How to Optimise Your Mobile App for Higher Installs

Make Your Mobile App Rank Higher in Search Results and Attract More Installs

When optimising your mobile app for search results in app stores the principles stay the same as with SEO for websites but tactics are slightly different. Application stores’ search algorithms have still some catching up to do when it comes to relevance and complexity of algorithms themselves, therefore optimisation tactics resemble old style search engine optimisation, when keywords were the single most important factor.

The formula remains the same: you need to optimise your on page elements and get social proof which serves as a popularity signal and determines the rank of your app.

Here is an overview of the most important factors for app optimisation in both Google Play and App Store:

Google Play

  • Keywords in the app title. This is the most important element of Google Play rank, so it is important to use relevant and high volume keywords here. There are certain limitations, of course. You can use about 10-12 characters including spaces to fit it under an icon. Don’t forget to include your brand name too.
  • Keyword frequency in the app description. When a keyword is used several times in the app description, the app’s rank is increased by up to 20 spots. Don’t over optimise, it still needs to be readable. It is also recommended to use the name of your app in the app description as it’s also searchable in Google Play. App description is very similar to a website page description which appears in the Search Results. Include a call to action and talk to your target audience to encourage higher CTR.
  • Choose the most relevant category. Some categories might appear more attractive than others but if you have a niche product you might have less competition within your category, so consider this as an option for your app.
  • Number of net installs counts. Not only number of new installs is important but also how many people uninstalled your app. The more “net” installs your app has the higher its rank is. Google tracks uninstalls and only takes into consideration installs which are still active.
  • User reviews. The more reviews the better; and this is also considered as one of the ranking factors. Positive reviews are great for both search engines and convincing real people to install your app.

Apple Store

Pretty much the same principles apply here but unlike Google Play the search algorithm in App store is quite primitive.

  • Choose the right keywords. The search engine doesn’t take into consideration synonyms, plurals or typos. If your high volume keyword falls into one of these categories you need to include it separately.
  • Separate your keywords with spaces or commas but not both. For example, “keyword1,keyword2,keyword3” or “keyword1 keyword 2 keyword 3”.
  •  Start your app name with first letters of the alphabet or a number. Search results in iTunes could be ordered alphabetically, so it can help your app appear higher in the list.

These are some simple, quick to implement tips on getting your app rank higher but you also need to consider off page optimisation factors and promotional tactics. Link your app from as many places as you can: your own web properties, user reviews websites and partner sites. Ask your existing users to review the app with push messages. Happy optimising!

Most Unexpected A/B Test Results and What Could Cause Them

How A/B Testing Could Go Wrong

Running A/B split test experiments is not only a useful exercise to help you increase conversion rates but it can also be quite fun. Especially when your experiment shows some unexpected results. What could be the most unusual surprises?   

  • Control performs better than any treatment variation

You spent all that time planning your experiment and driving visitors to the site and at the end of the experiment the best performing option is your control. Try convincing your boss you need A/B tests after that! So what could have gone wrong? Most likely changes that are made in variations are not significant enough to increase conversions. You need to think of better things to run experiments on. Also it would make sense to look at the data in more details to identify if there were any other factors that might have affected the experiment. AB Split Test

  • Gender of visitors affects test results

If traffic is not homogeneous it is likely that your results might be affected by how men and women react to different images. A research called “What’s Psychology Worth?” found that using a professional picture of a woman had an effect on men but no effect on women, the response rate of a mail marketing campaign increased by 4.5% amongst men when a picture of a woman was shown. Take into account your target audience when testing a variation containing an image. 

  •  Change in navigation of a website performs worse than expected

When you introduce a new navigation your conversion could fall. Even though everybody in your company might agree that the navigation is much better than the old one it still might not perform as well as the control variation. The most common reason is that visitors are used to the old navigation and the novelty adds a confusion. Analogy here is a new layout of a store where you make weekly shopping. The minute the layout is changed it makes you uncomfortable, takes you longer to find what you are looking for until you get used to the new layout. Therefore, it’s better to test changes in navigation on new visitors first excluding any returning visitors from the test.   

  • Results are skewed by unpredicted factors

If your results are not what you expected don’t take them for granted. Try drilling down to what might have caused the experiment to end this way. There are certain things that could have an impact on results which you might not anticipate. For example, website down time, JavaScript errors and visits by bots or employees. In one of its tests Microsoft noticed that the new page design had a much lower conversion rate (click on the “buy” button was used as a conversion) but the number of page views per user was a lot higher for the treatment variation. When investigating further they discovered that the experimenting site had a monitoring system which was simulating clicks to determine if clicks fail, it tried several times before raising an alarm. In the new treatment variation clicks from a monitoring system didn’t work and it made many attempts which reduced the click-through rate.

