Medical Apps for Smartphones & Devices – Save Lives with Gadgets

The new cutting edge of the mobile app development industry may surprise many an entrepreneur: Healthcare and Medicine. But the truth is that these medicines and tech have long walked hand in hand.

The difference today is we’re used to viewing apps as something with which you use to order coffee, or get directions, or reserve a table at restaurants, or….. The point here is that while people may not often think of Smartphones as a medical device, in reality, apps can turn your phone into a device for nearly any industry.

What’s more is that the Medical tech business is growing exponentially. As a Medical app development company, we’ve recently seen an uptick in innovative apps (and ideas for apps – contact us if you have one!) for medical devices.

The calls we’ve been receiving recently range from VR app ideas for surgeons to building proof of concepts for healthcare apps. A proof of concept is a great way for any entrepreneurs to attract outside investment – i.e. Angel Investors and Venture Capitalist firms. (read more on Proof of Concepts here).

But today, we’re going to focus on how lives can be saved (and are being saved) with high-quality medical apps for smart devices.

Epilepsy & Seizures

One really cool area of this fascinating industry is how so many entrepreneurs are using gadgets like the Apple Watch. In this case, medical app development companies like SDI have learned to leverage a device’s accelerometer.

Why, one may ask? Well, an accelerometer detects motion. This makes it pretty effective in detecting odd motions – as in a seizure. An app can be built for a Smart Device (i.e. the Pebble or the Apple Watch) that detects the frequency at which seizures occur. There are some issues, but this is a pretty big deal all the same. In the future apps that detect Grand Mal (aka Tonic-Clonic) seizures stand to save hundreds to thousands of Epileptics around the world.

Once the device picks up the occurrence of a Tonic-Clonic seizure, an app is needed to come over and do the important stuff – including notifying emergency services of the seizure – plus the victim’s exact location. A medical app for iPhone and Android can also provide instructions for people nearby the victim.

This can happen by coding in a forced messaging system. Once the medical gadget detects a seizure, we can code the app to automatically turn on the screen of your Mobile phone (or SmartWatch), displaying information on the victim as well as a guide on what can be done to help.

Another way innovators are using apps and smart medical devices to help epileptics is by detecting electrical currents – through sweat. Yea, Sweat. Weird, right? This wristband is as accurate as the device hospitals use to detect and monitor seizures. In fact, there is some hope that it can actually end up predicting seizures.

SDI don’t itself build these medical smart devices – but we build the apps that can integrate with these devices. But there’s more to it than that. Modern technologies allow us to turn almost any mobile platform or gadget into a medical device. Our skilled developers frequently write app code intended to turn a phone into a medical device – email us at team@sdi.la to learn more.

Medical Apps for Doctors

Medical Apps aren’t just for patients though. Sure, having a HIPAA-compliant app is great for many patient-facing issues. These can range from the aforementioned apps to detect seizures to apps that provide care information (i.e. which drugs, how many, what to do in a medical emergency, etc).

But Doctors can benefit as much from medical apps for a mobile device. Apps like Epocrates provide doctors with a guide on drug prescriptions and healthcare coverage (a great feature for both Doctors and Patients!). Other apps, like Skyscape, have a series of great features to help doctors make medical conclusions:

♦ Drug information: Including uses, dosages, side effects, and even recent clinical trials.

♦ Medical Calculator – this is a great tool that helps doctors and nurse calculate commonly used medical formulas.

♦ Clinical Trials – This feature provides health practitioners with access to information on all sorts of clinical trials (not just for drugs)

♦ Continuing with this as a resource app, Skyscape also summarizes articles from the top Medical Journals in the US.

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking “yea but I don’t know anything about HealthCare, how can I build an app that helps?” Well, Doctors and nurses don’t just need information or research resources. Often, the need is more practical and administrative. Apps like Doximity let healthcare practitioners create a HIPAA-compliant app to communicate with other doctors.

Doximity and others allow doctors to easily and confidentially relay patient information to other doctors (i.e. specialists). It also opens up the door for doctors to safely and securely communicate with one another over email and text. In other words, you don’t have to develop an app that measures sweat to succeed in this industry!

The Bay Area’s Medical App Development Company

SDI builds HIPAA-compliant apps for healthcare. We believe in the power of medical apps to save lives and change the world – and we want to help you build your own medical app for any smartphone or smart device.

Check out some of our work we’ve already done and then get in touch to start building your own app today. You can also reach us by phone at 408.621.8481 or 408.802.2885.

How to Build a Virtual Reality App for Cardboard

There are so many virtual reality projects out there that it’s getting pretty confusing. This is a pretty standard thing we’ve seen with the tech world: there’s a flurry of action as multiple companies try to figure out who will become THE VR/AR company.

So the current big players in the VR Game are Microsoft (HoloLens), Facebook (with Oculus Rift), and Samsung (Gear VR). Amazon recently began building a VR team for an unnamed project, and Tim Cook seems to have some sort of super secret VR division hiding in the wings.

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t mentioned the big one yet: Google. Google probably has the most currently invested in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. They currently have two VR (known) projects in the works – Cardboard and the newly announced Daydream.

But since we are an app development company – and I am an app developer – we’re going to talk primarily about Cardboard today. Don’t get me wrong – Daydream seems very promising and just fantastically cool.

But we’re going to stick with reality (of Virtual Reality?) today – what can you, as an appreneur do right now to get involved in the VR app game? And that answer is Cardboard. If you want to read more about how developers will go about creating a virtual reality ecosystem for Google’s Daydream, click here to read Raj’s excellent analysis.

Just as a quick note – I’m not saying you can’t develop VR apps for Daydream, because you absolutely can. And there’s something to be said for early adoption, but Cardboard has a more established development process. I want to talk about the nuts and bolts of VR app development and design and Daydream hasn’t been around long enough to be meet this desire.

We’ve also talked about the the downloads and success of Google’s Cardboard – suffice to say Cardboard is successful (25+ million downloads, millions of VR apps for Cardboard; hundreds of hours watched etc). So what will we be talking about today? The actual technology and design process our team follows to make winning cardboard apps.

Planning & Conceptualization

As with any web, app, or custom software development project my team undertakes, the first stage is planning. We sit with our client to tease out what they want: what service or product are do they want to provide? How do they want to provide it? What are their end goals?

With a VR app for Cardboard, we know right off the bat that design will be even more critical than usual. First, virtual and augmented realities rely heavily upon visual elements. But more than that, there are a whole new set of challenges that developers have never faced before:

1. Head tracking: While this isn’t too different than how we use accelerometers with apps today, it’s different enough. With a VR app, head tracking is the result of users looking at different visual elements in the VR app. So, as designers we have to create an app that renders perfectly. Users won’t download an app that lags or blurs every time they turn their head.

2. Simulator sickness (aka Sim Sickness) is not something you’d normally associate with Android app development, but it’s long been a consideration for companies that make flight simulator programs for the Air Force. The issue here is a disconnect between what your body is feeling and what your body is seeing.

For instance, let’s say you want to make an Android VR app for Cardboard that simulates base jumping. You’re eyes will tell you that you’re flying through the air at speeds exceeding 100 MPH, but your body will tell you that you’re sitting in a chair. This disconnect generally results in users revisiting their lunch in unpleasant ways.

Eventually your body and mind will adapt to Sim Sickness. Research seems to indicate that prolonged exposure will at first make Sim Sickness worse, but months of prolonged exposure will allow your mind to adapt – again, eventually.

But my team doesn’t work in eventualities. We need to deliver successful products that get our clients users immediately, not eventually.So, one of our ongoing challenges has been to create a design that still provides the VR illusion but minimizes the mind-body sickness. The things we do to limit Sim Sickness include:

a. The more time a user spends in a single VR session, the more likely they are to get sick, so the ability to dip in and out of a VR ecosystem at will (without losing one’s place) is necessary.

b. While “Binocular Disparity” is one of the best visual cues have for creating a VR ecosystem, it’s also unsettling. Really, really unsettling. Our research and experience with Cardboard Apps (as well as that of the developers of VR apps for Oculus Rift) shows that reducing the disparity (not removing it entirely!) makes vomiting less likely while still maintaining the visual effect.

c. Acceleration is another big thing VR app developers need to consider. Trust me when I say that watching yourself accelerate without the physical sensation of gravity is disturbing. So, our VR app developers try to limit the frequency and speed of acceleration and of movement in general.

3. One other big thing I’ve emphasized with my VR app development team is that this is a new tech platform. We don’t have established systems so users have no expectation of how a VR UX/UI will look or feel. There’s no set visual clues or elements that guide a user through the app. So we have to create one, based off our prior experience – and iterative testing.

Build Your Own VR App for Google’s Cardboard with SDI

Building a VR app may seem like an intimidating process to many entrepreneurs, but you must consider that this is where the market is heading. There are literally hundreds of billions of dollars at stake here.

But the good news is that Google is really setting up excellent support for VR app developers. Their VR Apps SDK for the Plugin Unity is highly effective at eliminating common VR dev issues (like distortion correction or controls for faking head motions).

Unity is set or precoded features (like one sees with CMS and eCommerce platforms like Magento and WooCommerce) which streamline development and instantly leap over common hurdles. Unity is especially useful because it was made by Google for Google. In other words, it’s designed to work perfectly with Google’s base VR platforms.

Unity allows SDI to create VR Android apps for Daydream and Cardboard (making dual-platform apps all that much easier!). But more importantly, Unity lets developers create Cardboard VR apps for iPhone. This makes it an awesome tool for entrepreneurs who want to bring a more robust VR presence to iOS.

If you would like to learn more about how my development team can leverage the Unity plugin and Googles VR SDK, contact me today. You can also reach SDI by phone at 408.621.8481 or 408.802.2881. Get in touch soon for a free consultation and quote. Our prices start at $2000 an app!

Twilio Stock Rockets Past IPO Expectations

As an app and custom software development company, we’ve worked with the Twilio API in countless projects. We’ve long respected the tech they’ve built, the services they offer, and the support they provide to us and our clients.

Which is why we have eagerly anticipated the Twilio IPO date – today. Before last week, Twilio expect their stock to open at a fair price of $12 to $14. Just a few days ago, they updated that to $15; but today when the IPO hit the market, it opened at 60% above that – about $24 a share.

At the time this post was written (just a few hours after the opening bell was rung) the stock is up another 5% or $24.71 a share[*edit* Stock was up 70% above expectations by noon]. That officially puts Twilio on the list of so-called “Unicorns.” These are startups with a valuation of over $1 billion (Twilio is now worth $1.2 billion). Twilio raked in about $150 million on the IPO alone!

Some of the entrepreneurs and SMB owners who read this blog may know of the Twilio API. But for the average joe, Twilio isn’t probably all that well known. It’s not in the public eye like Facebook or Oculus, or even like WhatsApp.

So why don’t we talk about what Twilio does and why nearly 1 million developers have an account with this Tech startup based in Mountain View (just a few miles from SDI’s Silicon Valley office!).

If you’re ready to move on, why not contact our development team to talk about how we can use the Twilio API to grow your app or software business? We know how to get the most out of Twilio, as well as other APIs & SDKs. Build your own WhatsApp-style SMS app in 30 days or less.

Communications and PaaS

Twilio is a Business-oriented Platform-as-a-service, or PaaS. More specifically, is a cloud-based Communications PaaS. To translate: Twilio is basically a platform which businesses use to communicate with their customers.

This is more than just a text/SMS message; Twilio enables businesses to have web-based phone calls and video calls. It’s not Whatsapp; it’s quite literally the tech upon which Whatsapp is built.

This fact is why Twilio is well known to the average gal and guy. You won’t find the Twilio app on your phone, because it doesn’t exist. But, as mentioned above, WhatsApp is a client of Twilio (accounting for about 17% of all Twilio’s revenue, in fact).

And the big name clients don’t stop there for this San Francisco-based Tech Startup:

♦ Uber;

♦ ZenDesk;

♦ Affirm;

♦ Polaris;

♦ Nordstroms;

♦ Coca-cola;

♦ Walmart;

♦ Alaska Airlines; and

♦ Home Depot.

And those are just some of the big accounts. Twilio supports hundreds of applications and software – many of those apps and programs built by SDI! The mixture of old-school companies like Home Depot and Nordstroms with tech companies like Whatsapp and Uber is what should really stand out here. Plus, the countless SMBs and Startups they support!

This indicates that businesses across all industries, old vs new, big vs small, see exceptional value in a service like Twilio. The fact that Twilio’s customers are primarily Developers is another good indication of a healthy company. Consumer-oriented businesses are drive-by communication and Twilio not only provides this service but they do a damned good job of it.

Twilio’s recent acquisition of Authy (February 2015), an end to end encryption service, will only serve to make Twilio even more useful. We are moving towards a society more concerned about protecting sensitive information transmitted over the internet (i.e. Digital encryption).

Obviously, this concern necessitates a rise in secure communication services – as Twilio has recognized. Their purchase of Authy will open up new industries for the PaaS company, from the Medical industry to B2B services.

Hopefully, we’re all a little clearer about what Twilio does and why it’s so important to developers and SMB owners. But that’s not the real story here. This is also the first IPO of a Cloud-based company and, more importantly, this is the first IPO of a Venture Capitalist-backed Unicorn.

What does that mean? This is the first real test to see if these rare billion-dollar startups are truly worth the money poured into them. So who is the lucky VC firm that decided to offer seed and later series funding to this startup? Bessemer Venture Partners.

The Real Winners …..?

For all intents and purposes, the Twilio IPO is a major test case for Tech Startup Investors. Bessemer has made a big risk with this company. Through Series B and Series C rounds, Bessemer has invested roughly $70 million in this company.

This gives Bessemer the domineering share of Twilio stocks at 28% – even engulfing Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson’s stock share of 11%. And up to this point, there has been some concern that, despite Twilio’s apparent popularity, this would turn out to be a costly mistake for Bessemer.

Why? When you look at some of the numbers, Twilio seems to be doing quite well. After all, they increased their revenue by a staggering 88% in 2015, to a lump sum of $166 million. As mentioned earlier, this IPO alone made them another $150 million.

But Twilio is currently not producing revenue. In fact, they are losing money; less and less every quarter but they still lost $35 million last year. Without the Venture and Angel investment support for Bessemer and others, Twilio would probably have folded before it launched.

In other words, this is a closely watched event. It will tell us market analysts if these ‘unicorn’ companies will make us as much money as we’ve been hoping. The good news is that so far the Twilio IPO has far surpassed expectations and is likely to validate the hopes and wishes of many an investor.

About Raj Srivastav and SDI

I built this company from the ground up nearly 20 years ago – and haven’t had a full night’s sleep since! SDI specializes in tech development, but we’re not here just to be a tech monkey. We’re here to be your partner; when our clients grow, we grow.

I have spent many years developing one of the most robust VC and Angel Investment networks in the Bay Area. I have trained my team on how to make an Investment pitch unlike any other. And I have trained my team to make fully functional demos to truly wow potential investors.

Want to learn more about how you can get some of that venture series round funding? Contact me or call at 408.802.2885 for a free consultation.

How to Choose Reliable Dedicated Developers for Your Startup

Let’s consider a common situation that many Startups, SMBs, and Entrepreneurs face: You have a little technical work that needs to be done. Maybe you need some work done on your Magento-based eCommerce website, or you need a dedicated iPhone developer to update your app’s SDKs.

So you sit down to do some research – and quickly become overwhelmed. Offshore? Onshore? Freelance? Project-based development company? Dedicated Developers in India? Russia? Anywhere??? Dedicated PHP Developers?? .NET developers?

There are a lot of options out there for tech entrepreneurs. Sometime’s it can be hard to make a decision. I’m not here to tell you what that decision should be; but as a development company that offers the services of dedicated developers, we would like to offer some evidence as to why we are the option you want.

Let’s start by contrasting onshore developers versus offshore, then segue into freelance versus a corporate developer, and finish it all out with some additional reasons why you should hire SDI for dedicated development services.

Onshore Vs Offshore Development

Dedicated Onshore Development

○ Onshore development has distinct advantages:

♦ Less chance of language barrier issues;

♦ For development purposes, it helps to be on the same timezone. Having a significant time discrepancies can have serious issues:

♦ Wasted work (i.e. developer acts without guidance, does 12 hours worth of incorrect work – while you’re asleep);

♦ Real-time monitoring is useful to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth;

♦ The developer runs into serious roadblocks while you’re incommunicado can result in a whole day’s worth of wasted work.

○ But this isn’t to say that there aren’t downsides to consider:

The expense is often prohibitive for SMBs and entrepreneurs;

A lot of US-based developers don’t face the same competition as offshore developers. This means that local developers don’t have as much of an incentive to give you fair business costs nor much of one to do an excellent job. This is often even more true with freelance developers!

Dedicated Offshore Development

Offshore dedicated development often gets a bad name. Issues with communication (both because of language and time zones) are extremely common. Issues with the quality of work is another concern, and many entrepreneurs are leary of the expertise that many offshore developers claim.

But there are ways around these problems. The truth is that most of the world lives offshore of the US – and there are hucksters in every nation. Coupled with this truth is that the competition abroad is much fiercer than it is locally. Offshore developers need to impress you with quality work.

There are dedicated developers in India and the rest of the world whose expertise blows away any local developers – and we’ve hired them. Even better, SDI has a unique business structure that sets us apart from the competition. We hire qualified and vetted developers in India to keep our costs low.

But we manage those developers out of local offices from Silicon Valley to Australia. Our project managers are trained experts themselves (pulled from companies like Cisco, Apple, and WebEx) who use a process called Active-Collab to manage developers remotely.

Additionally, our managers work with developers in real time, providing guidance and expertise – as well as notes from direct conversations with our clients.

Freelance VS Corporate

For many entrepreneurs and SMB owners, Freelance Developers are tantalizing option:

• It’s a one on one relationship, which is often preferred by many (especially US) business owners;

• It’s often seen as less expensive – and it often is;

• Freelancers often portray themselves as being wholly dedicated to your project. Obviously, this is an attractive idea to businesspeople considered with efficiency and deadlines.

• But is this an accurate representation of a freelance developer? For many, yes. But the issue is that just as often (or perhaps more) that’s all a load of hooey. Even worse – it’s pretty hard to tell who’s being honest and who’s lying.

Of course, there are always questions you should ask anytime you want to hire dedicated developers. But consider the strengths of hiring dedicated developers through a professional company like SDI:

• An established verifiable portfolio with global customers. This isn’t to say that Freelancers never have a portfolio but there is one big difference: our developers have project experience. They’re repeatedly apart of teams that build projects from concept to launch.

This is opposed to many freelancers whose work has been predominantly minor coding projects or maintenance. While you might only need some minor work, the exposure to 360 degree views of the development cycle is extremely useful;

• While many freelancers claim to have infinite time, the truth is that they’re one person. SDI has over 200 developers. We have as much manpower to devote to your project as you need. What freelancer can claim that?

Hire Dedicated Developers Today

SDI only hires developers who are certified developers by an accredited university with no less than 5 years of experience. Our dedicated developers are required to keep up with all new programming languages for web, software and mobile app development – and we test them every 6 months to make sure they’re ahead of the game.

If you would like to hire some of our expert developers on a dedicated basis, get in contact with us today!

Our prices start at $20 an hour, or $2200 a month (per developer) – call 408.621.8481 or 408.802.2885 to get a free quote.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs to be Online

