An app name sets expectations from the moment users see it in search results. The name establishes branding, while the title fields on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are important for App Store Optimization. With that in mind, it’s important to look at best practices for naming your mobile app.Continue reading
Choosing a name for your app is important in more ways than you might think. Not only is it key for your branding and informing users of its purpose, but it also is essential for App Store Optimization. Your iOS app’s title and subtitle influence your keywords, provide value propositions and have an impact on conversions, so you should fully understand the best practices for naming your app.Continue reading
For the first time since in its eight-year history, the App Store’s title field will be shortened from the previous 255-character limit to a new, concise 50 characters. Apple made the announcement to developers early on September 1st, sending shockwaves through the development community as many apps will be forced to alter their titles.
Starting September 7th, all app titles will be limited to 50 characters maximum. Live apps with titles that exceed 50 characters will be subject to warning from Apple. If within 30 days of receiving a warning the offending title hasn’t been updated, the app will be kicked off of the store. Apps that crash on launch will be removed from the store immediately.
This new initiative by Apple means more than just a cleaner-looking App Store, though. The title field is widely considered one of the most important components of App Store Optimization, as it sends a clear signal to Apple of what your app should be ranking for.
During the process of ASO, both an app’s title and keywords will be optimized to encompass the widest possible array of popular, relevant search terms. Words from an app’s title and keyword bank can combine to create phrases, meaning developers who add complementary words into their title and keyword bank will often have an advantage when it comes to organic discovery via search. This is why many apps use “title tags”, descriptive keywords which serve to inform the user (and Apple’s rankings system) of the functionality of an app.
Take the Google Maps app, for example. The app’s current title is “Google Maps – Real-time navigation, traffic, transit, and nearby places”. Words from their title can contribute heavily towards their app’s rankings. Consider words such as “traffic”, “transit” or “nearby places”. Alone, these are highly trending searches. Combined, they create a strong rankings portfolio for Google Maps, without ever taking up a character in the keyword bank.
The problem? Google Maps, along with thousands of other apps, has a title that comes in at over 50 characters. In the Top 100 Free Apps alone, there are 13 apps with titles longer than 50 characters as of this writing. These apps will have to consider how to shorten their title and re-optimize their keyword bank so as to maintain the highest possible number of words and phrases in their rankings.
While the title field is changing, the concept of ASO itself is not. Combining words from the title and keyword bank will still be a way to gain more rankings for your app for the foreseeable future. The challenge now becomes to determine which words and phrases are most valuable to your app.
The App Store is the holy grail of mobile app user acquisition. Curated and exceedingly well-stocked, there are over 1.5 million apps and growing in both the Apple and Google Play app stores.
Unfortunately, it is also a place where an app can easily be forgotten, especially when it attempts to muscle into a particularly difficult part of the market.
If you want to chase your fortunes in the mobile app stores, or connect with more customers on the medium they increasingly prefer, every aspect of your application must be polished.
The very first element of your app a potential user will see – whether when searching the stores or browsing – is the app name.
A great application name must:
– Avoid confusion
– Stay on brand
– Clearly communicate value
– Aim for Relevance
– Stand out on the global stage
Without a strong app name, your app will likely lose out to competitors even if their apps are not as good. Below are tips that will allow you to get the most out of your app’s name.
Having a sound-alike name can be useful if you are looking for a clone to pump out short-term cash, but creating something that confuses consumers is not useful over the long term.
There are plenty of apps on the store that have a name that is closely related to something more popular without being confusing to consumers or purposely misleading.
Tweetbot is a good example. Their app’s core functions are managing tweets and Twitter accounts – so they have “Twitter” in the name.
But the copycat app “Tweetbot” is named to purposely confuse consumers who mistakenly think they are buying the “Tweetbot 4 for Twitter” app.
Apple and Google will approve your app name/title as long as it is not a direct match with another app listed in their store. It is up to you the publisher to make sure your app name is not so similar to an existing app that consumers are confused about what they are getting.
Your mobile app name is an extension of your brand.
Take a look at the best-selling and most installed apps on the front page – they’re incredibly clear about the companies behind the product.
Some apps, like Facebook or Twitter, simply use the name of the company’s service. Other apps, like Microsoft’s SmartGlass or any of King’s various Match-3 games, follow a naming scheme that is closely related to the company’s other efforts.
Familiarity helps consumers remember your app, while anything that goes too far outside the norm will simply confuse them. Try to stay on-brand because that’s what consumers will expect from you.
Make it Easy
One of the worst things you can do with an app name is to attempt to be overly clever. Let the consumer know what your apps does and how it can benefit them – don’t try to confuse them.
For indexing and conversion – we recommend using specific features in your app name. It is important for ASO and it is important for conversion as users understand immediately what problems your app solves, or what to expect upon install.
Try to stay away from overly technical jargon and amusing plays on words in favor of simple names that help users find your app and understand what your app does.
If you look at the average number of words in the best selling apps on Apple’s App Store, you’ll find that the big winners tend to average somewhere between three and five words.
