How to Increase App Store Conversion with ASO Creative Optimization

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3

ASO experts shared their tried and tested approaches to formulate a plan of creative optimization, execute it, and measure it. With Jordan Grenier (Marketing Analyst/ASO Expert at Ubisoft - games), Daria Antonova (Lead Marketing Manager at Playkot - games), Noga Szpiro (Senior Enterprise ASO Consultant at StoreMaven - mobile A/B testing tool) and Anna Kochetkova (Head of ASO Consulting at AppFollow - ASO tool).

Source:
How to Increase App Store Conversion with ASO Creative Optimization
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Webinar
Publication date:
March 31, 2020
Added to the Vault on:
April 20, 2020
These insights were shared through the free Growth Gems newsletter.
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💎 #
1

You also want to look at the retention rate when A/B testing: the new variant can perform very well but if your product metrics are down then you should not apply. 

11:10
💎 #
2

Google changed the flow of how the video is played: it plays directly from within the gallery instead of sending you to YouTube. More users are clicking to play the video but are now watching it for a lesser amount of time. 

21:40
💎 #
3

On iOS the view rate is more than 70% but on Google Play it is 10/15% so it's best to focus on feature graphic. 

22:40
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💎 #
1

You also want to look at the retention rate when A/B testing: the new variant can perform very well but if your product metrics are down then you should not apply. 

11:10
💎 #
2

Google changed the flow of how the video is played: it plays directly from within the gallery instead of sending you to YouTube. More users are clicking to play the video but are now watching it for a lesser amount of time. 

21:40
💎 #
3

On iOS the view rate is more than 70% but on Google Play it is 10/15% so it's best to focus on feature graphic. 

22:40
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💎 #
1

You also want to look at the retention rate when A/B testing: the new variant can perform very well but if your product metrics are down then you should not apply. 

11:10
💎 #
2

Google changed the flow of how the video is played: it plays directly from within the gallery instead of sending you to YouTube. More users are clicking to play the video but are now watching it for a lesser amount of time. 

21:40
💎 #
3

On iOS the view rate is more than 70% but on Google Play it is 10/15% so it's best to focus on feature graphic. 

22:40
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App Store Creative Testing process

  1. Prioritization: looking at different games and geos to find which one you want to optimize first
  2. Market research: understanding where you are compared to competitors
  3. Creative production based on market research insights
  4. Test
  5. Analysis part

How are you testing creatives for the App Store right now

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Marketing sends asset recommendations to the studio (based on market studies, competition benchmarks, previous A/B tests, UA creatives that perform well)
  • Start creating the assets depending on studio's planning
  • Start A/B test
    - Google Play: Icons, feature graphics and screenshots on Google Play Console
    - iOS: App Previews and screenshots using Storemaven

Anna (AppFollow) with clients

  • Not part of internal team so communicate with someone on the client's team
  • Everything starts with the ideas, a big part being the competitive analysis
  • Create an hypothesis plan for all the graphic assets
  • Once approve, produce the assets
  • A/B testing

Daria (Playkot)

  • Similar process with different tools for A
    - Google Play Experiments: app store creatives but sometimes Google attributes paid acquisition to organic
    - ASA Creative Sets: even less perfect, not many options for testing
    - Facebook Ads: often the results in CTR translate well to App Store installs. They use it for app icons for both platforms and video thumbnails for App Store

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Can be good to use Storemaven if
    - You are testing for an  audience that is monetizing very well or very important to you
    - If you want additional metrics (video watch time, etc.) if you want to go beyond just identifying a winner

What are the KPIs used for optimization?

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Important to know which metrics you're testing against
  • Google Play: can look at the average benchmark per category to see what happens when you are testing
  • [💎@11:10] You also want to look at the retention rate when A/B testing: the new variant can perform very well but if your product metrics are down then you should not apply.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Looking at CVR in top geos to measure impact of changes
  • Also look at in-game KPIs like retention or monetization
  • Example on South Park Phone Destroyer: main audience is South Park fans but also trying to optimize the store page for card games players. That audience is way harder to reach and more expensive and conversion rate decreases but when looking at retention and monetization it is performing better.


