App Radar is a leading all-in-one ASO tool to help you unleash the full potential of your mobile apps and games. In this interview, co-founder and CEO Thomas Kriebernegg overviews the basics of app store optimization and provides an insightful perspective on the impact of privacy on mobile and digital marketing.
What sparked the idea for App Radar, and how has it evolved since?
The idea for App Radar came through my personal background. I was studying Information Management back when the internet was starting to become more dominant in our lives. Everybody was talking about it. During my studies, I already figured out that online marketing is a theme which I felt a lot of interest for. I started working in the field of online marketing throughout different business categories, with the goal of reaching customers online. I specialized in search engine optimization, helping websites and businesses all around the world to attract users and be found on search engines, namely Google.
When mobile apps and app stores came along, I immediately recognized the opportunity. I had a feeling that visibility was going to become an issue in the future, because there will be more and more apps competing for app store visibility. I identified this as a market need and began to offer consulting for customers who wanted to optimize their apps and gain better app store visibility.
I was working with some really big mobile apps and mobile games. At some point, I concluded that I needed to scale myself because there were more and more people asking for my services and I was only a freelancer. This was the starting point for App Radar. I teamed up with Christian, my co-founder, and six years ago, we founded App Radar together.
Fast forward, we grew to a team of 40 people, and became quite known globally in the field of app store optimization. We now have more than 1,000 customers.
What are some of the challenges that App Radar solves for its clients?
It depends on the stage of the customer. We’re working with startups as well as large corporate enterprises, as well as some of the biggest gaming companies on this planet, so it depends who you ask.
That said, the main topic they all have in common is the need for app store visibility, and the ability to find and convince users to download their app or mobile game. They want to know where and how they can reach out to their audience in the best possible way. Many of them have a hard time solving those questions by themselves because it’s such an expert discipline. App Radar guides them through this journey and gives them all the tools they need to optimize their app store marketing and to understand the process.
What are your main tips for app store optimization?
Let me tell you a story about a typical question that we often get from prospective clients. They developed this new app, a dating app, for instance. They put it in the App Store, but they have not ranked for the keyword “dating” and they want to change that. We see this very often over here.
People just think that if they put a keyword into their title and upload their app into the app store then all of sudden they will rank magically for this keyword and get a lot of users for free. This might have been true 8 or 10 years ago but it’s not the case anymore. Nowadays it’s about identifying keywords that are somehow suiting or fitting your stage of the app. In other words, if you want to rank for very competitive keywords like dating, keep in mind Tinder and other really big apps that already rank greatly for these keywords because they’re getting millions of downloads.
When you start, it is really important to identify more niche keywords or long-tail keywords so that you’re not paying for the most competitive ones. So, in terms of keyword optimization, my tip is to try to dominate those niches first before competing for the bigger, more inclusive, and super competitive markets.
In this video, Thomas discusses 5 common ASO mistakes, and how to avoid them:
A huge variety of similar videos is available on App Radar’s YouTube channel.
How is App Radar different from Google Analytics and other competitors on the market?
App Radar is fully focused on optimizing the marketing of apps and their visibility within the app stores. This is the core of everything that we do. That gives us a really good focus because we’re truly experts in this particular area and it’s part of App Radar’s DNA.
What differentiates us from other tools out there is our approach and focus on the app marketer’s workflow and performance. We run a SaaS product where people can sign up for free and try it out, and some paid features for more advanced use cases.
A lot of tools out there give you numbers. They tell you how many visitors you got from the United States, but that’s basically it. What should you do now with this information? This is where App Radar steps in.
We take our users by the hand and give them information and hints every step of the way. We might tell a user which markets they should focus on. For example, App Radar could help you identify that Germany might be a really good market for your app, but you haven’t localized your app description into the German language. One of the things that you can do directly within App Radar is to localize your app store listing. You also get keyword recommendations and you can research keywords to really build up your optimized store listing and then push your new listing directly to the app stores. This process can be done entirely within App Radar, and this makes us very unique.
How does your platform interact with third-party software applications?
App Radar integrates with App Store Connect and the Google Play Console, which are the two main platforms where you can upload your iOS and Android apps to the app stores. Within App Radar, you can analyze the data that you’re getting from those platforms.
We believe that is the correct way to do it now because at the end of the day, you are getting your money from the app stores so it’s their database that truly matters. This data is integrated into our system, giving you further knowledge about how to improve your metrics. On the reporting side, we also integrate with Slack. You can set up a Slack bot for team notifications whenever there are any significant changes in ranking.
How does your platform interact with user data?
App Radar does not collect end-user data. Our customers, the developers and owners of the apps, may do that if they need to deliver a parcel to your address or for other use cases, but that’s not part of our business.
As I mentioned, we are showing data that comes from the app stores. For example, we might tell you that you generated 100 downloads in the United States yesterday, but we won’t tell you who those 100 people are. We don’t have this information and honestly, I don’t want to go down that road because there are shady businesses out there that try to capture this data and there’s also a lot of regulation in the US and elsewhere now regarding user privacy.
How do you expect the recent developments around privacy to affect your industry?
I think privacy has a massive impact on our industry. Luckily, we are not affected by it because we were never dependent on private end-user data. Nevertheless, a big portion of the industry was wiped out with the changes in privacy regulations. I think Apple and Google are working to prevent end-user data from being exposed, and I think that’s a good thing to do. Facebook, as well as other large ad networks, have really big issues now with the policies that App Radar is helping its users to enforce.
The entire market is moving away from tracking end-user behavior. Philosophically, we are moving away from this granularity of information where we know people’s spending habits and trends, to a model that is more similar to remarketing as it was before AI. It is much more focused on the creative side of marketing campaigns and their general impact. In other words, it’s more about how good your marketing is, as opposed to how good your tracking is.
From a user perspective, both have their pros and cons. Personally speaking, I like getting personalized ads rather than random ones. On the other hand, I don’t like that Facebook particularly knows everything about what I do on the internet. So it’s all about finding the balance.
Which trends and technologies do you find to be particularly intriguing these days?
It was only in the last 10 years that mobile apps became a thing, so it’s a super fresh industry. At the same time, it is one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet. The big benefit of apps is that you can distribute them all around the globe at the click of a button. That’s a thought that I’m personally fascinated by because there aren’t many other products that we can somehow distribute to billions of people with one click, so to speak.
When we look at the growth numbers and trends, even though the mobile industry is going through the roof, it still feels like it’s only the beginning. There are still crazy growth rates projected, no matter if it’s for mobile gaming or for mobile apps. This market is still in its early days and it’s becoming bigger and bigger by the day. Obviously, that is great for us. I would say we are riding this wave.
What are your future plans for App Radar?
App Radar is known all around the globe for its app store optimization capabilities for organic traffic, and we do a very good job at it. That said, we realize we also need to address paid traffic. This is where I see us moving forward as a company: providing even more features and a broader ecosystem to our customers to help them grow their apps.