The importance of the app store description

Hi everybody!

This is the first article for the new “Indie Dev Insights” blog section we decided to start to give some insights to indie developers out there, to help you solve issues we already faced or to have a “in production” point of view on some topics.

In this first post we just want to give you some insights you might find useful if you decide to approach the mobile market, in particular we’ll talk about ASO (App Store Optimization, more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_store_optimization ).
Our thoughts could sound trivial to somebody with more marketing experience than us, but you surely know that for a developer this is quite a new territory and some knowledge in this field can really make the difference.

When we first released Dealer’s Life one month ago, we put a lot of effort to write an exhaustive description of the game that explained as clearly as possible all major features and mechanics, having in mind just the reader (which is of course a potential player) and focusing on concepts rather than on words.

That’s a big mistake.
We later found out that choosing the right words makes the real difference between being visible or not. You should not consider the description of your game just as an explanatory text (which is, of course, what “description” means, isn’t it?), but instead as a group of keywords that the Play Store utilizes to place you in the right spot, especially if we talk about textual researches made by users (the so called “organic searches“).

For your game to be discovered by people looking for that kind of content, you’ll have to use specific keywords in your description (and in your title, if you manage to do so).
Run a brainstorming session, try to imagine what words a potential player would use, find valid synonyms and separate them in terms of their difficulty score by answering simple questions like “How common is this word?” or “How many Apps is this search returning right now?”. Remember that synonyms are very important as it’s almost always better to be higher on an easier search (the so called “long tail“).
After you have your ideas then look at your competitors, analyze their game descriptions, find other inspirations and broaden your point of view.

Now that you have a list of keywords, look for the specific app store guidelines.
We currently are only on Google Play Store so we looked for every information about it; let’s recap what we found out:

  • The “short description” (which is less than 80 characters) is of course very important.
  • The first 160 characters from the description are the most important.
  • A specific keyword should not be repeated more than 5 times otherwise it is not taken into account.

With all this information you can now begin to rewrite your app description!
Of course be honest and don’t overuse keywords (remember that players, not just search engine algorithms, are reading this too) and you’ll see that every “search” you’ve refined this way will return an higher ranking.

There are also some tools out there that could help you decide which specific keyword fits best for your game and monitor your game’s ranking in keywords searches.
Most of those tools are quite expensive but there are some free alternatives that can help you out. We used the basic free tier of App Annie: we are not, in any way, affiliated with them, but it was very useful during this process and we’d like to suggest it.

And if you do this job right and if your game stands out from similar apps, you’ll surely see some results!
Here you can see a graph that displays daily downloads for Dealer’s Life Lite, with the blue arrow pointing to the day when we introduced some ASO concepts in the game’s description.

And that’s all for our first “Indie Dev Insights” article!
If you have any question or feedback, be sure to tell us in the comment section and if you like it, feel free to share it!

Dealer’s Life goes live!

Hi everybody!
Here we are, we just finished setting up everything for our very first public release!

Yes, you read it right: we released our game and now everyone can play it, get it now on Google Play Store!

Get it on Google Play

Everything is fine, the game is stable and funny, all pieces are in place. There’s naturally some other big work to do in order to introduce some new mechanics and redesign a couple of things here and there, but we will do such things following this release.
I cannot spoil what will come next, but I sure can explain what is going to come with this update, so take a chair and read carefully since changes here are huge and will improve the playing experience a lot!

First of all let us say that we are going to be live with two different versions of the game:

  • a free version with video ads, that will contain all contents and mechanics of the full game but will only be playable if you have an active internet connection.
  • a (soon availablepaid version without video ads and even playable without an active internet connection!

Neither of these versions will contain in-app purchases or require any special permission to be played, but both will grant you gifts and small advantages through video ad rewards.

Let’s speak about counterfeits now. Great changes have been made here in order to grant fake items their real super funny importance. We have enhanced a lot what you can do with them (and we will add some more in the near future): if you now recognize a fake while you’re buying it you’ll be able to pretend a huge discount from it!
Playing with fake items has become a real fun, since it’s always risky to buy one but it could bring to huge gains if you manage to recognize it in time and sell it to the right customer!

Oh wait...
Oh wait…

Speaking about fun, a new funny and very useful animation has been added in order to let you know when you go too far with your offer. You just cannot guess random numbers to make your counteroffers, you know… your customers are not that dumb, they all have their own idea of how much they’d like to pay or gain, and how much they’re disposed to shift from that initial idea. If you exaggerate they’ll make you know and they’ll get angry, relaunching with a counteroffer that will easily be the same of their last one. Your fault, dear sir, you lost a chance to get a better price!

What?!?
What?!?

Then we added a couple of new features that actually increase a lot your choices and possibilities during the gameplay:

  • you can now trash any item you have in your inventory! How could it be useful, you say? Well it is if you’re going to buy your new best deal ever, but have your inventory full of crappy stuff… Naturally you’ll lose the trashed item forever, but sometimes it could be worth!
  • you can now interrupt any task your employees are on, anytime. Suppose you have a Restorer that is fixing a common item in good condition (so useless…) and you suddenly put your hands on an epic piece in terrible conditions! Instead of waiting the Restorer to finish his job before being able to assign him the epic piece, you can stop his task on the go and give him a new task (or fire him to get a better Restorer, if that’s the case…)!

That’s not all! We also added some visual improvements, especially regarding customers psychological traits and employee profiles. We’re not done yet with neither of them, but these first improvements already change a lot the visual impression and ease the understanding of all the information you need to know.

scanpng_01
An impatient spendthrift customer, keep him negotiating and he will give you a lot of money!

Last but not least, we fixed a huge amount of bugs and mechanics, we introduced a totally new way to manage the savegame in almost every moment of the gameplay and we dramatically changed the way we actually save the game, granting more flexibility for the future. No more trashing your game to restart again after a new patch! Yay!

I think that’s all for now, guys. We really hope all these changes will please you and make your gaming experience even better than before!
If you want to give us feedback or suggestions, you can do it on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ Community !

Stay tuned and have fun with Dealer’s Life!

Get it on Google Play

 

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Dealer’s Life Beta access giveaway

dump-negozio-business

Hi everybody!
Great news from Dealer’s Life! Just in these days we reached our Beta version: the game is now even more stable, complete and funny!

To celebrate this great event and follow the Christmas spirit, we decided to give exclusive access to closed Beta to everyone that will submit this form.
Hurry up, this promotion won’t last long!

At the end of this event you will receive an e-mail with a Google Play link which will allow you to download and play Dealer’s Life on your mobile phone or tablet.

Join us and prepare for hours of fun!

See you soon!
The Abyte Team