Measuring the impact outside of the test itself

  1. Company can invest in the methodology making sure the traffic is the most suitable one and using a reliable tool for testing.
  2. Measuring outside of the app store: complicated because it is a complex ecosystem (external factors, features, etc.) but you should still do it.


Coming up with good test ideas and hypothesis

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Look at competitors and what the industry is doing
  • Take a wider view: web, offline, etc.
  • Focus on the local market you're targeting (trends, tendencies, colors, etc.)

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Try to find ideas anywhere you can: reviews of the app, content new in the app, UA campaigns, etc.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Ideas from previous A/B tests you did


How does your strategy differ from iOS to Google Play?

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Taking a test from Google Play and using it on iOS is not a best practice: always almost different results.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Not really a different strategy iOS vs. Google Play. They first test on Google Play because it is free and gives you a trend of which asset is performing better. Then they backup on iOS with Storemaven. They always test the same assets but only testing on top geos.
  • On Google Play you can use assets that are not in-game footage so you have more flexibility for screenshots.


Impact of videos between iOS and Google Play?

Videos autoplay on iOS, not on Google Play even though Google tested it.


[💎@21:40] Google changed the flow of how the video is played: it plays directly from within the gallery instead of sending you to YouTube. More users are clicking to play the video but are now watching it for a lesser amount of time.


Ubisoft focuses mostly on the thumbnail/feature graphic.


[💎@22:40] On iOS the view rate is more than 70% but on Google Play it is 10/15% so it's best to focus on feature graphic.


Insights found through creative testing

Anna (AppFollow)

  • AppFollow almost always share the insights with the UA team so that things are in line and prevent inconsistencies

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Try to apply learnings across all games but games are sometimes quite different. If something performs better they try it somewhere else.


Prioritization

Daria (Playkot)

  • To prioritize apps or even assets to test they rely on the impact that a test can have by looking at CTR, CVR, geos, possible revenue.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Focus on the top 3/5 geos max, and tend to focus more on recent games. Then the games generating the most downloads and revenues
  • For assets they mostly focus on first impression: icon, thumbnail/feature graphic, first screenshot and also App Preview for App Store

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Most frequent testing are screenshots: can not customize icon for different geos and even small changes in screenshots (like order) can bring big changes


For how much time should you run the test?

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Usually at least a week. Right now during the crisis days are more similar so might allow to do tests faster.

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Even if you have a lot of traffic it is still best to wait for more data and not stop after a couple of days


Which ad network to get traffic for Storemaven A

Any network that supports mobile web traffic. It's more about the type of traffic you're looking to optimize for:

  • Branded search?
  • Browse traffic?


About soft launch

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Position the game - work with consumer market knowledge team (using market studies and benchmarks from competition)
  • Defining the key message of the game and main features
  • Concept test to make sure the features they are working on are appealing to players. Depending on results, adjust the content of the game
  • Closer to the launch, real A/B test with what is almost the final store page.

They are also using pre-registration more and more (people that can register before the launch). It works better than before but works better for mid/hardcore games than casual games.


Localizing for soft launch depends on budget. Unless you have a lot of money, focus on top tier countries.


How do you come up with a title for a new game?

Anna (AppFollow)

  • A client of them launched a Match 3 game and there were several keywords they could add on top of the brand name: "hotel", "mansion", etc. They drove traffic from Facebook with each time the exact same creatives but changing the keyword chosen.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • [💎@38:15] Start by reducing the list of games resulting from brainstorming to about 5-10: ASO review of each title where they look at the potential keywords in each title
  • Do split tests on Facebook to see what converts best.


Impact of Covid on metrics

Daria (Playkot)

  • No impact on ASO. More downloads from App Store search but can not say for sure it is due to the current situation.
  • Huge impact on UA: more impressions, lower CPMs

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Engagement in games much higher
  • Search volumes higher

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Really varies from app to app. Even within a category there can be huge differences
  • Apps that have a social aspect as part of the game tend to have an increase. People are looking for more interactions.
  • Make sure you cater to what people need: contact-less delivery, etc.

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Organic lift from paid campaigns is even bigger


Q&A


  • Acceptable churn/conversion rates before changes are needed?
  • If you are below the median of your peer group you need to make changes.
  • How many variants?
  • Can test multiple. Once you have a winner, iterate on it.


