If you are a company or an organization and wondering how to dive into the mobile app market and climb up high in the user’s choice, App Store Optimization (ASO) is the way to go!
Google Play Store has around 2.56 million while Apple’s App Store has 1.85 million apps for download. The number might frighten you to compete in this water but we have engineered some highly tested cheat-codes for you 😛
Let’s get down there!
App Store Optimization: What it really means to you?
App Store Optimization (ASO) or Mobile-App SEO is the continuous process of optimizing a mobile application in order to achieve sustainability in the mobile applications market and getting maximum user attention.
Organic users acquired through such strategies actually tend to be more loyal than the ones influenced through paid-ads!
Apart from involving search optimization, ASO also includes:
- Visibility Optimisation / Discoverability (When a user browses on the app stores)
- Conversion Rate Optimisation (How likely a user will install the application after going through every possible detail of the app available)
App Store Optimization is a crucial part of app marketing. The core objective of ASO is to gain the maximum number of organic downloads for your mobile application.
I will walk you through the basic as well as advanced practices that you should follow in 2020 and beyond –
Is ASO the Gateway to Mobile App Industry from now?
The market is experiencing a near 3 times growth in worldwide revenue and is expected to earn more for the next few decades at least. This is one of the main reasons that companies are shifting to the mobile applications market much more than ever before.
Hence, instead of spending excessively on paid acquisition tools like CPI networks, Social Media and App Search Ads, PPC, and more, it’s more profitable to earn organic customers through app store optimization strategies.
App Store Optimisation Checklist
- Keywords Research
- App Title
- Description of the App
- App Subtitle (for Apple App Store only)
- App Promotional Texts (for Apple App Store only)
- Keyword Field (for Apple App Store only)
- App Update Frequency
- App Size
- App Icon
- App Localization
- App Preview Screenshots & Videos
- App Ratings & Reviews
Now let’s learn how to achieve this.
Unlock the Growth with Your Keywords
Conducting in-depth keyword research is a crucial part of app store optimization, after all, keywords become the identity of your app.
Your ASO keyword research should take into account your target audience, their needs and wants, search pattern analysis. Like in SEO, here also keywords that play a great role in positioning your app in the user’s search list.
The first step is to list out all possible words or phrases that can clearly and uniquely describe your app.
Now, categorize your list according to the type of application, the class it belongs to, it’s functionality, it’s usage, or how it can simplify a users’ life.
Done with the baby steps? Let’s step into deeper waters now.
Market Research / Spying On Competitors
I may be sounding immoral but it’s worth investing some time in spying your competitors to understand them.
This approach will not only give you some insight into new keyword ideas but will also help you in getting a better understanding of how to strategize your keyword selection and where to locate them.
Analyze, Shortlist and Prioritise
Now as you have a long list of all the handpicked keyword ideas, it’s time for a final shortlisting of those keywords in order.
It is very important to prioritize your keywords and place them smartly as the fields like the App Name, App Subtitle, Keywords section in iOS, and Title, desc and short desc in Android hold more weightage when you’re optimizing for ASO.
After the icon, the next thing that catches users’ attention is your app title.
The title of your mobile application needs to be catchy, short, and crisp so that the user can immediately get a brief idea about your applications and what service it renders.
Smart use of keywords to increase visibility on the app-store may do the trick but don’t make it look like spam.
The app description is the field where you get an opportunity to put most of the relevant keywords.
A 2-3 line detail about what your app does, benefits, and mainly how different it is from other products. But, don’t sound over-ambitious here!
The core objective while optimizing the app description should be on convincing the people to download your application. Fit in the keywords too, but don’t overdo it.
If a user finds your app relevant after reading the description, he is more likely to install it, and of course, a higher number of downloads gets you higher up on the visibility ladder.
App Subtitle (For Apple App Store Only)
The Apple App Store introduced a new metadata field, the app subtitle, after its iOS 11 release.
This field allows you to place only 30 characters and appears just under your app title. Keep in mind that this subtitle will be indexed in app store search results, so save some keywords for here too..
App Promotional Texts (For Apple App Store Only)
App promotional text is also another metadata field added by Apple App Store after its iOS 11 release.
This field is limited to 170 characters of text and appears at the top of the description.
Unlike subtitles, app promotional texts are not indexed in app store search results, but still, you should place relevant keywords in it because you never know how ranking algorithms might get changed with the passage of time.
You can do A/B testing with this metadata field as you can change this content anytime without releasing a new version for your app. Conduct A/B testing with different messages in it and figure out which message works best in terms of conversion.
The Keyword Field (For Apple App Store Only)
The iOS keyword domain, limited to only 100 characters, while remaining invisible to users, yet, it is one of the most crucial ranking factors for applications on the Apple app store. You get the option to add keywords while you upload the other metadata for your iOS application
While Apple doesn’t discreetly use this field to rank, it however actually utilizes this domain particularly to understand your app type, and structure to find out for a user.
