Acquisition & Engagement

New Ways Keywords Can Make Your Life Easier

Becky Doles

Welcome to the fourth Insider by MobileDevHQ, a monthly newsletter focused on app store optimization. The Insider will consist of a Deep Dive, where we take a closer look at an innovative app and the strategy behind it, and Trendsetters will hone in on a specific aspect of ASO. In our Deep Dive this month, we highlighted the social app Whisper. We will take a closer look at new ways to use keywords beyond just inputting them into the keyword field. In the Trendsetters section, we will discover ways to find how users search for your app. Enjoy!

How To Make Your Life Easier With Keywords

Keywords are more than a set of random terms. They can be used in a number of interesting ways, and can make your app marketing easier. This month’s Deep Dive will highlight an up and coming social app called Whisper (yup, believe it or not, people are still trying to break into the social space). Even in the crowded social arena, Whisper has managed to become successful. We’ll use them to point out new ways you can use keywords beyond just inputting them into the keyword field.

Whisper is an app where users can share their intimate thoughts or secrets in a ‘meme’ like format, giving them a platform to express themselves and meet new people. Its differentiator is that everything is posted anonymously, however, users can still communicate by direct messages and replies to posts. Against all odds, this app is rapidly gaining popularity and is approaching 3 billion monthly pageviews. Let’s take a closer look at what keywords they are using and how we can learn from them.

Find Your Niche to Find Success

In any established industry, there’s usually a big player (or players) that have an iron grip over the majority of the market. The social world is ruled by Facebook and Twitter, and at this point it’s highly unlikely that any new social networking platform will overtake them anytime soon. However, as we have seen through Snapchat and Instagram, companies can still be extremely successful by finding a specific niche to target.

Keywords are a great way to find a potential niche or validate a niche you are already thinking about targeting. Here are some of the top keywords Whisper and Whisper’s competitors rank for currently:

Scanning over these keywords, we can see that most of them are about sharing pictures or messages with social networks or friends. However, none of them (except Whisper) mention anything about being anonymous or sharing secrets, and only Tinder includes anything about meeting new people rather than tapping into existing networks.

A competitor’s keywords give you an idea of how they view themselves and how they are viewed by the market. At the ideation stage, this can be very useful for identifying possible niches for you to attack. It can also be useful to validate a niche you might already have decided to develop a product around. Whisper can be confident that there is no other major player targeting anonymity and secrets, which means if that theme catches on there will be room to grow.

Use Keywords to Reveal a Competitor’s Strategy

Browsing and studying competitors’ keywords can not only help you find or validate a niche, but it also can provide a window into their strategy. What do some of Whispers’ keywords tell us about their strategy?

College: They rank well for a number of keywords with the word college, including college, college app, apps for college. Hmm… I wonder what their target market is? It couldn’t be college age students, could it? It’s also interesting that none of the other social networks rank for any of those keywords. Although the college aged person might indeed be other app’s ideal target, they do not care enough to input ‘college’ into their keywords in an attempt to acquire the users who search for ‘college apps.’

Anonymous: Whisper also ranks highly for anonymous and annonymous (a common misspelling). This term gives us an idea for what their differentiator is. If you were doing competitive intelligence, this would be an important feature to note. There is only one brief reference to anonymity in their description, so without seeing it in their keywords, you might not know this is a key part of their app.

Meet and Dating App: These are two of the keywords for which they rank the highest, and which also give us insight into their value proposition. If someone described Whisper to me by it’s main functionality, which is to share secrets and thoughts anonymously, I would not peg it as a place to meet new people or find dates. However, this is clearly becoming one of their core added values, which is important to know if you are competing with them.

These are just a few examples of how keywords can provide information about an app’s strategy. If you have any examples you’ve run into along the way, we’d love for you to share them with us in the comments.

How Do Users Search For Your App?

Let’s take another look at a few of the top keywords Instagram ranks for: share photo, share pictures, photo share, share picture, share pic, and share pics. Those are all keywords that describe a function the app performs. These functional keywords are important to have and should definitely be included, however Whisper shows us the value of picking keywords that highlight indirect functions of the app.

Looking back at some of Whisper’s top keywords, they have: college app, college, dating app, secret, express, whisper, meet, and anonymous.

If we take a look at the relative search volumes of those keywords, we can see that Whisper’s keywords are actually searched for more often (and are just as easy or easier to rank for).

For every 3 times ‘share picture’ is searched, ‘college’ is searched 400 times and ‘secret’ is searched 70 times. Understanding what your app does, what value it provides, or what role it fills on a deeper level than just basic function can help provide keywords that users actually use to search in the app store.

This is important, especially if your product’s primary platform is a mobile application. You can’t afford to leave any downloads on the table, and making sure you optimize your organic channels through proper keyword choice and app store optimization (ASO) is integral to your survival.

Wrapping It Up

Keywords are more than just a string of letters you put into your keyword field. They can be great ways to gather insights on markets or competitors’ apps. Take full advantage of them because they can make your life a whole lot easier. We hope this post gave you a few new ideas on different ways keywords can be valuable. If you have any questions, comments, or other ideas for how to user keywords, feel free to reach out via Twitter or email at [email protected]. And if you just can’t wait and would like to start your keyword research now, sign up for a free account here to get started.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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