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Four marketing strategies to increase app store downloads and engagement

January 23, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • App marketing is intensely competitive. There are limited channels to market your app but millions of apps to compete with. It’s important to maximize every opportunity.
  • Like SEO, App Store Optimization involves keyword research and optimization. App developers have limited space for their keywords and much competition to face. Hence, precision is highly necessary.
  • App ads on Facebook are unlike other types of ads. You need Facebook SDK, in addition to the ads manager, to properly track app downloads and engagement.
  • Rewards should turn your app users into customers. When done right, incentives can generate social proof and viral loops.
  • There is ASO but there’s also app SEO. Content formats such as blogs, podcasts, and newsletters can make your app website/landing page gain higher rankings on search engines.

Your app is competing for visibility with 1.82 million other apps if it’s on Apple’s App Store, or 2.7 million apps if it’s on Google’s Play Store. That’s tremendous competition. 

Marketing your app almost seems a lost cause. But while making your app stand out is indeed a daunting undertaking, it is possible, as long as you apply the right strategies. 

Effective app marketing involves identifying key types of channels for discovery and engagement (app stores, social media, search engines, and in the app itself) and targeting your audience. 

1. App store optimization/landing page optimization 

Newcomers make up only 8% of apps listed on the App and Play store top charts, going by Adjust’s App Trends 2020 Report. Considering that the app store is your app’s main chance, by far, at organic discovery, it need not be said that your App Store Optimization (ASO) must be on point. 

ASO is to apps what SEO is to websites. And both have their similarities, especially in the on-page/off-page strategy dichotomy. And like SEO, ASO begins with improving visibility. 

The first tip to achieve this is to use an attractive name and logo. Those two are the first things users see when they find your app. But before then, you have to make sure people can find it, right? And not just anyone – the right people, your target audience. 

When optimizing your app store listing, what factors must you consider, keeping in mind that app indexing differs between stores?

  • App Name/Title: feature relevant keywords to enable the app store algorithm to properly identify and categorize your app. You have 50 characters for this on Play Store while Apple’s App Store also includes a subtitle, for keywords that don’t fit the main title.

App store optimization tips - Work on the title

  • Apple, unlike Google, allows developers to input specific keywords in a private field on its App Store. For Google, you have a short description field (80 characters) and a long description page (4000 characters) which are both public. 
  • Include keywords that are relevant to your app and which accurately describe its features, functionalities, and benefits.

That is as much as you can influence your app’s rankings. Other factors, beyond your direct influence, include reviews and ratings, download and uninstall rates, app updates, etc. 

2. Facebook ads strategy 

ASO has its place and you can’t rely on app stores entirely for app discovery. Not if you’re not a big-name brand. Your marketing strategy should tilt more towards the paid, discussed below. As Christian Eckhardt of Customlytics says,

“The likelihood of a user going to a store to browse or discover new apps has declined significantly, compared to the early days of the stores.”

By creating a page on Facebook for your app, you can run ads with custom call-to-actions to gain publicity for your app and increase downloads. Facebook Ad Manager allows you to set an objective for your app: whether you are targeting app installs or app engagement (traffic). Facebook Ads offer a competitive ROI with an average cost-per-install rate of $ 1.8, compared to Twitter’s $ 2.53 and Instagram’s $ 2.23. 

CPI using Facebook ads

To run ads for your Facebook app,

  • First, set up Facebook SDK. This is necessary to optimize your app for mobile ads, though you can still run ads for unregistered apps using the app store URL. 
  • Continue setup in the Ads Manager, where you select your target audience, budget, bid, creative format, and other options. 

  • Finally, continually measure your ad performance, track engagement data, and gain analytics insights using Facebook SDK and within the Ad manager.

Measuring ad performance that adds to your app store downloads

3. Use a rewards system 

This is a strategy that helps you to convert your app users into marketers. Of course, this assumes that you have an app that delivers value to its users. The next step would be to incentivize app engagement. 

In-app rewards that can facilitate engagement include unlockable customization options, discounts, push notifications, in-app currency (points, coins, etc.), vouchers, and other freebies Many apps (especially games) already feature these. But here, motivation is important. What kind of behavior does/should the reward system encourage?

