How to increase app revenue by boosting in-apps in search results?
Many app developers are missing out on opportunities because they don’t optimize their in-apps. We’ll tell you how IAP indexing works, what patterns you can use, how to squeeze your competitors out and increase app revenue, and how to analyze your optimization efficiency. We’ve also added some examples of quality in-apps and, on the contrary, black hat ASO of in-apps.
How does app revenue depend on in-app promotion?
If you improve the way your in-app is displayed in search results, it will influence your app revenue indirectly. This is an important point to keep in mind. You shouldn’t expect a boost in purchases. When users are looking for an app on App Store, they aren’t yet motivated to buy anything. It’s all about the long-term strategy. Well, how does app revenue grow in the end?
- By promoting in-apps, you can take up more space in the search results and push your competitors out of them.
- Thanks to this, app conversion will grow. More installs mean more purchases.
Thus, taking as much space as possible in the search results is your ultimate goal, but how do you do that? First, let’s take a look at how in-apps are indexed.
How does IAP indexing work?
In-apps can vary as they can be regular and promoted. The former are available inside of an app only, while the latter can be indexed by title and displayed among the App Store search results. You can promote up to 20 in-apps at a time. At the same time, you can change the list of promoted in-apps right on the spot. Stop your promos and launch other in-apps in your app. Say, you plan to launch a limited-time promo campaign or offer some exclusive content to users.
The only drawback is that, by changing an in-app, you’ll have to start promoting it from scratch. For example, you’ve promoted an in-app, made some experimenting, and achieved some good results. By replacing the in-app, you’ll have to again improve the new one in terms of ranking. It might make sense to analyze in-apps from the ASO point of view, choosing the one that you’re up to replacing.
Each in-app can have a title of 30 characters and a description of 45. The best way to optimize an in-app for search is to use relevant keywords in its title. Moreover, the title should convey the in-app idea.
Promoted in-apps may appear on your app page in the tabs Today, Games, or Apps (in-apps can get featured) as well as in search results. While in search, an in-app can follow the actual app, have a gap with it, or even appear on its own. The goal of every app developer and ASO expert is to squeeze competitors out and invade the entire search results screen.
How to squeeze your competitors out and invade the search results
The most obvious answer to this question is to keep experimenting and identify patterns. Why is it challenging to forecast the outcome when optimizing in-apps?
- Right now, we are yet to understand how the algorithms work. IAP promotion has become possible relatively recently once iOS 11 has been launched.
- There are too few expert opinions for now. Few developers are involved in promoting in-apps, so there is not enough data yet. Of course, that’s their loss as they miss opportunities. We hope that the situation will improve, in particular our tool might be of use.
And yet there are some patterns.
- In-apps can be indexed by the keywords you use for your app.
- If your app is among the top by a certain keyword, then you can immediately go 2 to 3 ranks up in the search results by adding the keyword to the in-app title. Squeeze your competitors out and increase your conversion.
- Many believe that, with in-apps, it would be easier to promote and get a higher ranking, because Apple finds it profitable to give higher rankings to apps that make money. App developers may notice that their apps move up once people start purchasing. And this corresponds to common sense: to make a purchase, users need to install the app in question first.
- The less competitive a keyword is, the easier it is for an in-app to make it to the top.
- Only the in-app title gets indexed, and all titles will be indexed for all locales.
«The very presence of in-apps to promote is already a big plus both in terms of app visibility and as an opportunity to push your competitors out of the search results. For example, the app above (Simpler) has three promoted in-apps, but two of them rank significantly worse than the first one. This is a clear sign to start optimizing and look for the best keywords to increase the visibility of other in-apps as well. At the same time, you may want to separate key queries into different semantic groups for each in-app».
How to analyze in-app ASO success?
We’ve developed a tool that makes the in-app ASO data available.
- Analyze any promoted in-apps in any app. What dynamics do they have in terms of ranking?
- Track by which keywords and how high an in-app is ranking. How well does the app title work in terms of SEO?
- Study your competitors’ price history. Besides, such a marketing analysis may help you set your own prices if you have any doubts.
- Monitor the search results for all in-apps by all keywords.
Black Hat ASO of in-apps
During the in-app research, we came across an unusual way of how some black hat ASO experts operate. Our advice is to refrain from playing dirty, but we’ll share the tricks anyway just to keep you in the know. Maybe they’ll help you find your own way of making your in-apps more efficient.
Well, the black hat ASO experts utilize the promoted in-apps solely as a tool to increase conversion. The in-apps as such have little to no value for users and cost zero bucks (that is, they are free).
The example below is a betting app powered by motivated traffic. Apparently, its in-app reviews are very forgiving. At least, in terms of copyright. The in-app icons boldly use the logos of major competitors. Even a few ones at once sometimes. The English version has them hidden as a disable ads function, and the Russian one has different titles for all in-apps that include branded keywords.
This smart trick allows you to use someone else’s brand names in visible metadata, as well as to expand the semantic core and improve your ranking by queries. Regular App Store users are unlikely to distinguish any differences in search results, and TTR might be quite good in those in-apps.
We also know that they drive motivated traffic not only to the app, but also to the in-apps. Thus, the necessary in-apps are displayed by the necessary keywords among the top results. At the same time, the app is being promoted too.
The second example is an app of the same format that too benefits from exploiting its super-competitor brands. An interesting observation: the developer’s name is replete with spam made of other brands. Because it gets indexed. At the same time, if an app doesn’t have a subtitle, the developer’s name can be found right below the title on the app page. Basically, this is a very dirty but powerful move. A question remains as to how App Store misses in-apps during reviews.
Optimizing your in-apps is a must. If you don’t, you’re missing out on opportunities to squeeze your competitors out and increase app revenue in the long term. Feel free to analyze your performance with our tool, In-Apps. It’s available for all plans, except Startup.
Still have questions? Sign up for a demo to see our tools in action.