Standing Out From the Crowd: Our Apple Arcade ASO Strategy 

Optimizing for Apple Arcade

At any given moment, there are millions of apps sitting around on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, waiting to be downloaded. In such a competitive market, the winners are those who can grab the user’s attention and convince them to tap the install button. This is where app store optimization (ASO) comes into play. By using various ASO strategies and testing methods, we at Bandai Namco Mobile can make our apps stand out from the crowd.

At its core, app store optimization is about getting more players to see our games and think to themselves: “I really need to check this out!” But it can be a big challenge to stand out in a marketplace you share with several hundred thousand other games.

Compared to over a million apps in the App Store, Apple Arcade is home to just a couple hundred high-quality titles.

We’re lucky enough to have several premium titles available on this platform, and we were interested to see what results we could achieve using ASO techniques on a subscription service.

Since there are fewer titles to compete with, it should be easier to get noticed. But at the same time, the titles on Arcade are very high-quality experiences. So, if we want to convince players that we should be their top choice, our games really need to stand out.

And when it comes to Apple Arcade, standing out can really pay off.

With over 100 million users and a free trial offered with each new Apple device, that’s a huge audience of people looking for a great gaming experience.

Even non-subscribers can visit the Apple Arcade tab in the store and browse the available games there. This means that our titles could potentially help draw users to the platform and encourage them to join Apple Arcade by subscribing.

But if we want to get the most out of Apple Arcade, we still need to optimize our products.

Despite its big advantages, one big downside of Apple Arcade is that it doesn’t have the native product page testing solutions that Apple made available to apps on the rest of the App Store. Looking for alternative solutions for approaching ASO on Arcade, we came up with a few workarounds and put them to the test on two of our titles.

Galaga Wars+

With Galaga Wars+, we wanted to see how some proposed updates to the screenshots and icons on the product page would affect conversion rates. Galaga Wars+ had existing free versions on both Google Play and the App Store, outside of Apple Arcade, which made traditional avenues for testing available to us. Using the free-to-play versions of the game, we ran experiments on both Google Play and the App Store.

Our results were encouraging.

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We found that the screenshot update had a positive impact on our conversion rates, with an uplift of 12.9% on Google Play and 10% on the App Store. We also performed some acquisition testing on a set of new icons which yielded similar results.

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Once we rolled these winning assets out on Apple Arcade, we monitored them to see if they had the same impact.

With the updated screenshots, our conversion rates from search traffic on Apple Arcade went up by 13.7%, while conversions from browsing users increased by 29.5%.

Meanwhile, the new icons helped raise our overall conversion rates by an additional 10%.

PAC-MAN Party Royale

PAC-MAN Party Royale was an Arcade-only release, meaning we did not have a way to test the creatives with organic users. So, we had to get creative ourselves. By setting up acquisition funnel tests, we could show our new icons, screenshots, and videos to potential users and validate whether one set of creatives was performing better than another.

We ran ads for the game using different store page creatives to see which generated the most potential downloads.

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Then, we published those assets on PAC-MAN Party Royale’s store page and measured the performance before and after.

Once we had our winning icon, screenshots, and video we rolled them out on Apple Arcade.

In the end, our overall conversion rates on Apple Arcade rose by an astounding 35.7%!

With these two studies, we have shown that ASO for Apple Arcade can absolutely be worth the effort.

After testing several approaches for getting around the platform’s ASO limitations, we’ve shown that we can make a great impact on conversion rates.

For games that are available both on Apple Arcade and as free-to-play titles, doing regular tests and applying winning creatives to Apple Arcade can really help these titles stand out from the crowd. And with the small number of games on Arcade and the enormous volume of users who visit the Arcade tab daily, there are big opportunities for any game that manages to be seen.

After all, Apple Arcade gets a huge amount of traffic from users who are already interested in games and it's important for us to capture as many of them as we can!

The constantly shifting ASO landscape throws a lot of challenges our way, but it also provides us with new tools to take advantage of emerging trends . Apple and Google have made our jobs a bit easier with things like event cards, native ASO testing, and custom product pages.

Going forward, we hope to leverage machine learning, paid user acquisition campaigns like Google Ads, and more personalized marketing campaigns to connect more players with our games.

With proper ASO strategies that make use of every available tool, we can optimize our pages for other titles, like our award-winning Very Little Nightmares.

Are you interested in working with some of the gaming industry’s hottest IPs? Join us at Bandai Namco Mobile.

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Bandai Namco Mobile

Published: 05 December, 2023

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