To conclude, if results of a test look suspicious to you there might be a reason for that. Don’t take things for granted unless there were no possible factors influencing the test. Don’t stop experimenting.

Do you really know why visitors leave your site?

Eliminate the guesswork and boost your conversion rate with this simple tool

This is not just another tool in your online marketing armoury, it could literally be the only thing you need to have if you are serious about maximising the ROI of your existing online marketing activities.

The best part is that even a tiny improvement in conversion rates makes a big difference in the bottom line. There are numerous analytics providers that can help you improve the website usability, to name just a few: Crazyegg, Clickdensity and Google Analytics. However, my personal favourite is ClickTale.

ClickTale has become an industry leader very rapidly due to its great features, ease of use and integration. This is great you would say but how this is going to help me increase the conversion rate?

You can view recordings of what each visitor does on your website as if you were sitting behind him and looking over his shoulder. This can be quite useful for example when:

  • Members of your team can’t agree about the design of a landing page (happens with everyone)
  • Your had a recent redesign of a website
  • There is a high dropout rate on your check out page

If you have a highly trafficked website watching every visitor might become overwhelming over time but there are simple ways to analyse the data and quickly identify issues with your landing pages. The way to get round this is to use reports, identify where the issues are and then view recordings only of visitors that experienced these issues. Some of the reports I would recommend to pay attention to:

Conversion funnels – one of the most important reports, lets you see at which stage users leave the conversion process. You can identify issues in the conversion funnel by viewing recordings of users who left the site at a certain stage. Also great for comparing conversion rates for different marketing channels. Conversion funnel reports are highly customisable and could be scheduled to be sent by email.

Conversion funnel report. Analyse when visitors drop out and where they go after leaving each stage.

Form analytics – you can find out how users interact with your forms: which form fields make your users abandon the funnel, how long users spend on each field, which fields are left unfilled. Extremely useful for designing and optimising forms. When using ClickTale for optimising an application process for a job board I realised that users ignored/didn’t notice a tick box to agree with the terms and conditions which was a mandatory field. Making the tick box more prominent increased the conversion rate by 100% overnight. A simple change made such a big difference that it was hard to believe.

Form analytics. Find out how visitors interact with your forms.

Custom Events – lets you set up events which could be used for filtering visitor recordings. For example, events could be a visit to a registration page and a submitted form. This allows you to segment your visitors further. You might want to look at recordings of all visitors who came to the registration page but did not submit the form or you might want to identify recordings of users who submitted the form to see how they interacted with it.

Heatmaps – I find this particularly useful for new designs. You can quickly identify what remains unnoticed by visitors, how far down the page they scroll and which links and content are ignored. That certainly gives you a lot of room for optimisation.

Heatmaps. Discover what attracts visitors’ attention and what remains unnoticed.

Happy optimising! Watch your conversion rate increase and be prepared to meet a growth in demand.

Note: I have no affiliation with ClickTale, I simply find it to be a helpful tool for the CRO

5 Tips to Generate More B2B Leads from LinkedIn Ads

How to Maximise Your LinkedIn Advertising Efforts

If you need to find a new lead generation channel and your target audience is B2B clients don’t overlook LinkedIn paid advertising. I ran several LinkedIn campaigns and results were incredible.

But don’t just take my word for it. In the latest research of 5,000 businesses HubSpot found that LinkedIn has the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate of 2.74%, which is almost 3 times higher than Twitter (0.69%) and Facebook (0.77%) together. LinkedIn advertising isn’t cheap and cheerful so you need to make sure you are getting the best value for your money.  

Tip #1 Don’t try to sell to your audience straight away

When you are paying for every click It is understandable that you don’t want to waste your budget on people who are not ready to buy but “buy now” approach won’t get you many customers or a high ROI.

Use LinkedIn ads as a lead generation tool instead. Give your prospective clients something for free first in exchange for their contact details. Things that work really well are whitepapers and other free useful downloads. Information that you give away should be of real value to your prospective clients.  

Tip #2 Target the right audience with the right message

LinkedIn require more than 1,000 members in your estimated target audience to start a campaign. If there aren’t enough members in your target audience you could group several audiences into one segment. For example, how important is it to have different messages for clients based in different countries? Maybe it’s better to craft a different message based on their job function instead? In this case you can create a broader segment including all target countries and one job function.

