How to Market an Android App in Google Play Store

There are now over 700,000 Android apps.

Getting discovered is the first and most important thing app marketers must address. Having apps found organically through search versus paid advertising pays dividends in terms of loyalty.

People who find apps through search are 50% more likely to become long-term users. In addition, 75% of app downloads originate from search. That is according to Gary Yentin, CEO at App-Promo, who revealed the secrets of becoming a number one app at Toronto’s AndroidTO conference last week.

Google Play and the App Store use very different methods in determining rank, with Google Play having a more complex system.

With Apple, rank is the driving force behind app discovery, determined primarily by the number of installs. With Google Play, the keywords in the app title are the most important. Having the right ones can increase your ranking by 80 to 100 spots.

Marketers can define the keywords relevant to their app by using the Google AdWords traffic estimator. When the proper keyword is used multiple times in the app description rank can be increased by a further 20 spots.

Marketers should also include city and country names if geographical description is relevant to the app in question. The Google Play rankings are then further influenced by the number of app installs. Yentin added that app marketers should test the search rank for all keywords, measure results, and then optimize the keywords.

It is important to be discovered often on Google Play. This is the easiest way to get loyal users. Google Play rankings are further influenced by retention. That means if your app is installed but never used, your app ranking will go down. If your users install your app and then use it again, your app rankings goes up.

App makers should be updating their app as soon as it is uploaded to Google Play, testing the way it is presented, trying different app titles, different meta tags, different app names, exploring new ways to describe the app, and experimenting with new keywords.

Yentin says you can also apply some of the latter to iOS apps. The major difference is that you can do all the marketing for Android apps right away; one has to wait for app store approval for iOS apps.

Another thing to consider is to do a longer term advertising campaign with Android versus short bursts for iOS and work with as many traffic sources as possible. Doing so will identify the best-performing sources, drive installs from more loyal users, insulate your app from audience saturation, and keep your costs down. Google Play also allows marketers to enable a piece of tracking code called “Android Referrer” which allows marketers to understand which ad network and creative it came from.

App marketers should include a high quality, bright, colourful, and related image in the app logo. They can also create a call-to-action banner to drive downloads. Yentin says marketers should consider marketing metrics such as gender, age, location, time of the day, etc. in considering  cost per acquisition for downloads.

And of course they will have to figure out how to make money from their app—whether that is by advertising, in the form of a paid app, a freemium model, through sponsorship, or subscription model