The chicken and the egg dilemma
Before you disregard this post because you don’t have an app in the 2 platforms, read carefully my little grasshopper, because if you find out what came first: the chicken or the egg… I bet you can cook the most delicious app omelette.
Now that I have your attention let’s move on to understanding why it’s important to consider on which platform you should do ASO for first.
Before we start with the considerations we need to refresh our understanding of the differences between the two app stores regarding how their algorithms work.
I’m not going to write a whole blueprint about the indexing and ranking differences between Apple App Store and Google Play (I already wrote a book about that), but to make things easier to understand let’s just highlight that Google Play works on keywords inside the description of the app page whereas Apple just considers title and keywords in the meta section.
So Apple will look at your keywords in the meta section of iTunes connect and with those keywords, you can rank for a series of potential combinations.
In the case of Google Play the ranking is more complex, the keywords are “part of the content” and therefore there are a series of factors that make a difference in the ranking.
- Keyword density
- Context of the keyword vs. the content
- Content length
The purpose of this post is not to explore in depth Google Play but to understand why you may want to consider starting your ASO process with Google Play vs. Apple.
The first point to understand is that ASO tools suck at providing data for Google Play. And although “suck” may be a hard word to describe the accuracy of ASO tools, it seems nobody out there is willing to point the finger to this huge hole that ASO tools fail to patch.
The reason why ASO tools are not brave enough to dive into the Google arena is because they can’t really tell us anything “amazing” “or “extremely unique” about Google Play that we can’t witness ourselves.
You see under Apple, ASO tools tend to tell us amazing data that in one way or another we can’t prove.
Can you prove how popular one keyword is in the Apple App Store?
No, you can’t.
Therefore the relationship developers and ASO tools have regarding the data they obtain about Apple is a bit like the relationship you have with your physiologist. You want to trust your physiologist, but deep inside there is no clear way to know if you are more, or less, crazy than before. (Trust me: I’m an expert)
Google is so honest that doing ASO is a pleasure, but at the same time makes it pretty confusing initially. Google give us everything we need.
The number of competitors is limited: Therefore the crappy competitors are weeded out during the initial filtering process
We can see the number of downloads of the top positions: therefore we can really understand if a keyword delivers downloads or not. If you believe a keyword is “the next wonder thing” and you see that the top position in Google Play has from 50 to 100 downloads after 6 months… it’s time to think again champ.
Also the most obvious factor with Google Play is that keywords are right there in front of you, voila… no need of mega amazing keyword spy systems! You have the keywords right there in the content, your only requirement is some brain cells, and try to find what keywords they are targeting in the content: easy.
So why start with Google Play.
First, if you are going to do the whole research without ASO tools initially (that I highly recommend) it’s important to understand that when we use the App Store itself to navigate, ideas seem to flow easily. No UI (user interface) of any ASO tool is going to highlight anomalies or unusual results as easily as you can identify them using the App Store.
The second part is that you can use Google Play flawlessly from your browser, making it easy to move from app to app and gather data.
The auto suggest of Google Play will provide you with the first batch of potential keywords you can start using to build your spreadsheet of potential long tail keywords and in a very fast an efficient way you can test how popular the apps ranking in top position are.
Trust Google before an ASO tool
If the ASO tool has things right, a popular keyword on Google play should be popular on iOS.
And the reason is not a technical one…. It’s a human one.
App Store Optimization is more about humans, about emotion, about our weird behaviors like when we are looking for something in the app store at 2 am in the morning, or when our kids are screaming at the airport: “I want the iPad!!!!”
The typical search in the App Store is quick, emotional and is never analytical; it flows fast and keeps the same constant variables.
Those variables are our human needs; our curiosity as humans, as users, as gamers, therefore the human behavior doesn’t change 100% from one store to another.
You may think that my statement is a fallacy… but you see, I just said good bye to my iPhone and switch to Samsung… and funny wise, my search patterns are still the same!
A device doesn’t change the way our search behavior is shaped … therefore it’s important for us to find those patterns when we start our ASO process.
So then what? Where do we start?
Well, my suggestion is to always start any market research, any ASO research directly in Google Play. And before you scream: “But hey Gab! I don’t have apps in Google Play!!!!! What is the point of going to Google Play when I only want to work with Apple”, let me ask you a question: Who cares?
Really – let’s think about this for 2 seconds.
Who cares that you use a different app store to find ideas to another app store that potentially has the same type of users same demographics, same behavior, same age, same irrational patterns.
Google Play is an oracle of information, an oracle full of opportunities ready to let you browse its pages and spy its competitors. Google Play lets you analyze categories, provides you all the data you need… and the best part… oh the best part… this awesome tool for market research is in fact FREE.
You can use it before launching the ASO tool, or before wondering how much traffic a keyword really has in Apple.
Instead of wondering about the mysteries of Apple, let’s embrace the openness Google provides. Be your own human scrapper, gather data, do your own keyword CSI and take ASO from the Google Play horns.
Good luck matador!