Transparent Growth Measurement (NPS)

The Secret of Successful ASO – App Store Optimization

Contributors: Amol Ghemud
Published: August 14, 2018

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When are more than 2 million different mobile applications in the leading app stores, getting your application found is one of the greatest issues.
In case you’re in the space of mobile application, it is critical to comprehend the different techniques for promoting your app successfully which requires you to do ASO – app store optimization.

What is ASO?

App store optimization (ASO) is the way toward making the mobile app noticeable in an app store , (for example, iTunes for iOS, Google Play for Android). Much the same as search engine optimization (SEO) is for websites, app store optimization is for mobile applications. In particular, ASO incorporates the process of ranking highly in an app store’s search results and top charts rankings.
The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: downloading your app.
Before jumping to explain the process of optimizing the app – start by assuming that users know very little about your app besides, its name, and then think in terms of bullet points:

  1. What does your app do?
  2. What problem does it solve?
  3. How will it make the buyer’s life easier?
  4. And, of course, why is it worth the price?

Important factors for ASO

1. Title

The keyword placed in the title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. Spend time researching which keyword that is, because changing your title often to include different keywords can be detrimental. As your app begins to rank higher and gain more reviews, news of your app will begin to spread by word of mouth. Changing the title can make it difficult for word to spread about your app.

2. Keywords

To improve your search rankings, you need to know which keywords are relevant and used most often by your target audience. It is helpful to monitor competitors in order to realize how you compare week to week.

3. App Description

Two things to consider here; app store search engine who will “read” the description, and humans who will read it. The description should be informative and tell the user about the application without being confusing, long and very obviously written for search engines. Things to consider:

  • First paragraph is pivotal, write a short description of the application as most visitors will not read the whole description
  • Use keywords carefully and naturally, you will be penalised for keyword stuffing

In addition to being the most important factors for ASO, the fact that the title and keywords can be modified easily means that you can regularly optimize them.

4. Total No of Downloads

Your number of downloads are extremely important to ASO, but you don’t have complete control over them.

5. Ratings and Reviews

Also important and difficult to control. However, there are ways to incentivize happy users to rate and review.

6. Uninstalls

This factor indirectly affects your search ranking. If your app has lots of almost immediate uninstalls, it’s highly likely that it will get lots of low ratings and negative reviews.

How to do App Store Optimization?

To truly optimize your app store page, you need to pay close attention to various aspects that will come into play during a potential user’s visit.

1) Keyword research

Ok, this part is pretty similar to SEO. Using specifically designated tools such as SensorTower and App Annie, your page content should comprise of relevant, sought-after terms that will lead potential users to your app. The trick here is to hit the right balance between the different levels of traffic and difficulty. Some words are worth competing for, but choose your battles wisely.

2) App description

Keywords research is great for generating the best results out of Google and Apple’s algorithms, but those who will actually read your app description and decide whether or not to install your product are human. That’s why stuffing your content with keywords, thus creating a baffling app description, is a terrible (yet very common) approach for ASO.

3) App logo

Make sure your icon is, well, iconic. It should do more than give users a sense of what the app is all about. Here’s a way of turning a flat logo into an eye-catching one: create a smaller picture surrounded by a frame, and allow your logo to “break” the frame and create a cool 3D effect.

4) Screenshots

Many apps out there think of screenshots as a features list, which is unfortunate and inefficient. Instead of using simple in-app shots, which are probably not that brilliant to begin with, make the most out of this space and look at it as another advertising platform. Unfamiliar brands should pay extra attention to this opportunity to shine.

5) Video trailer

If you choose to invest resources in creating a trailer, our advice to you is to put users before Apple. A recent study we’ve conducted proved that Apple doesn’t enforce its own guidelines and is quick to approve videos containing footage that goes way beyond the same old in-app footage.

6) Competitive research

Keep your friends close, and your direct competition closer. The best way to learn what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing in the Appstore is to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to and discover certain keywords you might be missing. Use existing measuring tools as well as your own common sense, and update your app page accordingly.

7) Reviews and 5 starts rankings

When users visit your app page, they examine previous users’ experience very carefully. Not only that, but on Google Play the reviews section is very visible and prominent. Make sure to highlight positive reviews and reply to negative ones immediately.

8) Category

Choosing the right category for your app will influence your ranking for that specific arena. Choose the right category based not only on what is most relevant, but also based on the level of competition and generated revenue. In addition to the primary category, Apple introduced subcategories as part of the iOS 8, which divide the Appstore into micro segments and allow developers to rank highly in specific fields.

9) Analytics

We hate to discourage you, but your ASO efforts are never really over. In fact, once your description, screenshots and title are all in place – you can get started. Make sure to constantly measure and optimize your results, try different keywords and change the description and creative content accordingly.
Want to get more traffic on your app?

ASO takes time

ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.
Today, the most common approach to ASO is no approach at all. Developers often pick keywords and write descriptions at the last second during an app’s submission process. In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden and the likelihood of discovery quite low.

Growth Hacking Twist

Just like digital marketing, ASO should also be done with Growth Hacking approach – iterative process with experiments and learnings to improve app rankings.
In the Google Play Store an app listing can be updated at anytime while Apple only allows metadata to be changed on an app version update.
It can be done in a continuous manner by monitoring rankings and measuring downloads – which should be the bedrock of a stream of ideas on how to improve your app’s visibility. 

About the Author

amol ghemud
Optimizer in Chief

Amol has helped catalyse business growth with his strategic & data-driven methodologies. With a decade of experience in the field of marketing, he has donned multiple hats, from channel optimization, data analytics and creative brand positioning to growth engineering and sales.

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