The internet is revolutionizing the world – including the all-important world of business. Change can be downright terrifying, sure. But it can also be a phenomenal tool for growth, management, and revenue generation. At no time in history has it been easier for the average joe to start their own business. With just a little extra cash, any entrepreneur can build a website and get their online business going. At SDI, we have helped thousands of clients to both start their own online business and to get their brick-and-mortar business online. The digital era offers a plethora of tools to help a business in all facets, for any industry. Custom software; eCommerce websites, mCommerce apps, Big Data analytics – more tools that can be easily summarized. But there are other reasons beyond just the actual apps, websites, and software. And, while we are an online business development company, we’re also a tech marketing company. We don’t just create and walk away. We build, nurture, and help our clients grow. Let’s take a closer look at three tools that can help your online business, plus a couple advantages from the marketing perspective. 1.Big Data a. Big Data Analytics is an essential tool for any business. Any SMB owner or startup CEO can tell you that a business – online or otherwise – produces mountains of data. This isn’t something new; after all, CEOs have been trying to use numbers and other data to streamline their businesses for a couple hundred years. When SDI’s developers build custom SaaS-PaaS, Analytics is always a fundamental pillar of our approach. We automatically code in a process for collecting, crunching, and reporting upon the countless gigabytes worth of information produced by your industry. We even closely tailor our process to offer unique analytics for specific industries. This allows business owners get truly accurate and helpful reporting – and to improve business efficiencies. 2. eCommerce a. If you haven’t heard about eCommerce, I must how that rock you’ve lived under for the last decade has been treating you! Seriously though, eCommerce is one of the quickest, easiest, and least expensive ways to get a business online out there. eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce are all excellent tools for any online retail business. They contain thousands of themes allowing users to create unique, wonderful designs. When combined with almost as many plugins (packets of pre-written code for specific purposes), our online business developers can build robust, unique, and marvelous eCommerce sites in just a couple of weeks. 3. mCommerce a. The MobileFirst movement is taking over the world; now everything not only needs to be online, but it needs to be mobile – and (duh) mobile first. mCommerce is merely the extension of the oh so popular eCommerce (discussed above) industry. We say ‘merely,’ but in reality, mCommerce is a multibillion-dollar industry, well on its way to becoming a multi-trillion industry. 80% of people globally who access the internet do so via their mobile device. In the US alone 25% of internet users never actually use a PC or Mac to do so. Globally, about 11 billion apps have been downloaded onto mobile devices. ‘Nuff said. 4. Global Markets a. In my early college days, I worked for a retail company that shall go unnamed (let’s just say it’s sometimes called “tarjay”). My store was pretty busy, often seeing tens of thousands of customers. Nationally, the customers were in the millions. Those are pretty astounding numbers, right? Can you imagine the services, HR requirements, and general infrastructure that requires? Then take a look at the market access an online business has: 3.17 billion. Every single day. And the costs of an online business requires are absolutely negligible in comparison. The possible potential of an online business far outstrips that of any brick and mortar business. The trick is reaching that potential; the good news is that digital marketing is another great reason to get your business online. 5. Digital Marketing a. So you got your eCommerce site up and running. Now how do you get your online business noticed? Well – the web can help us there too! SDI’s marketing team has mastered strategies and techniques for everything from User Acquisition and Revenue Generation to outright marketing and SEO/SMM. Digital marketers are a disturbing combination of a marketer, anthropologist, developer, designer and a salesman. We need to not only understand our market but understand: I. what the market wants and needs; II. How to code for SEO and RWD; III. How to make a design that is sticky and engaging; and IV. How to actually position the product so that it sells. These are just 5 small reasons why you need to get your business online. There are many, many more reasons. The internet is an equalizing force: the obstacles that once prevented people from running their own business are removed. Entirely new paths to making money and starting, running and growing a business.

Your Online Business Development Company

SDI is a conglomeration of developers, designers, marketers, and business growth specialists. We’ve worked with companies around the world in dozens of countries. We have our fingers on the pulse of the tech market – and we want to help you get your online business going. Check out our portfolio to see some of the projects we’ve worked on. For more information, call 408.621.8481 or 408.802.2881. Feel free to contact us at any time.

How to Create an App that Rocks the App Store

I sell things. It’s what I do. But to do that, I need to know how to market what I’m selling. The secret about salespeople is that if you dig hard enough, you will find a marketer. So when it comes to app development, I don’t care about coding or even design – as long as it’s the usual awesome work my team does.

What I do care about is getting apps the downloads I know they deserve. Yes, a well designed and developed app will naturally be more attractive to users. And yes, that naturally leads to higher net visibility. Digital marketing is a process that starts with the idea – but it kicks into high gear once the app is launched.

We aren’t talking about Search Engine Optimization. Or Social Media Marketing – both are really important parts in the app marketing process and you should definitely study up (see some of our past work here). But today, I’m going to focus on something we haven’t talked about in awhile: App Store Optimization.

Let’s cover the basics: what is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

ASO – An Essential App Marketing Step

63% of apps are discovered through an App Store – whether it’s Windows, iOS, or Android. ASO is about improving your app’s visibility – i.e. getting you into that 63%. Like SEO, ASO relies heavily on proper Keywords; unlike SEO, ASO doesn’t require robot.txt files and only minimal work with meta descriptions.

