Success on Google Play: Not Just a Matter of Development — Part 2

How multi-tasking can help indie Android Developers succeed on Google Play

In Success on Google Play: Not Just a Matter of Development — Part 1 we started to analyze how and why multi-tasking is crucial for developers in order to be successful on Google Play. Scratching the surface of Google Play, designing, testing and optimizing our app and providing customer care can seriously help our application grow and reach good ratings and download rates.

However, there some more steps a developer can take to improve his app and to get noticed on Google Play, and again, it’s all about multi-tasking.

A full-featured developer is not just a good programmer, he’s also someone who’s able to understand what users want and how users interact with his apps.

Understanding the practical needs of users helps the developer improve the general approach to the app. This is a very powerful tool and one of the keys to users’ hearts.

First of all, users want to know exactly what is the purpose of your app, what are its main features, and how the app performs. These informations drive the desire of users to try an app, which is the first step to engage them.

There is a place for all of this, which is the App Description on Google Play you can insert using the Google Play Developer Console.

However, before jumping in and start writing down all the cool features of your app, keep in mind to avoid spammy descriptions.

To have a good example of what you shouldn’t do, here’s an extract from Google Play Best Practices and Policy page:

Gems X is here! Start collecting Rare Gems and Jewels now. Join the rare Jewel Quest today!
Gems X: Matching of Rare Jewels — Collector Saga FREE is not a lite version, but offers all features for you to enjoy. Featuring full touch swiped controls, just like Candy this game is sweet and you’ll have a crush on the game in no time.
So stop being a shopaholic or fashion icon in the New York model-like lifestyle for a moment and just relax and join the world of collecting rare gems. No shopping stress just pure relaxation! Join the Jewels Quest and be a gem master!
This game allows you to collect diamonds and keep your own collection. This is more than a Diamond Dash, it’s a diamond (ruby) dash collection allowing you to buy and sell your favorite diamonds (gems / jewels / ruby) to make a full collection.
Other class A games by us include Bubble Force, Bubble Popper X, Election Game 2014 and many more. Which is your favorite? Get this candy for your Android device now and breakout of the maze!
Lunagames work in progress/coming soon: Mary’s Jewelry Parlour; Bedside Fairy tales (Cute Pet Edition Tap Saga), Dragon Chain Crush Galaxy! Gem Dash X.
Whats the word from our players:
Cindy98: Was looking for “Gems with Friends” — But I Love this game. One of my favs together with Candy Crush Saga, “Dragon Gem” and Shipwrecked, Cut the rope time travel… keep it up!
Cindy: Top game love collecting jewels! This and “Cut the Rope: Time Travel”& “4 pics 1 wrong”, “flow frenzy” + blenduko + tetris is my fav! Can’t find Stratego? Happy Thanksgiving.
Fatima: Certainly the best Bejeweled like game together with “Dragon Gem” and “Marble Blast”. I’m addicted ☺
Johnny26: Love it. This game packs a punch! Love the collecting gens! My top list “Gems XXL”, “4 pics 1 wrong”, “Tetris Blitz”, blendoku, “Turbo Racing League”, “Star Gems”, and that little game called Fragger.
Jacky Sega: gems with friends zynga & bejeweled 3 is good but this one is the bomb; what a balst! Gems XXL rules☺
Jimmy: So much fun. Like “Bejeweled Blitz” but with option to collect and free bejeweled! This game is a homerun and knocks it out the park!! Like the new beach world. J. Zonga
Mr Underworld: 5 star game. Bakery
Sara: Got it Tuesday — still playing 2 weeks later — great story ☺
Break and blast the daily chain and move your booty and join the most totem fun in the galaxy and beyond! Chip into the diamond collecting experience today and build tap into your own Jewels collection. In the office, restaurant, subway or the park; anywhere or anyplace you’ll love Gems X!
Join today have a blast playing our game! No cheats! Contact us.
KEYWORDS: game, games, fun, funny, child, children, kid, kids, puzzle, puzzle games, sound, turtle, turtles, sea turtles, turtles, turtle, turtles, tortoise, tortoises, tortoise, tortoise, turtles, turtles, turtles, turtles, tortoises, tortoise
This game is as addictive as Angry Birds, more social than Facebook and Twitter, and has a soundtrack reminiscent of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

Wow, even I didn’t read all of of the above! You don’t want to do this, right?

