The importance of ASO positioning is an unknown issue for many people/companies that have an app, or are thinking about developing it. Regardless of the phase in which the development of your application is, it is important to know what factors must be taken into account when positioning it, in order to achieve the expected success.
Today we have the presence of Carlos Hernando, specialist and ASO consultant in ASOApp, company responsible for providing a complete and specialized solution in mobile applications and throughout the whole mobile business since 2015.
Hi Carlos, can you tell us about your professional experience?
Yes of course, and first of all, hello. I studied Industrial Technical Engineering in Mechanics, and I worked for a year with a contract for a multinational construction company while preparing the final project, because I had in mind since the university that when I finished, I wanted to go abroad to learn English. And so I did. I left for Dublin, in 2009, at 23 years old. There, I was practicing English and I tried to find work related to the degree, but I had no experience, so, I started applying to all kinds of jobs, and finally, I started in Hewlett Packard, working in computer technical support. After almost two years, I started working in Google, and specifically in the Maps department, as Data Analyst. At that time, around 2013, I began to train myself, creating my first websites and starting to mess around with Apps, what made me discover the world in which I work professionally right now. Around 2014, I was already generating passive income with some ecommerce and especially with Apps, but I hadn’t yet the experience to work on my own. I worked for almost a year in PayPal, in a position oriented to the client and his analysis. Finally in 2015, I started to work in the Startup and entrepreneurship world. I formed the ASOApp project, and I was part of two more projects, along with more people: one was a marketing agency for web creation, SEO, SEM, among others and the other an online training platform. I combined these three projects for almost two years, but, nevertheless, the economic base was provided by ASOApp and the creation of Apps. So, since the beginning of 2017, I started to focus 100% in the project I created in 2015: ASOApp.
“Consultancy to third parties, was the next step: sell my experiences to those who are for the first time in the situation of positioning an App.”
How did you end up dedicating yourself to the creation of apps and consulting ASO?
When I was working in Google, I had in mind to try to monetize from home with my own projects. How to do it, I did not care much, it was more if I was able to. And I started to try everything a bit, specially apps. Why? It seemed complex to me to enter to more expanded worlds, and from the first moment I started to try the Mobile world that at that time was very new. As I said, the idea was to monetize, how to do it, didn’t matter. In fact, with the Apps I thought it was impossible because there was no previous information, but I liked to go into something unknown to experiment, apart from trying in more common niches. At that time, the word ASO was unknown, something that today is not so. Surprisingly, I began to monetize much more with Apps than with other channels. There was curiosity and profits. I had everything. Therefore, I began without respite to create all kinds of Apps, without programming, outsourcing developers… and especially to try to promote those Apps. Consultancy to third parties, was the next step: sell my experiences to those who are, for the first time in the situation of positioning an App.
Tell us a bit about ASOApp
ASOApp was born as a project that combines the creation and exploitation of own mobile applications with consultancy to clients or third parties, but not only of ASO, also of App Marketing or Mobile Growth, the sum of the two, monetization and others. It is a complete solution for mobile applications since, nowadays, we offer online and live training and face-to-face training in Companies, Institutions, Universities and Master’s schools. Currently, we train at the Juan Carlos I University of Madrid, and the Masters schools: MSMK, MBIT and SISchool, all in Madrid. There are four business routes that are carried out. ASOApp team, currently consists of five people, that means, four professionals are collaborating with ASOApp. I have always liked that there are no bosses or employees, therefore, in ASOApp, collaborators join the project, that make it grow. Although it is true that since this year we are trying to incorporate people with exclusive dedication to it, but as I said, being part of it.
“The mobile world goes beyond lines of code, just as it happens in the web world.”
We know that you are also betting on training and events (in fact we already share a meetup with you). Do you think that there is currently a deficit of training in terms of creating and selling apps?
