Tag Archives: Google Play

Google Trends vs Apple App Store Trending Search

Google Trends vs Apple App Store Trending

Since the release of iOS8, Apple has displayed Trending Searches in their app store.

We have been tracking Apple App Store and Google Play data since 2011, and have seen just how different web search is from app store search.

We thought it would be interesting to take a look at how what Google reports as trending search data via web search in “Google Trends” differed from Apple’s App Store “Trending Searches” data.

Going into this data collection and comparison project, I was predicting a few things:

  • user intent was going to help explain the majority of any differences between the search engines reported trends
  • the zeitgeist, the breaking news items, the big events would drive a lot of the similarities…

Google Trends = Google search across their web search engine (could include Images, Videos and News – but does not appear to include Google Play search)

Apple App Store Trending Searches = Trending keyword and phrases in the App Store (not all of iTunes – so no movies, books, music etc..)

Let’s jump in!

We started this experiment Sunday, Feb 22nd – which just happened to be Oscar night.  This gave us a lot of trending searches for both Google Web Search and Apple App Store Search to compare.

My iTunes account is US based, so to compare apples to apples as much as possible – I look at Google Trends in the US only.

Both search engines update their trends often, it seems hourly in our samples – but both with some delays.

Google Trends on Tuesday AM (eastern) showed top trends for Monday, with 1 or 2 trends shown for Tuesday.  Presumably, during the day the “Tuesday trends” materialize and the list grows and then can be seen in its entirety Wednesday.

Apple does not time stamp their trending searches, implying that these terms are trending “right now”.

Based on our small sample – there seems to be evidence of a similar lag in Apple Trending searches – which we will show in moment.

Since Google shows updates hourly, and Apple appears to have some small changes at least hourly – I started looking at each engines trending data hourly.


There just wasn’t that much changing hourly – so I started grabbing screenshots 2-3 times daily from each search engine (Google web search and Apple App Store Search).

Some findings and insights

Google Trends looks much more like Twitter Trends than anything in the Apple Trending Search data

Tons of trending searches for Oscar Winners, breaking news subjects, etc…

This is one example of the trending data taken the same time (and day) – 11:30 pm eastern Sunday, Feb 22nd:

Sun Night - Google

Google Trends is starting to show trends based on the beginning of the Oscars and events from the Red Carpet (about a 3 hour delay from “real time” events occurring)

Apple – during the oscars on Sunday night…..

Apple Trending Search - Sunday

ummmm…..what’s the Oscars?

Apple’s Trending Searches are both delayed and can be heavily influenced by non-app store campaigns

So is there some delay or will Apple Trending never show anything related to the Oscars?

Are the app stores operating in their own universe, immune to the effects of the non-mobile app store zeitgeist?

On Monday the 23rd, at 11 am eastern – Google only showed trends from Sunday night (no Monday results), and almost all are Oscar related…

Monday Google Trends Monday Google Trends 2

And Apple showed:

The “Watch ABC” app was being heavily promoted during and before the Oscars as a way to see backstage clips, etc..  Essentially vying for the second screen space during the show.

But by the time this registered as trending in Apple’s App Store – the Oscars were over (hey – you can still watch “Dancing with the Stars”).

What about “aa”?

Maybe “aa” is a search for the Academy Awards, but based on the results of that search, more likely it is for the game “aa” that was the #1 strategy game and 21st overall app in the app store on the 22nd.

Even so – the search engines (web and app store) are being searched by users in the same universe, responding to external events – but not in the same way, or same events.

What surprised me here was both the delay in what Apple reported as trending, and how little impact a huge event like the Academy Awards/Oscars had on mobile app store search.

I would have at least expected a trending search related to IMDB, some celebrity games or something related to this event…  Maybe later in the week?  Are the results delayed even more than 12-24 hours?

Let’s take a look later in the week

Tuesday PM – Google:

Tues Night - Google

Same time and day – Apple:


There is almost zero overlap in search terms and trending search terms or topics.

Even accounting for a delay – where what is trending on Twitter “now” is trending on Google in 3 hours is trending in the Apple App Store tomorrow – still no overlap.

