Mobile App Optimisation

Recapped! Scottish App Stars 30

13th March 2017

The cream of the mobile apps crop, the Scottish App Stars, #SAS30, was launched February 2017 celebrating the success of Scotland’s mobile app community. It’s based on app store research for companies with apps who have their corporate headquarters in Scotland.

If you’re in the Scottish digital tech sector, it’s been hard to miss the excitement around #SAS30. Particularly when the Top 10 Scottish App Stars were announced! In a data-driven tech sector, data is at the core of #SAS30.  That’s why we’re now digging deeper into our app data analysis as we recap the Scottish App Stars 30.

The DataLab are particularly interested in our data research. Jude McCorry, Head of Business Development at The DataLab says,

“We love seeing companies across all sectors using their data skills to analyse and improve performance in the digital tech sector. The Scottish App Stars companies are recognised as being leaders in their fields, and are also driving digital innovation. We’re delighted to see companies from all industries, from large corporations to Scottish start-ups using data to disrupt the way things work.”

In fact, we’ve received lots of feedback from the Scottish digital tech sector.  We chatted to several of the companies directly to hear why they think it’s important to think mobile first. First up, we spoke to STV who have 2 apps in the Scottish App Stars with STV News and STV Player.

Bobby Hain, Director of Channels, STV, says,

“STV’s digital growth strategy is driven by our multi-platform approach and delivering content free of charge to consumers wherever and whenever they choose to access it, so it is fantastic that our apps are recognised in this way.”

Why is Waracle researching Scottish apps?

As Scotland’s largest mobile app development and IoT company, we enjoy seeing other Scottish companies having great success with mobile apps and we’re fascinated by what makes a good app.

We already know from our previous research that there’s considerable digital tech talent in Scotland. (If you’re interested why not read part 1 and part 2 of the top 10 Technology Driven Sectors in Scotland) and as a follow on, we started to research Scottish apps and found some very interesting ones including Historic Scotland.

Aimee Bertram, Marketing Executive at Historic Environment Scotland, says,

“We’re pleased to have been included in the Scottish App Stars 30. We created our app to offer our visitors an intuitive and easy to use tool to help them plan their visit to our historic sites, as well as share itineraries with their friends and family. It’s also a great tool to have when you are visiting our properties in further afield locations, which might have limited connectivity.”

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What does the data say about Scotland’s sectors?

With around 100M downloads worldwide, Scotland and the Scottish Government should be very proud of creating these top 30 mobile apps. ScotlandIS has also played a part as they represent and support businesses and organisations creating digital products and services. And, kudos to Technology Scotland for championing key enabling technologies!

Fintech is one of the biggest categories when it comes to mobile in Scotland. 13% of #SAS30 apps are in the Finance category including mobile apps from Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland, Money Dashboard and B from Clydesdale Bank.  Mobile is a core strategy for banks nowadays and the new B app from Clydesdale Bank absolutely has ‘think mobile first’ philosophy at its core.

Helen Page, Group Innovation and Marketing Director, Clydesdale Bank, says,

“We are delighted that the B app has been featured in the Top 10 Scottish apps. B was built by customers, for customers to help take the fear out of finance by making money management easy and intuitive. The launch of B demonstrates our commitment to embracing new technologies to deliver a superior experience for our customers. We will continue to listen to our customers and look forward to delivering innovative solutions based on what they tell us they need.” 

Outside of Fintech, there’s a huge diversity across the top apps and we’re seeing trends for traditional industries such as journalism getting into mobile with Dundee’s DC Thomson turning their publications mobile.  Within Dundee, there’s definitely a creative buzz in the city which is undergoing redevelopment of Dundee Waterfront.

Gillian Easson, Director, Creative Dundee, says,

“Dundee’s heritage and future trajectory lies in the city’s ability to design and innovate, and by using the latest technologies to engage citizens as creators. As a UNESCO City of Design, Dundee’s creative and digital sectors have greatly contributed to the city gaining this international recognition, therefore Creative Dundee is delighted to see 3 examples our mobile strengths featured in the top 30 Scottish App Stars.”

One of these 3 apps which Gillian mentions in #SAS30 is Dundee Waterfront. This redevelopment project is using mobile as a means to educate people about the upcoming city changes. Gaynor Sullivan, Business Development Officer, Dundee City Council, says,

“The Dundee Waterfront app was created in partnership with Dundee Waterfront and the V&A Museum Dundee to showcase the development sites and allow users to explore around/inside the V&A Museum of Design Dundee. We are delighted with the response so far and to be recognised in the Scottish App Stars.”

CodeClan, who help skill developers, are excited to see Scotland embracing mobile technology. Gillian Carmichael, Head of Marketing & Communications, CodeClan says,

“It’s fascinating to see the innovative mobile apps that have been produced by Scottish businesses in Waracle’s Scottish App Stars blog series. What’s encouraging is that we are seeing so many companies embrace technology and invest in mobile apps for their business. Scotland’s tech sector is bursting at the seams with talent and innovation. Our aim is to create a new generation of software developers that can allow Scotland’s vibrant digital sector to flourish and drive the economy.”

