Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mobile Advertising Network With 100% Fill Rate? Oh Dear!

When advertising is your main method of monetizing your mobile apps, you want stellar fill rates.

You want to be sure that every ad opportunity is filled up. That every chance you have to show an ad to a user, you HAVE an ad to show them.

The problem is, that when it comes to some ad networks, a 100% fill rate isn't really a 100% fill rate.

Loop de Loop

Showing the same video over and over again should not be considered a 100% fill rate. 

Most of the time, when a  user has dismissed an ad, they'll most likely dismiss the same ad again.

The same goes for variations of the same ad. Yes, variations are recommended for advertising strategies. But after a person dismisses the variations too, please don't go back to the earlier variation.

Its too bad that many ad networks (even those I have highly recommended before) have removed their fill rates. Something to hide? Questions to avoid?

Mediation Nightmare

This "100%" fill rate throws your mediation plans out the window. 

Really, how will you get ads allocated to other networks when one particular network keeps showing 100%? 

Perhaps its best to go mediation via a neutral provider. Or make your own logic in your code.

(Psst! Bonus tip... its better to mediate with a mixed type of ad network. Often, the same ad campaigns are running across all the CPI based ad networks. If it makes sense to your app, then mix and match between CPI and CPC networks to get a better variation of ads for mediation.)

Here is wishing you a great fill rate!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Developing & Monetizing A New Mobile Game

So, someone said that if you're not the top 500 developer in the app stores, you're not making it.

He might be trying to be nice.

It's tough out there. And let me relate.

My last post was about a new golf game I published. And I wanted to share its progress and how it achieved $1.3m USD in just 3 weeks.

Of course it never came close to that.

It was a disaster!

The Stats

The game got about 9k downloads in its first 30 days. And a great grand revenue of less than $100 ( didn't bother really checking exact amount ).

Now, this was a really bad performance.

I looked at giving value to users, as compared against my previous golf games.

There were 3, 18-holes golf courses to start with, and I added a 4th about a week later.

And the ads were lesser than my previous games.

I also felt, design wise, the game looked a lot better than my older ones.

Yet, it failed terribly.

2 weeks of work and really nothing to show for it. My previous hits often took just a few hours of work!

Thus, yes, its tough making it out there. The game was in top 10 of some market's new sports games category, and yet, downloads sucked.

My Aim

In the end though, this was an experiment for me. As I had aimed, this was to see if adding value to users was even worth it.

I should have instead broken the courses into 4 different games and would have made more, downloads and money wise.

There you go then.

Make your judgment. Do you go for quality or quantity?

Me, I'll stick with quality for now. I'm still looking at the long run.

More quality and fun stuff coming out.. Stay tuned!


PS - my next game after the golf game, Battle Dwarves, is looking at heading towards an even worse performance! Arrgh! But, I know, winners are those who stay on the longest... I'll be around!

PPS - I'm using Unity Ads these days... And they're performing really great... Review on them will be up soon.. If there is demand!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A New Case Study on Android Mobile Game Publishing and Monetization

Last year I did a case study on publishing and monetizing a new Android mobile game.

Those series of posts were rather popular with you readers. Hey, everyone is interested to find out how much one can get for downloads and revenue right?

That game has garnered over a 1.2 million downloads as of this writing. Not bad for "hardly working" on it.

So, I just published about 24 hours ago this awesome Tiny Course Mini Golf Game on Google Play.

Tiny Course Mini Golf!

Development Time

It was developed over the course of a month. But I did not really spend a full month on it. It was more like a couple of hours here and another hour there.

Then there were many days not touching the project. Seriously, I need to work on procrastination.

So, if one were to consider the proper full time in development, the game probably took about a week to develop.

Peaceful golf courses filled with spikes!

Giving Users more Value

My previous golf games usually consisted on a single course only. This time around, I decided to give users a bigger value for their download.

I initially planned to release 5 courses of 18 holes each, and later on add a few more. But instead I dropped the initial release to just 3 courses.

So look out for the updates coming out over the next weeks. I'll be looking at keeping this one updated for a longer period, and hope I won't run out of resources for creating more and more levels.

Is value always going to be a positive return? Well, experience has thought me that nothing is guaranteed in this business.

