Hearthstone is a popular online card game from Blizzard Entertainment, based off the “Warcraft” series. It’s a game that’s easy to learn but challenging to master and has countless players around the world. Is its App Store Optimization as strong as a champion’s deck, or is it a low-tier casual build? For this week’s App Store Spotlight, we take a look at Hearthstone and see.
On the Apple App Store, Hearthstone is ranked #50 in the Card category. It’s the top ranked app in searches for its name, as well as variants or misspellings such as “heart stone” and “earthstone.” It also ranks well for competing card games, such as “magic card game,” where it’s the third highest result, other Blizzard properties such as “Warcraft,” where it’s also #3, and card game categories such as “CCG” and “TCG,” where it ranks #7 and #9, respectively. Its rankings drop below the top 10 for terms like “Duel card games,” where it’s ranked #12, and “card battle games,” where it comes in at #14. From there, it also ranks lower for terms like “card deck” (#20) and “CCG games” (#25). Creatives: Hearthstone’s app page starts off with a video that shows the app in action. This includes several moments from games in progress, demonstrating the mechanics and graphics, as well as moments like unlocking new cards. It’s engaging and gives users a good idea of what the game is like, accompanied by epic music. Following the video, the app page has five screenshots. Each one shows different aspects of the game, such as deck building and dueling. While there is callout text accompanying each screenshot, they do not include much in the way of keywords, instead simply stating “Jump right in” or “victory awaits.” That doesn’t tell users much about the game or its features, in spite of being visually well-designed. The app could include up to five more screenshots, demonstrating more of the app’s features. While users get a good idea of what the card game portion looks like in action, it could delve more into the strategy, receiving new cards and so on. So, while the video is impressive, there are still areas where the screenshots can improve. Title & Subtitle: The app’s title is just “Hearthstone.” This takes up 11 of the allotted 30 characters, leaving 19 more that could be used to include more keywords. Even the video calls out the full name as “Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft,” so the app title could be updated to something similar. The subtitle, “Thrilling card combat,” also has room for nine more characters. While this does help it rank as the second-highest result for “card combat” searches, it could use the extra space to include another keyword or two, helping it appear in more searches. “Thrilling” is not a keyword valuable to the app either, as the phrases it builds are not frequently searched for, so it could also be replaced with a more helpful term. Description: Hearthstone’s description is solid in many places, but overall still has room to improve. It starts off with short lines, which are easy to read on iOS devices, and calls out key features with capitalized text. The main section of the introduction is a lengthier block of text, though, which users tend to glance over without fully absorbing everything. That section could easily be broken into a few smaller lines, which would be easier for users to read at a glance. The feature set is short, just a few small lines about each feature. These could be expanded into bullet lists, which are easier to read at a glance and can provide more information efficiently. Doing so could also provide more opportunities to integrate keywords, which would help the app build relevancy for Search Ads campaigns. Last but not least, it should save the device requirements for further down on the description, after it lists the features. As it currently is, the second line is talking about what specific devices can play the app.
On Google Play, Hearthstone is ranked #29 in the Card category. Like with its iOS version, it’s the first app to appear under searches for its name and many spelling variations, such as “heart stone” and “harth stone.” It’s the second highest app under searches for “blizzard,” “fantasy card games” and “Warcraft,” and ranks in the top five for competitor searches like “duel masters,” “magic card games” and “heroes of skyrim.” Its rankings begin to drop a little for terms like “card fighting games,” where it comes in at #12, and “CCG” where it’s #17. It’s the 25th highest result under searches for “Card collecting” and “card trader,” and only comes in at #35 for “TCG online.” Creatives: Like on iOS, the Hearthstone app page for Google Play begins with a video. This also shows off features and aspects of the game, including floating text to tell users what they can do in it. The following screenshots are different from iOS, including more in the way of character art and imagery. They do continue to use callout text that stands out but does not include many keywords. Once more, the app only uses five of the eight screenshots they’re allowed, so it could easily include more screenshots to demonstrate more of the app’s features and mechanics. Three of the five screenshots it currently has only show us what certain characters look like, and while the designs are very nice, it doesn’t do much to let us know about what the app has to offer. Metadata & Description: Hearthstone’s description is lengthier on Google Play, which is fine; it’s important to have different descriptions for each app store. It does delve more into the gameplay and features, giving users a good idea of what to expect. Yet it does not utilize its keywords at the beginning of each line and sentence nearly enough, which will make it harder for Google’s algorithm to index it for certain keywords. For instance, the way it’s formatted, the app ranks #2 for “collect powerful cards,” but that’s a low-volume term. If it were to instead to talk about “deck building,” it could increase its potential to rank higher for this high-volume search term, where it is currently positioned at #89. Additionally, its feature list is just a single small list of features. If it were to expand on those, delving more into the different aspects of the game, it could include more relevant keywords to index for while telling users more about the app.
Hearthstone’s App Store Optimization does have room to improve, although it has some strong material to work with. Its screenshots may look good, but they do not tell users much about the game or include keywords in their callout text. The descriptions also need fine-tuning, so users can get a better idea of what features the app has to offer while it improves its indexation for relevant keywords. If it were to improve those, it could not only show up higher in searches for terms related to its mechanics and features but also appeal more to users searching for those. While Hearthstone was a popular game long before becoming an app, App Store Optimization is the key to reaching new users on the App Store and Google Play Store. Without proper optimization, it’s a few cards short of a full deck.