What is really difficult is to understand what we have to take into account to enter the Mobile world. There are many, but many, courses of how to program in Android Studio, on Ionic, etc. And they are aimed at developers. This makes the rest of human beings think it is unfeasible to enter the Mobile world. And it’s not like that at all, you also need to know how to monetize an App, how to promote it, etc. It’s not worth having the best App if you do not have downloads. So what I always try in everything I do, is to see that there is a lot of market, and few professionals but in all aspects of it. Thus, there is little formation of Mobile Growth, of low cost development with objectives to create MVPs, etc. That’s why, last year the ASOApp meetup group was created, to explain and especially to share that this mobile world goes beyond lines of code, as it happens in the web world. An example of this is the solution that you present: it has nothing to do with programming, quite the opposite.
According to your experience in positioning apps in the marketplaces, what factors are the most important at present? Do you think they will remain the same in the future?
It is easy, an App has to fulfill the following: 1. To have a product that has a place in the Mobile market, and not everything is worth, nor does it have to be an App. 2. Good ASO done at the level of Keywords and Visibility. 3. Good App Marketing especially from the beginning to carry unorganized downloads. 4. To have more installations than uninstallations and mainly that these are prolonged in time and that, in addition, make users return periodically to use the App. 5. That users like it, and that is reflected with comments and ratings. 6. That the developer or manager of the Apps has a deep analytical capacity to detect behaviors and metrics and improve them. Therefore, my answer could be: the title of the App and the ratings. But it is simpler than that: if everything I have mentioned is not made, it will be very difficult to position oneself. And that will not change, since it is the essence of this market. Other things will change in the future, such as concrete ASO factors.
What do you think about Apple’s restrictive policy for publishing apps in the App Store? Do you think Google will also take the same path at some point?
Apple, reward quality over quantity. And it is true that the App Stores, have a lot, but a lot, Zombie Apps, or unusable. Sooner or later they had to take some action, that is going forward since a few months ago. Google?, I believe that they will make a radical change, and that everything they do, is usually very smooth. I mean, they will launch the Fuchsia operating system, and perhaps with it a new market, not eliminating Google Play, but having an alternative. I’ve read this, and I do not see it as unfeasible. So, this may happen, and of course, a much cleaner market place than Google Play. If it does not happen, Google doesn’t stop improving its detection bots of fraudulent Apps, and especially because these bots are fed back to themselves. Therefore, they also improve, and in big steps, although they have not made a change as drastic as Apple.
“If you want to monetize a PWA with Google advertising, you have to use Adsense, instead of Admob, and web advertising is a lot, but much slower than the mobile”
Due to Apple’s restrictions, other app builders have opted for Progressive Web Apps. What is your opinion regarding this type of product?
Simple, in my eyes, is not the solution of the future, but a solution that covers a gap. It is clear that they stay halfway. For something in particular it may be worth, but they do not have the Mobile essence at all. In the talks and courses, I always use the same example to understand it quickly: “If you want to monetize a PWA with Google advertising, you have to use Adsense, instead of Admob, and web advertising is much, but much worse paid than the Mobile.” They have arrived, the operating systems are accepting them, and we will see what happens, but they are still webs. To me, it seems an impressive solution in some cases, but certainly not for everything, since they have many limitations.
Sometimes you have talked about the importance of not trying to create the app “that will change the world”, but start with more humble expectations and learn. What would be the best advice you would give to a company that wants to start the adventure of launching its app?
Yes, that is one of my sentences, because I think that to make an App that really blows up the market, you have to take in consideration some aspects before and know well, but very well the market, and even then, the odds are very small. It is better to start in the mobile world for something that already has some background, such as going to specific niches, or enlarge your brand with the App product. But to create a new product without knowing how the Mobile world works, is crazy. I know from experience, in fact the clients we have, are usually that profile: Unique product in which only the same product has been taken into account. I was the first to fall into this, like everyone else. The first App that I did, I thought about the idea, about the product, without taking into account the rest, and so it happened, that it was not worth, but it did help me to learn that I should not do that. Therefore, anyone who wants to start, should look at the market, try to approach what is there, and then equates it, improve it, and above all, keep in mind that the product in most cases, is not always the basis of success and there are more factors that must be taken into account.