App Store Discovery is broken! Any solutions?

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One of the key issues app owners and developers struggle with is discoverability. The number of apps on both major app stores grows daily and the built-in search technology simply isn’t sufficient enough. Though that’s not the only issue. Last year’s ComScore report demonstrates additional issues app owners have to deal with.

Leading 25 mobile apps by unique visitors

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In one word it’s about stagnation. In the summer of 2014 only 4 apps out of the TOP 25 apps (both iOS and Android) got 70% of unique visitors. Those apps are owned by Google, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook. All 4 companies own platforms that allow them to launch more apps and quickly grow their user base. These companies have long-term plans to build upon their current apps’ successes. It’s become a challenge for small companies to launch apps on the App Store or Google Play and to break through this visibility barrier.

People spend 42% of time on a single favorite app. 17% of app users are sticking to 2 apps and 60% of app users are completely ok with spending time on a couple of apps.

Time spent on apps

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If that’s not stagnation I don’t know what is.

This summer we’re passing the 7 year anniversary of the iTunes App Store. Apps have become a part of people’s lives and they occupy a specific niche in their daily routine. One of the basic marketing principles tells us that the frequency of people’s exposure to a certain product influences its adoption rate. The reason why apps from the 4 previously mentioned companies holds much app usage is due to constant visibility.

Nobody at Apple or Google can calculate how much time people will be spending on apps, it is simply impossible to do. Both platforms now have a stagnation problem. The simple truth is that the app economy wasn’t created to work in favor of small developers.

App owners are forced to compete with both direct competitors and apps that people spend a bulk of time on to interact with their smartphones and tablets. The situation isn’t totally hopeless for newcomers but it requires a real innovation with what an app can do for a user. It’s not a feat that many app developers can do, by definition innovation doesn’t show up on schedule and in scale.

Are there any solutions for small companies to overcome these obstacles? One way to increase an app’s visibility is to launch an incentive traffic campaign. By supplying an app with mobile traffic, an app owner can increase its visibility on the App Store or Google Play. The problems that may occur with supplying an app with incentive traffic are that various providers may not have specific geo location traffic or an insufficient quantity. This is the exact issue we at GoWide decided to solve for app owners by launching AppBooster earlier this year. It provides a single dashboard for managing incentive traffic from multiple sources with real-time pricing based on CPI model and minimal budget to start using the solution.

AppBooster has major success when it comes to our ability to increase app rankings for certain business verticals. Let’s say you have an app in the social networking category and there are a ton of competitors, your organic traffic is not enough to reach even TOP 25. Here comes our solution. You can set up a campaign in just a few minutes. It can be scheduled (we do not recommend proceeding with boosts during the weekend because there are more organic downloads of your well-known competitors and it will be tough to overcome them) and will start on a certain date and time automatically. You also set your pool of geos and operating systems. Last but not least is the price you are willing to pay for installs. Of course the higher the price the more traffic you will get. After the campaign is activated, our platform starts to aggregate all of the traffic from our supply partners on a real-time basis. The opportunity to win major rotation share depends not only on the bid, but on your CR as well. It is very important to find an ideal balance between these 2 values. The higher your CR, the lower bid you can apply. Based on our statistics from campaigns with direct developers, $0.38 (both iOS and Android) is enough to get a decent amount of traffic from almost any geo. We helped underdog apps from the Philippines, Malaysia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, UK and other prominent geos to blossom at the top of the store.

Art Dogtiev,
Head of Branded Content.