  1. Retention 
  2. Publicity
  3. Reviews

Beyond app retention, your in-app incentives should encourage actions that publicize your app. For instance, you can offer a discount or some other benefit to people who share the app or refer users (using referral codes). We know this works since old research by Google showed that people find new apps through friends and family than by any other means. Likewise, incentivize app users to rate and write reviews of your app on the store. Apart from promoting the goodwill of an app, positive reviews drive up app store optimization rankings, increasing the visibility of your app.

But app retention is important too. Only 32% of users would return to an app at least eleven times, a six-point reduction from last year’s rate. And app stores consider high uninstall rates as signs of a low-quality app. Such an app would get lower rankings and may even be removed from the store eventually. Incentives keep people using the app and create viral loops.

4. Content marketing strategy 

Search engines are a great place to gain publicity for your app. Think about it. Someone hears how great your app is and immediately searches the name, only to find scanty or no relevant results at all. You need a creative and consistent content marketing strategy to convert search engine users. 

You can use a blog to highlight the benefits of your app, inform users of updates, and teach them how to maximize the features of the app. If businesses that blog gain 126% more leads than those that don’t, why not apps? The popular investing app Robinhood’s marketing strategy features a blog where they teach people the basics of investing and finance.

Using content marketing to make your app more visible and valuable in the audience's eyes

But there is more to blogging than just posting articles. You need to research keywords to find the ones that will help you convert the most. That’s what enables search engines to effectively rank your blog posts. 

In addition, content marketing is not limited to blogging. You may also take advantage of newsletters, podcasts, and YouTube videos, as Robinhood does. Called ‘Robinhood Snacks’, it delivers a daily newsletter with financial news to subscribers (irrespective of whether they use the app or not) and breaks down business stories via podcasts as well. 

Content marketing is broader though. You also need backlinks to rank. And that means getting your app featured on ‘top apps’ listings, external reviews, guest article mentions, all of which should contain backlinks to your landing page. Of course, it need not be mentioned anymore that you need a highly-engaging landing page with a clear call-to-action that takes visitors to the app’s store page.

A simple content marketing checklist for app optimization will look like the following:

  • Research ideas that are related to your app and relevant to your audience. 
  • Craft topics from these ideas and develop engaging content around them. 
  • Use mediums that your audience uses the most. For instance, podcasts are a great idea if you are targeting millennials. 
  • Feel free to repurpose content. Your blog post can be repurposed into a YouTube video. You can transcribe a podcast interview and convert it into an article, etc. 
  • Always include a call-to-action 

Conclusion

If you implement the strategies discussed above, you can rest assured of steady app growth. However, the most important factor is that the app is indeed valuable. The best apps are those that advertise themselves. But virality does not happen overnight. Its the result of the consistent application of the right strategies.

Guy Sheetrit is the CEO of Over The Top SEO, an award-winning marketing agency that provides customized SEO marketing solutions for ecommerce, local, and Fortune 500 companies. He can be found on Twitter @guysheetrit.

The post Four marketing strategies to increase app store downloads and engagement appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Opinion News Found By Machine Learning at Google

January 22, 2021 No Comments

Opinion News in Top Stories Earlier this year, I wrote a post about news stories that are shown in carousels in Google Top Stories Are Chosen By Importance Scores The patent I wrote about in that post told us that Google may attempt to show opinion pieces related to topics that were being identified as … Read more

The post Opinion News Found By Machine Learning at Google appeared first on SEO by the Sea ⚓.


SEO by the Sea ⚓


‘Slow dating’ app Once is acquired by Dating Group for $18M as it seeks to expand its portfolio

January 22, 2021 No Comments

Five-year-old “slow dating” app Once has been acquired by the Dating Group, one of the largest companies in the dating world, for $ 18 million in cash and stock. Dating Group has 73 million registered users across a range of portfolio apps, including Dating.com.

Clémentine Lalande, co-founder and CEO of Once, will continue leading the company under a two-year agreement. Fellow co-founder Jean Meyer retained a stake in the company after departing two years ago.

Once has 9 million users on its platform, while the startup also garnered a further 1 million from a spin-out app it later launched called Pickable.

