Spiegel Online provides daily news, analysis, opinion, and interviews from their 140-member editorial team based in Hamburg, Germany. To increase reach to news readers, the team ran A/B tests using store listing experiments with the goal of improving their install conversions.
What they did
The team started by looking at the short description on the store listing, changing it from "Germany's most popular news app" to "News and analysis by SPIEGEL ONLINE: Germany's leading news app." They then tried adding descriptions to screenshots with the hope that they would perform better with explanations, and they also explored the idea of adding a video. Additionally, the team experimented with the app icon by updating the traditional black and red icon to a modern monochrome and short one.
Changing the app's description increased the number of daily app installs by more than 10%. This change to the app's description also increased the conversion rate of the Play Store listing page, and improved its download rank versus direct competitors in the News & Magazines section on Google Play.
However, the additional explanations in the screenshots didn't perform as expected. The team thinks the explanations might have yielded better performance if they had used a larger font size. A bigger font would have more clearly distinguished the image from the text. However, adding a video had a positive impact on users' willingness to install the app (although results were not as strong as the team had initially expected).
The most surprising outcome came from the app icon, which resulted in a decrease in installs. This decline may have been because the new icon was different from the newspaper's traditional and well-recognized brand mark.
"A/B testing provides a good chance to check your gut feeling and instinct, and to confront the harsh reality of the install numbers," said Matthias Streitz, Managing Editor of the Digital Edition. "We actually avoided many errors, and we're looking to experiment and refine even more. This is a great opportunity that we have only on Android."
Check out our series of videos with actionable tips for building news apps. You can also discover additional practices and features to build your brand and grow revenue with the News Publishers Playbook. Also, learn how to convert more visits to installs with store listing experiments.