A look at the desert-themed mini golf course

Monetization Strategy

The game uses Heyzap ads, both static and video inters. The ads are shown in hole 6, hole 12/13 and the menu screen. I will see how this setup goes in the love-hate relationship department with the users and my wallet.

The game has also been approved for sale on Amazon for $1.99 . Lets see how that performs there too.

One of the initial release courses

App Promotion

I've gone full blown cross promotion on this one (besides getting family ad friends to download). I need to get a new app up the charts, and I'm hoping this one will make it.

So I'm doing cross promo via Heyzap for this too. Will give you some updates on this as we go along.

I've also used twitter, and well, only 1 fellow developer was kind enough to support the game to give it a download over the last 24 hours (if you're reading this, thank you very much!). Still, better than 0.

I'm not sure what other promotion methods I'll be using going forward, keep reading this blog to see the progress , will you?

Challenging jumps and drops in the Mini Golf game

Better Stats

OK, this might sound lame, but I could use more downloads to get the stats to a better more meaningful format.

The bigger the numbers, the better and more accurate (whatever that means) the results will be.

So, if you haven't yet, go download the golf game and lets see where the game goes.

Download Tiny Course Mini Golf on Google Play


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nintendo, The Missing Giant in the Mobile Games Scene

Probably a new trend is about to start, and might change the mobile game space as we know it.

Going Mobile

One giant woke up a little late. Maybe they did wake up early, but decided that they aren't gonna get into the mobile gaming space.

Nintendo is probably the last big name missing in the mobile space. And as many must have predicted, sooner or later, they had to get into this space.

And now they are. The pressure must be really great, and let's face it, not keeping up with tech will surely be a tech company's demise.

Its not like we have a lack of Mario clones in the first place. There are better options sometimes out there, and updated to be great on mobile.

On that count too, any indie developers using their IP in the stores better get your acts clean. Who knows when they gonna start submitting DMCA take downs.

Late To The Party

The mobile gaming world is so far ahead, a new comer might not be able to rise to the top.

But let's not play out Nintendo at all. These guys been in the business long enough, and have great IP and moolah that they really will be making their presence felt.

It would really be awesome to see how they dethrone current leaders. (Big budgets surely).

Lots of lessons to learn from all this.

Setting A Moral Trend

Nintendo said they will be doing a free-to-start gaming style.

Now, this means that to further in the game, one has to make a purchase.

And Nintendo said that they don't quite like the free-to-play idea. Thus their IAP will have a limit.

I'm guessing this "moral", and not psychologically manipulating users to spend money, attitude might be the next on how mobile game companies be judged.

Nintendo is also looking at making only a handful of games, and continuing to improve those for the long term.  (Check out my previous post on the shift of the mobile apps game)

A great strategy we can implement in our ventures.

Interesting Times

While the initial gold rush of the mobile space might be over, or at least lessened down, its still full of great adventures ahead.

As the shift moves towards better quality against quantity, towards better user engagement, and more innovative money making ideas, the mobile gaming space really has matured.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Game's Changed: Thriving & Surviving in the Mobile Stores!

There was a time, not too long ago, where you could release a mobile app and get much downloads for it.

It didn't matter what that app was, or how good it was. You could always be sure to get downloads for it.

Those great old days..

Harder To Be Noticed

These days, its gotten tougher. Honestly, it not only affecting you, it also affected me and that other indie developer reading this post a few minutes ago.

You see, there is a shift. The game of app publishing has changed.

Some call it the death of reskinning. I don't totally agree on that though. Reskinning is very much alive, its just  mutated. And for the better.

There was a time, when the best way to build a great revenue stream being a mobile developer was by volume releasing apps on the store.

I've committed that sin too! (And a few others, but that's for another blog post!)

These days, this doesn't get you far. With a bazillion apps on the stores (thanks much to reskinning), it is not easy to pop up to the surface.

This is where the shift comes in.

The New Shift

Now a days, quality trumps quantity. Forget mass releasing apps, the boat for that had left the jetty.
Make fewer apps and games, and build on that. For the long term! Keywords : LONG TERM!

Even if you're reskinning apps and games, add quality to it. Add long life and VALUE to it. Make users want it for a longer while. This is where the shift of reskinning has headed.