ASO starts with content. To create an app that gets ranked in the app store, you need to know your target market: what they’re interested in, what is attractive to them, and, most importantly, how do they search for things? What phrases or words are being used?

Knowing these keywords is important. We seed a handful of them throughout the app; the more appropriate keywords you have, the more search engine and app store visibility you will have – at least to a point.

As the name implies, it’s about optimization. Finding the right balance (i.e. proper keyword to content ratio) is important: Google, Yahoo, and Bing all penalize for what is called “keyword stuffing” – as do the major app stores. Again, it’s about balance.

So you not only need to find a good amount of keywords, but you also need to make sure they are the right keywords. You don’t just pick any ol’ keyword. Not only will you (once more) be penalized, but you won’t attract the right audience.

And then you have to make sure you’re using “long-tailed keywords.” These are strings of keywords or commonly searched questions like “how to get my app in the app store.” These are more effective than just keywords because they’re contextually based – you know that person is interested in apps ranking in the app store.

Your most heavily searched and appropriate Keyword phrase has a special place: the title of your app. Kissmetrics, a popular digital marketing analysis firm, found that apps with Keywords in the title were placed over 10% higher in the app store than those without.

And the last wonderful aspect to keywords? There’s no right answer to the correct amount of keywords or longtail keywords to content. It’s something you have to figure out by iterative testing. Tools like MixPanel and Google Analytics tell marketers what works and what doesn’t – in real time.

Beyond Keywords

Obviously, ASO involves more than keywords. I see ASO as being built on three main pillars, and keywords is only of them. The other two? Downloads and Reviews.

    Downloads

    1. Wait, you need to get downloads to get a higher rank so I can get downloads? Unfortunately, yea, you do. This is a little hard to determine exact numbers (especially on The App Store, where we can’t see the number of downloads), but research seems to indicate that the algorithms both Google and Apple use seem to rank apps with more downloads more favorably.

    Reviews

    1. One of the best ways to get your app in to the app store top ranks is to have good reviews. Unfortunately, most people only think to review when something goes wrong, so your app has to remind them. Simple push notifications driving people to the app review page are easy enough to do and have proven to be pretty effective.

Apple and WWDC16

WWDC16 is Apple’s annual conference for iOS developers. They routinely announce all the cool new things that iOS has. But, as I said earlier, I’m not a developer, so why do I care?

Well, first and foremost, I do work at a App development company, so it helps to know how Apple’s new features will change the dev world. Secondly, let’s be honest, Apple makes some cool stuff. It’s fun just to see the new toys they’ve created! And finally, there’s often little tidbits that don’t seem to impact development too much, but mean a lot for marketers.

So what was it this year? Yup, that’s right – changes to the App Store. Technically, the changes weren’t even part of WWDC – it was announced right beforehand. Either way, the news didn’t make too many headlines, but it definitely caught the attention of my marketing team.

Apps with a subscription are probably the best approach to sustainable revenue generation. Previously, Apple took a generous share of those profits – 30% in fact. As of yesterday, they’ve halved their cut to 15%. That’s right app entrepreneurs: you now get to keep 85% of the profits your subscription makes on the App Store.

They’ve reduced the time it takes for apps to be reviewed. This is a huge sticking point between my dev team and the App Store. The review process is supposed be short – a few days at most. In reality, prior to the changes it could take weeks. Even a few days is a long time – and the new rules acknowledge that. Apple now intends to have most (90%) apps completely through the review process within 2 days. This isn’t really a marketing thing, but still important.

Apple will now have sponsored ads to be displayed during searches. This is good news for those with the money to pay for an ad, but could make it harder for Startups and entrepreneurs. All the more reason to save money where you can!

The last new App Store feature we’ll talk about is the new 3D Touch feature that allows you to share any app with anyone in your contacts – with only a few taps. This is huge and will greatly increase an app’s ability for potential downloads. Remember, the easier something is for users, the more likely the are to do it!

Want to know more about how to launch an app on the app store? Just want to pick my brain some more? Either way, no problem. Give me a call at 408.802.2885 or click this link for a free consultation.