How to optimise Vodafone AppSelect metadata
The hard work is done, your app is finished, and you want to see it in the app stores now!
Submitting your app to Vodafone AppSelect is easy – login with your Vodafone developer ID, run through the web form, and upload your Android app APK package and supporting files.
But before you do that – stop!
Accurate and effective metadata and images can make all the difference between achieving and even beating your download goals – or being undiscovered or overlooked by users.
Taking the time to optimise your submission will ensure that you get the best from AppSelect, that more potential users find your app, and that you convert discovery into user downloads.
This article provides practical tips to help you optimise your AppSelect metadata.
The importance of metadata
AppSelect is now available, pre-installed on Vodafone Android phones, in all of Vodafone's nine European markets, including Russia.
AppSelect is more than a showcase, it's a complete service that provides:
- Segmentation by market, enabling you to choose any of nine country markets, each with a localised version of Vodafone AppSelect, in which to make your app available
- Segmentation by app category, enabling you to choose the app categories that are most appropriate for your app
- Discovery, with featured apps and promotions, curated app collections, and category-based browsing
- Keyword search, based on keywords you choose
Because Vodafone AppSelect services are based on the metadata you provide, taking the time to optimise your submission will definitely help you get the best from Vodafone AppSelect.
Vodafone AppSelect metadata requirements
Required metadata includes essential basic information:
- Title – the name of your app name
- Supported languages – languages you have localised your app for
Vodafone AppSelect search and discovery is based on the title, keywords, categories,and the localised metadata you provide:
- Categories – up to two categories that describe the general functionality your app provides, enabling users to browse Vodafone AppSelect for specific kinds of apps – see Tip 1
- Keywords – a minimum of 5 keywords (maximum 15) that describe your app purpose and functionality in user terms, enabling users to search Vodafone AppSelect for specific kinds of apps – see Tip 2
- Descriptions – a short description that provides the basic text that appears against your app, and a long description that provides additional information for interested users – see Tip 3
- Translations – keywords and descriptions translated for the additional languages your app supports – see Tip 4
Finally, AppSelect displays images of your app. Vodafone AppSelect requires:
- Images – an app icon, supplied as a 512 x 512 pixel image, and 3 screenshots showing your app in use on a standard 480 x 400 pixel display device (additional formats optional – see Tip 5)
The following tips will help you optimise the metadata you provide so you get the most from Vodafone AppSelect.
TIP 1— Vodafone AppSelect metadata basics
Everything you need to publish your app, including providing metadata for Vodafone AppSelect, is in one place.
On Vodafone developer, follow the links to the Publish page and login to your publishing account:
For free apps, you can set up a new account instantly. For paid apps, a new account may take a few days while your details are confirmed.
- The publishing form is where you choose the Vodafone AppSelect Categories in which your app should appear. Choose the right categories to make your app visible to users browsing for your particular type of app:
- Keywords are what powers search and recommendations in Vodafone AppSelect. Read Tip 2 for advice on choosing keywords.
- Vodafone AppSelect is available in Vodafone's nine European markets. The publishing form allows you to specify what languages your app supports:
We recommend you provide localised metadata, including localised keywords, for each supported language – see Tip 4.
- Creating a buzz around your app will help get it noticed. If you have videos that show off or promote your app, add a YouTube video link. Click the help icon on the form for details of supported file formats:
- The publishing form will also ask you to flag some specific content types, for example over-18 or gambling related content – if you think this might apply, be sure to check out Vodafone's Content standards.
Tip 2—Engineer your keywords
Search is probably the most important tool for guiding users to your app. By optimising your keywords, you help make your app visible to the users who are most likely to find value in it – as well as helping ensure that every user search gets relevant results.
But remember, mobile search is different from search on the desktop. On the move, on a small screen, with a virtual keyboard or handwriting input, even on the sexiest phone entering search terms is tedious. Most mobile searches consist of a single word; very few mobile searches use multiple-word phrases.
Vodafone AppSelect therefore starts matching search terms as soon as the user starts typing, one letter at a time.
Choosing keywords is as much art as science, but don't do it blindly:
- Brainstorm words and phrases that describe what your app does (for example start with "stock ticker" and "share price updates" for a stock prices app; or "food and wine pairing" and "wine suggestions" for a food-and-wine app) – keep going until you have at least ten or so good phrases
- Analyse the phrases to identify significant words
- Eliminate overused ("game", "app", "fun"), redundant ("exciting", "novel", "different") and "stop" words ("the", "and", "or")
- Short words are always better than long words
- Use a keyword tool to tune your choices
Unique keywords, of course, will uniquely select your app, but few apps are really unique. But choosing shorter, more targeted, and more accurate keywords can give you an edge over your rivals.
For example, here are some search results for a keyword list for a stock ticker app. The tool, by the way, is the Keyword Tool in Google AdWords, which is free to sign up to.
We're less interested in the detailed results the tool gives us than in gaining insights into how the keywords we've chosen are being used. Here's the keyword list:
stock ticker market prices shares updates
Run the search and look at the results in the tool. One line immediately stands out:
In fact, within the top 50 results, the non-relevant searches that include "prices" as a keyword significantly outweigh the relevant searches that include "prices", and include:
property prices copper prices compare prices car prices compare tv prices compare supermarket prices natural gas prices compare prices uk new car prices steel prices
Replace "prices" with "quotes", and rerun the search. The keyword results now magically become 100% relevant, at least for the top 50 searches. Every search is related to stocks and shares, stock quotes, and share prices; note that we still capture searches for "shares prices" and "stock prices" because "stock" and "shares" are still in the list:
stock ticker market quotes shares updates
It's a simple example, but it shows that even small changes to keywords can have a big impact on search relevance.
