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.


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.

JOB: Account Manager / Business Development Manager (BDM)

UPDATE: Please note that applications for this position have now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Fly Digital Pty Ltd has a rare opportunity for an Account Manager / BDM to join our growing team and help shape the future of our company. You will be in charge of client liaison from project concept to delivery as well as sourcing new business leads and revenue generating opportunities to take to market. Reporting to the Company Director, the role has a strong new business focus and includes a rewarding bonus scheme based on quarterly and annual sales targets.

What you’ll need:

  • 2+ years experience working as an Account Manager or BDM
  • An extremely thorough understanding of web/mobile development and design
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Digital Sales experience with the ability to write and present sales proposals and briefs
  • To have a passion for all things digital, and to be able to work as a key part of a small team

What you’ll be doing:

  • Managing client relationships from project Concept through to Deployment
  • Sourcing and converting new business leads for the company
  • Researching, presenting and executing new product ideas for the company
  • Documenting and presenting sales proposals, project proposals and other client documentation
  • Developing and maintaining sales collateral showcasing the business, including Social Media posts
  • Briefing the Technical Director and Development Team on new project work
  • Working with the Company Director on Sales Initiatives and Presentations

Instagram style photo filters in the new Facebook app

If you’ve downloaded the new Facebook app there’s a new feature that’s easy to overlook but well worth a try – photo filters. Instagram users will be used to post-processing photos on their smartphones and parent company Facebook have added the same functionality to their own iOS app.

To try it, upload a photo to the app in the same way you normally would but then note the new icons that run across the bottom. Try tapping the magic wand icon (circled below):

The magic wand brings up an Instagram style selection of filter options. Tapping on each of the preview squares updates the main image.

The filters include various highlights, hues, contrasts and a grayscale option.

There is no ‘blur’ feature in this version though so fortunately there won’t be the same influx of tilt-shift or ‘miniaturised’ photos across Facebook that Instagram introduced to us (for the meantime at least).


The app update also features a well executed crop tool allowing you to drag the a shape around your photo and crop out any unwanted parts of the image.

The image can also be rotated 90 degrees at a time by tapping the round arrow at the bottom of the screen.


Is the media making Trolling worse? How to stop the Trollstrollin

By Stefan Drury, Owner, Fly Digital Pty Ltd

The media’s current obsession with “Trolls” is doing more to encourage copycat behaviour rather than highlighting what was already a well known but relatively small issue within digital media.

This morning I read “Confessions of a Troll: Trolling is an art” on the Sydney Morning Herald website. The article is one of many recent reports in the media hyping up the subject of trolling even suggesting there are those people that believe trolling is “a threat to civilisation”.

As someone who’s been online since the days of Netscape Navigator I’ve seen my fair share of trolling. Back then we just used to call it “people being idiots”. It existed back in the days of bulletin boards and forums. It existed before Facebook or Twitter had been invented.

How did people deal with it back then? We ignored it. Marked it as “spam” or simply moved on and didn’t give that user our attention. That usually stopped it. Sure, today it has a fancy name but don’t be fooled, the practise is not new, it’s never been cool, and it does not deserve this much attention.

I’m not suggesting that the act of sending abusive, hurtful or aggresive messages to others via Social Media is acceptable. Nor am I saying bullying in any form (on or offline) should simply be accepted. What I am saying, however, is the way the media are hyping up the practise by latching on to the term “Trolling” is making the situation worse in my opinion, sensationalising something that should be dealt with subtly and strongly but not in front of a watching world.

Now every Australian with a Twitter account has been educated to the whats, whys and hows of making offensive and often hurtful remarks online and thanks to the Australian media they now have a fancy name to call themselves too.

The new iPhone5 and Apple’s other big announcements this week

Here’s a rundown of the main announcements that Apple made this week:

The New iPhone5

After much speculation and assumption Apple did indeed launch a new version of the iPhone and it is called iPhone5.

Features include:

  • runs on Telstra and Optus’s new 4G LTE networks (unlike the new iPad)
  • 4-inch (diagonal) display (4S was 3.4inch) – existing apps will be “letterboxed” until upgraded in size
  • faster A6 processor
  • new “lightning” connector (adaptors, of course, available in your nearest Apple store)
  • facetime on 3/4G networks

A few more images from the media kit are shown below:















The iPhone5 will be available in Australia from September 21st.

Apple iOS6

Yesterday Apple also released details on iOS6 with over 200 new features, highlights include:

And finally…

Other notable annoucements from the conference this week include:

  • the brand new MacBook pro with retina display and and even thinner case
  • a new iPod Nano range with pause/rewind ‘live’ radio and Siri
  • the new OSX – Mountain Lion
  • the fifth generation iPod Touch with larger (iPhone5 sized) 4-inch screen

David Wetherill’s ‘that’ shot video goes viral

Some videos go viral. Many don’t. Some you wish didn’t (there are only so many cat videos one can watch in a lunchbreak).

However some deservedly get attention, as is the case with this snippet of UK Paralympic Table Tennis player David Wetherill literally throwing everything he had on the line to return an impossible forehand and win the point.

After the game, David Wetherill tweeted this:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/Wetherill89/status/242683978287570944"]

Incredibly inspiring stuff for a Tuesday morning.