You can make more money having one successful app than you can with many unsuccessful ones. I've been there, and I know this is true. Just too bad I did not take the opportunity to build on those successes. My lost!

Plus there are other benefits too, like less stress thinking how to spam the stores, less stress updating your apps to comply with store policy changes. And good karma and love of the human race!

Some say you end up in heaven too! Oh joy!

So, how's a new developer to proceed with this?

How To Grow Your Mobile Business

Well, if you're new, then by all means build your portfolio of apps. These will be your advertising vehicle for your major apps down the road. Use this portfolio to lead users to your big game changer.

But remember, you don't need to spam with reskins. Reskin smartly! You never know, even your reskins could be that hit app for you!

Happy Dev-ing!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mobile Game Development: Make a Great First Impression

An often missed point from many app store optimization topics is "great first impression".

First impression matters tremendously for any app, and more so for mobile games.

A first impression will hook a player longer. So make your first impression BIG!

Take a look at the intro of the first Half Life game. Or Elder's Scroll: Morrowind when you first step off the ship.

The impressions from these games are still fresh in my mind many years later. (OK. The Half Life one got annoying the 3rd time around).

When making your game levels, start off the game with one of your best aspects and effects shown.

Its often a habit to keep our best till further into the game, where we think that a gradual improvement will keep users wanting more.

While this may be true in some cases, it can also cause your users to forget about your game after the initial game play. 

Big impressive impressions, when it comes to mobile games, should also take place at the stores.

You want a potential user to be impressed when they first see your app's page.

Ensure your first 2 or 3 images are the ones with the biggest bang.

If you have a video, make that impressive (explosive!).

Avoid showing the title screen or the game menu as your first screenshot. I often see indies making these mistakes. It kills potential conversion.

So, go get this part of your ASO fixed and improve your downloads.


Monday, June 29, 2015

What mobile app or game to make next?

A Million-Download App

I want to make another million download hit.

In fact, I want to make that every time I release an app.

But I know (and have faced) reality, and there are times I release simple, life-lacking mobile games. These are more for my satisfaction that I have completed another one.

Sometimes too, these come out of a challenge for myself.

I recently tried making a pinball game in Unity3D. It is published, with a modified and simplified gameplay. And it took just a day to do it. Ketchapp be the inspiration!

You never know when your release will be a hit , eh? Flappy bird probably best falls into this category.

The Secret to Mobile App Success

This really is a secret to mobile app success. Maybe not each and every app, but eventual apps.

So I sat down today, and tried to list out where I've been successful. I guess one of the mantras of successful people is, "do more of what works ".

My list went with the usual suspects. Golf games, soccer/football, pool/billiards, basketball games.

These are where I've found most of my hits. Games that hit a level that at least gave back a decent amount in revenue, especially beyond the first month.

While I continue to explore new fronts, aircraft dogfight and racing games, I know these are where I need to focus to continue a level of growth.

Its the same reason EA focuses on certain games year after year. Or why Rovio keep releasing more angry birds variants.

Once you find a formula that works for you, repeat it.

Of Angry Birds and Naughty Pigs

Do note though, that one person's formula will almost very likely not work for another.

So if you're thinking making "angry pigeons" is gonna make you a million download hit, you may want to think it again.

Create a portfolio of games, see where you get your hits from, expand on those.

Cross promotion comes in very handy in these cases too. A player playing a racing game is more likely to download another racing game.

And about the Translation

And speaking of downloads, my last post about the influence of translations on app downloads, well, it has continued to maintain its run. I added a few more missing translations, and it gave a slightly more upwards swing.

ASO - Download increase after app store description translations (click to enlarge)

Guess this time the translations came through.


Monday, June 22, 2015

App Store Optimization - How to get more downloads from app store search

You know that app store optimization can help in getting a huge number of downloads for your apps. App store search is the biggest source to increase app downloads you can expect for your app. And as you would be aware, a bigger download mean a higher revenue.

There are a million things to do to improve your app store ranking using app store optimization (ASO). And language or translation plays a really important in that strategy.

What Is ASO?

App Store Optimization, or ASO is the process of where you tweak your app store listing so that it shows up higher in app store searches.