As you can see, whe have multiple issues in the previous description:

  1. Too Loooooooong! Remember: keep it short. Users don’t want to spend 10 minutes reading in details all the features of your app. A brief description is the best way to explain what your app does. Focus on the main features of your app.
  2. Keywords. At the end of the description, you see a keywords list. That’s the best way to get your app kicked out of Google Play Store. DON’T DO THAT. Every trial to set up app description in order to manipulate ranking and listing in Google Play goes against the Developer Policy you accepted when you signed up for your Google Developer Account. It just leads to a quick and no-return ban from Play Store.
  3. User Comments in App Description. There’s a Comments section in the Google Play Store detail page right? So that’s where your users will look for other users ratings, not in your app description. Your app has been featured on very important blogs/newspapers? Pick one, and add just that. Noone cares about comments of other users you hand-picked, it’s just counter-productive. What if your description says “Mark: Wow this app is the best I have ever tried!” and your app ratings says 1-star with a bunch of bad comments?
  4. Reference to Famous Apps/Services/VIPs:
This game is as addictive as Angry Birds, more social than Facebook and Twitter, and has a soundtrack reminiscent of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

How many seconds do you think it will take for someone reading stuff like this to realize you’re just trying to do Google Play SEO? Avoid this.

To sum up: in your App Description be short, informative, creative and, most importantly, be honest.

There are other ways to let your potential user understand what are the main features of your app.

As you might have heard, sometimes

And that’s even more true with Android Apps.

Use Screenshots.

In the previous article, we highlighted how providing screenshots for different screen sizes is a good way to ensure people who uses low-end and high-end devices will have a proper idea of how the app could look like on their phone/tablet.

We have another good string to our bow, which is Video.

If cats are your target-customers, a video of a cat using your app is a good start.

Videos are a great way to showcase the main cool features of an app. A video that is both interesting and cool burst the desire of our users to at least try our app (which is exactly what we want).

Making a video of an app feels easy at a first look, but it’s actually one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks of marketing and app.

Luckily for us, we have some embedded tools that makes taking screencasts of our apps super dupereasy.

If you have a 4.0+ device, you can use the embedded Screen Record tool in Android Studio to easily record a screencats video of your app.

Screen Record is embedded in Android Studio

You can also do this by calling on your terminal the command:

adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/demo.mp4

If you don’t have a 4.0+ device, there are good alternatives, like DroidAtScreen or Genymotion.

A good thing could be post-producing your video using a video editing tool to add music, transition effects and more infos to your video. There’s no specific tool to do that, use the one you like the most.

In addition to showcase the feature of your app. a post-produced video shows that you put effort and believe in your app, that you care about it and that you think it’s a good product. Publishing the raw, unproduced version of the video will result in a very poor experience for your user, so think about it.

When you create a post-produced video, keep in mind that you also need to respect all the policy regarding copryrighted contend. So be careful on the images/music you use, and give attribution if you need to.

If you want to look for Creative Commons content, a good starting point is CCSearch (soon to be replaced with a new tool).

Finally, publish your video to YouTube and embed that video in your app description (there’s a specific field for that).

Having a video of your app on YouTube is a good thing not only because you have a video in your app description. You can share your video on multiple social channels, send the link to Android-related blogs, to newspapers, to your grandma to make her proud, and so on.

Share your video, don’t be shy.

Now that you have provided cool graphical assets, nice screenshots and a well done post-produced video to your app description, we can officially say that very likely your potential users can get a proper idea of what your app does.

Mission accomplished?

Well, not exactly!

Now that your users know about your app it’s time for you to know about your users.

One way to do this is through users comments, and we analyzed this task in Part I of this series. Understanding what users have to say about your app is a great resource to improve your app.

Users comments are a great “active” tool they have to provide feedback to you, but there are other definitely less invasive and more “passive” ways to understand how users interact with your app.

I’m talking about Google Analytics.

Analytics offer you an enormous quantity of tools you can use to understand more about your app impact.

You can track who downloads your app (of course with anonymous information, you won’t get the actual names!), where they download it, and, most importantly, how they use it.

I won’t go in details about all the Analytics setup and feature list, if you’re interested in knowing more, here’s a link to the very well-done docs of Analytics and the good article Unlock the power of Google Analytics for Mobile.

What I’m interested to discuss here is one very specific feature of Analytics, which is the Users Behavior Flow.

User Behaviour Flow on Google Analytics

You can embed really small snippets in your Android Activities to send the indication that a user has visited that particular “screen”. These information will be elaborated by Analytics and then you’ll get a flow chart like you see above.

This chart is one of the best tool to understand how users interact with your app.

You can see trends there, you can understand if some screens are not visited at all, you can see the Exit points of users.

For example, you might notice that after visiting the home screen, the 70% of the users leaves your app. What does that mean? That you need to improve users engagement on your homescreen. Users spend a lot of time on your app but they never reach to a particular Activity? Then this activity could be difficult to find, or it is useless. And so on.

In other words, Users Behavior Flow is a super efficient tool to better understand the User Experience in your app, if it works, if it doesn’t and what are its Achille’s heels.

If you want to know more about Users Behavior Flow, here’s link to the doc.

To sum up , in this Part 2 of Success on Google Play we discussed how to provide more informations to your users about your app through App Description, Screenshots and Videos, and how to get more informations from your users through Analytics and User Behavior Flow.

More proper information you provide, more secure your users will feel about trying, purchasing and using your app. More proper information you get, more you can improve your app to accomodate it to your users needs.

Thanks for reading!

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Stay tuned for Part 3!