Once is a dating app that uses matching algorithms to deliver just one match per day to each user. It pitched itself as an alternative to the frenetically paced apps such as Tinder and Bumble. Indeed, Bumble revealed last week that two in five people of those it surveyed are taking longer to get to know someone as a result of pandemic lockdowns. And 38% Bumble users admit that it had made them want something more serious. So Once had a ready market.

Each pair on the Once app has 24 hours of each other’s attention and can continue chatting if they “like” each other. The AI looks at the account’s info, dating preferences and previous history in order to find the best possible match. Users can also rate each particular profile to let the AI better understand their taste.

In a statement, Lalande said: “I am thrilled to join the Dating Group today, both because of their proven focus on post-swiping dating alternatives, and to leverage the huge synergies between Once and Dating Group. In such a concentrated and competitive market having a large partner will allow us to augment our reach and accelerate geographical expansion”.

Bill Alena, chief investment officer at Dating Group said: “We strongly believe in the concept of AI and making quality matches. We see a huge potential in integrating Once into our portfolio. We’re excited to have Clémentine join Dating Group, she and her team have built a fascinating product and with this acquisition, Dating Group expands deeper into the Western European market.”

Dating Group has offices in seven countries and a team of more than 500 professionals, with more than 73 million registered users across the entire portfolio. Its brands include Dating.com, DateMyAge, Dil Mil, Cherish, Tubit, AnastasiaDate and ChinaLove.


Social – TechCrunch


Let Fire Stations and EMS Crews Administer Covid Vaccines

January 22, 2021 No Comments

They’re more trusted and better distributed than pharmacies, and they’re built for emergencies.
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Tools to Analyze Your PPC Competition

January 21, 2021 No Comments

Explore a few free tools (with paid optional) that you can use to analyze your PPC competition and improve market share.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


2021 Search marketing: The year of automation

January 21, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The search engine results page (SERP) is a battleground for user attention riddled with colorful paid and organic content including shopping ads, Quick Answers, popular products, and videos.
  • Today’s search users would rather see to believe than read.
  • Let’s explore what marketers must master in 2021 to stay ahead of the curve for search marketing.

Pull up your phone and search for any good or service, what do you see? In today’s Google and Microsoft search experiences, you will see loads of images and other visual content staring back at you. The search engine results page (SERP) is a battleground for user attention. It is riddled with colorful paid and organic content including shopping ads, Quick Answers, popular products, and videos. The traditional “blue links” are now just one mere navigational aid. Today’s search users would rather see to believe than read. Let’s explore what marketers must master in 2021 to stay ahead of the curve with search marketing:

1. The customer journey must be known

For years, search, while connected to other media channels, largely felt isolated as a “pull” marketing medium. Its purpose was clear: capture demand and connect products and services to the user’s intent.

Today, however, search excellence requires new connectivity to speak more personally to the customer at different stages of their journey. Doing this well requires leveraging first-party customer data, but also, and equally important, leveraging the platform’s view of the customer, be it Google, Facebook, or Amazon. Modern marketers must leverage first-party data, third-party data, and platform data to create greater experiences and ROI. It is pivotal that marketers get this step of the process right as the third-party cookie deteriorates in 2022, causing a new horizon in marketing. Increased focus and investment must be placed on aligning and connecting data and identities across environments, with a privacy-first mindset. To enable this infrastructure, advertisers must enlist developers to automate datastreams that fuel machine learning algorithms in near real-time. Without this investment, both the knowledge of and intelligence behind the customer’s journey is lost.

2. The machine must run

Automation is a requirement to compete in search, but there has always been a complementary relationship between human and machine. The right approach is “both/and” instead of “either/or”.

Still, modern marketers must stay current and regularly question how much to favor machines over humans and for which elements. Further, within the aspects we may turn over to automation, we have what the advertiser, agency, and platform each uniquely know about the customer on the other end of the query. As such, today’s marketers must capitalize on knowing who is better equipped to inform a particular action we take with our ad program.

