Tag Archives: App Store SEO

Search Ads change in popularity just like keywords

January 2017 Search Ads – What Will be Popular?

Search Ads may seem straightforward at first blush – Just target a highly searched term, bid higher than the competitors and watch your app take off. In reality, placing a successful Search Ad is more complex.

In order to have the best possible Search Ad, you must meld your advertising strategy with your ASO strategy. You should also take into consideration how your iOS screenshots, title and icon will display in your Search Ad.

Even with an optimized listing, your Search Ad means nothing if it doesn’t place your app in front of numerous new users. For this reason, your Search Ad strategy must constantly evolve, just as your keyword and creative strategies likely have in the past. Make an active attempt to stay on top of all relevant, popular search terms that you can, and jettison old ads that are no longer converting for your app.

Below, we will take a look at several trends that will impact popular Search Ads over the first month of 2017.

Football and Sports Terms

Superbowl LI doesn’t technically fall in January, but as the month comes to a close you can count on football searches picking up in a major way. Games like Madden stand to benefit heavily from this, as do apps like ESPN and Draft Kings.

If your app can be seen as relevant to football, now is this time to start staking out popular terms and brands related to the sport. Find out which search terms will be most popular as the football season comes to a close, and optimize your app description and screenshots if necessary to target them.

Remember that Search Ads are based on relevancy, and Apple is very intelligent about determining this relevancy. You don’t necessarily need a football game to land a Search Ad for the word “football”, for example. A soccer game also makes a compelling case. A baseball game could be positioned as perfect for football fans looking for their next sports fix.

If you have a sports app, terms like these could help you expand your app’s search footprint:

  • Football games
  • Madden
  • ESPN
  • Sports games
  • Sports app

To find more rising keywords to target, consider conducting your own research using software. Just make sure your app is at least tangentially related to the terms you’re looking to target.

New Games in Popular Series

A handful of new games have come to the App Store in popular genres, and several more will be arriving before the end of January. If your game is similar enough to any of these highly-searched games, you may want to consider branching out with a Search Ad targeting their titles.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: A fifth game in the ultra-popular series just hit the App Store, and both “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and its abbreviation “FNAF” are highly-searched terms in the App Store. Horror buffs and fans of interactive storytelling will be the primary users searching for terms like this.

Super Mario Run: Although Mario released in mid-December, the game still sits at the top of the most-downloaded list. Ranking for “Mario”, “Mario Run” or other search terms will no doubt be contentious, but also take into consideration the other terms that Mario will raise with him. “Nintendo” is popular, for instance, while “running games” might capture users who were disappointed in Mario’s debut as they search for an alternative.

Yo-Kai Watch: Although not yet a household name in the United States, Yo-Kai Watch is a hugely popular Pokémon-like in Japan, and the series has picked up enough of a following in the United States to make “Yo-kai watch” a highly-searched term. A new game in the RPG series is slated to hit iOS, and games that revolve around collecting monsters may find an audience by placing their Search Ads here.

Star Wars Force Arena: While the latest Star Wars mobile title won’t technically be out until March, it will no doubt be popular once it launches. Hearthstone currently has a Search Ad at the top of the term, and it seems like a good fit – Force Arena will be a strategy-based, competitive title when it releases. Having your ad at the top of search results when the app releases could draw sci-fi and strategy fans.


2017 is just getting started, but already you can see the foundations of the year’s popular Search Ads forming. With Superbowl LI and a new Star Wars game coming up, along with Mario and Five Nights at Freddy’s still drawing searches, developers have many options for positioning their Search Ads in the month ahead.

ASO Trends for Fall 2016

Another season, another batch of brand-new App Store trends. This Fall you’ll find everything from presidents to Pikachu ruling the mobile roost.

Look for these topics to dominate the mobile conversation in Fall 2016.

2016 Summer Olympic Games

One of this Fall’s biggest search trends has already kicked off in grand fashion. The Summer Olympic Games began on August 5th with a widely-publicized opening celebration, but the games themselves had been a hot topic for months due to an unprecedented combination of controversy and hype.