The higher you rank your app, the higher the number of downloads. Below a certain level of listing, you are most likely not going to get any downloads.

What is the one thing you can do today to improve your app store ranking using ASO?

Optimizing App Store Listing

I recently updated an ancient game of mine on Google Play. This game, a football juggling game, was my first game out on Android.

Yes, it is ancient, and the museums have contacted me numerous times to get it listed beside the Dinosaur gallery. And it goes to show how far things have progressed. (If you're curious, those are just panels bouncing up and down.)

The Mistake In App Store Optimization Listing

When I did the update to the APK (I removed all ads from it), what I was worried was if my old self-translated texts actually complied with Google's policies.

So I thought to myself, that I might as well delete all the translations, and leave the default English in. After all, it was not really getting much downloads anyway (and no more profits directly from it as I've removed all the ads.).

But I did keep an eye on the downloads, and it showed that drop. Check out the graph. See where I published the update. Right at the drop.

app store optimization to increase app downloads
ASO - Impact of removing and adding translation to app downloads

How To Increase App Downloads

As far as app store optimization goes, translation of store listing descriptions and title plays a pretty big role.

So I added in some translations (37 initially), as I wasn't really sure if the effort to add all the translations in was going to be any useful. And when I checked the results, it looks like it was a worthwhile effort.

App translation got me about a 200% rise in downloads.

Translations ASO Strategy To Get More Downloads For Your Apps

Will ASO translations always work out? Honestly, NO. It won't. And of course this is a small game with a very small download count. So the boost looks more visible.

But here is the deal. Say you are showing up at the top of searches for "futbol". Do note that you will have great downloads, not only from Spain, you will also get it from other Spanish speaking countries. And it also helps when a Spanish guy is searching for it in US.

App releasing and optimizing is an on-going strategy. You will need to keep fine tuning till it gets right.

After all the hard work, you will find luck. (Yes yes! Luck comes after hard work!)

So if you haven't used translations to your advantage for your app store optimization strategy, take a while, and try it out. It would hopefully give you a boost as it did mine.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Google stepping on my toes: Ads in Google Play searches, how am I affected?

I guess Google woke up yesterday and smelt the coffee. Then it went out for a walk to smell the grass.

Google then went further down their lane to the shops and got themselves some bacon and bread.

As Google was stepping out of the shop, a brick magically dropped from the sky and hit it in the head.

And a realization came to Google, that they have the most popular app on Android, the Google Play market app! Who cares about the brick right?

Show me the Money!

Google, the big G, is now onto apps advertising business! Welcome buddy!

Note: If you're gonna tell me that they been in ads all this while, please, just let me be dramatic a while!

So searches on Google Play would start showing ads in them. Well, it is their eco system after all, they should have the rights to make money from it.

My biggest annoyance with this really is that app discovery is about to get a hell of a lot tougher! Already its tough getting ranked, throw in a few more ads in between the searches, and good luck people!

Get the best Aircraft Combat Game

Before you continue reading, please download and play my latest game published:

war aircraft combat & fighter games

Lost of Revenue

And then there is the issue of lessened revenue from ads inside apps. More developers with money to advertise might head Google's way to advertise. Leaving ad networks with lower inventory and a lowering eCPM to at least attract some advertisers.

All doom and gloom! Or is it?

Is it really all that bad? I guess time will tell.

Google has ads showing at the top of its online searches too. Has that stopped other web sites and bloggers from achieving fame and fortune?

In the long run, it might prompt developers to up their game. To make better products. So that when keywords are searched, your app shows high on the charts. Right after the sponsored ads.

When ad-blindness starts creeping in (like it has for banner ads in-app), you'll want to be sure your apps are visible. High enough to be visible amongst the top few rankings.

App store optimization will play an even greater role. You'll want to be found.

Click here to subscribe to this blog to be sure to get the best of ASO sent to your inbox.

Mobile advertising networks challenge

Ad networks need to innovate further. If an ad network is saying they are going to die due to this, then perhaps its better to get the shovels ready.

Innovation will be needed. Here is a scenario that I'm thinking will play out.

A user searches for "monkey limbo" on Google Play. In search results, Donkey Limbo comes out at top due to advertising.

User thought that's a cooler game. So user installs and limbos his donkey like there is no tomorrow.

