Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apptimizer: AppBrain’s new tool to understand and improve your app


With over half a million apps in the Google Play Store, yours can easily be overlooked. While there is certainly some luck involved in getting popular on Google Play, there are also a lot of factors that you can directly influence as a developer, like making sure your app is technically excellent, is available to a large portion of all Android users, and is presented in an attractive way.

Today, AppBrain launches Apptimizer, an automated tool to help apps achieve their maximum reach. Apptimizer supports developers with useful tips on how to optimize an app so that it drives more downloads. Best of all, this service is completely free.

The AppBrain Apptimizer analyzes the following aspects of your app:
Technical
The raw technical details of your app can make a significant difference in how many downloads it generates. For example, we have noticed that larger apps get downloaded much less than smaller apps. This phenomenon might be related to data plans (people might not download 20MB APKs when their data plan imposes a 100MB monthly limit), download times (people might cancel a download that takes too long), and device storage limitations. Other examples of technical details that influence download numbers are whether your app supports all screen sizes and whether it can install to the SD card, just to name a few.

Monetization
There are a variety of ways to monetize your app. Simply selling it for a given price is the most obvious, but not necessarily the best choice. To give an example, a free app typically reaches a lot more people than a paid app. Once these people have had a positive experience with your app they might be more likely to decide to spend money on it, e.g. by means of in-app purchases. In the long term, such a monetization strategy can thus outperform the revenue generated by selling your app.

User Feedback
The feedback you receive in the Google Play Store is important for generating many downloads. A low rating and bad comments often point to problems in the app that limit the user experience. Fixing these problems and making sure that your app has at least a 4 star rating will increase your long term download numbers.

Presentation
The description of the app in the Play Store is important not only because people look at it, but also because it’s the main source of keywords that Google uses to answer search queries. Just like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be used to optimize your ranking on search engines, the new field of ASO (Appstore optimization) does the same for your placement in the Google Play Store. Apptimizer provides a quick overview of interesting search keywords and how these stack up against keywords in descriptions of similar apps. It also looks whether your app is updated too often or too seldomly, and whether you have uploaded a feature graphic in the Google Play store.

Privacy
The permissions screen can be a real hurdle to getting massive download numbers. If your app is not connected to a trusted brand name, people are unlikely to grant access to certain private information, such as their contacts or their text messages. The inclusion of aggressive ad networks (push ads, ringtone ads, desktop icon ads) may also harm your popularity, as people will uninstall your app very quickly after noticing what they just downloaded. In its last section, Apptimizer thus scores your app on the presence of invasive permissions or aggressive ad networks.


Writing a successful app is mainly about having a good idea. While Apptimizer will not provide you with such an idea, it can help you to get the most out of your app by looking into the many details required to reach the masses.


If you just want to get started exploring some apps in the Apptimizer, here are some examples:
Some example apps that can be diagnosed are for instance
Facebook: http://www.appbrain.com/apptimizer/facebook/com.facebook.katana
(Apptimizer score 68)
Youtube: http://www.appbrain.com/apptimizer/youtube/com.google.android.youtube
(Apptimizer score 81)
Draw something:
http://www.appbrain.com/apptimizer/draw-something-free/com.omgpop.dstfree
(Apptimizer score 86)


Happy apptimizing!

Michael for the AppBrain team.