HalfChess — App Store Optimization — Work in progress

Naval Saini
Aug 29, 2017 · 3 min read
  • This article is more of rough notes that I can rewrite into a better article later.
  • It has some data and thoughts, but maybe is not written in the best format.

As a part of continued effort to improve Halfchess, we are revisiting the communications. The app store description for Halfchess has been quite lack-luster.

Scroll below to see our new app description.

The old app description

Halfchess is a variation of chess better suited to mobile screens and quicker games. Most games only last 1–3 minutes. It is played as chess on on a smaller board against the computer.

To add to the excitement, there are new chess pieces — a crab that moves zig-zag and jump over friendly pawns/crabs. Do read the rules to avoid surprises.

Halfchess can be played against the computer or you can invite your friend to play against them. You will need to login for more engaging features — such as leaderboards or two player games. Currently, only Facebook login is supported.

It is a great way to flex your chess muscles and stay at top of your game.

On 30th August, we updated old App store listing with the new one. It is removed now from the article. I also added a video post August — a short 45 second video describing the app.

Then again on 9th September, we revisited the description and also did a localization in 15 languages.

Scroll below to see the metrics.

This is the new description as of post Sept 9th

Halfchess (or mini-chess) is just like chess but played on a smaller board.

This is a game for casual chess players and is strategically much easier than regular chess. It can be used for developing skills like — deep thinking, playing blind chess or just as a simple, quick workout for your mind.


* Play against the computer in beginners and advanced mode.
* Play against a human opponent by inviting them to a match.
* Play two-person games on the same device.


“In order to improve your game, you must study the end-game before anything else…..” — Capablanca. With a smaller board and some new chess pieces, Halfchess aims to be the superfast version of chess, with exciting end games. — YourStory (a popular Indian startup magazine)


When you play against the computer, the first stage is hard but it gets easier onwards the second stage. You can become part of an exclusive community by crossing at least one stage in Halfchess.


Halfchess feels fast like Bulletchess game. On an average, most games last between one to three minutes. This is a game for speed lovers.


Initially, experienced players can find Halfchess much simpler. But Halfchess has a new chess piece — “the Crab”. It has no known theory and can throw the best chess players off guard. It moves zig-zag, only forward and jumps over friendly pawns or crabs.

If you want to play with crabs against the computer, you will have to buy the advanced mode. However, inviting a friend for a chess duel is free.


Halfchess looks great on mobile screens. If you like big chess boards, you would love Halfchess.


This is a wild game, exercise caution and watch your fingers quiver at the end.

Success Metrics of App store description


These metrics are for organic traffic from Play Store.


  • Advertising on FB (mid month)+ Old app store description
  • Conversion rate — 23.8%
  • Started running advertisements on FB


  • Advertising on FB(till mid-month) + Old app store description
  • Conversion rate — 38.3%
  • Still running advertisements on FB


  • Stopped Advertising on FB + New app store description
  • Conversion rate — 11.2%
  • Not running advertisements on FB
  • Looks like this did not do well


  • Last one week of advertising on FB + Old app store description
  • Conversion rate — 11.9%
  • FB advs again for the last week only
  • Localization in 15 languages for last half of the month

October Last Week

  • Conversion rate 22.9%
  • FB advs not as well targeted as earlier ones
  • Localization in 15 languages


From what I see here, the Aug. update did not perform well. The shorter app description seemed to generate more interest in the viewers.

Though at the same time retention has increased.

My next experiment would be to change the 45 second video with a 15 second one. Maybe people are getting tired by the time the video is over and lose energy to download the app.

Naval’s Products, Engineering and Startups Blog

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