Now the user misses his monkey. He goes back to the Play store and downloads one which has monkeys in it. This monkey game is yours.

Here is the opportunity really. You will want to be sure that when a user sees an ad in your app, the user will be attracted to download it.

If  you used admob, chances are Donkey Limbo will be shown again. Its the same case now where Cash of Clans (pun intended) is shown on every ad networks first ad. Its ridiculous!

Heyzap's Innovation

Okay, maybe Heyzap wasn't the first to do this, but they just came out with a new ad unit called Multi Ad (creative naming huh?).

This ad unit shows multiple ads in interstitial format. Bloody genius, and just in time for the Google Play changes.

Showing multiple ads at a time increases the chances of you scoring a download. App walls also will have similar impact, but we all know inters perform much better.

And then, there are the video ads. If anything, all the folks that been highlighting how big the video ads are going to be will just have another reason to further spread the love of it.

Unless of course if Google starts showing interstitials and video ads in Google Play too! That is for rambling on another day.

Have fun!

Monday, February 23, 2015

App Store Optimization : Improving App Search Ranking with Keywords

You've heard this many many times the past weeks. Heck, even the past months and past years!

Keywords make all the differences in your app store optimization strategy. This key ASO strategy affects your app's search and discovery.

Unless you're a big brand or a big app of course, then you can screw keywords (maybe)!

Smart Keywords App Store Optimization

You've got to get keywords right though, and know where you should have them and how.

Pssst! To get more tips and tricks of app store optimization, do sign up for the newsletter!

Here is how the priority goes:

1 - Keywords in App Title

Keywords in app title carries the biggest weight. Its crazily heavy, that if you are not doing this already, please do it.

The app stores put pretty high value in title keywords, that not having a keyword in would mean a big lost of download potential.

Its tempting to make a short app name. To build your brand especially. But when you are that small fish in the big pond, you want all the discovery optimization you can get.

2 - Keyword Density in App Description

While keyword density in description applies to Google Play store, you will never know if Apple will start using that in near future.

Algorithms change all the time right? Plus description in iOS stores is still searchable on Google.

Keyword density in your app description, in terms of app store optimization is, well, having your targeted keywords appear a few times, NATURALLY in your descriptions.

Avoid the temptations of keyword stuffing as it will sooner or later backfire. Also avoid non-related keywords (we all wanna rank for "angry birds" don't we?).

The "experts" recommend having keywords appear 5 times in description. I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion, but I'll say that, in my analysis of some apps, this is pretty spot on.

But is that really the optimal value? Who knows really, and honestly, I doubt it. There is a game that appears well ranked for a certain keyword which only has 1 line in its description.

Maybe they're doing keyword stuffing in other languages? (Dirty little ASO trick!)

3 - ASO Keywords in Reviews

You've got your neighbour and your sister to download and rate and review your game right? Especially for a brand new one?

Do remember the importance of keywords in your reviews.

Its pretty proven that keywords in reviews comes into action for app store optimizations. So ask those you've asked help from to leave natural sounding reviews with your keywords in them.

4 - Keywords in Company Name

Now, this is one thing many developers are not making use of. When you search for "Rovio" on Google Play, you get all apps from them pretty high up on the list.

This is the clearest reason why you need keywords in your company name. It is searchable and another opportunity to boost your app store optimization strategy.

In App Store Optimization, Keywords Rock!

Yes, getting your app ranking high on the app stores does require a great ASO keyword strategy. And making sure your keywords are appearing at all the places they can appear in will surely boost your search rankings.

What's your favourite keyword optimization strategy?


Monday, February 9, 2015

Are privacy issues hindering our growth potential?

The problem with privacy is, well the lack of it. But not in the sense we've been told.

There has been all the noise about privacy that even the mobile app world was not spared.

Privacy on an Android device

We now have the Android advertising ID that mobile ad networks must use.  I just checked the setting on my device, and the opt-out is unchecked. If this is the default setting, then we know that most users are not going to turn this on. Neither will most users reset their ad ID every now and then. Its a good thing I guess.

Submitting the list of apps that a user has on his/her device(s) is also a big No-no now.

On the bigger picture, in my opinion, worrying about some basic simple stuff is really hindering our progress.

