App Store Optimization
Improve visibility on App Store & Google Play and boost downloads with ASO!
More Downloads. More Revenue. More Business.
What is ASO? How can it help my business? How should it be done? How to track and improve it?
It is a must for everyone in the mobile business.
What is ASO?
App Store Optimization (AKA ASO) is the process of optimizing a game or application in order to maximize its visibility in the stores in Search (when users search) and Explore (when users browse), boost traffic to listing and improve conversion rate to generate the maximum volume of organic downloads.
It brings free high-quality users to your Android or iOS app and is the base of any Mobile Growth strategy.
ASO = Traffic + Conversion
This process requires a critical understanding of how the stores work, the target user base, and the most relevant keywords potential users are typing or speaking to find apps or discover new ones.
Don’t get confused: App Store Optimization is not the same as SEO for mobile apps!
How to define it? Experts say…
How does it work?
Mechanics of ASO
There are some known factors that influence / impact ASO for iOS & Android applications. Let’s start by breaking them down:
On-metadata factors are those elements of product page can be modified within iTunes Connect or Google Play Console in order to optimize keywords rankings within the stores and to encourage the user to download.
These elements, that are 100% under our control are: URL / Package, Developer name (only Google Play), App Name / Title, description, short description, subtitle, promo text and keywords field (only Apple), category, icon, screenshots and video.
Optimizing on-metadata will help you rank higher in Search.
As it happens in SEO (Search Engine Optimization from web marketing world) and off-page factors, Off-metadata factors are those external factors that are not under the control of the developer.
The elements that are not 100% under our control are: volume and speed of installs, ratings + reviews and, maybe, user engagement…
App Store Optimization = on-metadata + off-metadata
How important is App Store Optimization
It is a process, a marathon…
How to do it
You know you have to optimize your mobile application and that ASO stuff is cool but… how to do it? How to do App Store Optimization the right way to boost visibility and increase downloads? Let’s take a look at the process:
1. Keyword research / market research
Picking the right keywords is crucial for Search success. You should target those with high relevance (related to your business), high traffic and low difficulty or competition.
The keyword research process is different for each app. For example, for new apps, it’s better to use mid and long-tail low competition keywords to gradually change them with some with more traffic and competition.
In order to get the maximum visibility, your app or game should be global (available worldwide) with all languages optimized.
It’s time to optimize!
2. Optimize for Search & Conversion
It’s all about optimization when it comes to improve visibility and Conversion Rates.
Apple App Store
Add keywords in the App Name (50 characters) and keywords field (100 characters). So, a total of 150 characters, although there is a “hack” that allows using much more than 100 characters in the that special field…
Google Play Store
Add keywords in the title (30 char), short description (80 char), description (4,000 char). Unlike Apple, Google indexes almost all text that appears in the store listing. Google Play, when it comes to Search, is much more similar to SEO.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
A/B test listing elements like icon (to increase CTR in lists), feature image or screenshots to boost conversion rate and get more installs with the same traffic.
Is your product page ready? Let’s see it!
3. Track / monitor main KPIs
Track all KPIs: keywords, competitors, Top Charts, organic installs (by country), conversion rate to install, revenue from organic installs (IAP, advertising…), and competitors’ updates / changes in listings (on-metadata).
IMPORTANT: ASO for App Store is not the same as for Google Play Store. Take a look at our ultimate guides!
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1. Pick a great App Name / title
The title is one of the first things that users see when they discover your app or game. Chose a name that is identifying your application and expresses its purpose. Your brand name should be simple and memorable – better stay away from generic names here.
To compose a perfect title use this formula: Brand name + 2 or 3 of your most important keywords. These serve a double function – to give users an understanding what your app serves for, and to boost your rankings. Stores give most weight to the keywords included in the title, so make the most out of it!
App Store Optimization begins with the App Name…
2. Focus on Search
Keywords are the most important aspect of your Search strategy, and you should start working on them even before the day you launch your product. Do a keyword research, and get as many keywords and combinations that are related to your app and imply a download intent. Also, do a market research to study competition in Search.
Besides Title, add keywords to the URL of the page and short / long description (Google Play). Important: Play Store indexes your full description, but App Store doesn’t.
3. Make your icon stand out
Get creative! This is your chance to outrank your competitors. Make your icon descriptive and clear for the users to understand what your app or game is about, check out what your competitors are doing, and make an icon which is striking and original. Work on your style and stick to it, keeping it through updates. Create a distinctive image!
Marketing is about creativity!
4. A/B test everything
Prior to implementing a change in the store listing elements, test them using an A/B testing tool. Our advice is not to combine several changes at once, but separating and testing them one by one, so you can certainly understand which item benefits from the change.
5. Localize your product page
A blind translation doesn’t work here. When you are localizing your app for a different country, you are getting in touch with a different culture, with different search and behavioral habits. Even for the US and the UK english language there might be differences in spelling. When opening a new country, adapt your text, provide screenshots in a different language, think of culture-specific engagement options.
And if you decide to publish your app in a new country using an english version, think of how many people in this country actually speaks this language and if they will be eager to use it in english.
6. Don’t let your app weight more than 100MB
Without WiFi connection the user most likely will not download your app or mobile game instantly, and it might become hard to remind them to come back and install it…
7. Avoid bugs
Bugs can cause a lot of negative reviews, and you don’t want that. Monitor and update your product frequently, and get your users to report bugs on a separate page, impide negative reviews from leaking to your download page.
8. Monitor your competition and never stop optimizing
ASO is not about one-time optimization. Some of your competitor’s actions can make a big change in the market, so never stop monitoring and react timely on these changes. Or maybe you will be the first who shakes the market? In any case, track the situation in your niche daily with a tool and update your strategy frequently.