Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best Practices for Marketing in the Chrome Web Store

One of the keys to success in the Chrome Web Store is to ensure that your app or extension stands out from the crowd of existing content. Now that the CWS has grown to encompass tens of thousands of items, developers can no longer just upload their products and wait for the world to beat a path to their doorstep. 

Of course, the best thing you can do is build a highly valuable product that meets the demands of as many users as possible, but it's not enough to just create a great product - you have to know how to market and promote it. Assuming you've already done that, I've listed here some of the more effective things you can do as a developer to differentiate yourself in the Chrome Web Store, as well as some things to avoid.

What to Do

1. Create high-quality graphic assets and promotional images. Users are much more likely to trust and feel good about installing a product that has high-quality, professional-looking images. Don't just fire up Photoshop and try to do this yourself unless you're really good at it - if you're serious about your product, invest in high-quality promotional materials. It will give your app/extension a sense of polish that will help it stand out. You're also far more likely to be selected for featuring in the store if you have high quality images.

2. Use inline installation. The Chrome Web Store makes it easy for users to install your product, but you can make the process even easier by implementing a feature called inline installation. It allows users to install your CWS item directly from your Web site without having to visit the store. You can do this in just a few lines of code, and can even see if the user already has your product installed. We've seen developers who implement this feature get very large jumps in installations - as much as 40% in some cases.

3. Create a dedicated page for your app or extension on your web site, and make sure it gets indexed by Google. Users find items in the CWS via regular Google search in addition to searching the store, and you want to make sure that your item appears at or near the top of these searches. When combined with #2 above, this can lead to many more installations.

4. Provide useful, meaningful screenshots. Users want to see your product in action before they spend effort on installing it and learning to use it. High-quality screen shots are your opportunity to show users what your product does even before they install it. Upload 4 to 5 images that clearly tell the story of what your product does and why it is valuable.

5. Include a YouTube video demonstration. In addition to static screen shots, you should upload one or two YouTube videos that show your product in action and clearly explain what it does. Keep the videos short - no more than 3 to 5 minutes. When combined with screen shots, this can be a very effective way to generate installations.

6. Create a good description entry. Short descriptions don't give the user enough information about what your item does. Think about the top 3-5 things you want users to know about your item and make sure to call them out here.

7. Supply a support link to your web site. Users want to know that they won't be stranded without help when they install a product. By providing a link to your support page, you can give them the reassurance that they need. It doesn't have to be a link to your site - if you prefer to use a support site like UserVoice, for example, that's fine too. Just don't leave people hanging.

8. Enable - and use - the CWS user feedback feature. In addition to leaving reviews, users can provide feature feedback and bug reports - but only if you enable this feature in your developer dashboard. This feature is a great way of encouraging an ongoing conversation with your users without polluting the Reviews section with bug reports and feature feedback.

9. Use Google Analytics. The CWS developer dashboard provides a place to enter your GA account ID. If you provide one, the CWS will tell you how many impressions your item's Details Dialog has received, as well as whenever the user clicks the Install button.

What Not To Do

In addition to the above tips, there are some things that you should avoid doing:

1. Don't try to out-smart the CWS search indexer by, for example, adding a whole bunch of keywords to your item's description. You will get flagged for this and taken down. It's a violation of our Terms of Service.

2. Don't use trademarks and copyrights that you don't own. If you want to indicate that your product works well with someone else's product, then give them proper attribution and use a phrase like "for GMail" (or whatever the product is). Starting off your product name with someone else's trademark will get you taken down (for example, "Gmail Awesomeness" is bad - use "Awesomeness for Gmail(tm)" instead).

3. Don't use permissions that you don't actually need. Users are less likely to grant all kinds of permissions to something that they don't highly value or trust. Make sure you are scoping your permissions to what you actually use.

Now, of course none of these tips will absolutely guarantee success. You still need to create a high-quality app. However, by following them you'll place yourself in top-tier of CWS items, and will position yourself well to get discovered and more likely to be installed.

Anything I missed? What else have you found to be an effective way to get attention for your store items?


  1. invest in high-quality promotional marketing materials. It will give your app/extension a sense of polish that will help it stand out.

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