ASO and the New Google Play Store

Lior Eldan 21 October 2018
ASO and the New Google Play Store

Back in April 2018, Moburst was one of the first to post about the significant changes within the Google Play Store, and important developments for mobile marketers to be aware of. Of course, the biggest change was that the Feature Graphics banner was removed. This eliminated a key method that was used to catch user’s eyes, added a call-to-action, and “spoke” to users about what the app is all about.

More Key Features and Learnings

Back then, this new look was only being rolled out to a subset of users. Now, this is what almost all users are seeing when they open their Play Store. We’ll look at further key changes, what we can learn from these changes, as well as how to best adapt and take advantage of the new layout. First off, it’s important to note that the entire design of the store is much more minimalistic than before. There is tons of white space, it has a very clean look, and Google is making a conscious effort to now bombard the user with information.

What this means is that what is shown becomes even more important. It is critical to carefully consider and maximize every area of leverage available in order to boost conversions.

Ratings and Reviews

Chief amongst these is ratings and reviews. These are shown as one of only 3 (and a half!) stand-out metrics on the app page. The rating is shown in bold, with the number of reviews below this. It is therefore of critical importance to ensure that you are on top of your reviews and ratings, and that users are happy. This could be done through quickly addressing user concerns, getting users to rate the app at points of delight, and so on.

Number of Downloads can be Hidden

Apps relying on a high number of downloads to carry weight with potential users are in for some disappointment. Number of downloads is only shown after the app rating/reviews, the app size, and the maturity rating of the app. This means that it is often cut off, or invisible entirely. The key takeaways here are not to rely on this metric, and to show elsewhere on the page such indicators as trust, reliability and popularity.

Screenshots Become Key

In a move that takes the store in the polar opposite direction of Apple’s App Store, screenshots of any size can be uploaded. These become the focal point of the page. This means that it should be carefully considered whether to upload 4 portrait screenshots, 3 portrait screenshots, 1 landscape screenshot, 1 landscape video (more about this below) and so on. The good news is that you can be creative here, and play with and test multiple formats to see which one gets the best traction. Be aware that text in or above screenshots, especially portrait ones, can become so small as to be almost illegible. Test your combinations well before going live.

Bye Bye CTAs

In the previous incarnation of the store, there were multiple points at which a CTA could be placed. These included the Feature Graphic, screenshots and the description. These have now disappeared or changed, meaning that the only place for a CTA is either on the screenshot itself, or in putting a smaller screenshot and including some brief text below it that has a call-to-action.

Video is Engaging, But…

Sure, video is a great way to show off your app in an immersive way that screenshots just can’t compete with. There is a “but” though. Playing the video opens in YouTube, pulling the user even further away from your app’s page. The video can also sometimes hide text you had placed under your screenshots, making it even more difficult to convert users.

Optimize Based On User Acquisition

Depending on where your users are coming from, you have to be very careful about which graphical assets are being shown to which users, and at which stage. Users can come from Search within the store, “Explore” or Browse traffic within the store, or acquisition from elsewhere (usually paid). Each of these requires a different, specific area of optimization.

Staying On Top Of Changes

By not being aware or on top of these key changes, there is a massive risk of falling behind and seeing a major drop-off in conversions. Moburst will bring you the latest changes, tips and data-driven insights to ensure that you are constantly ahead in the ASO game. Want to find out more about how Moburst can optimize your app? Join some of the world’s biggest brands who have found success with us by getting in touch!

Lior Eldan
Lior Eldan is the Co-Founder & COO of Moburst. As an ASO and Mobile media expert, Lior mentors and supports startups, helping them develop and execute their mobile marketing strategies.
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