Making an app stand out from the crowd is no easy task – and that’s putting it lightly. There are literally thousands of applications on the market, and in turn, a number of app store optimization (ASO) services have popped up to help them get noticed.
Once such service provider is AppUpper, a crowd review platform for mobile apps. It helps companies get their products tested and reviewed in just 24 hours, reducing time to market and helping them to put out better apps. Users rate and review apps and also report bugs and enhancements, rendering them both reviewers and testers.
AppUpper is designed especially for small companies lacking long timelines and big budgets generally involved in ASO services. Clients establish a maximum budget and a service date, after which AppUpper invites its registered crowd of reviewers to try out the app. “It’s important to mention that we encourage the reviewers to be honest about their experience, whether positive or not, so that we don’t spoil credibility,” pointed out Marcos Lavorato, co-founder of AppUpper, in an interview with PulsoSocial.
The AppUpper team verifies the authenticity of evaluations with app stores and credits reviewers in turn – including cash for each bug discovered. It provides clients with a complete report on activities and charges by way of a cost-per-action (CPA) approach. Lavorato discussed the details of the company as well as the lay of the app land in Latin America.
Emily Stewart: Who are the people testing these apps?
Marcos Lavorato: We have attracted an spontaneous database of users among mobile app enthusiasts, developer communities and geeks, all of them interested, at some level, in technology exploration. They have been gathered through media campaigns, mainly social networks ads and email marketing.
ES: It looks like your main incentive for testers is economic. How can you be sure this doesn’t compromise their feedback? What other incentives are there?
ML: Since these people are technology enthusiasts, and most of them are familiar with experiencing apps. We have been trying to generate content in order to orient them on how to use their knowledge and judgment skills to write a nice review. We have been working hard on this concept, seeding the sense of what a useful review is, whether positive or negative. We also encourage them to explore for bugs, keeping in mind that not only will they be paid for finding them, but also that they will be contributing to providing people a better experience through the app.
ES: For what kinds of apps is this most useful? In what cases does it not work?
ML: We usually offer our services in three main situations: companies with brand new apps that need to have their product tested as a whole but may not want to invest in reviews until they have issues fixed, companies with well-tested apps that need massive reviews for a boost in app popularity and ranking in stores, and new versions (upgrades) of well-tested apps with new features that may need to go through specific tests and can take advantage of nice reviews to generate organic downloads.
ES: You’re doing this out of Brazil. Why go after the global market instead of keeping things local?
ML: Brazil is still one step back from the U.S. and European mobile markets. We believe we can gather a very solid experience from offering app crowd services abroad, so that when the tide turns in Latin America, our business will already be top-of-mind for local companies looking for ASO services and consultancy. Meanwhile, we do have all the necessary online tools to work globally, so why not?
ES: How do Brazilian businesses approach app testing differently than international ones? What about testers?
ML: Brazilian companies are now realizing how important ASO can be, while in more mature markets, we already see companies with specific quarterly or annual ASO and SEO budget planning. It’s a matter of time until Brazil and other Latin American countries reach this point, and we intend to be a good option for them to invest their money when it happens. For testers, we have some cultural difficulties here in Brazil. People tend to use CRM channels for complaining and protesting, while in foreign countries there is more of a collaborative, positive sense among reviewers. We are looking at this as a good opportunity for developing our crowd as constructive critics, trying to leverage their behavior with some international cases as examples, plus specific content pills such as walk-throughs, FAQs and how-to documents.
ES: It’s notoriously difficult to make money off of apps. Do you help developers on that front?
ML: Our main focus is to bring apps popularity and get them a better position in stores through optimization based on reviews, tests and downloads. We also offer consultancy services, which might include marketing and communication techniques. But it’s not our goal to discuss business models, ROI or charging policies with them – although, boosting app position in stores might raise organic downloads, thus improving product CPC, CPI and CPA incomes.