app. But even if you've achieved an optimized app that gets downloaded, don't rest yet. It turns out that 80 to 90 percent of apps are deleted after just one use.

Getting your app used

Here are some ideas to get your app used:

  1. Apps that require registration lose over 50 percent of its users right away. People want to engage and explore your app before they sign up.
  2. Keep registration screens easy to read and minimal.
  3. Make sure your app loads quickly and doesn't freeze.
  4. Keep the design lean. Don't design like you were on a desktop.
  5. Mobile users want to use gestures to manipulate objects and ideally, interact with everything with their thumb.
  6. Make every tap count.
  7. Continually test and update your app based on user feedback and your own internal development cycle.

Understanding your audience

Today it is possible to monitor user behavior in your app and make use of the vast array of analytic data available. You can actively target your customers by observing their behavior while using your app, allowing you to send targeted, relevant, personalized, and engaging content. Through data-driven targeted mobile analytics, you have the power to segment your user base to deliver the most relevant messages to the right people at the right time.

Sending push notifications at the mobile moment can create the response you want. We have found that it is best to wait until the right moment to request that push notifications be authorized, after the value of the app has been demonstrated. Unless a message is perceived as having value to that specific user, it will be unwanted and create a negative impression. Timing is everything.

Using mobile analytics

There are many ways you can use mobile analytic data. For example, you can get real-time data on how recently and how often they opened the app. You can know how many and which type of offers customers viewed and redeemed, and you can know the locations of customers when they viewed and redeemed your offers.

From that data, you can carefully send targeted SMS messages with relevant offers, polls, questions, or other items to get conversations started. You can create as many categories and segments as you need to characterize your customers and their needs. With strategies like these, you could see significant increase in engagement, especially among your lapsed customers, those who hadn't opened the app in the last 30 days.

With mobile customers using their devices from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep, abundant opportunities exist to understand their interests and needs in order to design the best possible app and, more importantly, to create relevant, engaging experiences that encourage continued use of this important marketing resource.

Ram Parthasarathy is a product manager in Adobe’s digital marketing business unit based out of San Francisco. He leads the mobile app optimization and personalization strategy for the Adobe Marketing Cloud and helps mobile marketers create...

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