Tag Archives: Apple

Mobile App Discovery

Mobile App Discovery Challenges

Apple recently announced there are 1.5 million apps in their app store, Google Play has 1.4 million. Mobile app discovery continues to be a hot topic among mobile app marketers and publishers. From the broad perspective of all search, discovery and marketing , to specific discovery challenges in the app stores – standing out in the app store is becoming more challenging. Recent changes to Apple’s App Store make it even harder for apps to gain an initial traction previously found with a listing on the “new to the app store” section.

Get Used to Buying Traffic?

Benedict Evans of a16z suggests that the two “organic” options for discovery (of anything from mobile apps to books to furniture) are machine learning “If you bought this, you will like this” and curation. He is not bullish on either, stating machine learning can’t provide relevant enough recommendations, and curation ends up being too shallow. His conclusion:  get used to advertising (spending for traffic).

Tools Coming?

Mobile discovery specifically has some coming tools that may aid app discovery – namely deep linking or App Links. These tools partly enable apps to communicate with each other and direct link, and also “unlock” the content in mobile apps for indexation by Apple and Google. Presumably, adoption of deep linking would enable the app stores, Siri, Spotlight and Google searches to return relevant app results impacting discovery tremendously. Eric Seufert of Mobile Dev Memo and VP of User Engagement at Rovio isn’t as optimistic saying:

Deep linking is a marketing tool, not a quality proxy.

While deep linking is not mobile’s version of PageRank, it can be a tool for relevance if not quality.

Top of the Charts

Even if landing at the top of the app charts is extremely impactful, those spots are taken by portfolio apps (Facebook and Facebook Messenger) and apps who have made huge investments in buying installs (Clash of Clans, Candy Crush). Most apps are not competing with Facebook.  Most apps have a core audience and a feature set that differentiates their app and solves a problem for their audience. Connecting to that audience is the key.

Are we really competing with abandoned apps?

Consider 83% of apps in Apple’s App Store are “zombie” apps, or apps that do not appear on any top list (free, paid, grossing) for any category or sub-category for more than 20 days of the month being measured. At the time of the last report (before Apple’s recent app store changes), there were 23 categories and 18 subcategories each with free, paid and grossing top 300 lists. The number of apps, the top of the charts, even the vanity metric of “downloads” distracts us from our primary goal -to identify and connect with our audience. This starts with an app listing that utilizes modern app store optimization strategy, and continues to optimize metadata and creative elements for a changing marketplace. Your audience is frustrated with app discovery as well. By identifying the way your audience searches the app stores, you can rise above the noise and be exactly where they are looking in their app store search results.

Apple Analytics

Apple Analytics – New Features Review

At WWDC 2014, Apple announced Apple Analytics was coming.

Mobile app publishers and marketers anxiously awaited this new analytics module, expecting a release to coincide with the iPhone 6 release.

Not only did Apple not release their mobile app analytics module with the new OS and devices (iOS 8 and the 6 & 6 Plus at the time), it took until April of 2015 to be released in beta.

For a host of reasons, not to mention Facebook announcing expanded mobile app analytics a month earlier at f8, the Apple Analytics module fell short of expectations.

The question is – what did Apple provide visibility to that was not already available from existing, free services (Flurry, Google Analytics, Facebook) that was new, and actionable?

The beta release of Apple Analytics provided some data that only Apple has, but had not released before.

  • App Store Views (how many visitors to an app’s app store listing)
  • Sources – where the traffic to the app listing came from

Both pretty cool in theory.

If we know installs (what Apple is calling “units” in analytics), then we can calculate a conversion rate:

Units/App Store Views

Wow!  We can see if people viewing an app store listing ultimately install the app.

Low conversion rate?

  • Maybe our screenshots are not highlighting the most desired features
  • The first few lines of the description are not compelling
  • The app title is a turn-off

All information that only Apple can provide its developer community to build better apps and ultimately a better experience for Apple device users.

Except that there are other ways to install an app.

One being directly from search results.

Another is via a deeplink/app link.

So – to really understand conversion, so marketers and publishers can make better apps, we need to know installs (units) from an app view vs direct from search results (or direct link).

I assume Apple knows this, and I assume they understand units/app store views when units can come from various sources means there is no conversion rate to be measured.  No insight = no action.

If data isn’t actionable – you are doing it wrong.

So far – this data isn’t actionable.

That didn’t stop Apple from adding a new “feature” they are referring to as ratios.

mobile app analytics

As we know, if units can occur without an app store view, the ratio of units to app store views is meaningless.

For example, you are looking for the hotels.com app.  You search “hotels” in the app store, and the first result is the Hotels.com app.  Do you click to see the app’s store listing?  Or just download from the search results?

Hotels in Search

It would not be surprising if apps with popular brands had conversion rates exceeding 100%.

More units than app store views.

What about attribution?

The “sources” section of the Apple Analytics module provides some insights that could be hacked together before, but is now in 1 place.

Where is most of the traffic to an app’s store listing coming from?

Publishers did not have this insight before.

We could create custom links and track marketing efforts to an install and beyond, but not to the app store.


Custom Link > Install > Sessions/Revenue/Etc..


Source/Custom Link > App Store Listing > Install > Sessions/Revenue/Etc..

There is some value in this, but mostly for determining where a spike in traffic came from.

