app marketing

App Store vs. Play Store app marketing: similarities and differences

App Store vs. Play Store app marketing - trace the similarities and differences app marketers should keep in mind when approaching store-level advertising

In today’s mobile-savvy world, apps make our lives go around. For every basic task in our lives, there’s an app to help the user. Be it for making daily routines, shopping, payments, wealth management, fitness, entertainment, traveling, eating out - every single activity we can think of, there’s an app involved. No wonder, worldwide we are looking at over 8.93 million smartphone apps, including App Store and Google Play Store. However, how users respond to each of these app download platforms differs quite a bit. In our latest article, we discuss the similarities and differences among app users in these two platforms and how to strategize an App Store vs. Play Store app marketing game plan.

Why do we need app store-level marketing for app growth?

The app market is crowded and highly competitive. Every nook and cranny now has an app developer building stellar apps. But not all apps make it big. To be in the league of apps like Venmo, Uber, Google Pay, MakeMyTrip, Doordash, etc. one needs to have a multi-channel user acquisition, user retargeting, and user retention strategy in place. With store-level marketing, you are opening up doors to introduce your app to the millions of high-intent, high-quality users who are visiting the stores with the sole intention of downloading useful apps. 

With app store-level mobile marketing, you can reach out to the users right in the middle of their app discovery journey. App stores usually provide multiple ad placements that coincide with the conversion funnel of an app user. By placing your ads at the right spots, you can look at amplifying your quality conversions, which can help boost your ROAS, stabilize your acquisition expenses, and create a user base that has a high retention rate.

Understanding the platforms: iOS App Store and Google Play Store

Before we deep dive into the aspects of App Store vs. Play Store app marketing, we need to have a thorough understanding of both the stores - the commonalities as well as the key differences in both platforms. 

What are the things to remember for the iOS App Store?

This store is exclusively for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users who rely on the Apple operating system for their gadget functionality. 

  • iOS App Store boasts 460 thousand games and 1.76 million apps
  • The iOS App Store is a premium app platform that sees visitors from 175 regions worldwide weekly.
  • The annual App Store revenue in 2022 was 86.8 billion USD
  • The App Store game revenue for 2022 was at 50 billion USD
  • The App Store was responsible for 67% of all in-app consumer spending in 2022
  • 32.6 billion apps downloaded in 2022

Source: Business of Apps


What are the things to remember for the Google Play app store?

The Play Store is primarily for Android users. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind about the app platform. 

Significance of the two platforms in global app marketing

There are over 300 app stores worldwide, with iOS App Store and Google Play Store commanding 95% of the global app market share. If there’s an app, they have a presence in one of these two app stores. As an app marketer, if you are looking to establish your mark on a global stage and aim to have a mainstream brand recall for your app, then iOS App Store and Google Play Store app marketing is the way to go.

App Store vs. Play Store app marketing: what's similar?

Seeing as both the platforms primarily have the same functionality - host apps and allow users to download them - naturally, there are aspects to marketing that are similar for both. Let’s check them out. 

App Store Optimization is a priority for both

App Store optimization refers to the practice of updating and refining your app title, app subtitle, app description, and/or app metatext to ensure they reflect your core target keywords in the content. For both the iOS App Store and Android Play Store, this plays a crucial role in boosting organic ranking for both - app store vs. play store app marketing. App Store Optimization is extremely crucial to developing your app’s credibility in its relevant category and available demography. With strong organic keyword optimization in place, it gets easier to tap into keyword-led paid app marketing initiatives. 

User ratings and reviews

For both platforms, higher ratings and positive user reviews are the priority. It helps to build up trust in prospective users about the expected app usage experience. The better the ratings and reviews, the higher the likelihood of your app being suggested to other relevant users either organically or through paid initiatives.

Shared challenges of visibility and app user acquisition

In both platforms, app marketers have to spend time publishing, getting necessary approvals, and optimizing to get the right visibility for their apps. A key issue to scaling the right amount of visibility is finding the right set of app store keywords to target. In both cases, it requires extensive research to find a good set of high-performing keywords to target. Similarly, user acquisition is equally challenging to ensure your ads show to the right people, at the right moment for scaling downloads. Advertisements need to be continually refined to amplify ARPUs and reduce churn rates.