How to remove Spotify from Facebook ticker and newsfeed

Spotify is now in Australia which is great. But you may have noticed an increase in the number of your Facebook friends who are now automatically posting their song choices as a result.

Automatic posting is a setting that can be turned off in Spotify, but instead of asking your friends to do that here’s a quick way to hide these posts from your own ticker and newsfeed.

Here’s what to do, the steps are shown in the screenshot above:

  1. hover over the most recent update and let the larger Spotify panel appear
  2. in that panel click on the X in the top right corner to reveal a menu
  3. select “Hide all by Spotify”

iPad kiosks, Google Wallet, QR codes & free wifi – mobile tech in New York

American retail outlets are really embracing new mobile technologies and apps to help drive business and raise awareness of their products.

Here are some of the highlights from a stroll around the lower West side of Manhattan (mainly Chelsea, Meatpackers and West Village).

Innovative iPad kiosk housing

At Fly Digital we’ve created iOS apps for clients looking to use an iPad as a kiosk solution. However we’re often asked how to restrict access to the home and lock buttons to prevent customers from clicking out of the app.

Professionally made kiosk housings are usually the answer such as the great ones made by Lilitab (http://www.lilitab.com/).

But clothing store ‘All Saints’ created their own clever way of achieving the same thing with reclaimed wood, metal and a couple of butterfly screws.

A really clever idea and very on brand for this retail outlet.

QR codes are everywhere

They really are EVERYWHERE. Shop windows, posters, digital signage, check-in signs at the airport, even on bananas (no kidding), you can’t get away from QR codes here in the USA.

Like Australia, Near Field Communication (NFC) still isn’t being widely used in the USA to transfer data onto customers phones despite the growing number of devices with the required hardware. So for the moment QR is still the most popular method.

Pictured here is a QR code that links to a video of the New York Yankees seen underneath a poster in the headquarters of mlb.com in Chelsea Market.

Google wallet is starting to appear

Retailers accepting Google Wallet as a payment method are starting to advertise with stickers in their windows.

Pictured here is the signage at a fruit and veg store in Chelsea Markets.

I tweeted this earlier and the friendly team at Duane Reade (@duanereade) let me know they are also taking Google Wallet for micro-payments in their stores.

Funny free wifi login messages

Free wifi is offered in certain retail outlets so if your partner is taking longer to select an item than you would ideally like and you don’t have a 3/4G account you can at least check what’s happening on Twitter.

Based on my short research exercise I’d say around 30-40% of the shops I was in today offered a free wifi service. Some were simply an open wifi network under the store name, but some did require acceptance of a fair-use policy.

I took this screenshot of my favourite – again at Chelsea Market – showing that you don’t have to take a serious message too seriously. I love what they’ve done here.

More updates to follow as I find more around the city. Follow us on twitter (@fly_digital) for real-time updates, follow this blog or sign up to our newsletter for fortnightly roundups.

Cards and Payments conference Australasia

A couple of images from the Cards and Payments conference in Sydney this week:

RFID posters that you can ‘tap’ with an NFC enabled smartphone to download the offer.


NFC ‘sticker’ that can be attached to a non-NFC enabled smartphone to make payments.

Facebook Marketing Conference – Reach Generator, Timeline for Pages and Logout Experience

Facebook have announced updates to Pages and advertising tools aimed at helping Marketers deliver better campaign results.

Logout Experience

Demonstrated at the recent Facebook Marketing Conference the new “logout experience” will enable marketers to target the page that loads once a user has logged out. This could end up being a pretty powerful place to advertise as it’s a very high-trafficked part of the site and there’s little else currently on that screen to distract from your message.

Reach Generator

We don’t have a great deal of information on this new tool yet but Facebook stated that it helped Ben & Jerry’s reach 98% of their fans and generate a 3:1 ROI. When more information comes we’ll post it here.

Updates to Pages

You’ve probably already seen Timeline – the new way Facebook displays your personal profile page with its large cover photo and chronologically ordered news feed – well the same principle is now being rolled out to Pages with the main updates as follows:

Large cover photo:
you can upload a new large graphic to the top of your screen such as your corporate logo, brand image or photo, or combine it with the smaller square profile pic and get a bit creative with all that new space.

Priority posts:
if you have a post that you want to highlight you can now do one of two things:
a) click the ‘star’ icon to increase the width of the post, or
b) click the ‘pencil’ icon to permanently pin the post to the top of your page – great for highlighting promotions or specials

The previously used Facebook tabs (those menu options down the left of the screen) will disappear however. This could cause some annoyance to marketers who’ve spent time building up a collection of custom apps for competitions, Fangates or to highlight specific areas of their business. However up to 12 promo spots can be customized on the new Page layout which would probably be the most likely position to move this content to.

Ready to upgrade?
If that all sounds good and you’re ready to give it a try you must login as an admin and click “upgrade” in your admin panel. If you’re not ready or dont like the changes then you’ve got until March 30th to change your mind before Facebook migrates all remaining pages automatically.

Need help?
If you need assistance with migrating your company Page across to the new format or want to learn more about how the new advertising updates could help your business then please get in touch with us at Fly Digital.