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DISCOVERABILITY ways to help people find you 1


Take responsibility Apple may have ‘saved’ the music business, but it won’t do the same for magazines. It’s best to see Apple, Google and Amazon as multi-product retailers who will promote the products that make them the most money. At the moment, games, music, box sets, movies and books are all ahead of digital magazine apps. It is the publisher’s job to do all the marketing, so regard the appstore’s cut as a fee that a retailer would charge to have you on their shelves.


Early to market A common mistake is to assume that the initial burst of interest generated by the launch of your app will give you the momentum to begin a long and profitable journey on an upward curve. The reality is that most apps take a sharp dive after a period of initial interest. Many successful digital and print magazines start creating social media communities months before they launch. If your app is in an appstore there is plenty of useful work to be done, such as testing out keywords using Appstore Optimisation (ASO) tools. And you don’t need to have launched your own app as you can use the data from your close competitors and learn from their mistakes.


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Everyone who creates a website or launches an app secretly believes the old Field of Dreams quote: “If you build it they will come.” Just in case that strategy doesn’t work, MagVault’s Neil Morgan reveals here how you can dramatically increase your chances of geting discovered by the 64 per cent of magazine print subscribers with tablets and almost two billion smartphone users.


Do the SEO basics As an app, rather than a website, you may think you do not need search engine optimisation (SEO). At least 20 per cent of current digital subscribers discovered apps via a search engine and unless you promote your digital magazine via a website, blog, video or social media campaign your appstore link will not rank highly in search engines. SEO has moved on from the days when it was all about keywords, links and meta tags. Google will reward you for contributing original content and helping answer questions. They will give you extra points for using their products such as YouTube and Google+. If you don’t have an in-house SEO specialist then you may want to consult one to make sure you have carried out the obvious tasks.


Appstore Optimistion (ASO) ASO is far less sophisticated than SEO – even in Google’s own appstore, Google Play. With Apple it’s all about using 100 characters to identify the most effective keywords used by tablet and smartphone users to find apps like yours. Businesses such as MobileDevHQ have created sophisticated tools to help apps, particularly in the gaming world, to constantly optimise their keywords.


Avoid high-traffic keywords used by popular apps as you won’t rank highly and check the terms that readers use in their communication with you and online to make sure your keywords match their language. Many magazines spend little time on their


main iTunes description as they know it is not used in the Apple appstore search (although in Google Play it is). You may think that apps that use long titles look clumsy, as in ‘Best Movie Mag: Reviews and trailers of the best new releases in action, drama and comedy’. In reality they have worked out that Apple allows you 155 extra characters to explain your product in the title and these keywords rank higher than your 100 characters. It may look ugly but you will get discovered more easily. Appstores also allow you to choose the category within which your app appears. ‘Newsstand’ is already a category in Apple’s appstore, but you get to choose a subcategory to help users find you. App Publisher magazine chose ‘Computers and Internet’ over ‘Business and Investing’ as there were far fewer magazines in that category and less ‘junk’. This approach has helped them stay in Apple’s category top 20 since launch, despite being a digital-only title with a tiny marketing budget.





» Magazine World | Issue 86_2014 31


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