Today I spoke with Shani Rosenfelder over at AppsFlyer about Google’s announcements at GDC regarding new ranking algorithm factors. We discussed how the Google Play Store algorithm is now factoring the “stickiness” of gaming apps – specifically strong engagement, retention metrics and also a high star rating – to determine their rankings on top of the number of installs. This change rewards quality in gaming, and is a significant step forward for the industry.
Check out the full post here.
Engagement is becoming a more and more important factor in ASO, which means developers need to focus even more on the quality of their app, and how the obtain, and retain users. It’s not entirely clear whether the changes Google Play announced affect Search, Top Charts or both. Google didn’t explicitly mention Search when they announced these changes. So there can be the assumption that ratings/reviews metrics were included in Search, but the Top Charts were definitely more focused on overall download numbers – until now with the addition of engagement, retention and ratings/reviews factors.
Google Play’s announcement also spells trouble for rewarded advertising (aka incentivized advertising). When the motivation of an app install is driven by a reward to install a game, retention suffers as most do not continue using the app or uninstall it altogether. The bonus of running incentivized (aka burst campaigns) – up until now – was the ability to rapidly gain a volume of users, thereby jumping up the charts and ultimately driving organic installs. So volume continues to be a factor in the Google Play algorithm but it carries a smaller weight, allowing games developed by smaller studios who don’t have the budget for massive UA campaigns the chance to shine.
The bottom line is that app retention is now more important than ever. It’s crucial for developers to focus on building quality apps, and crafting ways to re-engage and retain their existing users.
Read the full AppsFlyer article for more insights and background!