ASO Expert Interview: Gabe Kwakyi
We’re very excited to introduce our new ASO Interviews series featuring our ASO experts. To kick this off, Gabe from Incipia offers his personal experience in the app’s world and gives out some powerful tips to boost your app’s performance and ROI.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company?
Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing company with a specialty in stable app development (building apps set to scale, rather than checking the feature requirements box) and keyword-based marketing strategy. We not only build apps for our clients, but we also help our clients earn an ROI from their app investment by acquiring, retaining and earning revenue from users. Additionally, we also offer marketing-only services for clients whose apps are already built.
2. For how long have you been involved in ASO or app marketing?
I have been working on ASO since late 2015, and prior to that I worked for Microsoft Bind Ads, where I helped clients manage their PPC strategies, and consulted on SEO on the side. Having experience in web-based keyword optimization parlayed quite nicely into the world of ASO!
3. What was it about this industry that made you choose it as a primary job?
I’m one part data nerd, one part learning nerd and one part technology nerd, so naturally I find myself intrigued by the current trends of technology, where data can be gathered by the petabyte and analyzed for better decision making. Microsoft was an amazing company, yet mobile was something that Microsoft was still trying to figure out and I wanted to get into the field sooner than later. And in this vein of thought, while apps are our bread and butter, my Co-Founder and I are researching and thinking about how we can evolve our company focus into the next wave of technology, whether that is AR/VR, the IoT, chat-based services or something else. It will be very interesting to see whether these upcoming types of apps will be distributed any differently, and how mobile marketing will continue to change.
4. How do you see the world of ASO and App marketing evolving?
I see ASO very soon expanding to incorporate a larger focus on in-app indexing as Google works to bring this technology the masses. Currently keyword-based ASO is focused mostly in-store, but I think that updating your app to index well for searches happening outside of the stores will begin to produce fruit for ASOs, as that opens up the ability to capture a much larger pie of potential users. App marketing in general I see as continuing to evolve towards more automation machine learning. I imagine that machines will begin surfacing more and more insight to the human operators, who will instruct the machines to make more and more intelligent decisions based on the data being consumed. Creative/strategy will remain a human activity, but analysis and tactical tweaks (e.g. bidding/budgeting/targeting) should be more machine-led.
5. What should be the biggest focus for app developers and marketers in 2017?
We interviewed Adam Lovallo through our blog, and I agree with what he said: focus on activation and retention. To succeed these days, it is no longer enough to build a quality product or have a lot of money to spend on marketing: if you are not serious about a strategy to overcome the high degree of user churn, you simply will not be able to realize your full potential. And such a strategy is not simply push messages, either. It’s engagement tactics like push and email, getting feedback from users to inform changes, adding to your product to make it better over time (based on user feedback), thinking about how to make your product and your users spread the word on your behalf and collecting and analyzing data to get the answers to questions you didn’t think to ask or people can’t think of when you ask them.
6. What was your favourite app in 2016?
Ohh… It would be distasteful to say one of our own apps or our clients’ apps wouldn’t it? Haha. Well I would say that the non-Apple app I use most on my iPhone is Slack; it’s the only non-Apple app in my top apps doc. I think Slack is an incredibly well-directed company making an excellent product. While I wouldn’t say that the mobile app is incredibly innovative, but it does what I expect it to do: communicate via my Slack channels from my mobile without a hitch. Instagram I would say is one of the most innovative apps out there.
7. Tell us about your most challenging ASO “experiment”
I would say it is a constant one: keyword optimization in the Google Play Store. While most ASOs have figured iOS out, Google’s keyword ranking algorithm is very complex and resists efforts to be decrypted or influenced. We have so many theories being tested currently and new theories/experiment ideas pop up near daily.
8. Tell us about your experience with AppTweak and give us your favorite feature.
AppTweak is my favorite place to go for keyword research. I love the depth of features you pull into this UX, from competitive keywords to auto fill/related/search ads keywords, to category to ranked terms. Additionally, I think your title/KWs optimizer is a great feature, but my favorite feature is being able to download daily ranking data for all keywords I am tracking. Very well done on keyword research :)
9. Do you have any “masterchef” ASO tips?
Yes, though it is not a trick for ranking. Our masterchef tip is to be diligent and test hypotheses, not just optimizations (kudos to @Thomasbcn for championing this idea). Anyone can come up with an optimization idea and throw it out there, but the true marketing expert has: 1) a hypothesis that is tested in each optimization based on what she/he already knows from prior tests, 2) a KPI and a confidence level in mind for announcing the success/failure of the test, 3) a new hypothesis if the old one is proven incorrect, 4) and a new test based on the findings from this test.
Gabe was one of our first ASO Experts. A few weeks ago, he posted a YouTube video reviewing AppTweak features. Gabe has authored 100+ articles on ASO and Apple search ads and manages app marketing for apps like Weatherbug, Keepsafe and Hushed. He would be happy to help you boost your app’s performance and increase your ROI.
Want to contact Gabe? Find all details on his ASO Expert profile page.
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