Vodafone AppSelect requires a minimum of 5 keywords. Currently, the total number of keywords including translated keywords – see Tip 4 below – for additional supported languages, is 15. You can divide those 15 equally across all languages, or provide more for one primary language.
Some other points to bear in mind:
- Don't include your company (or developer) name, the app's name, or its category in the keyword list (they are added into all searches anyway)
- Don't include punctuation or question marks or other symbols
- You don't need to duplicate keywords in your descriptions; they serve different purposes, and description text is not used for searching, although the most relevant keywords may catch the eye when users browse – but they are words you would use anyway!
- Never try to fake it (for example, by adding unrelated keywords that you think will score highly in searches), and never include a company, brand or product name that isn't yours
Finally, don't forget to spell-check your keywords.
Tip 3—Engineer your descriptions
The short description is the first thing users will read about your app when they find it in Vodafone AppSelect. It will probably also be snipped by web reviewers.
Make it short, make it accurate, and make it sell for you – your goal is to convert readers into downloaders. You have up to 280 characters, say 25 to 45 words, roughly two tweets. It's not much, but it's enough. And it's more than you'd get on the side of a bus.
Here are the Vodafone AppSelect short descriptions for the Bloomberg and Blue stock apps, side by side:
The long description expands from the More button. Use it to summarise your app's main features or use cases. You have up to 1000 characters, say 120 to 150 words, or roughly four paragraphs the length of this one. That's a lot of text on a small screen – probably more than you'd write if you paid for a full page ad in a magazine:
Don't forget to spell-check your text. It's as important as using
lint on your Java code.
Tip 4—Localise your Vodafone AppSelect metadata
Localising your metadata for the languages your app supports makes it more visible to users in those markets. Users in Germany, or Italy, or Spain, or any of Vodafone's nine European markets, are much more likely to search AppSelect in their language than in your language. And when they find your app, you have a better chance of holding their interest if your app descriptions are in their language too.
The Publishing tool enables you to localise your Vodafone AppSelect metadata for each language you support. Vodafone AppSelect will display localised language versions to users in those countries:
If you do localise your metadata, you must provide at least a translated title and short description. Even if your title is the same in different languages, fill in the localised title field. Remember that translated keywords count towards your keyword total (currently 15), so you may need to pick and choose which ones to translate.
Don't forget to spell-check your description texts using the appropriate language dictionary.
Tip 5—Follow the image guidelines for Vodafone AppSelect
Showing off app quality to potential users before they buy is as important as delivering on the promise after they've bought. Remember, users see your app in Vodafone AppSelect before they see it on their phones – so the first thing they see are the images you provide.
Provide high quality, clear, engaging and compelling images to Vodafone AppSelect. In detail, provide the following:
- Mandatory app icon as a 512 x 512 image
- Mandatory screenshots 480 x 800 – provide at least 3, no more than 6, to show off your app as users will experience it
- Optional screenshots 480 x 854 – as above, at least 3, no more than 6
- Optional screenshots 320 x 480 – as above, at least 3, no more than 6
Submitting a video link is also optional and therefore you are not required to provide this, however, if you do wish to provide one please adhere to the following:
- Only a mobile YouTube URL, over the RTSP protocol, will be accepted
- The maximum URL length is 500 characters.
- The video should not exceed 2 minutes in duration; and should ideally be no more than 60 seconds.
- The video must show the application running on the phone and not on an emulator/desktop.
- If sound is used within the video, it must be clear and comprehensible.
- There should be not errors, warnings or crashes shown within the video.
- It is recommended that a fixed camera is used to take the video, to avoid too much movement and handshake.
Tip 6—Get to know Vodafone AppSelect
The easiest way to get to know Vodafone AppSelect, to see how it works in different languages, and to keep up to date with the other apps you compete with, is to use thewhich is hosted on Perfecto.
A good range of the latest phones is always available, and it's free.
Vodafone AppSelect is pre-installed on all the latest Android phones from Vodafone, and you can try it just as users will find it on new devices – for example, on the Samsung Galaxy S and the Sony-Ericsson Xperia Arc:
Note: Like any web service Perfecto depends on your browser choice, browser settings, browser plugins (Perfecto uses Flash), and your network connection speed. Configure the connection settings in the Perfecto launch page if you encounter network problems. Try a different browser if you encounter Flash plugin problems.
Tip 7—Keep T&C's simple
You are probably not a lawyer. Don't pretend to be one. Say what you need to say in plain language, and if you don't need to say it then don't.
Find out more
Read more about Vodafone AppSelect at Vodafone developer.
Vodafone AppSelect is available in all of Vodafone's nine European markets, including Russia. For tips on supporting multiple languages in your Android apps, see our recent Vodafone developer multiple languages article.
For full details of Vodafone AppSelect image requirements, read the Vodafone AppSelect Image Style Guide.
Also review the details of.
Also check out our
The Vodafone developer FAQ has answers to all the things you'll want to know about publishing, QA, payments, and analytics.
Table of Contents
- The importance of metadata
- AppSelect metadata requirements
- Find out more