For example, the advertiser does not know the three most recent websites the user has visited, but platform A does. Platform A does not know which ads the user has interacted with on platform B, but the agency does. However, the agency is unaware of the offline conversion data for the user in a digital marketing target list. Data assets held by the platforms, the agency and the advertiser need to work together in guiding the machine.

Brands should employ just a handful of the real-world search marketing capabilities that use automation based on information the advertiser wouldn’t have themselves. Here are some tips:

1. Real-time automated bidding

Leverage platform-only signals such as previous queries and device/browser combination such as an iPhone 11 running the Google app for search.

2. Automated customer segmentation

This runs the gamut from basic remarketing tags, to platform “smart” audiences, to advanced cluster models. All levels of customer segmentation should be used and layered into your search programs.

3. Dynamic Search Ads

Augmenting most successful paid search programs, this “keywordless” automation step will find newly productive query volume to complement traditional keyword campaign activity. It cannot replace traditional keyword generation but should be used to augment those efforts.

4. Responsive Search Ads

Particularly important to highly-specialized, dynamic, and nuanced businesses, automating ad copy, with distinct, feed-driven customizers is a no-brainer for advanced paid search marketers. Gone are the days of specifying quantities, price points, or geo-targeted locations in tens of thousands of ad groups. Allowing for dynamic keyword inclusion and rotating ad copy narratives is just the beginning of fully automated contextual success.

Business automation accelerates growth

Modern search is mature and as comfortable as a well-worn tee-shirt. To the consumer, it is familiar, yet with fresh subtleties. To the marketer, it is ever more necessary to understand and balance the efforts of the human and machine.

The modern search marketer must have a complete line of sight to the visual battleground of paid and organic listings, understand the customer journey at a session-based level, and guide platform automation with intelligent business inputs as we move into 2021 and beyond. The quaint days of endless negative keyword list management have given way to projects that include near real-time activation of customer segments, based on modeled first-party data and competitive intelligence.

Do you spot any search marketing trends brewing? Feel free to share your observations in the comments.

The post 2021 Search marketing: The year of automation appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Parler Finds a Reprieve in Russia—but Not a Solution

January 21, 2021 No Comments

The far-right platform still hasn’t found a US-based home. Where it lands could have serious consequences for its users’ privacy.
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How to perform SEO A/B testing in Google Search Console

January 20, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • SEO A/B testing allows site owners to understand whether the changes they make to their website have a positive impact on keyword rankings.
  • Anything on a website can be A/B tested, but the best variants to test are those that have a direct relationship to Google’s ranking algorithm.
  • How site owners can best execute an SEO A/B test will depend on the size of their website and their ability to easily roll back changes.
  • If an A/B test proves that a specific optimization is effective, a site owner can more confidently incorporate identical or similar changes to other pages of their website.

For SEO strategists, it is sometimes difficult to know which of the many changes we make to our websites actually impact their overall SEO performance. Moving websites from page 10 to page 2 can usually be accomplished by following SEO best practices, but the trek to page 1? That requires far more granular attention to the specific changes we make to our landing pages. Enter SEO A/B testing, one of the best ways to narrow in and understand the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of specific optimizations.

Many digital marketers are comfortable using A/B testing features in their PPC campaigns or to analyze user behavior in Google Analytics, but fewer are incorporating this powerful strategy to better understand which of their on-page optimizations have the greatest impact on keyword rankings.

SEO A/B testing can seem intimidating, but with the right tools, it’s actually fairly simple to perform. Not only does A/B testing help SEOs identify the most impactful optimizations, but it also gives them a way to quantify their efforts. Although SEO A/B testing is more often utilized by advanced SEO strategists, site owners who are comfortable working on the backend of their website have a great opportunity to elevate their SEO strategy through well-structured A/B tests.

What is SEO A/B testing?

When it comes to controlled experiments, testing two variants is the fundamental building block from which all other testing is built. A/B testing is simply measuring how a single variant impacts an outcome. In the case of SEO, the outcomes are either better, worse, or static keyword rankings.

It doesn’t take much to get started. You’ll need Google Search Console for one (the absolute truth of your SEO rankings), as well as two clearly defined variants you want to test out. Lastly, site owners need to have a dev or staging environment where they can save a version of their website prior to the SEO A/B test just in case the changes do not produce the desired results.