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

App Store Creative Testing process

  1. Prioritization: looking at different games and geos to find which one you want to optimize first
  2. Market research: understanding where you are compared to competitors
  3. Creative production based on market research insights
  4. Test
  5. Analysis part

How are you testing creatives for the App Store right now

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Marketing sends asset recommendations to the studio (based on market studies, competition benchmarks, previous A/B tests, UA creatives that perform well)
  • Start creating the assets depending on studio's planning
  • Start A/B test
    - Google Play: Icons, feature graphics and screenshots on Google Play Console
    - iOS: App Previews and screenshots using Storemaven

Anna (AppFollow) with clients

  • Not part of internal team so communicate with someone on the client's team
  • Everything starts with the ideas, a big part being the competitive analysis
  • Create an hypothesis plan for all the graphic assets
  • Once approve, produce the assets
  • A/B testing

Daria (Playkot)

  • Similar process with different tools for A
    - Google Play Experiments: app store creatives but sometimes Google attributes paid acquisition to organic
    - ASA Creative Sets: even less perfect, not many options for testing
    - Facebook Ads: often the results in CTR translate well to App Store installs. They use it for app icons for both platforms and video thumbnails for App Store

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Can be good to use Storemaven if
    - You are testing for an  audience that is monetizing very well or very important to you
    - If you want additional metrics (video watch time, etc.) if you want to go beyond just identifying a winner

What are the KPIs used for optimization?

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Important to know which metrics you're testing against
  • Google Play: can look at the average benchmark per category to see what happens when you are testing
  • [💎@11:10] You also want to look at the retention rate when A/B testing: the new variant can perform very well but if your product metrics are down then you should not apply.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Looking at CVR in top geos to measure impact of changes
  • Also look at in-game KPIs like retention or monetization
  • Example on South Park Phone Destroyer: main audience is South Park fans but also trying to optimize the store page for card games players. That audience is way harder to reach and more expensive and conversion rate decreases but when looking at retention and monetization it is performing better.


Measuring the impact outside of the test itself

  1. Company can invest in the methodology making sure the traffic is the most suitable one and using a reliable tool for testing.
  2. Measuring outside of the app store: complicated because it is a complex ecosystem (external factors, features, etc.) but you should still do it.


Coming up with good test ideas and hypothesis

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Look at competitors and what the industry is doing
  • Take a wider view: web, offline, etc.
  • Focus on the local market you're targeting (trends, tendencies, colors, etc.)

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Try to find ideas anywhere you can: reviews of the app, content new in the app, UA campaigns, etc.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Ideas from previous A/B tests you did


How does your strategy differ from iOS to Google Play?

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Taking a test from Google Play and using it on iOS is not a best practice: always almost different results.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Not really a different strategy iOS vs. Google Play. They first test on Google Play because it is free and gives you a trend of which asset is performing better. Then they backup on iOS with Storemaven. They always test the same assets but only testing on top geos.
  • On Google Play you can use assets that are not in-game footage so you have more flexibility for screenshots.


Impact of videos between iOS and Google Play?

Videos autoplay on iOS, not on Google Play even though Google tested it.


[💎@21:40] Google changed the flow of how the video is played: it plays directly from within the gallery instead of sending you to YouTube. More users are clicking to play the video but are now watching it for a lesser amount of time.


Ubisoft focuses mostly on the thumbnail/feature graphic.


[💎@22:40] On iOS the view rate is more than 70% but on Google Play it is 10/15% so it's best to focus on feature graphic.


Insights found through creative testing

Anna (AppFollow)

  • AppFollow almost always share the insights with the UA team so that things are in line and prevent inconsistencies

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Try to apply learnings across all games but games are sometimes quite different. If something performs better they try it somewhere else.


Prioritization

Daria (Playkot)

  • To prioritize apps or even assets to test they rely on the impact that a test can have by looking at CTR, CVR, geos, possible revenue.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Focus on the top 3/5 geos max, and tend to focus more on recent games. Then the games generating the most downloads and revenues
  • For assets they mostly focus on first impression: icon, thumbnail/feature graphic, first screenshot and also App Preview for App Store

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Most frequent testing are screenshots: can not customize icon for different geos and even small changes in screenshots (like order) can bring big changes


For how much time should you run the test?

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Usually at least a week. Right now during the crisis days are more similar so might allow to do tests faster.

