Mic’d Up With MAAS Episode 12 : Deciphering the App Ecosystem of the New Normal with AppTweak
The past two years have set the world in a path of increased digital adoption in day to day lives. As hopes of a pandemic free world brews, Mudasir Bashir, Business Director – Malaysia, Singapore & Philippines, MAAS chats with Simon Thillay, Head of ASO, AppTweak to understand the mobile user acquisition trends and practices that will play a big role in shaping the global app economy of 2022.
Here are the edited excerpts from the conversation.
Mudasir : 2020-21 has been an exciting time for eCommerce, gaming and OTT apps. How do you think these categories will be impacted in a pandemic free world where people will have more freedom of movement?
Simon : When it comes to using apps, people are taking time to really adjust to what used to be considered a normal life.I think these apps have been given a great context in which they could really promote their unique selling propositions and benefits to bring in users. There are a lot of people who have become aware of the different apps in the market. With continued usage, the app user today is in a position to weigh the digital benefits versus benefits of the physical world. So while on most days there may not be as much traffic as there used to be when people were in lockdown, categories like entertainment, gaming will still see a steady pace of growth. App developers have also gotten an opportunity to learn from what users were doing and improve their products.
Mudasir : The pandemic accelerated digital adoption across emerging markets like APAC, Africa, Latin America. What are some of the opportunities app marketers can utilize here as opposed to the mature markets of US or Europe?
Simon : I think the main opportunity here is just about the differences that existed before the pandemic between those markets. Before the pandemic, we tended to look at Western Europe and North America as fairly saturated markets. With the pandemic, we saw new needs, new desires that led to new products emerging and getting very popular. But this was really a situation where it’s more about innovation. Not so much in terms of a market, but in terms of new products coming out. When we look at emerging markets, we see a potential for growth because there isn’t as much competition. However, now one benefit is that those markets were also changed by the pandemic.
More people in these markets are turning to digital solutions for a lot of things. It means that these markets are becoming more attractive and places of great opportunities. Also a lot of these markets don’t speak English and, or at least don’t have a huge English proficiency. This is where one thing I really love to do around the ASO is look into localization – how to really adapt your product to the expectations and habits of local customers? Here it means that apps that really want to stand out are not just going to release their products in new markets, but really look into how they can have a tailored solution for this market and find tremendous growth.
Mudasir : With app marketers choosing to favour mobile marketing, can you shed some light on a few best practices to create more impactful data oriented marketing campaigns?
Simon : First of all, the challenge when trying to promote an app is to look at what data we have to understand our existing users. What data do we have about our targets and compare how much these two match, how you can go from one to the other because you shouldn’t be afraid of expanding beyond a sort of comfort zone. Marketing is basically data that tells you something about the user and then helps you to review your message. And when it comes to ASO, specifically, there are types of data that we still don’t use enough today, for example, the volume of traffic attached to a keyword.
When we do ASO we look at what keyword is going to bring the best traffic. It’s a very solid basis, but we tend to forget that we can also ask ourselves. Here we have data that literally tells us what people are searching for. When you look at what results are displayed, you even see how a certain word corresponds to a certain intent. For me, the keyword volume is something that I always try to push myself – not to see as just some things that’s going to add traffic, but something that tells me about what users want.
The second big data point that I find crucial in ASO is everything related to ratings and reviews. It tells you what they’re interested in – people are volunteering the information and you can just have a look at what they like in your product, what should be fixed and what they like or dislike in your competitors’ product and start tailoring marketing messages around that.
Mudasir : 5 important things an app marketer must remember when optimizing content for App Store or Play Store.
Simon : I guess the first one is to understand who your user is. Look at your user personas. You can have more than one and really dive into how you can really appeal to them specifically.
Next, there are more tools now to create more nuanced messages than in the past. Another tip that is often overlooked in my opinion is making sure you look at the UI that is given to your user when they are going to interact with your different points of contact. To give a concrete example, if we look at the App Store or the Play Store, creatives are a huge part of conversion there. Making a design adaptation effort is important to show the message in the best lighting.
The third advice I would give is to make sure to coordinate with multiple teams. You can have the best ASO team or the best paid media teams, the best influencer marketing team but if they don’t speak together, they don’t align on what messages to deliver and what format to use. This is where I think, features for instance, that have been announced, need to be considered not just by an ASO team, but by multiple teams.
The fourth tip to consider would be localizing when it comes to trying to adapt your message to the youth. And finally, have a human approach. Marketing in the end is about speaking to a person and thinking about how you would want someone to speak to you when pitching a product. And that’s going to really help you fit in with how digital marketing especially is changing now.
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