App Store vs. Play Store: What Are the Marketing Differences?

In today’s fiercely competitive mobile app landscape, success hinges on crafting a brilliant app and effectively marketing it to the right audience. And with the ever-growing array of applications available, standing out is essential.

To thrive in this arena, developers need to become adept at app marketing. This starts with understanding the two main app platforms: the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. These platforms, curated by Apple and Google respectively, offer a marketplace for developers to showcase and sell a variety of apps.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the App Store vs. Play Store, exploring strategies for marketing success and comparing their differences.

App Store vs. Play Store: Key Marketing Differences

Marketing your mobile app effectively on the App Store and Google Play Store requires an understanding of the unique characteristics and requirements of each platform. Here are some key marketing differences between the two:

App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization is a cost-effective mobile app marketing approach. Successful ASO strategies slightly differ in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

In ASO for App Store marketing, the app title is critical. It should be clear and concise, while also standing out and remaining faithful to the app’s contents.

The App Store also makes use of subtitles that complement the app title. With a maximum of 30 characters, the subtitle can either expand on the app’s value proposition or highlight a key feature. To amplify ASO, include keywords in the subtitle. Choosing the right keywords will dictate how the app is discovered through search.

The app title is just as important in Play Store marketing, and it should be to the point and memorable. The Play Store features a short description field with 80 characters or less. Here, developers can succinctly convey their app’s message, while also including relevant keywords that users are likely to search for.

The Play Store allows for a more extensive long description (typically up to 4000 characters) where mobile app developers can provide a more in-depth overview of the app. This is the place to explain the app’s features and benefits and entice users to download.

User Reviews and Ratings

User feedback is a massive part of marketing for both the Play Store and App Store. People are more likely to download and install an app with a high rating and positive feedback. Moreover, app stores consider user engagement metrics, like ratings and reviews, when determining an app’s visibility in search results.

While both app stores use user reviews and ratings, there are some differences in how they handle this data. Apple allows users to rate apps on a scale of one to five stars, accompanied by a written review.

To leverage the rating systems for the App Store, developers should respond to as many reviews as possible to show their audience that they value their feedback and are committed to improvement.

Google Play uses a similar 5-star rating and review system. But it also includes an additional “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” voting system, which helps to surface the most helpful reviews. In the Play Store, take advantage of rating systems by showcasing positive feedback in the app’s listing.

App Store Features and Promotions

Featured apps vary widely, from popular games and utility apps to innovative tools and emerging trends. The advantage of being featured is that it catapults an app’s visibility, leading to more downloads and user engagement.

When it comes to store features and promotions, there are a few notable sections in the Apple App Store vs. Google Play Store.

In the App Store, the “Today” Tab features a daily selection of apps including articles, interviews, app spotlights, and more. “App of the Day” is another popular section. It includes one app that’s been selected by editors. Finally, the editorial curation includes collections of apps and games around various themes, events, and interests.

Google Play’s editorial team also selects and highlights a set of apps and games in the “Editor’s Choice” section. They have a “Featured Apps” section as well, which is a rotating selection of apps with various categories such as “Trending” or “Recommended for You.” Additionally, Google creates themed collections of apps based on different occasions, holidays, or trends.

Increasing your chances of being featured requires diligence. It involves creating unique, high-quality apps, staying true to the platform’s guidelines, and maintaining stellar user ratings and reviews. Both platforms prioritize apps that are actively maintained, so be sure to regularly update your app.

Advertising and Monetization Differences

The IOS App Store and Google Play Store also differ in their advertising and monetization options for app developers:

In-App Advertising

App stores offer opportunities for in-app advertising to reach a wider audience, mainly through ad formats like banner ads, interstitial ads, and video ads. The App Store vs. Play Store share similarities and differences in how they implement in-app advertising.

In both stores, banner ads are small, persistent, and appear at the top or bottom of the screen. Interstitial ads take up the entire screen and may differ in frequency and timing between the two stores.

Additionally, rewarded video ads typically appear within the app, and offer users incentives for engagement. The Play Store and App Store have different ad placement policies and targeting options for rewarded videos.

So, how exactly does ad targeting work for in-app advertisements? The App Store primarily relies on keyword targeting through Apple Search Ads, which helps reach users actively searching for specific apps.

In contrast, Google Play offers more extensive targeting options, including keywords, demographics, interests, and user behavior data. Google’s vast Android user base also contributes to its wider audience reach.

In-App Purchases

In-app purchases play a pivotal role in monetization since developers can offer paid content, even within free apps.

In the Apple App Store, in-app purchases are typically made using the user Apple ID, where payment methods like credit cards or Apple Pay are linked to the user’s account. Apple manages the payment processing and takes a percentage of each transaction.

On the other hand, the in-app purchase process for the Google Play Store utilizes Google Play Billing, with payment methods linked to the user’s Google account. Google also takes a percentage of each transaction.

To optimize in-app purchases for maximum revenue on each platform, developers should focus on offering a compelling free version of the app. Then, they can entice users to buy premium features. Additionally, they should make use of data analytics to understand user behavior and preferences, and then personalize offers and promotions accordingly.

App Store Paid Promotion

Paid promotions are the quickest way for app stores to reach a broader audience. The methods are a bit different in the App Store vs. Play Store.

In App Store marketing, paid promotion options include Apple Search Ads and App Store Stories. Apple Search Ads give developers the chance to bid on specific keywords that will put their app at the top of the search results. App Store Stories, on the other hand, are editorially curated stories that showcase apps, games, and themes.

The Google Play Store offers paid promotion opportunities through Google Ads campaigns and Play Store placements. Google Ads allows advertisers to create campaigns across various Google platforms, like the Play Store, Google Search, and YouTube. Play Store placements involve featured spots for apps on the Play Store’s homepage, category pages, and search results.

App Store promotions have their advantages, often leading to lead to higher visibility and an increase in downloads. However, it can also be costly, and competition for keywords can further drive up costs. For Google Play, the benefits include a wider reach and more control and flexibility. Still, competition is intense, and costs can vary.

App Store marketing strategies for paid promotions involve thorough keyword research, setting realistic budgets and bids, and monitoring performance metrics. For both platforms, A/B testing is crucial to refine campaigns.


As you can see, there are unique differences between the App Store and Play Store when it comes to paid promotion opportunities. Whether you choose to advertise on one or both platforms will depend on your target audience and budget. It’s important to carefully consider all options and conduct thorough research before deciding on a marketing strategy for your app.

Need more help with app promotion and marketing? The team at Ayokay is here to assist you with all your app marketing needs. From creating eye-catching visuals to developing effective campaigns, we have the expertise and experience to help your app succeed.

Contact us today to learn more!