How to Perform A/B Testing on Your App Store Listing
A mobile app user decides whether or not to download an app in only a few seconds. These critical few seconds don’t afford marketers much leeway to tell an app’s story, let alone convey its unique value proposition.
We often write about why you need to plan marketing initiatives before mobile app development, and this post is no exception. Without proper research and planning, you run the risk of wasting a lot of your marketing and advertising budget if users engage with a campaign link, but don’t download the product. There was initial interest, but what went wrong? Achieving success in the app stores is impossible if your app store optimization (ASO) decisions aren’t rooted in data.
A/B testing your app store creatives is a requisite for a successful mobile app launch.
ASO is More Than Keywords
Optimizing various elements of your app store listing helps you attain a higher ranking in search results. A popular tactic for increasing app store visibility is strategically placing keywords throughout the product listing. Three main factors contribute to the quality of a keyword: relevancy to your audience, the competitiveness of the keyword, and search volume. Even though search still accounts for 65% of app downloads, a well-rounded ASO strategy is more than keyword optimization. That’s not to say keyword targeting shouldn’t be a significant aspect of your promotional strategy, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Mobile app publishers can’t underestimate the conversion value in product listing components like an app icon, product screenshots, and video preview.
Your app store listing and creatives serve the central goal of enticing new users to download your product. The key is to present your app to potential users in such a way that you increase conversion rates for the lowest possible cost per conversion.
Your app store listing is the touchpoint in the user journey where the final decision to download takes place. The presentation of your product in this listing influences every potential user entering the marketing funnel to download the app, seek more information, or drop off entirely. To get the most out of your acquisition efforts, you need to understand which elements of your app store listing resonate with your users’ expectations and drive the most conversions. Enter A/B testing.
Use Research as the Foundation for A/B Testing
There’s no magic formula for determining what tactics will turn browsers into users. However, A/B tests can give you the data you need to target a particular audience. For A/B testing to work, you can’t choose test elements at random; all of your decisions have to come from thorough research.
Look at Your Competition
Start your research by performing a competitor audit. Explore every angle of your competition’s app store listing to gain insight into their ASO strategy. How are they showcasing their brand? What images or video are they using? Can you determine any standout keywords? What product features are they highlighting? You’re looking for areas where you can enhance your listing to establish a competitive edge.
While you’re examining your competition, you should also look at how they’re generating traffic to their app store listing. Take a look at their online presence and content marketing strategy; how are they targeting users with their content? What type of content do they create and how often? Do your competitors publish content on other online channels or publications? Can you discern a prominent link building strategy?
Look at the Industry Leaders
Narrow down several of the top performing app store listings in your product category and note what they do well. What is it about these product pages that resonate with users? Would these listings perform just as well in a different category? Make a list of all the techniques and best practices you observe and consider ways you can incorporate them into your creative assets.
Get to Know Your Audience
To succeed in the app store, you need to know every single detail about your target audience. In-depth audience research allows you to prepare product messaging that addresses your users’ pain points. First, know why your audience wants to use your product and then tailor your marketing efforts to that need.
Qualify Your Traffic
The last area of research involves analyzing your traffic sources. It’s of vital importance to know what traffic and advertising channels bring in the most qualified leads. One way to perform this research is to launch two identical targeting campaigns in two different advertising funnels and dissect their performance later.
Creating an App Store Listing with Data
Again, you only have a few seconds to make a first impression, which is why it’s vitally important to test app store pages before launching a campaign. Mobile app marketers can improve conversion rates by experimenting with several presentation elements like the app icon, screenshots, title, description, and video. For Android apps, the Google Play Store has a built-in tool for running split tests called Google Experiments. This tool allows you to run tests without relying on third-party solutions. Apple’s App Store, however, does not offer this option. Instead, you can either test on your app’s mobile landing page, or use third-party software to emulate the look and feel of the App Store.
Recommended: How to Submit An App to the App Store
Now that you’ve done your background research, qualified your traffic sources, and determined what tools you’ll be using to execute your tests, you can start putting together combinations of test cases.
Formulate a Hypothesis
A concise hypothesis states what you plan to learn from your A/B test. It includes the following:
- Change to be implemented;
- The expected outcome of the change;
- The reason you anticipate those results;
An example hypothesis could be: If we change our app store page to include a video demo instead of a screenshot demo we will get more downloads because a video is an excellent medium for delivering messages that don’t translate well through static images.
Once you have your hypothesis in place, it’s essential to validate your assumption. For example, a recent study shows experiments with video only improve conversion performance by 16%, before going on to reveal that in many cases, many app store listings perform better without video.
This example illustrates the importance of A/B testing perfectly. Certain additions may seem like improvements, but the reality is, you won’t be able to tell without actionable data.
ASO Metrics to Measure
When you finish A/B testing, there are specific metrics you’ll want to pay attention to aside from conversion rate.
Take a look at the number of visitors that load the page and leave right away. If there is a high percentage of bounced visitors, this could indicate a need for redesign. If you segment particular user groups, you may be able to discern multiple reasons for an elevated bounce rate.
Direct Installs vs. Explored Installs
Two types of visitors will end up on your app store listing: decisive visitors and exploring visitors. Decisive visitors don’t engage with your app store content before deciding to download the product or bounce. In contrast, exploring visitors take in as much information as possible before making their decision.
Decisive visitors make the direct installs; they convert on the page immediately. A high number of direct installs indicates that users are getting information about your app from word-of-mouth or a combination of other marketing initiatives.
When it comes to exploring visitors, if they spend a lot of time on your listing and conversions are high as well, your segmentation techniques are working. However, if explorers are spending a lot of time on your page, but conversions are low, it’s time to think about a stronger call-to-action.
A/B Testing Best Practices
- Test one element at a time. It doesn’t make sense to perform A/B testing if you change multiple elements of the listing at once. You may find that a particular change does yield more conversions, but you’ll have no accurate way of determining what element caused the change.
- Timing is everything. Statistically significant results take time. You will have to give your A/B test enough time to smooth out all the natural peaks, valleys, and plateaus that come along with aggregated data. Also, make sure you don’t run A/B tests during unusual times of the year like holidays, or major sporting and political events. Paying attention to timing reduces the risk of atypical data points skewing your results.
- Remember that app stores are dynamic. Keep in mind that both the App Store and Google Play Store are subject to turbulence. Be prepared to run several A/B tests to scale your results.
For your app to stand out in app stores, you need to look at ASO as more than a keyword strategy. There are multiple factors that contribute to app store visibility. A/B testing is an effective and data-driven method for determining the best way to present yourself to potential users once they’ve found your product.