The Best of Google Play 2018 (The Tip of the Iceberg)

Dec 13, 2018
By: Marissa Camilli

It’s that time of the year when many marketers look back on the previous 12-months and compile their end-of-year lists to entertain and inform their audiences. Our friends at Google Play clearly love a good list. They know how easy a list is to create and the acres of press coverage they can generate (see here, here and here).

If, as an app developer, you can get on a list like Google Play’s Best Apps of 2018, it will almost certainly guarantee a tremendous spike in downloads. This is of course great news for this year’s winners, and we have to agree there are some brilliant apps included in the list.

Over the next month or so, we’ll watch the likes of Canva (a brilliant graphic design tool), Drops (a language tuition aid), and SLOWLY (a slow delivery messaging app which re-invents the concept of snail mail) see dramatic growth on the Google Play store thanks to their well-deserved placement on Google Play’s end-of-year lists.

But what about everyone else who produced a great app in 2018 and missed out on all this amazing free publicity?

The Nature of Google Play

Well, I’m afraid to say, that’s the nature of the Google Play Store. Some apps will rise to the top and others will struggle to make an impact. In this confusing (not to mention expensive) world of app store optimization (ASO), it can be hard to understand precisely what it takes to give your app the visibility it needs to succeed.

It’s also important to remember, that just because an app is critically acclaimed, it doesn’t mean it will rise to the top and stay there. With so much competition in any app store environment, today’s heroes can quite quickly become tomorrow’s zeros when the fuel of publicity (regardless of whether that is PR, ongoing optimization or cold, hard cash) runs out.

When your organization has bills to pay, a flash in the pan success won’t guarantee your long-term future. For success to be more permanent, you’ll need a long-term strategy that you can commit to and afford.

Note: Take a look at the Top Charts category in the Google Play store. You’ll almost certainly recognize many of the big name apps in the top 100. These are the organizations you’ll have to compete against if you want to see long-term success for your apps. While there are exceptions to prove the rule (small app developers take the battle to the big guys) this isn’t a level playing field for most developers.

Stop Ignoring Me

Pre-loading your apps to specific devices and/or networks guarantees visibility at the moment of maximum user engagement – the unboxing. What’s more, a pre-loaded app will remain visible on a device until the user chooses to engage with it. This might mean they activate your app or it could mean they delete your app. The one thing they won’t do is ignore your app.

In the worst case scenario (the removal of your pre-loaded app from a device), a user will be forced to ask themselves, what does this app do and is it useful to me?

Even if the user has never heard of your app before – there is a very good chance that they will explore your service before removing it. This engagement is a great opportunity to demonstrate how fun, useful, engaging your app is and encourage future engagement.

It’s also a great opportunity to ensure your app is best-placed to serve a user’s needs at a time and a place when they most need your services.

The Right Place at the Right Time

Consider this: How many people will try an online marketplace (like eBay) over the holiday season to either buy a last minute gift or sell an unwanted one. If your app is front and center of their device – who are they going to use? Similarly, how many people who drive to the office are going to find themselves having one or two drinks after work in the run-up to the holidays? They may have never needed a lift-sharing service (like Uber or Lyft) before – but if it’s on their smartphone ready for activation, why not leave the car and enjoy one or two more?

When you pre-load your app, you are creating an anchor that secures your brand until someone finds themselves in the right place at the right time to engage with your service. This means, your marketing budget will continue to work for you long after the initial campaign has ended.

Why Leave Discoverability to Chance?

When your app’s only route to market is via the uncertain and highly competitive world of an app store, nothing is guaranteed. This includes the “eyeballs” on your app required to initiate engagement. Only pre-loading can guarantee this. The rest is up to the quality of your product and service – which is entirely in your control.

To learn more about pre-loading your app on leading devices and global networks, talk to one of our advisors today.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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