Much of this is due to many having very identifiable brands – but keeping the core name of the app (the app name before any mention of features) is generally advisable.
Understand the Difference Between the Apple and Google App Stores
Each store has it’s own requirements and tools (and name) for the App Name/App Title field.
Apple’s App Name is 255 has a 255 character limit but we strongly discourage using any more than 80.
Google’s Play Store uses a App Title field which is limited to 30 characters, but provides tools for testing different names on a portion of your live store traffic and by country as well.
Many of the best performing apps are those with global appeal.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to translate certain concepts into other languages. As such, it’s important to take a global view of your app name before putting it up for global sale.
Some of the greatest marketing blunders in history have come about because marketing departments weren’t doing their due diligence looking at the translation of certain product names into other languages – and it’s important that you don’t make the same mistakes.
Even if localizing your keywords, app listing or in-app content is not in your current plans – it is better to make an effort now than have to change something as major as the app name when you are ready for broadening your market base.
Check to make sure your app name doesn’t have unwanted connotations when it’s introduced into new markets and double-check to make sure someone else isn’t already dominating the market with a similar name.
The app name or app title is a unique app listing field in that is plays a big role in how your app is indexed, how well it converts app store views to users, and how well it retains users once the app is installed.
Use ASO best practices and the above tips for creating an app name that will serve your mobile app efforts for the long-term.
What is the impact of mobile app name length?
If Apple provides 255 characters for my app name – and indexes each word for search, why not just fill it to the brim with keywords?
Not only does Apple provide 255 characters for app name, but also weighs keywords found in the app title more heavily than those found in the keywords field.
Google Play is a different animal where you have 30 characters to work with for app title and no keywords field – so we’ll focus on Apple’s App Store here.
What is the best approach for creating mobile app titles for Apple’s App Store?
There are several strategies for creating an app title for your mobile app.
A few examples of app title conventions
Brand name only:
Note: 5 of the top 10 free apps in the US app store, and 10 of the top 25 – have 1-word app titles.
Brand name and descriptive (keyword-rich) tagline:
- Gmail – email from Google
- SoundCloud – Music & Audio
- Chrome – web browser by Google
That’s 23 words and 135 characters of keyword goodness. Even with 23 words, they still missed the words “i” and “heart” as independant keywords for those searching for the brand.
As of this writing, iHeartRadio is ranked in the top 50 US free overall.
If approved by Apple – even apps employing the “Keyword Explosion” title strategy can land in top 200 overall.
Of the top 200 – the longest app title belonged to iHeartRadio.
What are the top apps in the App Store doing?
The average for the top 200 free apps are:
- 26 characters
- 4.5 words
|小偶 – 我的3D萌偶||11||3|
|Does not Commute||16||3|
|MORTAL KOMBAT X||15||3|
|Gmail – email from Google||25||5|
|Find My iPhone||14||3|
|Free Music HQ – MP3 Streamer and Media Player||45||9|
|EA SPORTS™ UFC®||15||3|
|Skype for iPhone||16||3|
|djay 2 for iPhone||17||4|
In the top 25 free apps in the US app store – only 1 has a title longer than 25 characters.
What’s special about 25?
That’s where the app title wraps on iPhone 5 search results.
Now – with the iPhone 6 and 6+, around 50 characters are visible.
Of the top 200 free apps, 170 had app titles less than 50 total characters.
But is Apple favoring apps with shorter titles?
…..or are these apps making a decision based on aesthetics?
A lot of the top 200 free apps in the app store do not rely on ASO alone to drive downloads, as they invest heavily in promoting their app in their own channels (email lists, web traffic) or via paid advertising.
Their rankings in the app store may be much more a function of downloads, download velocity, ratings or any # of variables Apple uses in their search algorithm.
The app title length is a net positive from an ASO perspective and a net negative from a presentation perspective – where each apps needs to decide where to find the balance.
Amazon uses 57 characters, and 9 words
Even on the iPhone 6 (shown below), the title is not completely displayed.
With 122k ratings overall, hovering around 3 stars, the Amazon app ranks in the 30s in the US overall free.
Ebay uses a whopping 4 characters
With over 223k ratings and an average of 4.0+, Ebay ranks in the 50’s on the US overall free.
Ebay, a shopping app, with
- twice as many ratings as Amazon
- better ratings than Amazon
- shorter and more aesthetically pleasing title than Amazon
……ranked lower than the shopping app from Amazon.
App title length – if penalized at all by Apple, is easily offset by increased downloads or other variables weighted by Apple’s app store algorithm.
It is up to the publisher/marketer to determine the best way to balance relevant target phrase coverage with the attractiveness of having an app title that displays completely on all iOS devices.
Worth mentioning – just because you decide you want to opt for a 255 keyword explosion for your app title does not mean Apple will approve your app title. Overly spammy, overly broad or irrelevant keywords and titles can and will be rejected by Apple.
A good analysis from last year was done by Stuart Hall and shared here.