RBL’s Apple Search Ad strategy yields results:
New search ad approach spurs growth for the baby-book app maker
App startup BabyPage entered the rapidly growing market for apps that help new parents organize large libraries of baby and toddler photos into engaging and compelling baby books. To stand out in a crowded competitive landscape, BabyPage’s two founders (moms themselves) approached Round Barn Labs to help rethink their customer acquisition strategy – with a goal of getting more impact – without having to stretch their marketing budget.
Challenge: Greater competition means you have to be bold to stand out.
Most startups wouldn’t launch if they didn’t believe they were addressing a pressing need, filling a void in the market, or creating a significant improvement on existing offerings. But a good idea only takes you so far in the increasingly crowded landscape of the iOS App Store, which already hosts more than 2.2 million unique apps. What’s more, the number of downloads from the App Store more than doubled in just 33 months from 85 billion in Oct 2014 to 180 billion in June 2017. And that number blew right by 200 billion in 2019.
With mobile apps poised to generate $189 billion in revenue by 2020, there are profits to be found if you can find ways to get more eyes on your App Store page and inspire more users to install.
As BabyPage looked at the numbers, they quickly realized that the baby-tech app space was no longer a niche market where they could expect to make an immediate splash. In just a few years, it had become increasingly crowded, making organic results difficult to “earn.”
As a startup with limited capital, BabyPage reached out to Round Barn Labs for a well-planned and rigorously tested mix of earned, owned, and paid marketing.
- 21% of Millennials open an app 50+ times per day.
- 49% of people open an app 11+ times each day.
- 57% of all digital media usage comes from mobile apps.
- The average smartphone owner uses 30 apps each month.
Solution: Rigorous keyword strategy gets more eyes on BabyPage
For app makers like BabyPage, installs are the name of the game. But you can’t expect to increase installs unless your app is ranking high enough in App Store searches. That’s because keywords are the currency of the Search ecosystem, and the first step in a critical chain of events…
To get a strong portfolio of keywords and put them in prime locations, app makers have to think like a big-time home developer. This requires an involved process of identifying and maintaining your best-performing keywords. So to raise the bar on BabyPage’s keyword game and to improve the rankings of various keywords within the App Store, RBL took a four-pronged approach:
- Keyword research – App Store Optimization begins with rigorous keyword research. The trick is simply to identify keywords that potential customers will use to find the solution to the problem that drives their search. RBL begins by building an initial-target keyword list through research of competitors’ keyword approaches. We also mine keyword ideas from the automatic results in the App Store, Apple Search Ads, competitors on other platforms like Google Play, and related trending terms. Finally, we identify more effective keywords through “search match” and “broad match.’
- Keyword integration and maintenance – Once we identified our initial target keyword list, it was time to integrate them into the listing in a way that worked best with the algorithm, strengthening keyword ranking and organic traffic. Moving on to keyword maintenance then involves identifying which keywords aren’t providing value and replacing them with high-yielding ones. This can improve performance over all keywords and yield greater clout within the App Store. But it’s also important to also consider conversion rate and tie it to specific keyword rankings to gain a wider understanding of a specific keyword’s importance; A higher CVR term will be more likely to result in more organic installs if we can improve our rankings, while a lower CVR term will not provide as many installs even if you’re able to rank number #1 in the App Store.
- Improving App Store graphics – The App Store page, like any landing page, is crucial to the success of your install campaign. To ensure a strong conversion rate, you’ll need high-quality images and content, and positive reviews, which will in turn improve your rankings, boosting organic and paid traffic. In order to improve CVR for BabyPage, we reimagined the graphics to provide users with a smoother and more inviting experience. Round Barn wanted to incorporate colors and visuals that would express emotion and connect with the user. Explaining the app’s features within screenshots also helps users understand the product faster. Keep in mind, it’s important to A/B test listing graphics even at the keyword level.
- More effective Apple Search Ads – The power of Apple Search Ads derives not only from the ability to serve ads based on search queries in the App Store, but also from the ability to provide data that iTunes Connect does not, such as CVR (Conversion Rate) and TTR (Tap Through Rate) at the keyword level – and even to improve specific keyword rankings.
1.1 April 2nd: First keywords update - many new rankings (Ranking/Date, Every line represents a ranking term)
*In one day - doubled amount of keywords rankings in top 100
1.2 May 2nd: Second keywords update, new terms & rankings improvement.
(Over 4 times the amount of rankings in top 100 from starting point)
Result: More new users install BabyPage without stretching the marketing budget
RBL’s four-pronged approach brought immediate results. As a result of the first keyword update in early April 2019, BabyPage went from 0 medium/high search popularity index keywords to 12 medium/high-volume terms and 9 high-volume terms in the top 10. In just one day, RBL doubled the number of keywords ranking in the top 100. As of the following month, after a second keyword update, BabyPage had seen a fourfold increase in the number of rankings in the top 100. To date, BabyPage has seen an 11x increase in keywords ranking in the top 10.
These improvements were achieved without too much impact on BabyPage’s marketing budget.
We found cost savings through Apple Search Ads, which have a significantly lower CPI than other ad platforms. And ASA has provided BabyPage 2,754 installs, with a very affordable $1.98 average cost per install.
To find out how Round Barn Labs can help you improve the rank of your keywords and get you more app installs, please visit roundbarnlabs.com