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Even if you have a lot of traffic it is still best to wait for more data and not stop after a couple of days


Which ad network to get traffic for Storemaven A

Any network that supports mobile web traffic. It's more about the type of traffic you're looking to optimize for:

  • Branded search?
  • Browse traffic?


About soft launch

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Position the game - work with consumer market knowledge team (using market studies and benchmarks from competition)
  • Defining the key message of the game and main features
  • Concept test to make sure the features they are working on are appealing to players. Depending on results, adjust the content of the game
  • Closer to the launch, real A/B test with what is almost the final store page.

They are also using pre-registration more and more (people that can register before the launch). It works better than before but works better for mid/hardcore games than casual games.


Localizing for soft launch depends on budget. Unless you have a lot of money, focus on top tier countries.


How do you come up with a title for a new game?

Anna (AppFollow)

  • A client of them launched a Match 3 game and there were several keywords they could add on top of the brand name: "hotel", "mansion", etc. They drove traffic from Facebook with each time the exact same creatives but changing the keyword chosen.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • [💎@38:15] Start by reducing the list of games resulting from brainstorming to about 5-10: ASO review of each title where they look at the potential keywords in each title
  • Do split tests on Facebook to see what converts best.


Impact of Covid on metrics

Daria (Playkot)

  • No impact on ASO. More downloads from App Store search but can not say for sure it is due to the current situation.
  • Huge impact on UA: more impressions, lower CPMs

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Engagement in games much higher
  • Search volumes higher

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Really varies from app to app. Even within a category there can be huge differences
  • Apps that have a social aspect as part of the game tend to have an increase. People are looking for more interactions.
  • Make sure you cater to what people need: contact-less delivery, etc.

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Organic lift from paid campaigns is even bigger


Q&A


  • Acceptable churn/conversion rates before changes are needed?
  • If you are below the median of your peer group you need to make changes.
  • How many variants?
  • Can test multiple. Once you have a winner, iterate on it.


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

The detailed notes taken for a resource are an easy way to see the gems in context to get a better understanding. They also include any relevant visuals from the source.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Request Access

App Store Creative Testing process

  1. Prioritization: looking at different games and geos to find which one you want to optimize first
  2. Market research: understanding where you are compared to competitors
  3. Creative production based on market research insights
  4. Test
  5. Analysis part

How are you testing creatives for the App Store right now

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Marketing sends asset recommendations to the studio (based on market studies, competition benchmarks, previous A/B tests, UA creatives that perform well)
  • Start creating the assets depending on studio's planning
  • Start A/B test
    - Google Play: Icons, feature graphics and screenshots on Google Play Console
    - iOS: App Previews and screenshots using Storemaven

Anna (AppFollow) with clients

  • Not part of internal team so communicate with someone on the client's team
  • Everything starts with the ideas, a big part being the competitive analysis
  • Create an hypothesis plan for all the graphic assets
  • Once approve, produce the assets
  • A/B testing

Daria (Playkot)

  • Similar process with different tools for A
    - Google Play Experiments: app store creatives but sometimes Google attributes paid acquisition to organic
    - ASA Creative Sets: even less perfect, not many options for testing
    - Facebook Ads: often the results in CTR translate well to App Store installs. They use it for app icons for both platforms and video thumbnails for App Store

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Can be good to use Storemaven if
    - You are testing for an  audience that is monetizing very well or very important to you
    - If you want additional metrics (video watch time, etc.) if you want to go beyond just identifying a winner

What are the KPIs used for optimization?

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Important to know which metrics you're testing against
  • Google Play: can look at the average benchmark per category to see what happens when you are testing
  • [💎@11:10] You also want to look at the retention rate when A/B testing: the new variant can perform very well but if your product metrics are down then you should not apply.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Looking at CVR in top geos to measure impact of changes
  • Also look at in-game KPIs like retention or monetization
  • Example on South Park Phone Destroyer: main audience is South Park fans but also trying to optimize the store page for card games players. That audience is way harder to reach and more expensive and conversion rate decreases but when looking at retention and monetization it is performing better.


Measuring the impact outside of the test itself

  1. Company can invest in the methodology making sure the traffic is the most suitable one and using a reliable tool for testing.
  2. Measuring outside of the app store: complicated because it is a complex ecosystem (external factors, features, etc.) but you should still do it.


