Just when we thought life is good and everything is calm, Google came and shook our (ASO) world. A new feature was launched, which allows (at long last) to gain a unique visibility into how users actually search for your app on Google Play. Let’s back up for a minute and understand what’s happening here.
App Store vs Google Play
At this point, it should come as no surprise that both major App Stores compete and copy from one another. It all started in last May when Apple introduced a major update to their iTunes Connect analytics section, that gave advertisers information about where the organic explore traffic comes from, separated into 2 categories – Browse and Search. Browse traffic comes from browsing the store, top charts and featured apps. Search traffic, on the other hand, is traffic of users who got to the app through searching for a keyword in the search tab in the app store. Earlier this year, Google took this tool to the next level, and introduced search and browse traffic as well, and raised the bar by adding keyword data for the app’s top 1,000 keywords. You can see the best performing keywords, in terms of downloads, CVR and even subscribers/buyers (if implemented. See visual example below). This way you can make changes in the store and magnify your app store presence, focusing on the best words for your app.
Having said all that, there are still a few things we would love to see in the app store. First and foremost – you cannot see keywords stats by country, which is quite frustrating for global apps (as the dominant languages will take up most of the top keywords). Another downside, and rather not clear, is the fact we are unable to export the data. This is critical for (data nerd) ASOs, who need to slice and dice the data points to get a holistic overview on an app’s organic state. In addition, any demographic data could be very useful, though we suspect Google won’t run to give this out anytime soon, especially with the sentiment around the upcoming GDPR regulation and the latest Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.
It’s worth noting that this feature isn’t rolled out for all apps yet, but it seems Google has raised the bar with the transparency it now gives app developer. We hope Apple well level up as well and perhaps add some of the functionality we hope for ?. Regardless, this update signals and important milestone in the evolution of ASO. This is what this tool looks like, with details blurred to keep our client’s privacy: