Apple Keynote Conference 2016: Apple Reveals iPhone 7 and Wireless Earbuds

On September 7, Apple hosted their 9th annual Keynote Conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Although newer versions of the iPhone and Apple Watch were shown for the first time, this year’s event was a little different. Instead of introducing state of the art innovations, Apple showed some additional features they’ve added to existing products. Moreover, these features weren’t anything extraordinary but new for Apple nonetheless.

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Apple Music & the App Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his passion for music and the important role it has played in the brand’s development saying that they now have 17 million paid subscribers on their own Apple Music. They plan on partnering with more musicians this year as well. They announced its collaboration with Nintendo and will have classic games such as Super Mario and Battle Toads available on the App Store. Awesome! Its ‘ConnectED’ Program improved ‘iWork’ introducing real-time collaboration so users can work on numerous docs and presentations simultaneously. By doing so, Apple will now rival competing products such as the Google Chromebook and hope to gain a solid presence in productivity/educational environments.

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iPhone 7 & the iPhone 7 Plus

The designs of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is virtually the same as their 2 previous models with one discrete addition. The iPhone 7 does not have an aux port because it only accepts wireless earbuds called ‘Airpods.’ Therefore, the lack of aux abilities is more of an exclusion than an addition. Its updated processors grant longer battery life whether at home or on the go. In addition, its internal stereo system has been improved for crisp audio playback. They’ve also made them water resistant and adjusted the home button for force sensitivity.  Last but not least, they’ve upgraded to a dual-lens camera system that enhances its already pristine picture quality. The price for the iPhone 7 is a little less at $649 in comparison to the 7 Plus at $769. Preorders will start on September 9th.

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Apple Watch Series 2

The Apple Watch has updated features most beneficial for athletes and particularly swimmers. The new models are now swim-resistant, integrated swim workouts into its system and even repel water while swimming. It also has a built in GPS and comes with their new hiking app ‘View Ranger.’ Additionally, they partnered with Nike to create an exclusive Apple Watch with a cool running band design. Pokémon Go is now available for the watch as well. Lastly, its brighter display and faster processors tally it up to the asking rates of $269-$369 available September 9th for preorder.

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By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

3 Factors in App Store Optimization

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Millions of people are spending more time on their mobile devices and inside mobile apps. Mobile apps are rapidly replacing websites as the digital hub for businesses and brands. But how do you get your target market finding and using your app?

For companies or brands with existing channels,like a morning TV show or a popular web service, acquiring mobile users starts with activating their current fans or users. Businesses without a TV air time or without large user bases like Pandora, Facebook or Twitter still usually have email lists and a website with visitors.

Promoting a new mobile app through these channels is essential, but fails to address the biggest source for new users – people searching for your services in the app stores.

App Factor #1: User Acquisition Channels

With the explosion of mobile app usage comes an increasing competition for users. The most popular channels for acquiring mobile app users are app store search and advertising.

For all but the very biggest mobile apps, advertising spend is allocated to a paid install campaign, on a cost per install (CPI) basis. Between an increased competition for mobile users, and non-mobile brands competing for mobile ad inventory, CPI costs have skyrocketed over the last 36 months.

According to the mobile advertising platform Fiksu, the cost of acquiring a loyal user (a user who opens the app at least three times) has risen from $1.13 in September of 2012 to $4.14 for September 2015.

Because both Google Play and Apple include downloads and download velocity in their app store rankings, CPI campaigns are also used in “burst” campaigns.  The goal being to “buy” a burst of installs to rise up the charts and hopefully acquire users organically due to increased visibility. Buying enough traffic to hit the top 100 or so in the US app stores would require investing $50,000 k per day on a CPI burst campaign in hopes of acquiring organic traffic.

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Image Source: App Developer Magazine

App Factor #2: Achieving Visibility In the App Stores

The number one source of app discovery and app installs is app store search. More users find apps to address their immediate needs by opening the Apple App Store or Google Play and searching.  When a user enters a search, the results and rankings are largely determined by:

  • The app store listing and its relevance to the search
  • App performance metrics including conversion from search, downloads and ratings

Building a strategy for creating and managing an app listing for visibility and conversion is called app store optimization or ASO.

An app listing optimized for visibility and conversion from relevant traffic signals to Apple and Google that your app is a good result for a given search. Combined with the resulting increase in downloads and ratings, your app will start to climb the rankings for those search results.An optimized app provides a defendable, long-term position in the app stores for traffic from your target audience.

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App Factor #3: How To Optimize An App Listing

Our data tells us that people are searching the app stores for features using two to three word phrases. The app stores are huge, with each store each housing over 1.5 million apps.  Vague or short searches result in irrelevant results, so we have been trained to be specific when searching.