Coming up with good test ideas and hypothesis

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Look at competitors and what the industry is doing
  • Take a wider view: web, offline, etc.
  • Focus on the local market you're targeting (trends, tendencies, colors, etc.)

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Try to find ideas anywhere you can: reviews of the app, content new in the app, UA campaigns, etc.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Ideas from previous A/B tests you did


How does your strategy differ from iOS to Google Play?

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Taking a test from Google Play and using it on iOS is not a best practice: always almost different results.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Not really a different strategy iOS vs. Google Play. They first test on Google Play because it is free and gives you a trend of which asset is performing better. Then they backup on iOS with Storemaven. They always test the same assets but only testing on top geos.
  • On Google Play you can use assets that are not in-game footage so you have more flexibility for screenshots.


Impact of videos between iOS and Google Play?

Videos autoplay on iOS, not on Google Play even though Google tested it.


[💎@21:40] Google changed the flow of how the video is played: it plays directly from within the gallery instead of sending you to YouTube. More users are clicking to play the video but are now watching it for a lesser amount of time.


Ubisoft focuses mostly on the thumbnail/feature graphic.


[💎@22:40] On iOS the view rate is more than 70% but on Google Play it is 10/15% so it's best to focus on feature graphic.


Insights found through creative testing

Anna (AppFollow)

  • AppFollow almost always share the insights with the UA team so that things are in line and prevent inconsistencies

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Try to apply learnings across all games but games are sometimes quite different. If something performs better they try it somewhere else.


Prioritization

Daria (Playkot)

  • To prioritize apps or even assets to test they rely on the impact that a test can have by looking at CTR, CVR, geos, possible revenue.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Focus on the top 3/5 geos max, and tend to focus more on recent games. Then the games generating the most downloads and revenues
  • For assets they mostly focus on first impression: icon, thumbnail/feature graphic, first screenshot and also App Preview for App Store

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Most frequent testing are screenshots: can not customize icon for different geos and even small changes in screenshots (like order) can bring big changes


For how much time should you run the test?

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Usually at least a week. Right now during the crisis days are more similar so might allow to do tests faster.

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Even if you have a lot of traffic it is still best to wait for more data and not stop after a couple of days


Which ad network to get traffic for Storemaven A

Any network that supports mobile web traffic. It's more about the type of traffic you're looking to optimize for:

  • Branded search?
  • Browse traffic?


About soft launch

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Position the game - work with consumer market knowledge team (using market studies and benchmarks from competition)
  • Defining the key message of the game and main features
  • Concept test to make sure the features they are working on are appealing to players. Depending on results, adjust the content of the game
  • Closer to the launch, real A/B test with what is almost the final store page.

They are also using pre-registration more and more (people that can register before the launch). It works better than before but works better for mid/hardcore games than casual games.


Localizing for soft launch depends on budget. Unless you have a lot of money, focus on top tier countries.


How do you come up with a title for a new game?

Anna (AppFollow)

  • A client of them launched a Match 3 game and there were several keywords they could add on top of the brand name: "hotel", "mansion", etc. They drove traffic from Facebook with each time the exact same creatives but changing the keyword chosen.

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • [💎@38:15] Start by reducing the list of games resulting from brainstorming to about 5-10: ASO review of each title where they look at the potential keywords in each title
  • Do split tests on Facebook to see what converts best.


Impact of Covid on metrics

Daria (Playkot)

  • No impact on ASO. More downloads from App Store search but can not say for sure it is due to the current situation.
  • Huge impact on UA: more impressions, lower CPMs

Jordan (Ubisoft)

  • Engagement in games much higher
  • Search volumes higher

Noga (Storemaven)

  • Really varies from app to app. Even within a category there can be huge differences
  • Apps that have a social aspect as part of the game tend to have an increase. People are looking for more interactions.
  • Make sure you cater to what people need: contact-less delivery, etc.

Anna (AppFollow)

  • Organic lift from paid campaigns is even bigger


Q&A


  • Acceptable churn/conversion rates before changes are needed?
  • If you are below the median of your peer group you need to make changes.
  • How many variants?
  • Can test multiple. Once you have a winner, iterate on it.