Best use cases for SEO A/B testing

Anything can be A/B tested on our websites, but for SEO purposes, certain site elements are more likely to result in keyword rankings improvements because of the weight they carry in Google’s algorithm. For that reason, the below elements are the best use cases for SEO A/B tests.

Title tags

Choosing title tags is so important and has a huge impact on search results. Title tag changes are very impactful from a rankings perspective because they directly influence click-through-rate (CTR). Google has a normalized expected CTR for searches, and if your landing pages continually fall below the mark, it will negatively impact your overall chances of ranking.

Meta descriptions

For those websites that already have a lot of keywords on page one and are therefore getting lots of impressions, A/B testing meta descriptions can be really beneficial. Like title tags, they directly impact CTR, and improving them can result in significantly more clicks and thus better rankings. 

Schema markup

If you can, it’s good to add schema markup to all of your web pages (you miss all the shots you don’t take!), but if certain pages on your site still don’t have schema.org markup, adding it can be a great use case for an A/B test.

Internal links

Internal links communicate to Google site architecture, and they also distribute PageRank across our websites. Getting internal links right can produce dramatic keyword ranking improvements, particularly for larger websites with thousands of landing pages. Focus on header and footer links because of how much they shift PageRank. For websites with product pages, you can use A/B testing to find the best anchor text for your internal links.

New content

Adding good content to your landing pages is always beneficial because longer content implies topical depth. Using a landing page optimizer tool can help you improve the semantic richness of your content, and a subsequent A/B test empowers you to measure whether Google positively responds to those quality signals. 

Large groups of pages

For ecommerce sites or those who may add a large group of pages all at once, you can use A/B testing to measure whether those pages are crawled and indexed in a way that positively or negatively harms your existing rankings.

Information architecture

There are certain elements of information architecture that are more specific to SEO. Google likes page experience features like jumplinks and carousels, so understanding the impact of adding these features to your web pages is another reason to perform an SEO A/B Test.

Site migrations

Whenever you make core technical changes to your website, A/B testing is a great way to measure how those changes impact keyword rankings. It also helps prevent your site from experiencing a significant rankings drop in the long-term. 

The types of SEO A/B testing

There are a few different types of A/B tests that you can execute on your website. It will largely depend on the number of landing pages you have as well as the category of variants you are testing out.

A then B

The most basic form of A/B testing, this type of test will simply compare the performance of a single page with one different variant. This type of A/B test is better for smaller sites and easier to implement, particularly if you’re confident that the changes are in the right direction.  

Multi-page

This type of A/B test allows for far more statistically significant results and can be executed on large sites with hundreds to thousands of landing pages. Instead of measuring a single variant on a single page, pick two page groups of similar pages (I recommend at least 50 pages per cohort) and change the variant on all of those pages.  

Multivariate

This common form of experimentation has the same core mechanisms of an A/B test, but it increases the number of variants being tested. Multivariate testing can be great for measuring user behavior, but it is less effective in measuring search performance when you’re trying to discover whether a specific optimization has a direct impact on keyword rankings. 

How to perform an SEO A/B test 

The easiest way to do A/B tests is by using site snapshots and rollbacks. Basically, you take a site snapshot, make the change to your site, and sit back for a week and watch what happens. If the change to the site has improved your SEO, you’ll see it in your benchmarking. If you’ve made a mistake, then you just roll back to a previous version of your site and move forward with different optimizations. 

Here is a simple step-by-step process of an SEO A/B test:

  1. Take a site snapshot or do a site backup prior to implementing changes so you can return to a previous version of your website if the change is not effective
  2. Determine the variant being tested (for example, title tag, schema.org, and the others) and make the change to a page or cohort of similar pages
  3. Wait 7-14 days to determine the impact of the change
  4. Compare the keyword rankings for the variant page/s to the original. This can be done in Google Search Console or a Google Search Console Dashboard 

If the optimizations are impactful, you can proceed with making similar changes to other pages of your site. More targeted changes like adding keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions won’t necessarily directly translate to other pages. However, more technical optimizations like schema.org and information architecture can be implemented across the entirety of your website with more confidence if an A/B test proves them impactful.