By identifying your app’s most essential and differentiating features, you get an idea of how your target market is likely to find your app in the app stores. It is important to understand not only how you would describe important features, but how your target audience would describe and search for them.

If you are serious about organic app store traffic, ASO and the ROI of acquiring organic app store users, working with an app store intelligence platform specifically designed for app store optimization is recommended.

With a list of relevant phrases, we can now start to build our app store listing.  Apple and Google Play have different app listing fields, but there are some similarities.

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Image Source: Tractus

Both have an app name or title.  This is the best place for your most important features or targeted phrases. Apple provides a space of 255 characters for a title while Google only allows 30 characters. Choose your app’s core features for the title – Your title is one of the first things a user will see. If you list what they’re looking for, they will be more inclined to click through to your full app listing.

Apple has a private/hidden keyword field limited to 100 characters that is used to help Apple understand what keywords the publishers thinks the app is relevant to. Break phrases into words, and separated by commas without spaces and remove duplicate words.  For example, if we had a features list as follows:

  • cheap flights
  • airline deals
  • discount vacations
  • travel deals
  • discount airfare

We would build the keyword field as follows:

cheap,flights,airline,vacations,travel,deals,discount,airfare

Apple would then index this app listing for searches including “cheap airline”, “discount travel” and several other combinations. Together with the keywords used in the app name, a “keyword matrix” is created and indexed by Apple.

Google is similar but instead uses the publicly visible fields of short and full description instead of a private keywords field for determining how to index your app. Google Play’s indexation process uses the description; Highlight the your apps’ key features using the phrases people would be looking for.

There is much more to building and executing an on-going app store optimization strategy that delivers results. Optimizing an app listing is only the beginning of a long-term ASO process, but it is also the start of organically gaining more and more traffic in the app stores.

For more on strategies, best practices and tactics to avoid – download our whitepaper here.

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About the Author

Dave Bell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. In this role, Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry with more than 15 years of experience publishing, marketing and distributing mobile applications and games across carrier, direct to consumer and app store channels.

 

The App Store as a Search Engine

There’s an interesting trend where people are using the various app stores as a search engine.  To illustrate this, I’ll discuss the experience of a one of our clients.  Normally, for all our clients, I recommend that they have a marketing plan to promote their app.  However, in the case of the app, Drug Test Info, that we developed for the American Screening Corporation, this was receiving a high amount of downloads without any promotion on every app store (Apple App Store, Google Play,  and Blackberry App World) that it was published in.

There’s an App For That

It finally dawned on us that people were find the app by searching for “drug test” so the name of the app, “Drug Test Info,” clearly had an advantage.  Apples slogan, “There’s an app for that,” implies that there’s an app to solve every particular problem.  So, often, people are searching the various app stores to solve a problem.

A search for "Sacramento  Real Estate" only yields 7 results.

A search for “Sacramento Real Estate” only yields 7 results.

Searching Google vs. Searching the App Store

If you Google “Sacramento Real Estate,” on a browser, you’ll find literally hundreds of entries.  Compare that to doing the same search on the Apple App Store and you’ll find only 7 apps listed.   The search on the browser is dominated by ad sponsored entries and big named realtors.   Conversely, the apps found in this example were developed for local realtors (Swint Realty is one of our clients).

Caveats

However, in many cases, because there are so many apps in one category, you’ll be unable to find a specific app based on the key words.  Such an example is the mediation app we developed for a client.  Because there literally hundreds of mediation apps.

For the Apple App Store, you’re limited to 100 characters.  You have to be also very careful because once you submitted your app to Apple, you won’t be able to change the key words.

Recommendations

Here are some recommendations in being found easier in the App Store:

  • Name your app with the crucial key word.  For example the app we named developed for the American Screening Corporation was called “Drug Test Info.”  I think the name of the app is one of the big reason that it’s easily found
  • If your business is more regional, add the name of your city as a key word.  In the case of our client’s app, Swint Realty, one of their key words is Sacramento.  So, when someone searches “Sacramento Real Estate,” they are one of the 6 apps that show up.
  • Better yet, combine both above recommendations.  So if I were a realtor in Sacramento, I would name my app “Sacramento Real Estate.”
  • For more advanced projects, you may want to develop your Android app first.  Because Google Play has no restrictions on keywords (and how often you alter them), this will allow you time to optimize your keywords.  Once you figure out the optimal keywords, you can then publish your iOS app.

Being found via keywords on the app store, may be worth the price of admission, especially if your business is regional and you find  that your key words are competitive on Google.  Good luck.

Cheers,

Rich Foreman

CEO / Appotology