Key differences: App Store vs. Play Store app marketing

Differences in approaching App Store Optimization

While the major points where the content must be updated and refined to scale organic visibility and ranking are similar, there are a few notable differences in approaching the optimization. Here’s a quick look:

App Store Optimization elements

iOS App Store

Google Play Store

App Name

30 characters but displays app title, logo, description, and images. Therefore flexibility of creative nomenclatures

30 characters but displays only app title and logo


30 characters

80 characters


4000 characters but no specification of keyword density

4000 characters with 2-3% keyword density


10 maximum screenshots

8 maximum screenshots

App previews

15-30 seconds; higher engagement

30-120 seconds; lower engagement

Cost differences

5-year mean average CPI



Average In-app purchases



A notable addition from the house of Apple has been on adding key functionalities that support app seasonality. This is an add-on to the Custom Product Pages (CPP) to help iOS app advertisers create multiple variations of their app marketing creative assets. With this move, Apple hopes to help app marketers break the clutter around the variety of brand communications needed to appeal to the variety of subsegments of user personas. 

Understanding the paid visibility options in both platforms

The App Store has a more funnel-oriented user experience, as contrasted to the Play Store. When you open the App Store, a key difference between App Store vs. Play Store app marketing hits you. The first page has information about the day and also places the Today Tab ads. Today Tab ads are very helpful for app marketers to advertise special brand announcements, product or feature launches, or even advertise seasonal offers and deals available in the app. Today Tab ads are a great way to build awareness for your brand to new segments of users. This option is not available on Google Play, which is more straightforward and only allows for ‘Suggested for you’ ads. The Today Tab ads lead users to a Custom Product Page (CPP) to create more context. The ‘Suggested for you’ ads take the user straight to the install screen, without providing further context as to why this ad was relevant to the user.

Similarly, as the user is about to type in their search bar, the App Store offers the provision to place Search Tab ads which help to position your app to a very high-intent user, who is likely going to look for you. This is not the case with the Play Store. To further visibility for iOS users, the App Store also offers the Search Results Page ad placements - this helps to show similar apps available as per the users' entered search queries. No wonder, the App Store ads record over 60% conversion rates.

User purchase powers and impact on app monetization


iPhone users earn almost 40% more than the median income of an Android user. This is an important factor to consider for App Store vs. Play Store app marketing. If your user does not have the purchasing power, it deeply impacts your monetization strategies for your app. iPhone users tend to have higher cart values, leading to greater ARPUs. They also indulge in-app purchases more frequently than Android users. Play Store users purchase only when it is absolutely essential. They are more inclined to watch videos or complete a survey to access gatekept app features. This is a lot more pronounced in casual gaming apps where ads often help to achieve rewards or move on to the next levels.  

So when you are marketing your app on these two platforms, remember how users prefer to purchase. If you want to run Rewards and Loyalty program ads that will require users to make more purchases, the App Store can be a great option for this. But if you are looking to run say a coupon-based discount ad campaign, there’s a higher likelihood of success on Android phones.


The full conversation with Moumita and Suyash can be watched here.

Takeaways for App Store vs. Play Store app marketing

Check out an overview of the important points to remember when strategizing a user acquisition strategy for both the App Store and the Play Store. 

  • Regular App Store Optimizations with good keyword densities are advisable for both platforms
  • The App Store provides a more funnel-like approach to execute your paid ad initiatives as per the intent stage of the user; the Play Store is more straightforward in this regard and offers limited ad formats and placements
  • The purchasing power of the Apple user far exceeds the Play Store users, which draws larger ARPUs for the App Store platform
  • Focus on user rating and positive review campaigns for both platforms to build credibility for your app

Are you looking for suggestions or advice on how to amplify your app store optimization strategies for organic app visibility? Let us know your concerns and we will be happy to assist you!

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