A simple suggestion for improving app discovery on Android and iPhone
September 21, 2012 by Guest Contributor
Are apps already installed on people’s smartphones hampering them from discovering your cool new app? Animoca, as a global developer and publisher of mobile games, is particularly interested about the problem of app discovery.
According to Nielsen’s Mobile Media Report:
“63% of users discover apps by browsing or searching within app stores.”
Once an app reaches the upper range of the “Top” charts, it becomes visible to a much higher number of users and its download rate accelerates significantly, which means a presence high up in the charts is a bit like the Holy Grail of app publishing.
The real estate on a smartphone screen is limited but highly valuable to app discovery – and yet, this screen real estate is far from fully utilized. An iPhone (4S and below) displays 5 items per screen when browsing the App Store charts (4 if you’re using the new iOS6 update). The Google Play interface for Android phones typically displays 12 items per screen.
(iPads and some Android tablets may display a greater number of apps on the screen, but we are looking specifically at smartphones, where screen real estate is more restricted.)
Making things worse is the fact that apps you already own still show up in an app store. This redundancy is an obstacle to app discovery, since you’re obviously not going to download an app you already have. This clutter can be particularly problematic in the “free apps” lists. Here is a screenshot of the Google Play store on a brand new Sony Xperia U:
Notice that 7 out of the first 12 Top Free apps shown are already installed on the new phone, which means that superfluous entries occupy 58% of the highest-prized screen real estate on this Google Play chart. The situation improves on screens 2 and 3 (entries 13-36), as Google Play displays only a few apps that are already installed on the device. Keep in mind this is the situation on a brand new phone. Devices that are used regularly to download apps will contain more redundant entries.
Here’s our suggestion: For users browsing app stores, have an option for them to hide the apps already installed on the device. This could be achieved with a simple toggle for the Google Play store or the iTunes App Store.
Since we wouldn’t want to count as redundant an app which is already installed but for which there is an update, we’ll have to allow exceptions. The toggle might be designed to display apps that are already installed but that have updates available.
The toggle could have three options:
- show all apps
- hide apps already installed on device
- hide apps already installed on device except those apps for which updates are available
This system should lead to improved app discovery. It allows more apps to bubble up into the high ranges of the top charts. What we really like about this tweak is that everyone in the app economy wins. App visibility and user experience improve, leading to better discovery for a greater number of apps, increased downloads, and more revenue for publishers, developers and operators.
Here at Animoca, we believe that such a solution would be suitable for iOS and would fit especially well into the flexible and customizable Android environment.
About the author
Ibrahim El-Mouelhy is the director of Marketing & Corporate Communications at Outblaze Ventures (Animoca). In 1998, Ibrahim joined a few other twenty-somethings to set up Outblaze. Today, he is responsible for the development and management of the Outblaze brands worldwide and for communication with the public, media, and various government and policy-advisory bodies. An avid gamer, he also serves on various gaming and multimedia projects for Outblaze and various Outblaze companies, including Animoca and TurnOut Ventures.
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