Such a compact and strategically effective field should be exploited as much possible, hence choosing the keywords here cleverly.
Keep in mind to identify your free keywords. Like other apps, your app shall also be indexed on the app store for some keywords. These keywords are known as free keywords. Some good examples are – “free”, “app”, “game”, “iPhone”, etc. Also use your knowledge to classify your app into the best possible category; like if your app falls in the category: “Free Games”, your app automatically gets this keyword. Do not waste this space for free keywords, instead, utilize this space to include the keywords that are high on your priority list.
The freshness of the App – Update Frequency
A living and breathing app can continuously hold the pole position in the market. Keeping this in mind, plan regular updates, not only bug fixes, and make it adapt to improved features, adding or removing items according to performance, and better visibility on the user’s mobile after getting downloaded.
Top Apps on the App Store introduce an update every 3 weeks in case of the free ones while the paid ones are updated every Two Months. You can feel the importance right!
Along with the positive response you get after every update, the frequency and regularity of this practice are taken into account as a part of both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store’s ranking algorithms.
App Size – Shrink and Grow
While mobile devices with larger built-in storage spaces are flooding the market, app developers tend to apply more SDKs, higher resolution images, and better graphics.
But viewed from another angle, growing internet cover is also making people share photos, videos, and other media more rapidly among themselves. Hence, effectively the storage space for downloading apps over the years that much.
Google Play App Partnership executive Sam Tomolei emphasizes that for every 6 MB increase in apk size leads to a 1% decrease in install rate. Further, his team found that the download completion rate of an app with apk size around 10 MB will be 30% more than that of a 100MB apk app.
When browsing the application stores, your app icon is the very first thing (along with the name) a user sees. It is very important to design the icon perfectly, as this builds the first impression of your app.
Just remember these 3 points while designing your app:
I will advise you to go the extra mile and hire a skilled designer to fetch some cool ideas for your icon. Before finalizing one, keep in mind its user-appeal and your app title goes hand-in-hand.
App design plays a very significant role in the app store optimization process, it is considered as the crucial part of ASO because a good app design tends to derive more click-through rate, thus, increased chances of getting it downloaded.
Note: Just because you’ve liked the icon, doesn’t mean your potential users will also like it. Therefore, it is also important to do several tests with icon variants.
App Localisation: Make it Global With International ASO
Now that you’re done with preparing visuals and listing your app, it’s time to say “hello” to the global market.
Have you ever paid heed to Google greeting you “Hello”, “Namaste”, “Bonjour” and many more? This is called app localization or international ASO which makes the product more user-friendly and in turn enhances your reachability beyond the English-speaking world.
Let’s see how it appears.
This will help your app reach and fulfill the needs in each and every audience segment segregated by language around the world. In short, your app will be able to serve users who search in their native language.
Also, globalizing your app is an important part of app store optimization as it will also make you aware of the wide differences in keywords that users type while searching in your app. This will intuitively help you in restructuring any segment you want to improve.
Trust me, the results after the localization of your app will actually surprise you.
Here’s a fact – It also increases the conversion rate because a user is more likely to download an app that has a welcoming product page in their mother tongue as they find it more reliable and trustworthy.
Preview Screenshots and Videos: Market Yourself Better
No doubt, “visuals communicate better than words”. Preview screenshots and videos give you an opportunity to extrapolate your app’s working, its functionalities, uses, how it solves a problem, etc.,
While the preview screenshots and videos will not be used by app store ranking algorithms, they play a huge role in strengthening your conversion rate, which is again a direct factor when it comes to app store visibility.
Make sure to list visuals and videos that are compelling enough to convince a user to download your application.
You first have to decide whether you want to put horizontal or vertical screenshots. An A/B testing on these visuals in order to find the best one with a high conversion rate is strongly advisable.
App Ratings and Reviews: Make the Stars Count
Users don’t always go with pretty icons or screenshots. The app rating sits right below your icon.
According to the Apptentive report, 40% of users interviewed said that they trust reviews more than personal recommendations.
Reviews and ratings are taken into account seriously by both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in their ranking algorithms. Hence, this isn’t a spot to miss out when optimizing for app stores!
Most of the mobile users read reviews of an app before downloading it, hence, it also becomes quintessential to reply to reviews and solve the problems your existing users are facing.
Depending on your app’s nature, you can encourage positive reviews in many ways. When a user likes your app, he is very likely to leave a review, but you must work on deciding the right time to ask them for a review. For example, in the gaming industry, you can ask for a review right after a user wins the game. Do not ask too much, otherwise, you will be penalized. In iOS, you can ask for a review only three times a year.
Final Words –
Now that you’ve read all these effective app store optimization tips so far, it’s time to go all-out into the market.
There is a long history of apps that have gained success over time because of intense app store optimization efforts. Results are guaranteed but just have patience.
ASO strategies are proven and tested over a wide range of areas but are continuous in nature. Have patience, for the fruit shall be sweeter indeed!
Wishing you all the very best into this journey!