The lead-up has made the 2016 Rio Olympics one of the most buzzed-about ever, but now that the games themselves have begun the sports and the stars are taking the limelight. Terms like “Olympic games 2016”, “Olympic games” and “Olympics” have naturally seen massive surges in App Store search volume. So have the sports (“tennis”, “archery games” or “gymnastics games”) and the stars (“Michael Phelps” or “Usain Bolt”).

Expect this trend to carry through early Fall as hype from the ultimate results of the Olympic Games, as well as any scandals or news after the fact, keeps the topic in public consciousness for a few months.

Football Season

Speaking of sports, if there’s one event every search industry can count on it’s the kickoff of football season. Starting in early September, popularity for football-related search terms in the App Store will skyrocket yet again. The sport should remain a popular topic throughout the Fall, as excited fans initially rush to cheer their favorite teams on in the beginning, and stay to see who makes the Playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas.

The immediate connotation with football apps is probably games like Madden for most fans, but don’t forget that football is a massive industry that expands to news sites, data tracking services and fantasy leagues.

Pokémon Go & Augmented Reality Gaming

Pokémon Go has already taken the world by storm and introduced tens of millions of rabid fans to the new world of augmented reality gaming. But what happens when players start peeling off and searching for new, similar experiences?

“Augmented reality” and “augmented reality games” have already become popular search terms in Pokemon’s wake, but don’t expect it to stop there. With Pokémon making over $1 million per day, fans (and developers) have taken notice.

Just as many competitors will soon be coming to the augmented reality field, Pokémon Go will be trying to wrangle as many players as possible away from those competitors and back into their corner. Expect some major updates throughout the end of the year which will keep the title trending in App Store search.

United States Presidential Election

The United States’ Presidential Election is, again, a topic which has been building in popularity and which will reach its peak this November. Whether it’s a news aggregator or a political game, politics has never been a bigger search topic in the App Store. Look for terms related to the election, the political process and the candidates themselves to hit their peak late this Fall.

And there you have it – Four of the biggest upcoming trends in the App Store this Fall. Can your app reasonably capitalize on one or more of the above? If so, you might just be caught up in the wave of trending organic search.

App Deep Linking Tools You Should Know

With the release and adoption of the latest versions of the two biggest mobile operating systems – iOS 9 and Android 6.0 Marshmallow – deep linking has moved mainstream.

Both iOS 9 and Android 6.0 include a private app index that can access specific in-app content and recall user-generated in-app content and actions. Spotlight search on Apple and Google Now on Android also now index in-app content in search results, funneling users directly to the relevant location once the app is installed.

Mobile deep linking

From an app marketer’s perspective, app visibility is not limited to only the app listing metadata. Mobile apps can now be indexed with depth and specificity. Performing a search using Spotlight or Google Now will surface in-app content of a user’s installed apps first – which impacts user engagement, retention and ultimately value.

Sounds awesome and simple right?

Here is why we need services and tools – there are several approaches to indexing in-app content, and several competing formats:

Facebook is driving App Links

Google is pushing App Indexing

Twitter has App Cards

Apple has Universal Links

Deep linking helps with not only app discovery, but new user on-boarding, retention, and navigating from Facebook or Twitter to content best viewed in an app.

With this range of goals and use cases comes a bit of a fragmented experience in actually implementing and supporting in your mobile apps.

Deep linking iOS

In iOS, there is a public index and a private index that uses multiple iOS APIs.

The best way to get started for indexing in-app content that has web parity (also appears on a website) is to use Apple iOS 9 Search Validation tool:


This App Search validation tool will provide suggestions on how to tag content on the web with the in-app location.

Using Apple’s universal links, users can easily locate content in your app – even from a web or Spotlight search.

BUT – Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter do not support these universal links.

We’ll introduce a few tools in a bit that solves this problem.

Deep linking Android

Google’s approach to app indexing and deep linking is a bit different as their goal is to be able to index in-app content and display in relevant Google searches. Google has dominated web search, but not so much app search.