My simple search and wasted opportunities

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What the other app marketers are NOT telling you about app icons!

I was out visiting the local weekly night market recently. Its a great place to get all sort of stuff, food, and to see people.

Christmas Market Vintage Silhouette by Karen Arnold

From a distance, as I neared the street where the stalls are set up, the noise (and wonderful food smell) started streaming towards my ears (and nose). And as I approached the centre of the market proper, the screaming started to get louder and louder.

You'd think a triad has started a street war or something!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

8 Brilliant Ways to Make Money with Android

Are you wondering if you can truly make money from Android apps business? Truth is, you can make pretty solid money from Android.

The Android ecosystem is really huge, that the slice of cake each developer can potentially get is, pretty sweet.

make money from android

I've been developing and making money with Android for over 4 years now. It took me about 2 years to get the "hobby" to start giving a stable enough income to leave my day job. And the 2.5 years after leaving the job? Well, that has been the best days of my life!

Here are some common, and uncommon, ways you can make money from your Android apps.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

3 Powerful Strategies to Get More Positive Reviews & Ratings for Your Apps

Have you published a pretty awesome app, but are struggling to get reviews and ratings for your apps? Worse still, are you getting negative reviews and ratings for your apps?

app reviews and ratings
App Reviews & Ratings
The mobile apps business is pretty complex. Its not a "build it and they will come" like it used to be. There is the app store optimization to take care of. And then there is the app marketing and promotion to work out. Don't forget the app development and publishing process itself.

One important aspect that many developers tend to miss out on is reviews and ratings optimization. Are you one of these developers? If you are, you may be missing out on one of the most important marketing machine your app has.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Support Android Developers : Sign Petition for a Fairer Treatment from Google

Android developers, especially the small indie ones, have one big concern when it comes to publishing apps on the Google Play store.

Apps suspension, and ultimately account banning from Google. And that too done in such a way that developers don't have ways of defending themselves or given any opportunity to fix the issues.

Sign the Petition Here!

Check out following problems reported by Phandroid and another developer on Reddit. There are countless other similar cases that's been reported by developers.

Is Google Evil?

Monday, January 5, 2015

An Easy Keyword Research Strategy You Can Use Today for Your Apps

Like it or not, we've got to accept the fact that the Apple's app store and Google's Play store are both getting terribly crowded.

(Psst! Read to the end for a hot tip on app naming!)

Keyword research play an even bigger role now. Gone are the days where you could slap together, for example, a  flashlight app, and your app would show up for flashlight searches. In fact it's gotten so bad for flashlights, that Apple has even stopped accepting flashlight apps!

A new year, a new look!

Before I proceed, I would love to wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful 2015! May you publish a new flappy bird killer app or game this year.

This blog has just undergone (still is undergoing) some renovations, and hopefully this new look gives the blog a more professional look. But the changes are not final, and not only limited to how it looks.

This year MobiAdage changes its tag line to "the business of mobile". With that, I am striving on providing you with much better articles, comprising ASO / SEO, app marketing and mobile advertising. I'm also in the midst of working out some useful products and tools that will be beneficial to the small indie developer community.

Let's see how it goes then. Stick around! And please wish me luck!

Now, back to the topic of keyword research strategies that you can use TODAY for your apps.

Keyword Research for Mobile Apps and Games

Keyword research should be looked at even BEFORE you start your development. The market is so packed and vast now, that its really tough to stand out from the crowd. What's going to make your flashlight stand out? Should you even bother with a flashlight app? Is it worth your time and effort?

Every developer with a sane mind will advice to stay away from making a flashlight app. But we know the insane ones are the ones that make this world a lot more exciting right?

Flashlight apps are like the countless hello world codes developers all around the world have written. If you're new and just starting out in this world of app development, then I do recommend you try making one, if this interests you. You'll get the experience of developing a useful tool, and also learn the app publishing and marketing parts too.

The thing is, the flashlight app market is just too crowded, that Google perhaps should make a sub-category called "flash lights". And for cameras and alarms too. How you get outstanding here is what's going to make the difference whether your app succeeds or not.

I'll be using flashlight app as an example here, the theory can be applied to any apps of course.

