Creating a popular mobile app requires a combination of ingenuity, hard work, smart marketing, and luck. Testing, of course, is one of the best ways to understand how users interact with the app—which features are most popular and which are frustrating. This helps make the app more popular, more functional, and more likely to get shared and noticed. But native app testing can be challenging. While testing platforms like Adobe Target, Optimizely, and Qubit are slowly introducing more useful mobile app testing options, these tools still rely on SDK implementation. As a result the process still involves heavy coding, app updates, and resubmission for approval. Recently, however, Google announced a new feature that may help app developers gain a better understanding of their users through quick and relatively simple testing.
Google Play Store testing allows developers to test icons, messages, and images on the storefront page for their apps. This is a huge opportunity to improve performance at the acquisition stage of the user funnel—in a more direct way than, say, paid search or website landing pages would be able accomplish.
As Kobi Glick, a product manager at Google, explains in the video above, early tests on storefront pages has revealed the icon is particularly influential. Beyond this, however, he suggests tests that highlight the value of the app in a clear, concise way; tests that compare the influence of specific features or benefits of the app; and tests that evaluate the type or order of screenshots included.
Of course the app icon is important because it represents the app across the store and on the device to which it’s installed. This testing could also be used, however, to determine whether users are more interested in an app that’s quick and easy to use, for example, or powerful and features-packed. It could be used to determine whether users respond to the app being the most popular solution or the app most favored by professionals and businesses.
Such tests can increase the number of app downloads but the results can also contribute to a deeper understanding of users—an understanding that can drive marketing and even development efforts in the future. The best part is that running these storefront tests is relatively easy.
If you have access to the Google Play Developer Console, simply log in and select the app you would like to test. Find the experiments page under the Store Listing navigation menu item. From that point, it’s simply a matter of following the helpful on-screen prompts.
The platform is fairly simple. This makes it easy to create, launch, and evaluate tests. At the same time, the capabilities are limited. The feature focuses on simple copy and image swaps and though rumors of price testing have circulated, this option is not yet universally available. In the mean time, you’ll have to be creative with your test strategy. But ultimately, this is the case with all testing—technical mastery of the tools can only enable testing while carefully crafted, expert strategy provides the real power to the process. With such strategy, even Google’s simple tool provides an opportunity to stop relying on gut instincts and assumptions and start making app marketing decisions based on data.