Also supporting the tech sector in Scotland, is the tech incubator Codebase. Almost 20% of the #SAS30 apps are a result of companies founded in there!

Jamie Coleman, Owner and Chairman of Codebase says,

“We are delighted that so many of the top apps have been developed in CodeBase as we are fortunate to be home to some of the most innovative creative and technical minds in the country. Software is now firmly at the heart of change in every sector which is reflected in the huge diversity across these apps.

Based there, Qikserve told us more about their mobile strategy. Daniel Rodgers, CEO, QikServe, says,

“We are delighted to feature as one of the Scottish App Stars, alongside so many great companies, after lagging behind other sectors, the global hospitality industry is finally starting to take mobile seriously and QikServe, at the forefront of provision of ordering and payment solutions, is well-positioned to take advantage. In addition to giving hospitality operators a new way to connect with their customers, we also help increase efficiency, reduce labour costs, and increase average spend.”

Also, initially founded in Edinburgh is Cuvva, the mobile app for insurance tool. Freddy Macnamara, CEO, Cuvva says,

“Cuvva is delighted to be listed in Scottish App Stars list. From starting out as two people in a living room in East Lothian to being featured on this list is an honour. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of Scottish Business Angels and Scottish Enterprise.”

Scottish transportation is really thinking mobile first!

Our research discovered that Transportation is one of the biggest categories when it comes to mobile in Scotland. Well done Transport Scotland for getting the industry thinking mobile first! With 17% of the top 30 apps being in Travel & Local category, we spoke to a few of the Scottish App Stars about their transport apps.

Gaynor Marshall, Marketing and Communications Manager, Lothian Buses says,

“We are delighted that the Transport for Edinburgh app has been included in the Scottish App Stars 30. The app, which has been downloaded over 550,000 times, now serves as an essential travel tool for locals, commuters and visitors to the City.”

Lewis Willing, Digital Marketing Manager, St Andrews Links says,

“It’s great to be recognised in Scottish App Stars. With features like real time weather and course updates as well as a wealth of information on playing the Links, our app is an essential travel companion for any golfer planning a visit to the Home of Golf. We have a strong focus on creating unique and memorable experiences for our customers and mobile plays a key role.”

Keeping with the Travel category, Alan Bird, Project Director at Welcome to Scotland, says,

“We are very proud to be featured in the top 10 apps for Scotland. Welcome to Scotland’s apps and websites aim to make travelling to and around Scotland as easy as possible, whilst providing the best offers and discounts to our visitors.”

App Store Insight Report - Computer Technology Mobile

What makes an app a star?

App performance is strongly linked to having a concentrated focus on App Store Optimisation (ASO) and app marketing resulting in good ratings and reviews. The apps in the Scottish App Stars have all had a large number of installs and are ranking well for their keywords and compared to competitor apps.

They have good app store listings which include relevant screenshots. They’re consistent across both Apple App Store and Google Play Store and they have received a strong number of reviews and ratings.

Cally Russell, CEO and Founder, Mallzee says,

‘It was great to have Mallzee included in the Scottish App Stars, the competition was fierce and it’s a testament to the great startup scene now being created here that there are so many amazing apps from Scottish companies. We put a lot of emphasis on our app store presence (iTunes, Android) from regular releases, keyword changes, image optimisation and in-depth customer testing. This approach now means we regularly beat much larger shopping companies in the app store and enjoy an average session length that is 3x the industry standard.’

Sam Rutherford, Research and Development Manager for NHS Education in Scotland says,

“SDCEP are pleased to be featured in Scottish App Stars. SDCEP are keen to provide their guidance publications in mobile format and the Dental Prescribing app has proved very popular amongst dentists.”

Why Reviews and Ratings matter!

When we started digging into the reviews and ratings data for the top 30 apps it’s evident that these apps have good strategies to request reviews and work on reviewing their ratings.

Between them, the top 30 apps have attracted 400,000 reviews!

Interestingly, when it comes to ratings, Android apps are obtaining higher ratings with an average of 4 in the Google Play Store compared to an average of 3 in Apple App Store over on iTunes.

Increase app downloads with a better App Store Listing

If you want to get your app ranking highly in the app stores and increase downloads, check out our 5 steps to app store domination – using ASO. Follow these 5 steps and you should start to see your app rise up the app store rankings and your app downloads increase.

App Store Insight Report - Computer Technology Mobile

Or, if you like, we’ll do the work for you! Just contact Waracle Optimisation team and we’ll do a quick assessment of your app and provide you with a free trial of our App Store Insights report providing you with a high-level view of the performance of your app. The App Store Insights report will let you see how your app compares to competitors’ apps and how it ranks for key search terms over time.

It’s free, there’s no obligation and it’s something that Waracle want to give to the Scottish App community. With only 30 reports to giveaway, contact us today and request yours! This report will open your eyes to opportunities to improve your app performance over time.

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