Wednesday AM showing trends from Tuesday:

Wed AM - Google

Wed AM 2 - Google

And here is Apple Wednesday:


Even accounting for delays – there is zero overlap for Tuesday on Google Trends and Wednesday on Apple Trending.

Of all the screenshots of Google Trends and Apple Trending over 5 days, 3 times daily – there were only a few matches of any kind.

One was comparing Google Trends on Thursday (showing Wednesday’s results), and Apple Trending Thursday AM.

Thursday AM on Google trends, showing Wednesday’s trending searches:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.12.36 AM

And here is Apple on Thursday afternoon:


The 5th trending search on the web is referencing the same topic as the 2nd highest trending search on Apple.

Even though the subject of the searches have some overlap – where Google Trends show Oscar related searches, and Apple shows an Oscar related search with the “Watch ABC” app, the way users search – the words and phrases they are using to search, are not the same.

Apple trends is still a fairly new addition to the app store experience, and could likely go the way of “apps near me” and other attempts to show Apple users interesting or relevant apps.

For now – the main takeaway seems to be web search is very different from app store search regardless of external events, in no small part because user intent is so different.

User Reviews in Google Play

No More Reviews in Google Play App Descriptions

Google recently updated their Google Play guidelines with one notable change:  the use of user app reviews in the Google Play app description field is now prohibited.

After a potential user views an app’s title and short description in Google Play, is some cherry-picked testimonial really going to sway them into installing an app?

Does anyone reading an app’s full description really care about what Roto619SD4Life said about the app?

Probably not – but here is what is going on.

Google has clear rules for keyword stuffing and the use of irrelevant keywords, brands or references in the Title, Short and Full Description fields.

For example (from Google) – this is not ok:

 just like Candy this game is sweet and you’ll have a crush on the game in no time

One way mobile app publishers were getting around the “irrelevant” or keyword spamming rules was by adding keyword-stuffed user testimonials.

Google did a pretty good job of both explaining what and why this is unacceptable and adding some humor to show just how over the top some publishers have been with this:

User Reviews in Google Play

Google didn’t list all of the irrelevant and stuffed keywords in this – but here is a start:

Gems with Friends, Candy Crush Saga, Shipwrecked, Cut the Rope: Time Trave, 4 Pics 1 wrong, etc……

So obviously spammy.

Since Google Play does not utilize a hidden keywords field like Apple does for its App Store, more emphasis is placed on the App Title, Short and Full descriptions, all of which are public.

We certainly do not encourage our clients to attempt these or any other short-term hacks.

Our best practices for Google Play include:

  • an App Title formatted as “Brand” + 2-3 words on function,
  • a Short Description focused on converting viewers to users, and
  • a Full Description that is formatted for easy reading and uses features-focused keywords and phrases 3-5x in the 4,00 character allotment.

Android vs iOS Super Bowl Matchup

The Super Bowl is Feb 1st, Apple just released their earnings for Q4, Google said they just passed Apple in # of apps.

Let’s take a look at Android vs iOS – and which is best for mobile app publishers (and why).

Both teams brought their “A” games in 2014, and we have all been expecting this matchup!

Let’s check out the lineups!

We are evaluating each mobile OS (Android vs iOS) coupled with it’s store from the perspective of a Mobile App publisher/marketer/investor. iOS is evaluated with Apple’s App Store and their iPhone and iPad devices.  Android with Google Play.

# of Devices

1.3 billion smartphone devices were expected to ship in 2014. Heading into the holiday season in 2014, Apple had been steadily losing market share – to Android.  Blackberry was down as well.

OS Market Share

But Apple’s Q1 (Oct – Dec ’14) was a record in more ways than one. They reported shipping 74.5 millions devices – besting their previous record in shipments by 50%.  iOS share jumped to 15%.  Apple generated $18b in profit – the most ever reported for a public company.

Is that Tim Cook in his playing days?  By any measure, and with any dance – the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been smash hits…home runs…touchdowns…

Mobile OS Market Share

Developer Revenues

Apple reports paying out $10 billion to  developers in 2014.

