May 2013

App Search Optimisation (ASO) for beginners

Hooray, there’s a new Technology acronym that I need to learn … said no one ever.

ASO or App Search Optimisation is the fancy way of describing the process of trying to make your app stand out above others when customers are browsing app stores like iTunes or Google Play.

Personally I think, as with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), there’s an awful lot of common sense that can be applied here to cover 80% of the ‘recommendations’ that the ‘experts’ are telling us.

But as a self confessed ‘expert’ who is here to give you some ‘recommendations’ here are the key things that I’d suggest you focus on when submitting your app.

App Name

Most importantly. Does your app have a descriptive name that contains keywords customers may be searching for? Remember, you have two ‘names’ for your app: 1) the short name that appears under the app icon on the smartphone and 2) the longer app name that features in the App Store. As an example your new flying game might have a short name of ‘Fly High’ but can have an App Store name of ‘Fly High – the Aeroplane Simulator Flying Game’. So choose both names wisely, the idea is to maximise the number of downloads by being descriptive.

App Keywords

Keywords are of little relevance to website SEO nowadays but they can help with ASO. So make sure you use as many of the 100 characters you’re given as you can. A good starting point is to research what your competitor apps are using to get ideas. And don’t forget there’s no need to repeat your App Name in your keywords.

App Description

Most importantly with the App Description is the fact that it’s going to get truncated. So make sure your key sell message is concisely written in the first two sentences. A punchy couple of sentences which neatly describe what you’ll get in the app is a way better strategy than paragraphs of text on how you came up with the idea or who the sponsors are or why you think it’s the next Angry Birds. Give the customer the facts, sell them the concept, then let them decide. Here’s a good example from Fox Sports’ NRL app:

App Icon

There are two schools of thought for including text in the icon or not. My opinion is that if the icon text is readable and better defines the purpose/brand of the app than a graphic only icon then go for it. But there’s no need to repeat the name of the App in your icon, that’s what the short name is for.

Updates

If you are making updates to your app make sure you don’t only describe the updates you’ve made but list them too. People love lists. Writing a sentence or two on why you’ve released this new version (eg: “You asked for changes to our booking system so we’ve added new ways to pay and made booking even easier”) and following that up with a list of exactly what you have done is generally the best approach.

Other tactics

A couple of final tips:

  1. Encourage customers to review and rate/review your app. You can do this via push notification prompts or via your company Social Media channels. An app that has 0 reviews and 0 ratings doesn’t look appealing to customers at all, especially if you’re asking them to pay for it.
  2. Encourage your friends and family to rate/review your app. As per point #1, it doesn’t hurt to ask people you know to rate your new app to get some initial runs on the board.
  3. Have relevant screenshots. You may love your fancy loading screen but there’s no point making that the number one screenshot, it’s not going to sell your app. Choose screenshots that tell the story of what you get when you download the app. Pick the key areas of content or functionality, and make sure the first screenshot is the best one.

If you have any other tips that you’ve found work when Optimising your App content, let us know below.

Xbox One – A non-gamers guide to what Microsoft just launched

We’re not gamers at Fly Digital but we don’t mind a new technology launch, so it was still a big deal when Microsoft presented their new Xbox One earlier today.

To help like-minded non-gaming tech fans, here’s a quick cheat sheet on the Xbox One.

What is the XBox One?

It’s the latest version of the Microsoft Xbox released 8 years after the Xbox 360. Rumours had it that this version would be called Xbox Infinity, but it seems Microsoft went the other end of the scale and started from step one again trying to create a completely new gaming experience rather than an upgrade to Xbox 360.

What cool things can it do?

Lots of voice control. You can turn it on by saying “XBox On” for a start which will wake up the device and return you to where you last left off. Or say “Xbox watch TV” to swap to a live TV feed. Plus you can even jump into a Skype call whilst playing a game (useful for taunting opponents).

Also using Windows 8′s snap feature you can ‘snap’ an app to one side of the screen whilst using the other side for something else. This has plenty of cool uses like snapping a twitter feed next to a live TV show, or playing a game with the walkthrough snapped to the other side.

What about Kinect?

The motion control add-on is still there but for Xbox One it’s been completely redeveloped. According to the demo earlier today, Microsoft claim Kinect “picks up motion at 13 billionths of a second, the time it takes light photons to bounce off of you and make it back for the sensors.” Now I’m no particle physicist but that sounds pretty darn responsive, am I right? This thing can apparently detect your heartbeat when exercising and Microsoft even claim it can register movements even in complete darkness (not sure if that’s important though, perhaps useful for the adult games market?)

Any demos I can watch?

Yep, check out the Call Of Duty : Ghosts video here: http://kotaku.com/call-of-duty-ghosts-gives-you-a-dog-customizable-mult-509058934 Check out the detail in the way the plants move when the helicopter flies past, or the reality of the German Shepherd (you get a dog in this new version, nice). Impressive stuff.

When can I get one?

Patience… Microsoft said the Xbox One will be available later in the year. I’d say based on previous releases assume around 4-6 months. But no doubt this is going to be a very popular Christmas gift for 2013.

Job: Digital Project Manager (midweight)

Digital Project Manager (midweight)

Fly Digital has a great opportunity for an ambitious, well-disciplined and creative Project Manager with excellent communication skills to join our growing team. You will be responsible for managing websites, mobile apps, eCommerce sites and other projects from concept to delivery across our varied client base working with our in-house and remotely located developers and designers. Reporting to the Company Director you’ll bring a flexible work ethic, an organized and methodical approach to your work and a genuine desire to be a key part of a small but fast growing company.

Download the job description here (PDF)

What you’ll need:

  • 3+ years client facing Project Management experience in the Digital Industry
  • A strong understanding of web/mobile development and design techniques
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of HTML, Photoshop and Coding Languages would be very advantageous

 What you’ll be doing:

  • Managing concurrent projects from concept, through to execution, testing, delivery and support
  • Managing client requests and translating these into briefs & tasks for developers and designers
  • Writing and presenting project documentation
  • Assisting the team with the company’s Social Media channels, blogs and websites
  • Assisting the Company Director on new business proposals and presentations

To apply:

Please submit your cover letter and resume to support@flydigital.com.au. Applicants chosen for an interview will be contacted in due course.

Three things to do before you leave on a Friday afternoon

It’s nearly time to packup and leave for another weekend, but here are three things to do before you power down the laptop and head off tonight.

1) Write down 3 things to do on Monday before lunch

Write a list of the three key things you want to achieve on Monday morning so you can arrive at work and get stuck into it. Try and include at least one job you’ve been avoiding (like returning that phone call you’ve been putting off) and one fun one like updating your Twitter profile. Then when Monday comes focus on finishing that list and head out on your lunchbreak feeling like you’re already ahead.

2) Give yourself one weekend task

Weekends are a great time to knock off a few items on your todo list as well. Except try choosing  those tasks you can do on the floor in front of the TV or at the table with a cold beer eg: sorting out your receipts, installing updates on your laptop, clearing out your work bag or watching that TED video that you never had time for all week.

3) Reflect on the week

Thirdly, take a second to think back on the week and try and remember one thing you did really well and one thing you did really badly. Recounting these sorts of experiences really helps train yourself to improve when you have made mistakes and leverage of good experiences when you have done something great.

But most of all, weekends are for making the most of the time with friends and family, so you can come back on Monday morning refreshed and re-energised.

Have a great one!