Mobile has surpassed PCs, and apps have surpassed the web. Mobile apps are discovered predominantly through App Store search, and search is moving to contextual (Siri/Spotlight, Google Now on Tap, Facebook M) and away from broad web search – with the result often a mobile app.

If Apple’s approach is to index in-app content for a better user iOS device user experience, Google’s is to pull in-app content into web search results (app deep linking SEO), even going so far as to preview in-app content without a user having to install an app.

Time will tell which approach the market will prefer, but mobile app publishers have another decision to make as to which standards to adopt in their apps.

Deep linking tools

As mentioned, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter each have different approaches to app indexing, tagging web content and tracking links.

Branch.io aims to solve this problem by creating a platform that supports all of the major platforms and lists content on search portals.  Branch also provides analytics and attribution, smart banners, tools for customizable/personalized on-boarding and more.

Source:  Branch.io
Source: Branch.io

If your app is available for iOS and Android, and is content-rich – Branch.io is well worth checking out.

URX.com provides a platform for monetizing a content-rich app with deep links into other, contextually relevant apps.

Source: URX.org
Source: URX.org

MobileDeepLinking.org provides a guide on mobile deep linking with contributions from many of the top mobile ad networks.

Source: mobiledeeplinking.org/

Whether used for on-boarding, acquiring app installs, syncing app and web content, retention or discovery – the benefits of implementing app deep links far outweigh the initial complexity.

What Google’s Recent Announcements Mean for Your Apps

On February 26th Google announced they would be updating their algorithm for mobile search to penalize websites that were not mobile-friendly.

Since 60% of online traffic is from mobile devices, this represents a significant call-to-action for website managers to ensure mobile visitors to their sites have a good experience.

48% of search is from mobile devices, and Google wants to make sure these users are receiving useful results.  “Useful” now includes content that can be accessed without trying to navigate a site built for a 15″ screen.

google mobile ranking

This isn’t just the little guys

In a recent report from Portent of the top 25,000 websites, 40% are not mobile-friendly.

These changes went live April 21st.

But what about my mobile app?

This update from Google was a bit different in that Google set a date for compliance, and shared tools for web managers to confirm compliance.

It was also two parts – with the 1st part grabbing all the attention. More people and businesses have websites that would be affected by a penalty than have app with un-indexable content.

Part 2 of the update was extremely important for mobile app publishers and marketers:

2. More relevant app content in search results

Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search. To find out how to implement App Indexing, which allows us to surface this information in search results, have a look at our step-by-step guide on the developer site.

While Google has a strong mobile OS play with Android, the content and functionality “locked” inside of app silos present a real problem for Google.

They want more data inputs.

Mobile is a data marketers dream

Unless a user is logged into an un-forked Android device, or in a Google app in iOS – Google does not have access to device-related data.

And unless the content “inside” of apps are indexed – Google is also locked out of mobile app content for search.

In the several 100 posts within 24 hours of Google’s algorithm update related to mobile-friendly sites, many encouraged readers to index their apps’ content for a better Google mobile ranking.

On April 16th, Google announced an update to their Feb 26th post related to “relevant app content in search results”:

Starting this week, people searching on Google can also discover your app if they haven’t installed it yet. If you’ve implemented App Indexing, when indexed content from your app is relevant to a search done on Google on Android devices, people may start to see app install buttons for your app in search results. 

Previously, mobile apps would only be displayed in mobile search results if the app was already installed.

Furthermore – Google added:

With the addition of these install links, we are starting to use App Indexing as a ranking signal for all users on Android, regardless of whether they have your app installed or not.

Indexing your Mobile Content

Indexing your mobile app content so it can be indexed, searched, interacted with from search and interact with other apps is becoming the big focus of 2015.

Facebook made a splash at their f8 conference showing how App Indexing and Facebook Messenger could be a huge boon to mobile publishers and users alike.

Google is now ranking mobile content regardless if a user has the device installed.

And there are signs that Apple will be adopting more robust App Indexing into iOS.