ASOdesk spoke with Ekaterina Fedyunina, marketer of the news aggregator Anews. The importance of choosing a category in the field, competition, localisation.
Katia, hello! Tell me about yourself, how did you get into the mobile?
After university, I worked in a company that was engaged in Internet marketing. I was a PR manager but also involved in marketing, in social networks. Even then I read the publications of TechCrunch, Mashable and wanted to work in a start-up. The next place of work was already in the mobile – three and a half years ago I went to work in a start-up with two mobile messengers and was engaged in their promotion to the US market. At that time, everyone did messengers. After six months of work there, I realised that the project would not fire, and began to look for another startup, already more thoroughly. So, almost 3 years I work as a marketer in Anews.
Tell me more about Anews.
Anews is a news platform. We have a website and mobile apps for Android and iOS since the launch. After some time, we launched Windows Phone, adapted versions for tablets and even managed to develop a Tizen-application for Samsung users. Recently released an application for Samsung smartwatches. Our purposes – to be on all available devices and platforms.
What are the features of the promotion of the news project?
As for the mobile, all applications can be divided into an audience: for narrow and broad masses. Almost everyone reads the news, if not politics, then blogs or entertainment. The products for a broad target audience have more opportunities for promotion. For example, 2 years ago, all applications wanted to get into the overall top, regardless of the subject. Now it became apparent that not for all this works, but for us, it is more efficient than for narrow profile applications.
Tell me about the importance of choosing a category in a hundred. Have you experimented?
Yes, we thought about changing the category hypothetically. At Anews, the choice of category is more than obvious, in the App Store, WP and on Google Play – it’s news. In the Samsung store there is no category of “news”, Anews there is presented in the category Lifestyle. There are applications that change categories, evaluate traffic and sometimes “collect” users on different tops. When I promoted the messengers, I chose the category “social networks”, where, of course, it is more difficult to get to the top, but there is more traffic there. Very often I notice that in “news” there are applications that do not refer to the news in general, for example, games. Just because the category is less competitive and gets the first positions easier.
When choosing a category, you should choose the one that reflects the functionality of the application best. If there is no suitable category for 100% – you can experiment.
Who are your competitors? Newspapers magazines?
If you look at those with whom we compete on thematic queries on Google Play or the App Store, our competitors – all news resources, newspapers, magazines and even television channels. For example, NTV and First. Also news aggregators, mostly foreign ones. Not all are well adapted to the Russian language, many users read the news there in English.
If we talk not only about the category, all applications with each other compete for the user’s time. On the way to work, the user can read the news and can play into something.
For two and a half years of work, I met aggregators that appeared and disappeared. Very often Chinese applications try to conquer the Russian market. There was such an application: you open the first screen, and it says: “More than a billion people in Russia use this news app.” Most of these applications have disappeared because the news is a rather complicated product regarding support and development.
Tell me about localisation and access to new geo.
Anews is localised in 6 languages: Russian, English, Ukrainian, French, Swedish and Portuguese. We closely monitor Russia, America and Brazil. In these countries, there are editors who follow the content, the catalogue and help us with localisation, an adaptation of screenshots, keywords.
Localizing a news application is not easy. In addition to translating buttons and all functions of the application, you need to develop a directory with sources for each country, to understand what news is appropriate for the “Main” section.
Is it possible to have an application without a web version?
It seems to me, it is important to divide the web page, which including the mobile web, and a full web version. For a news product, it seems to me that it’s important to have a full-fledged web version. Because it’s great when you can read your subscriptions in the metro – from the tablet, at work – from the laptop screen. Save bookmarks and collect everything in one place. This is the specificity of the news project and our vision.
If we talk about any hypothetical application, then there must necessarily be a website-card with a mobile version. The boundaries between the web and the mobile are being scraped, and even Google is now trying to index applications and does it through web versions of sites. The search will develop in this direction. People will not just look for something on Google Play, but they will be able to search and find content that is already inside the application.
What tools do you use for mobile analytics and ASO?
For mobile analytics, we use Flurry, Google Analytics, and AppsFlyer. For ASO and analytics, we use AppAnnie, Appfollow, ASODesk and SensorTower.
In the first well to follow the tops and charts for different countries, AppFollow – an excellent tool for working with reviews and integration in the slack. SensorTower and ASODesk allow you to evaluate the popularity and complexity of selected search queries.
In general, the function for all four is slightly intersected. But each in its own way is useful for us.
What exactly is like about ASOdesk?
Initially, we used the Sensor Tower and optimised all the words with their help. Then for a while, we did not work with ASO, thinking that once everything was well tuned and that’s enough. When we resumed work with ASO after a while, we updated the keywords with each update or even more often on Android. It became clear that the Sensor Tower is often mistaken.
It’s still not clear how much ASOdesk is mistaken, but the main functions that the Sensor Tower gives are with ASOdesk. This is tracking positions, assessing the popularity and competitiveness of search queries. SensorTower has interesting tools for tracking competitors’ requests, but I think that ASODesk will not stand still either.
How do you learn ASO? Where do you read about the latest trends of ASO?
First, I read the groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, the blogs of experts and companies that I listed. The second is networking, colleagues who deal with ASO often share their experiences. The third is to try because sometimes you can read a cool case and understand that it does not work for you.
What are the plans for the Anews team?
So far we are concentrating on the markets that we have chosen. There is an extensive list of tasks that you want to implement. One of our immediate tasks is to refine our content analysis engine so that we can reach another dozen countries, while completely abandoning the editorial offices in these countries. Each user will have his own news feed, depending on his interests. We are already very close to this.
Katia, thank you very much for the interview and good luck in reaching the plans!