Some practical advice for SEO testing across hosting environments

The way you proceed with step one will depend on your dev and staging environment. If you’re hosting on DigitalOcean, you can take site snapshots. If you’re on WPEngine, you can choose a site backup to restore from. For the best in class, try Version Control from Git, which allows you to roll back to any version of your website. 

Version Control is like Track Changes on a Word Document, but the history never gets deleted. With Version Control, even if you delete something or change it, there is a chronology to all of the changes that have been made — when a line of code was created, when it was edited — and you can roll back at any time.

It’s also important to make sure all of the in-development pages and test environment pages on your site have the robots no index tag. Some SEO specialists might tell you that adding the pages to your blocklist in robots.txt or with on-page rel canonical tags would be sufficient, but at LinkGraph I’ve seen numerous examples where pages or subdomains were added to robots and continued to be in search results for months. Just adding a canonical tag is insufficient at blocking the dev domain from crawling and indexing.

The best strategy is to use the robots no index. The even better strategy is to use both robots no index and rel canonicals for added protection.

How long does it take to know whether the variant was effective?

How long you wait to measure your A/B tests will depend on how often Google crawls your website. If you test parts of your domain that aren’t crawled often, you may have to wait longer in order for Google to actually see your changes. If you’re changing primary pages that Google crawls frequently, you can likely see whether those optimizations had any impact within 7-14 days.

As you evaluate the effectiveness of your optimizations, beware of confounding variables. Multiple backlinks in a short period of time, adding Javascript, and of course, algorithm changes, can sharply impact keyword rankings. Any type of experimentation is more accurate when you can eliminate variables, so do your best to not schedule A/B tests during link building campaigns, core algorithm updates, or any period of high search volatility. 

When done correctly, A/B testing can be a powerful way to refine your SEO strategy toward maximum results. Not only can A/B testing help site owners make more data-driven decisions, but it can also help SEO strategists prove the value of their work to clients or executive leadership who may be wary of investing in SEO.

Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning digital marketing and SEO agency that provides SEO, paid media, and content marketing services. He is also the founder and CEO of SearchAtlas, a software suite of free SEO tools. You can find Manick on Twitter @madmanick.

The post How to perform SEO A/B testing in Google Search Console appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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4 Tips for Warming Up Your Instagram Ad Audience

January 20, 2021 No Comments

Instagram is one of the best networks to run ads on with over a billion users. To get results, simply creating an ad and generating cold traffic won’t do.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Citrix is acquiring Wrike from Vista for $2.25B

January 19, 2021 No Comments

Citrix announced today that it plans to acquire Wrike, a SaaS project management platform, from Vista Equity Partners for $ 2.25 billion. Vista bought the company just two years ago.

Citrix, which is best known for its digital workspaces, sees this as a good match, especially at a time where employees have been forced to work from home because of the pandemic. By combining the two companies, it produces a powerful combination, one that didn’t escape Citrix CEO and president David Henshall

“Together, Citrix and Wrike will deliver the solutions needed to power a cloud-delivered digital workspace experience that enables teams to securely access the resources and tools they need to collaborate and get work done in the most efficient and effective way possible across any channel, device or location,” Henshall said in a statement.

Andrew Filev, founder and CEO at Wrike, who has managed the company through these multiple changes and remains at the helm, believes his company has landed in a good spot with the Citrix purchase.

“First, as part of the Citrix family we will be able to scale our product and accelerate our roadmap to deliver capabilities that will help our customers get more from their Wrike investment. We have always listened to our customers and have built our product based on their feedback — now we will be able to do more of that, faster.,” Filev wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal, stating a typical argument from CEOs of acquired companies.

The startup reports $ 140 million ARR, growing at 30% annually, so that comes out to approximately 16x its present-day revenue, which is the price companies are generally paying for acquisitions these days. However, as Wrike expects to reach $ 180 million to $ 190 million in ARR this year, the company’s sale price could look like a bargain in a few years’ time if the projections come to pass.

The price was not revealed in the 2018 sale, but it surely feels like a big win for Vista. Consider that Wrike has previously raised just $ 26 million.


Enterprise – TechCrunch