There are a lot of targeting options to choose from and you will need to experiment which combination works better for your business. I found that job title, location, skills, job seniority and company industry give you almost laser precision targeting. However, the combination can be different depending on how niche your market is and how big the audience is on LinkedIn.  
Tip #3 Choose an effective image for your ad

Remember that people on LinkedIn are not searching for your product and you have to attract their attention. Use these guidelines when choosing your images.

  • Images need to be relevant to the audience.
  • LinkedIn is not very colourful itself so when using bright colours you help the message stand out.
  • Faces of people also work well as they help your audience to connect with you.
  • Images need to be cropped and zoomed for better visibility as the maximum size is only 50×50 pixels.
  • Don’t use your company logo unless you are a very well known brand  

Tip #4 Write compelling ad copy

This is the opportunity to convince your prospects to click on your ad. Keep in mind that you have a very short window when you captured attention of prospective clients, make the most of it by:

  • Selling on benefits instead of features
  • Telling your audience how your whitepaper will help them
  • Using a strong call to action to drive potential clients to your site
  • Highlighting the fact that you are offering something for free  

Tip #5 Optimise your landing page for conversion

This is the most important part when you already convinced prospects to visit your site, make sure they don’t drop out at this stage.

  • Your landing page should have the same scent as an ad which leads to your site. Include key phrases from your LinkedIn ad in the headline of a landing page
  • Focus on one call to action – to download a whitepaper, for example
  • Remove links which could take a user away from your landing page, including navigation links
  • Show a preview of what they are about to download
  • Don’t ask for too much information. Name, telephone number, email address, company name should be sufficient to follow up a lead.

Don’t believe people who say that LinkedIn advertising is only for brand building. The click-through rates are rather low but even then they could be higher than on Google Display Network, and on Linkedin the precision of targeting is second to none. In one of my campaigns the CTR was 0.15% but we got a return on investment of 1,000% and a total revenue of £25K. I would say it is definitely worth trying.

Set Adwords Accounts with Your Successors in Mind

What Moving Houses Has in Common with Taking Over Adwords Accounts

I am sure that anybody who had to inherit Adwords accounts from predecessors will understand what you have to go through to get the house back in order. The only comparison that comes into mind is when you move into a new house and you know that it’s not perfect from the very beginning but only then you start to realise how bad things are when you start living in there.

You need to move furniture round, clean the carpets, paint the walls and do a lot of other things you don’t particularly enjoy but have to do to make it work.

How much common it has with being presented with an Adwords account as part of your new job. You always ask yourself the same question “who did this and why?” And of course to find answers to this question is not only a waste of time but also doesn’t get you anywhere, so all you can do is roll your sleeves up and get down to dirty business.

Things that can make your successor’s life hard come in different shapes and forms but let’s just look at the most unpleasant ones:
Low quality score low search volume keywords 
This one needs to be eliminated straight away like farrow ants. If you don’t do something about it they will infest your house. These little unpleasant things start from one shelf and then take over your kitchen, the next thing you know they are already in your bedroom!
Solution: Kill these keywords fast and be very brutal about them. If they hardly bring any traffic  and spoil your ad groups, campaigns and eventually your account, do you really need them?
Mixing Search with Display Network Campaigns
If you actually want to understand what is happening in your account, need transparency and don’t want to pay blindly for unknown clicks, don’t mix the two types of campaigns.
These settings are very easy to change. Click on “Settings” tab in your campaign and choose “Search Network” only for Google Search campaigns and “Display Network only” for content network campaigns.
Display network type of campaigns is a completely different animal to Google search. Display Network deserves separate campaigns and can be extremely good for your business but it requires a different strategy, optimisation and general looking after. If you mix the two types you will lose control over your campaigns and won’t be able to properly optimise your account.

Irrelevant keywords with low CTR
If you sell a washing powder don’t advertise dishwashers in one ad groups. It could be tempting especially if your distantly relevant keyword has got more search volume but it doesn’t make any sense to attract people to visit your product category pages if they are looking for something completely different. By attracting irrelevant audience the click-through rate of your ads decreases, the quality score gets low and you get non-qualified traffic. Why would you want to pay for visits from people who are not interested in your product in the first place. It is a waste of an opportunity to sell to somebody who actually wants what you offer.
Solution: Add only relevant keywords which represent the needs of your audience that you can satisfy with your product.
This is by no means the complete list of surprises you get when you are handed over a new Adwords account but they are some of the most evil ones. When you do set up campaigns think about people who will take them over from you later on. Don’t leave time bombs which will explode at some point.  Be nice…