How I do my keyword research

This is just one of the ways you can do your keyword research. This strategy gives you fast ideas for keywords. Remember though, that like everything you do in your app marketing, nothing is guaranteed. Luck plays a role too.

Using this simple strategy, if I were to develop a flash light app, this is how I'd go about with it.

1 - Keyword research on Google Play

One of my favourite keyword research tool is the Google Play itself. The suggestions that Google displays as you type in the search field are a treasure trove of keywords ideas.

I loaded Google Play on the browser, and started typing "flashl", and I get the following suggestions:

Keyword research on Google Play

This in itself gives me a great idea for the keywords I'd use for the flashlight app. You will notice the keywords "free", "app" and "widget" there. If I'm just using this, I'd title my app "Free Flashlight App & Widget". This title covers all the suggestions that Google Play provided.

The problem with this is that your app is just another one of a bazzilion out there that use these keywords. Remember, you need to make your app stand out!

2 - Get more keywords research done via Google's Keyword Planner tool

Google's Keyword planner tool is based on web and internet searches. While it's not quite used in the app world directly (my assumption), you can get some really useful ideas from here. After all, this important keyword tool highlights what humans are actually searching for anyway.

So I searched for "flashlight app", and the following were returned (sorted by average monthly searches):

Google Keyword Planner ideas searching

A couple more ideas pop up here, such as "LED", "Brightest" and "Torch". Again "Free" and "App" shows up here as what I found from step 1 above, adding further value to these words.

Do these basic words matter? There are certain parties that say we can remove them as these don't carry much weight. But end users still use these words for searches, thus there is an importance to be placed on them.

3 - A look at the competition.

So I head back to Google Play, and do a search for "flashlight". This is what the search returns:

Keyword "flashlight" search result on Google Play

Look at the titles of these apps. The first 7 out of 10 apps have the word "Torch" in their title. LED is used quite often too. "Bright" and "brightest" are there too. So these are indeed useful keywords to use for the flashlight app.

Surprisingly "free", "app" and "widget" don't appear in the top 10 flashlight apps' names. This is an opportunity to use them as keywords in your app, MAYBE there is search volume? You've got to test these out. (One important point about keyword research is testing it out to find out what works best, and do note, testing takes time).

4 - Brainstorm ideas to make the flashlight unique.

The best way to stand out is to make your flashlight app have unique and interesting features. You brainstorm some ideas and look at the competition.

Strobe light effects are popular among the top flashlight apps. You can also add a police light effect, and SOS light effect. Maybe also a disco light effect and even a message light you can personalize.

These features make your app still the same as the top apps. An idea that can make your flashlight unique is perhaps a night camera mode, where you have the flash light on, and at the same time your can take pictures.

You could also make a game where your flash light is used as "tactical" flashlight (another keyword suggested by Google's Keyword Planner). You can play a real-life multiplayer game with a fellow friend, where your phone becomes the gun, and there is a crosshair on screen and using the camera, the front views are shown. And when your opponent is in sight, tap a button on screen to "shoot".

You can use many other related keywords that we went through to get more ideas for your flash light app.

The app marketing and ASO has just begun.

The keyword research step is just one of many the developers need to go through. There are many ways to do it.

And seriously, please don't copy other developer's descriptions 100%. I've experienced these a few times, and the copier never gets their app high anyway. There is a lot more to an app's rankings this than just the title and description.

Hot ASO Tip!

It looks like Google might be treating plural and singular words with the same weighting. Check out the graph below for my Aztec Mini Golf Games 3D game on Google Play.

Singular and plural naming rank effect on Google Play ASO

Some time in October, I updated the app's description to have "golf games" (plural) as its main keyword. You can notice that the game started ranking much higher for "Golf games", but dropped in rank for the singular form.

And then, in December, Google did some changes I'd guess, and you notice that both singular and plural names now rank about the same.

Do let me know if you've experienced something similar.

Conclusion - Keyword Research Rocks!

Keywords research is just one part of app store optimization. And there is much to be done. It does not mean this is it for keyword research. It would make sense to keep trying out more keywords if your app isn't ranking well.

But sometimes it's not the keywords that's holding your app back. I'll look into these in upcoming posts. Do sign up for the newsletter to get updates into your inbox!