Top 7 Mistakes Made When App Rank Boosting

1. Having Less Than 4 Stars

It’s always a common question — “What star rating should we aim for in the app store?”

The answer has changed over time. Current research from appentive.com shows that:

  • 98% of the top 100 free apps have at least 4 stars
  • 92% of the top 100 paid apps have at least 4 stars
  • 99% of the top 100 grossing app have at least 4 stars

History from the app stores shows that there’s been a big change in user’s perception of ratings and reviews.

Previously, all apps wanted a perfect 5-star rating, however, as competition increases, the relevance of ratings has changed.

Obviously, if you have a 1 to 3-star rating, it suggests something is wrong with your app. So, before you spend time and money running a burst campaign to generating exposure, it’s probably a better idea to concentrate on actually improving your app, and increasing your ratings.

If you have 5 stars, its highly unlikely that your reviews are real. It even suggests that you could have even of bought fake reviews as even the most popular apps can’t hit the perfect 5 stars.

4 stars seem to be the sweet spot which shows that your app is pleasing its users and your ratings are real, so users can trust the findings.

2. Using An Icon That Hasn’t Been A/B Tested & Refined

Your app’s icon affects your conversion rate on your listing page more than most people think. It acts as a mini banner ad, so it’s important to choose the right one to ensure that your listing generates downloads.

Your icon is one of the first things that potential users see when browsing the app stores and can often be the deciding factor when they decide whether to click on it or not.

It’s generally the best industry practice to A/B test different icons to see which ones convert the best. Don’t just run an internal survey and pick the one your team or friends / family like the best. Run some paid ad campaigns and base your decision on the resulting data.

Facebook is one of the best platforms for testing your app icons due to its large user base and in-depth targeting abilities. Plus, you can test on both web and mobile which gives you important data to analyse.

When running a test campaign, the best industry practice is to ensure you set it to Cost Per Impression (CPM). This way, you’ll pay the same amount of money for the same set number of impressions.

If you go the opposite route and use Cost Per Click (CPC) payment method, it can often negatively skew results because if your ad receives more clicks, it will get shown more often in users’ newsfeeds.

In terms of the design, ensure that the ad contains both the icon image and text so that the prospect knows what kind of app they will be clicking on.

Before spending money to acquire new users, allocate a budget to testing your icon. So that once you generate massive exposure, your listing has the highest possible chance of converting.

3. Not Having A Video In Your Listing

App listings that don’t have videos tend to have the lowest conversion rates. It’s so easy to create a video of your app these days, so not having one, is a major mistake.

Create a video that demonstrates the functionality and features of the app. If it’s a game, show a video of the gameplay which makes it enticing for users to download.

A survey by mobileindustryreview.com shows that 33% of users watched a video before downloading an app and that it was a contributing factor which helped them decide whether to download it or not.

If you don’t use a video and only use only static screenshots, you generally can’t show the unique qualities of your app as effectively. With a video, you can highlight your slick user interface and impressive animation, which screenshots can’t do the same amount of justice.

Videos also help build realistic expectations of what users can expect, from using your app. You don’t want to run the risk of falsely advertise your app and then start receiving poor reviews and ratings.

Remember, though, humans typically have short attention spans, so make sure your video isn’t too long or you could end up losing the prospects altogether.

4. Boosting At The Wrong Times

When deciding when to burst your app and generate massive exposure, you need to consider when is the best time to launch so you’ll convert the most users.

Christmas and other major holidays can be a great time of the year to run a bursting campaign, as it’s likely to result in the highest number of users browsing the app stores, due to people being off work / school and having more free time.

It’s also important to think about the day of the week that you’re going to burst. Weekends tend to generate the most downloads. Therefore, running a burst a few days before the weekend can ensure that you reach the top charts for Saturday morning.

Take into consideration your competition. Yes, it’s important to burst when you can get the most attention, however, if everyone else is bursting at the same time, then your app might not rank as high as it could have done.

If you know other apps are bursting or if you don’t have the budget for a large boost, perhaps consider bursting at a less popular time. For example, the week before Christmas instead of Christmas-Day.

Bursting at the start of the month can also be a profitable idea as people generally get their paycheck at the end or at the start of the month. With extra disposable cash, it’s often likely that there will be increased spending on e-commerce apps or in-app purchases in games.

5. Not Boosting During Soft Launch

When you soft launch your app, it’s usually a great time to run a bursting campaign. Use the soft launch to collect data to see how your app performs in a variety geographical locations.

Before your major launch into a large market, like the US, burst into a smaller, but comparable market first, like the UK or Canada, and see how it performs.

By bursting in your soft launch, you can test and see the results without spending the large budget which you’d need to burst in the USA.

By improving your app based on data from your soft launch, you can iterate and optimize your app, so that it has the maximum chance of success in your global launch. If you don’t use a burst campaign, you run the risk of your soft-launch taking a long time to get the necessary data you need. Plus, you could also run the risk of a competitor launching globally before you.

6. Not Setting KPIs

Before running a burst campaign, it’s vital that you set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure that you can analyse the results and make necessary improvements if needed.

Are you looking to get to the top charts? Are you looking to acquire users with a high lifetime value? Are you looking to acquire as many users as possible? Are you looking for re-engagement?

Decide upon these factors before launching and use them to create your strategy. Narrow your focus and only pick the most important ones to measure.

KPIs such as Cost Per Daily Active User can be crucial in order for your app to have any chance of being profitable.

The number of installs isn’t the most important KPI you should be thinking about. You need to acquire users who are engaged, in-app purchasing and using it on a daily basis.

Calculating your ideal effective CPI is also crucial. For your app to be profitable you need to ensure that your effective CPI is lower than your average user’s Lifetime Value (LTV).

7. Not Optimizing The Description & Title Of The App

Before launching a burst campaign, it’s critical that you optimize your description and the title of your app in your app store listing.

The first three lines of your app description are the most important, as they are directly visible when people visit the app page on the web, smartphone or on tablet. Below this section, users have to tap on the ‘More’ button to read the rest of your listing.

Therefore, in these first three lines, you must include all of your best information which clearly explains what your app does, why it’s unique, and why people should download it. Try and condense this information into a single sentence, if possible.

After the first three lines, use social proof to show visitors that your app is well liked by your users by including any testimonials or awards that you’ve previously won.

Have you been featured in any newspapers or in blogs? Been on TV? Mentioned by any key online influencers? Use all of this to build trust and credibility with your prospects. Leverage anyone who has featured you and use their authority to influence potential users.

Previously, you could use special characters (like ★) to highlight key parts of your listing. However, now Apple has banned these characters from being used. Therefore, be creative and see what other successful apps are doing to make their descriptions stand out from the crowd and convert.

Once you have mentioned social proof, the next step is to talk about your app’s best features and the benefits which users will receive, by using your app. Go into detail here and explain what your videos and screenshots show.

Don’t forget to include a clear Call To Action (CTA) at the bottom of your listing which directs people to download the app. For example “Download (App Name) now to enjoy (benefits)”. Make it sound enticing.

Do you have any other apps? If so, don’t miss this chance to cross-promote them if they are also relevant for people to downloads as well.

Are you looking to acquire more users for your app? Let me know and I’ll help you brainstorm some ideas!

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