Between announcements at Google’s I/O conference and data from App Annie and others, we can estimate the Google Play Store generated roughly $9 billion in revenues, paying developers around $6.3 billion.

android vs ios

These payouts do not include any ad revenues or off-app revenues generated from the mobile apps in these app stores.

Android has 5x the market share of Apple but only 60% of the revenues for two primary reasons:

  1. Android is the primary OS on <$200 devices
  2. Android has a far greater reach in emerging markets

Two, overlapping groups that are less interested in buying lives in Candy Crush than in Messaging Apps.

# of Apps

Having a high number of apps available in the app store could be seen as a positive – as more apps is more choice for users and a sign of strength for the platform.  Or more apps could simply mean more competition.

2014 was the first year that Google was able to report that their Google Play store was home to more apps than the App Store.

Apple and Google Apps

Thomas Husson, principal analyst at Forrester. “To me [apps] are the glue that sticks the whole ecosystem together because they offer brands and developers a direct opportunity to connect with their customers.”

Given that both stores host over 1 million apps, the data rather shows the divergence in each company’s app store management strategy.

Apple reviews and approves apps in a process that can take weeks. Stories of inconsistencies in Apple’s review process are abundant. Denials, incoherent responses from Apple reviewers, contradictory statements and then reversals of denials are shared often among developers and publishers.

Google Play, on the other hand, works more like creating a website on a platform like Blogger or Tumblr. Submit and your app is live in 24 hours.

# of Downloads

While Android has garnered around 80% market share globally, Google Play only accounts for 60% more downloads.  Now we are talking  60% more of a huge # – around 25 billion for Apple vs 40 billion downloads for Google Play.

Android users download around 50 apps annually to Apple users’ 75.


With mobile app advertising spend estimated at $35b in 2014 and predicted to grow to $75b by 2018, downloads matter.  App store payouts is only part of the story.

So who wins?

Just like this year’s Super Bowl – we all do.

Of course it depends on your target market, but having two of the largest companies competing (not to mention Facebook and Amazon), is good for the marketplace and great for those invested in this explosive growth.

Seahawks 24 – Patriots 17.

Want More Data-Driven, Mobile App Marketing Content?

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Gummicube announced as 1st place winner of Pitchforce competition.


Gummicube is shaking things up in San Francisco taking home the gold at #Pitchforce hosted by #Runway SF.  Our business is flourishing as are the download stats for all of the developers that work with us!

Gummicube – the #topemergingstartup in #Silicon Valley and the BEST technology for #AppStoreOptimization

Keyword Stuffing Is Never A Good Idea


Since we started helping developers with App Store Optimization all the way back in 2011, knowledge of the importance of ASO has spread among the app development community.  This is great news!  We want developers to get great results from their apps in the App Store and acquire the highest quality users which can only come from App Store Search.  Unfortunately, just like traditional SEO for the web there are “white hat” (good) and “black hat” (bad) methods of optimizing your app for App Store search.  White hat methods will get you great results over time while black hat methods may get your app kicked out of the store.

One key part of App Store Optimization is writing the title and description for your app.  Picking the correct keywords and managing keyword density is incredibly important to be “found” with the best keywords in App Store search.  When going through through this process (which we manage on behalf of our clients) it is important to know the difference between writing a useful description that includes keywords and “keyword stuffing”.  Keyword stuffing is considered a black hat technique in which random keywords are “stuffed” into metadata with the hopes of being ranked for those keywords.

Unfortunately, keyword stuffing doesn’t work over the long term for most developers.  First, it confuses consumers. Nobody knows how to read a keyword title that is incredibly long and most end users avoid apps that appear to be spammy.  Second, Apple and Google don’t like this practice.   More and more apps are being rejected from the review process because their titles are stuffed with keywords that make no sense from an end user prospective.  The general rule that we follow when crafting titles and descriptions for apps is that if a consumer doesn’t understand what you offer from reading the title, it is a bad title and may be “keyword stuffed”.

High quality apps + high quality metadata =  high quality users.

Always remember that your title and description are written for the end user first.  Within this framework of telling the user what an app is all about, you then must thread in the key words and phrases that are important to your app from a metadata prospective.  This is what Apple and Google expect to see when they are reviewing your app and in practice following this rule helps developers over the life of their app.