Four hidden factors that can hurt your app sales

Sales may be everything, but are they the only thing? If you’re only tracking downloads and sales of your mobile app, you’re missing out on important measures of how it’s performing.

These four important factors can tell you if more paying customers are on the way or if your marketing is falling flat. They can show you where to put your time and money, and which efforts aren’t working as planned.

As the App Store and Google Play continue to get more competitive and app marketers get more sophisticated, getting all the information you can will help you keep your edge.

Here are the four important numbers you might be overlooking - and what to do about it:

Keyword rankings: To find new apps, many people use the search box in the App Store. What they see is a long list of over 100 apps (and that’s just the first page). Where does yours show up? Customers will be much more likely to click on your app if it’s ranked #5 than #95 for that search keyword.

You can enter keywords when you submit your app to Apple, but many other people are competing with you for the same terms. Apple also gets keyword information from your app’s name (but not your description), so keep that in mind when writing the name that will appear to customers (hint: include important keywords you want to be found for).

Many keywords in the App Store are highly competitive. You have control over some of factors that affect where your app appears in search results, such as the keywords and app name you choose, so tracking your search ranks is more than just interesting - it’s essential for maximum visibility and sales.

App usage: Getting new users and tracking sales is important, but what do people do after they first try your app? According to a study done by Localytics, 26% of apps are only opened once.

Customers can be your best marketers - they can tell their friends about your great app, helping to spread the word for free. Give them something to talk about by creating an excellent app and continuing to update it with tweaks based on what you learn about how people use your app.

And seek to continually improve your app based on usage data. Are players getting stuck on Level 2 of your game? Is a key feature being found and used? Do people complete the in-app purchase you want them to? By tracking these results, you’ll see that a download is only step one.

Social media metrics: Every day on Facebook and Twitter, people are talking about mobile apps. But are they talking about yours?

Having a presence on social media is key to the success of many apps. But more than just having a Facebook page or Twitter profile, ask yourself how many people are actively using it to learn more about you.

By measuring your social media results over time, you’ll see how tweeting, posting, and sharing is paying off. You should keep an eye on your number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, retweets, as well as people posting about your app or linking to your website.

Build up an audience on these sites and you’re just one post away from driving more people to buy your app.

Website performance: Even if it’s just one page, your website is an important tool to promote your app. For many potential customers, it’s a stop before going to the App Store and deciding to buy your app (or not).

Your website does many jobs, including attracting new people, so take a moment to see how well it’s performing. How is your website ranking in Google’s search listings? Use Google Analytics to see how many people are finding your website and where they are coming from.

Once users are on your website, can they find the most important link - the link to your app in the App Store? It’s the only way they can actually buy your app, yet many websites seem to hide the button. See the number of people that click through to the App Store and adjust your website design to boost that number.

Now that you’ve seen the four metrics you might have overlooked, take steps today to figure out where you stand with each using the recommended techniques. Tracking your success with each one will ultimately help you boost the metric at the top of your list - sales.

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