Marketers running campaigns, from ads to social media posts, generally create custom links for tracking.  Ultimately being able to attribute in-app actions to campaigns is what is valuable.

What’s Coming?

Expectations among marketers have been established somewhat by the web.  Google Analytics provides data on source, campaign, search terms used etc.. for web properties for years.

But apps are different, and Apple owns the more valuable user base and app ecosystem.

This is Apple getting its feet wet in providing analytics to its partners.

Expect more data on search terms used to find apps, which apps drove traffic via applinks and hopefully some adjustments to units and views to help publishers build better experiences for Apple users.

Apple Passes 63 Billion Mobile App Downloads From Store Search

The Moscone Center in San Francisco has been busy, and one of the key takeaways from WWDC 2015 is the importance of ASO.
After playing host to Google’s annual developer conference “Google I/O“, Apple held their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week.
While missing some of the splash of previous WWDCs, the 2015 version still delivered.
From Apple’s perspective – announcing Apple Music was the big reveal.
Some of the loudest applause came in an unexpected place, when Craig Federighi mentioned in (almost) passing that Swift would be opened-sourced.

100 billion apps downloaded in 7 years

When Apple CEO Tim Cook hits the stage, he is generally sharing macro-data and macro-strategies, and then letting others come up and dig into specific details of new products, services and releases.

While on stage – Cook shared a simply amazing statistic:

Apple has passed 100 billion apps downloaded

That’s 100 billion downloads from Apple’s app store in 7 years, with 1.5 million apps now in the store.

As recently as May 16th, 2013 Apple announced 50 billion downloads.

That means an additional 50 billion apps have been downloaded in just over 24 months, or 70 million apps per day.

According to a Nielsen report, and supported by other studies, app store search is the biggest driver of app downloads by a large margin – 63%.  This is a huge sign of ASO importance.

63% of apps found via search

Studies show a range of 50-65% of apps downloaded from app store search.

Using Nielsen’s 63% means every day almost 44 million apps are downloaded by users searching in the app store.

Increasing App Visibility in App Store Search Results

Identifying and connecting to your audience in the app stores has never been more important.

Cost per install (CPI) continues to rise across geographies.

Competition is expected to increase for mobile ad inventory as brands allocate more of their advertising budgets to mobile, driving mobile ad costs up even higher.

Organic app installs driven by app store search optimization is still the most effective long-term strategy for mobile app growth and adoption.

Learn more about how Gummicube helps our clients gain market share with a complete app store optimization strategy here.

For more on Apple’s WWDC 2015 – see our wrap up post here.

Mostly Mobile – Facebook, Google and others are now predominantly mobile companies

Quick – Is Google a mobile company?

“Sure” you might say, “But mostly web search and web apps.”

Apple?  Sure but they sell Macs too.

We know Instagram, Uber, WhatsApp, SnapChat – all mobile first.

What about Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Pandora?

According to the mobile app statistics, including the latest revenue and usage data – all of the above are generating more revenue, more growth and have more usage as mobile apps and/or mobile platforms.

Some of the biggest names in the internet are now mostly mobile.

And companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo all wish they were too.

Here is a snapshot of the largest social networks – by time spent via mobile or desktop.


And here is what Google web search is looking like:


  • The majority of email in Gmail accounts is opened on mobile devices

Usage only tells part of the story

73% of Facebook’s ad revenues come from mobile – up from 14% 2 years ago.


In 8 quarters, Facebook went from barely addressing the advertising opportunities for their mobile users, to generating 73% of their ad revenues from mobile.

The macro perspective of the mobile advertising space


20% of time spent in Mobile, 4% of ad spend (US only)

Internet Trends 2014 Slide 15 copy



24% of time spent in Mobile, 8% of ad spend

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 10.29.18 AM

According to the above chart, mobile advertising spend doubled, and still couldn’t keep up with the increase in time spent in mobile.

The rise of messaging apps

You may be very aware of Whatsapp ($22b) and Snapchat ($19b), if not a daily user.

How about LINE ($10b), KakaoTalk ($2b), Tango ($1b) and WeChat owner Tencent ($100b).



This is all happening fast, and there are leaders and laggards.

It is time to add fuel to your mobile marketing investment!

What to watch for next

It sure looks like the Apple Watch will have its own app store.

Applinks/Deep Linking will continue to expand as Apple tries to increase the value of Spotlight Search and Siri, while Google tries to index the content in the app silo.

The list of mobile first businesses with $1b valuations continues to expand.

Apple Analytics

Apple Analytics Have Arrived

Last week Apple started sending invites to beta test their Apple Analytics module they had announced all the way back at their worldwide developers conference in summer, 2014. Apple Analytics Have ArrivedIf you have not received or missed your invite – you can request access here.  

Another analytics service or something new?

We already have free solutions from Flurry and Google. Facebook is now offering analytics in what I think will eventually be a must have SDK as well. So – what, if anything, is Apple Analytics providing that’s new or useful? Apple Analytics will provide data on app launches, referring websites, attribution via custom links and even more info on in-app purchases. This is great, but is available via several different services. Even having all in one service is canceled out by the need for an Android solution as well.

App Page Views

What Apple can show that no one else can is how many views your app page receives. Which should lead to being able to find a conversion rate – installs from app page vs page views. The first invitees and requesters are getting access now, we’ll share more info and screenshots as we get them!