Optimizing your app store presence is a crucial component of your overall app marketing strategy. One of the aspects of ASO that is often ignored is the difference between the Apple iTunes app store and Google Play. Paying attention to these differences can help you reach more potential users on both platforms. In this two-part post series, we’ll delve deep into all the factors differentiating Google Play from iTunes. We’ll cover not only the technical aspects, but also the interaction between user acquisition methodologies and additional specific ASO factors on each of the platforms. Know The App Stores There are many similarities between Google Play’s app store and that of Apple iTunes. However, there are also some significant differences between the two that simply you can’t afford to ignore. Learning these differences can help you craft an ASO strategy that is tailored for each platform according to its specifics. It’s important to note that from Google and Apple’s perspective, every country has its own app store. So for each locale and language, you should enter different metadata to match the local language, search trends and user behaviors.
The app title field is indexed for keywords on both platforms. Apple allows up to 50 characters in the field, while Google limits app publishers to 30 characters only. While the name is often truncated to show only the first 20 characters or so (depending on device and display), keywords included in this field hold the highest weight in indexing on both platforms.
Google Play & Apple iTunes both let you enter a description of up to 4,000 characters. However, Google Play lets you use a lot more rich formatting, emoticons and special characters that Apple does not allow. Google also offers another field in the app metadata – the short description, 80 characters in length.
On Google, both of the available description fields are crawled by the search engine indexing bot, while Apple relies on the strings in the app name and keywords field.
Keywords & Indexing
Since iTunes doesn’t index the keywords and phrases in the description, Apple expects app publishers to provide the relevant keywords for the app in a 100 character keyword field. With so little room to maneuver, you have to perform careful keyword analysis and selection for effective discoverability.
Screenshots & Other Graphic Components
The visual components on Apple’s app page are limited to 5 images per screen size. Google Play allows up to 8 screenshots, as well as a cover photo for your app page. Video previews are recommended, but each platform has its own requirements and demands for the videos published. The next post in this series will delve deeper into indexing and ranking algorithms, the role of user reviews and social components in your ASO strategy and additional factors that affect your app’s discoverability and visibility on the app stores.