With all the hard work and dedication developers invest comes great anticipation for success in the app marketplace, but every developer experiences a pang of anxiety when releasing a new app.
The ‘New Free Apps’ category on Google Play is the most coveted section for app developers releasing an app. This section showcases newly released free apps, and was the stepping-stone to mobile success for apps such as Whatsapp, Shazam, and Temple Run.
Earning a spot on any chart will instantly boost an app’s visibility and its organic installs - and app developers take calculated actions to try and grab those limited slots.
Google Play highlights two different kinds of apps in their charts - popular apps and new apps. By highlighting recently-released apps, the Store is giving newcomers a unique window of opportunity to get charted early on. We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks, from app description to mobile advertisements, that will maximize your chances to get featured in Google Play’s ‘New Free Apps’ category.
Tip #1: User acquisition starts with a good name
Choose your app’s title wisely. The best way to understand the importance of your app’s name is to imagine it alongside its competitors. When deciding between similar products or services, users tend to choose the one that sounds more creative, clever, punchy or appealing. Make use of literary devices, like alliteration (Candy Crush, Clash of Clans) and wordplay (GoldieBlox, Selfie a Day), to help your app stand out. Additionally, you can utilize App Intelligence services like App Annie to gain free insights on popular app titles.
Tip #2: A convincing description goes a long way
Your app’s description goes far further than simply describing your app’s functionality. When writing it, keep these ground rules in mind:
Target your users’ emotions
What will your app contribute to the user’s daily life? How will it stand out and attract users? If you’ve received any rewards, include them here as they will help legitimize your app in the eyes of potential users.
Apply keywords that will boost your visibility
If your description is brimming with relevant keywords, your app will be more searchable. When incorporating keywords, it can also be a good idea to use App Intelligence services like Sensor Tower to find low competition keywords in order to ensure you’re not starting a war you can’t win.
Make sure the first sentence sums up your app
The first 167 characters of your app description become your app page’s meta description. The meta description bears more weight when it comes to Google Play Store listings, as Google uses the meta description to determine your keywords.
Take GBR Studio’s new game AllQuiz for example. It follows the above guidelines perfectly in its description and the game ranked in "Top 3 New Free Trivia Games in USA” within its first weeks on Google Play.
Tip #3: Attract users to your app
A new app isn’t expected to have millions of users by day one. You just need enough users to make an impression on The Play Store’s algorithms. Spreading the word with family and friends might get you some installs, but not nearly enough to make an impact. Luckily, there are plenty of great solutions to acquire users. You can easily sign up for a mobile advertising network to market your app, just make sure the platform has a large user base in your target geo and runs on CPI. Once you configure your campaigns, make sure to stick to a predefined budget and to set targeting parameters. The more accurately you target, the better results your user acquisition campaigns will have.
Tip #4: Establish a social presence
A strong social media presence gives developers the opportunity to establish their app and studio as a brand. Developers should embrace these platforms - they are not only a free podium for app promotion but also build more brand value and legitimacy for your app. Just as important - when releasing apps on Google Play, developers are expected to have a strong presence on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Start building a following well in advance of your launch, and drum up buzz immediately before by hosting a promotion or a giveaway.
For example, the gaming studio KetchApp engaged users with cool screenshots and videos of their new game days before they released it. Equally critical, they are always in dialogue with their users, taking polls and posting high scores. And now there are 60,652 people talking about this app on Facebook. Social platforms can simultaneously increase user retention and drive social sharing, contributing immensely to your success and visibility on Google Play.
As of July 2015, Google Play has showcased over 1.6 million different apps, relying on categories to help organize the chaos and crowding of the app store and enable users to more easily navigate to the apps they want. In fact, almost 50% of mobile users report that browsing the charts is their preferred method to discover and install new apps. Ranking not only gives you more exposure and discoverability, but can bring in a lot of organic users.
After all your hard work, your app deserves the best chance for success. Implementing the above guidelines can help increase your chances to rank on Google Play’s ‘New Free Apps’ as well as jumpstart your app’s success in the future.