“Using MobileAction as a complementary tool, we helped one of Europe’s largest fintechs grow their app downloads by 1800% in just 9 months and search rank above the fold on more than a thousand keywords.”David Prentell
Growth Partner at Grafikwerket
When it comes to App Store Optimization, one thing that helps app marketers most is to learn from the experience of an excellent agency with lots of success stories. Grafikwerket, an accomplished partner of MobileAction, is one of those remarkable companies that accumulated a great deal of know-how in ASO with tremendous experience.
To learn about the story behind their success and give you an expert view on the latest trends on App Store Optimization, we have interviewed David Prentell, Growth Partner at Grafikwerket. If you need a little inspiration or some tips and tricks to gear up your ASO efforts, keep on reading to see how Grafikwerket is exponentially increasing its partners’ visibility and downloads.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your company background?
Hi, I’m David Prentell, angel investor and growth partner at Grafikwerket, a venture design studio that creates brand identities, products and growth marketing for fast-growing companies like Google, GV, Airbnb and major cultural institutions like MoMA NY. I founded the studio with Viktor Persson (ex-Google) and Jacob Säwensten (ex-BBH).
Our goal is to help entrepreneurs and teams grow the markets for their apps faster and more efficiently. Previously I was a founder of Vamos, an event recommendation service, which we grew to more than 2M users over a couple of years before exiting. The Grafikwerket growth arm helps entrepreneurs and startups grow their app markets, some of which we also invest in.
Could you tell us about a time when you faced a huge challenge? And how did you overcome it?
In December last year, we were introduced by Nami Zarringhalam (the founder of Truecaller) to the indie dev behind StoryShots, an app that offers short book summaries of some of the most popular books out there. In October 2018, the founder released the app to the public. Although it received good praise, it had only a handful of downloads. So he came to us asking what he could do to increase awareness among users and subsequent downloads. What made it extra challenging is that he didn’t have any marketing budget. So we took on the challenge to prove to ourselves and everyone out there that ASO is the most cost-efficient way to acquire users for apps in the long term.
Working together with the founder over a series of growth hacking sessions, we dramatically increased the visibility in the App Store (Apple) and Play Store (Android). The result was a thriving install base of tens of thousands of users in just a couple of months. We helped the founder with keyword and title optimization to rank higher with relevant keyword searches, as well as app localization in 30 new markets. In 6 of the new markets, we achieved Top 100 rankings in the book category after just 2 months.
Today the StoryShots app receives hundreds of 5-star ratings and thousands of downloads every month because of our ASO strategy and implementation. The structured iteration process and the insights we extracted out of MobileAction were crucial in getting us there.
How do you use MobileAction to solve the problems of your clients?
The most common thing we hear from 99% of the app makers that approach us is that they have read a blog post, they tried ASO and therefore they have ticked the ASO box. We usually tell them that this isn’t something you implement once and then you’re done. It’s an iterative process of making an app more discoverable in more markets over time resulting in an increase in app downloads.
There are truly only a handful of apps out there that went all the way from a visibility score of F to A+ in all their potential markets. This would have required a systematic approach to optimize and optimize again until they achieved that level of visibility. We usually recommend, as a first step, that all stakeholders agree to a number of baseline KPIs. A+ is just a top-line indication on how optimized the app is, but it doesn’t tell you what it takes to get there, that is where MobileAction comes into play.
To understand what’s behind the A+ you need to go under the hood and filter out the data from the App Store search in the app store consoles. Here you can extract app icon impressions, store visitors, downloads, conversion rates between impressions/downloads, store visitors/downloads. MobileAction is a great complementary tool for doing keyword analysis and extracting ratings metrics. It is also key to understanding exactly which keywords drove the downloads in each market coming from the App Store search.
What are some of the best results you’ve achieved using MobileAction?
The first time I came across ASO was when we were developing Vamos back in 2015. We had done a design overhaul and localized our apps to 20 languages. In that process, we also happen to localize the Vamos app name to match each local market and language; so “Vamos – The Event Guide” became “Vamos – Guida di Eventi” in Italy, “Guía de Eventos” in Spain and so on. Suddenly the app which had a couple of hundred downloads on a weekly basis in Germany and Sweden where we were based, started seeing hundreds of downloads in Italy, then hundreds in Brazil, in Spain, Mexico and so on.
In the beginning, we couldn’t understand where all these users were coming from, but at some point, we understood that people were not just searching for app names on the App stores. Turns out they were also searching for items and categories. So suddenly users were pouring in from all over the world, and this happened primarily because we ranked high on the word “event” in all the corresponding languages of each market.
Some of the best results we’ve seen over the years using MobileAction were:
- Launching an app game that went from 0 to 150k downloads 6 months later in the Nordics.
- Increasing the app download rate of one of the world’s largest car maker configurator app by 400x implementing only 4 iterations.
- Helping one of Europe’s largest fintechs grow their app downloads by 1800% in just 9 months and helping them rank above the fold on more than a thousand keywords search results. They are now topping the finance app store charts on all their markets and are continuing to win more market shares by adopting the ASO processes we created for them inhouse.
What ASO tips can you give people who are struggling in getting more downloads?
Grafikwerket’s top ASO tips:
- Define a circular optimization process: allow for experimentation and after upload do regular KPI follow-ups to understand what worked and what didn’t. Rinse and repeat.
- Get your keyword analysis right from the start: Use MobileAction to understand what keywords to rank high on, where there is low competition and which keywords are your main traffic drivers.
- Localize for the world (if it makes sense for your model): There are almost 40 supported languages in both the App Store and Play Store – and not to mention four variations of English! That’s 3.000 title characters on the App Store, 5.000 on Android and 200.000 characters on the Android description combined. If you are not doing this, you are losing out on a whole bunch of keywords and downloads.
- Treat the search result on the App stores as your download page: A/B/C/D test app icons and screens on Android, deploy to iOS. Localize again!
- Find your happy moments: All good apps have them. This is the moment when to prompt your users for a review, but only if the user is finished with their in-app microtask.
- Make it fun: Infuse creativity in the process, do creative workshops and brainstorm. Seeing instant results on creativity can be very rewarding.
We would like to thank David for the great insights he shared with us. With the successful implementation of ASO strategies and effective use of MobileAction’s ASO Intelligence product, Grafikwerket has been able to ace the organic growth phase of its clients’ user acquisition journey.
About the Author
David Prentell is a serial entrepreneur and a co-founder of Grafikwerket. Previously, he founded Vamos, in which he successfully achieved to build an over 2M user base. He currently works as the Growth Partner and Angel Investor for Grafikwerket.