Imagine that application development services have borne fruit, and you have received a ready-to-use mobile application that you now want to present to your target audience. This is not the end of your path to success, because, without proper promotion, even the highest-end product runs the risk of remaining in the shadow of its competitors.
As you may know, mobile app stores are the main place to promote applications. This promotion has its own specifics and name: App Store Optimization (ASO). In particular, ASO techniques were developed specifically for the App Store and Google Play.
If you don’t use ASO to improve your app’s search rankings, you’ll miss out on one of the biggest user acquisition channels available to your app. So, let’s consider our ASO guidelines below.
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In essence, in digital marketing, ASO is somewhat similar to SEO. But if in the second case, specialists work with websites, in the first case, as you already understood, they interact with mobile applications pre-loaded in the mobile application stores (App Store and Google Play).
Indeed, the main task of an ASO specialist is to ensure the visibility of the application for relevant user requests (that is, when entering their request, the user should first see your application). Thus, the main duties of an ASO specialist include selecting search queries, compiling a semantic core, as well as adding keywords to text metadata indexed by App Store and Google Play search robots.
Also, the efforts of the ASO specialist should be applied to ensure the convenience of the search for the end user: the name and description of the application should be informative, understandable, and readable (and not just tailored for search algorithms).
And finally, it’s important to understand that an ASO specialist has to apply ASO practices not only to the English-speaking audience but also to others and adapt an app store optimization strategy for different language localizations.
The ultimate goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to the page with your app in the app store so that users download it.
The main success metric of app store optimization for the App Store is the conversion from app impression (visual contact of a specific user with the app icon or download page) to installation. As for Google Play, in this case, the conversion is the ratio of installs to page views where the application is located.
It’s important to understand that ASO is a process, not a one-time set of measures. Apps are launched and uploaded to app stores every day, and just as regularly as you do, the marketing teams behind these apps also do ASO. Therefore, even after just a few weeks of stagnation, your application may lose its former position.
You should also be prepared for the fact that over time your strategy for app store optimization will have to change and adapt to the new realities of your business niche. Therefore, those tools that previously worked effectively, after some time, may turn out to be useless for your application.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the sooner you start ASO, the better. For example, if we are talking about the App Store, when the application is not regularly updated, this store removes it. Since sometimes the decisive factor for launching updates is the profit from the first app release, you need to start taking actions aimed at earning money from your product as soon as possible.
In general, be prepared for constant work and optimization of your app store optimization strategy, and you will definitely succeed!
The effectiveness of app store optimization activities depends on many factors, many of which an ASO specialist cannot influence, but can take into account to create a truly effective app store optimization strategy. Let’s look at these factors:
From this list, it becomes clear that the task of an ASO specialist is not only to optimize the text presenting the application but also from the accompanying visual, as well as from the quality of the developers’ work.
Thus, the responsibility of ASO specialists should be extended to the interaction with both the design department and the development department. The former will provide high-quality screenshots for the application and create an attractive and recognizable icon, while the latter will make sure that users’ feedback is implemented into regular updates.
And of course, you can hardly do without analyzing the target audience of your application. In the future, this will give you some benefits in creating a suitable semantic core and provide you with an opportunity to use the right keywords and phrases to compose the text part of the content on the application page.
Unlike websites and web applications that users usually find through search engines in the browser, in the case of mobile applications, Google and its analogues are not used so often. Instead, mobile users turn to the help of search engines built into the app stores themselves. This makes this channel one of the most effective methods for attracting the target audience.
Therefore, ASO can help you outperform your competitors and positively impact your app’s rankings and revenue generation.
The effectiveness of your application store optimization can be tracked through the achievement of three goals. So, if your application is in one of the top three places in the search engine results page (SERP), then you have reached the first goal. At the same time, placement in the SERP does not guarantee that users will want to go to the download page of your application: they may not like the name, icon, and, in the end, the rating. That is why it is so important to work out all these aspects in advance (of course, except for the rating). The next goal is to encourage users to download and install your application through thoughtful description and colorful screenshots.
Most often, ASO specialists use App Store Connect to promote an app on the App Store, and Google Play Console to promote an app on Google Play. They also often resort to using tools to track positions for key queries, build a semantic core, track reviews and ratings and work with user feedback, competitive intelligence, screenshot editors, and various A/B testing tools. The list of available solutions for all the described categories is so extensive that we decided to provide a choice of specific ones directly to you.
As for the data that will bring you additional benefits in analytics and building an effective app store search optimization strategy, these include the following:
If you have two native versions of your app, or if you resorted to Xamarin development, you need to apply ASO tips for each of the app stores.
In particular, if you have carefully analyzed the list of factors that directly or indirectly affect application store optimization, you should understand that ASO for Google Play and ASO for the App Store have some differences. In particular, the App Store is known for its closed system, and it is more difficult for developers to present applications there. This means that the competition in this store will be less than in Google Play, and ranking for specific keywords will be easier.
Also, App Store and Google Play have several specific factors that are unique to a particular store. So, to promote on the App Store, you will need to carefully consider the subtitle, description (it must contain keywords), as well as advertising text. As for Google Play, here one of the decisive roles in the promotion is played by the name of the application developer company. So, what about ASO steps? Follow the next section!
Finally, we have reached the point where you already have an answer to the questions: “What is app store optimization?” and “What are the main factors influencing the success of your strategy?” So, it’s time to consider app store optimization steps that will help you promote your app in the most popular app stores.
Let’s start our list of app store optimization tips by walking in your clients’ shoes. This means that you have to understand who they are, what their interests are, and what their pain points and desires are. Your application should solve at least one of these pain points or help realize at least one of the desires.
All this should be expressed through a unique selling proposition (USP), which you will present to your target audience through advertising and content on the page in the app store where your product was uploaded.
Mobile applications larger than 100 MB provide warnings before downloading. The fact is that such applications are resource-intensive in terms of the implementation of the download procedure and therefore are not suitable for all smartphone models.
Note that the vast majority of developers who upload their applications to app stores adhere to these requirements, so today you are unlikely to find such heavyweight software among the leading products in their categories.
We’ve talked about the importance of regular updates before, so let’s recap: they’re not only necessary for developers to fix bugs and optimize your app but also to demonstrate that you provide positive feedback to users who left negative reviews about your application. However, before planning the next update, you should perform A/B testing to make sure that specific features need to be optimized. Otherwise, you risk degrading the user experience and losing users.
While the most obvious target audience for your app is likely to be the US, UK, and other countries where English is the official language, it’s important to take care of potential users with other language preferences as well. For example, Spanish is the fourth most popular language in the world, so it would be wrong to neglect the ability to localize your application for the residents of Spanish-speaking countries. Even if your application will still be only English, you will at least be able to adapt the page with it to several other localizations.
To compile the semantic core, ASO specialists usually use Google Keyword Planner or Serpstat. These automate the process of searching for keywords, and after a few minutes, you have a ready-made list. As for their use, you should know that you do not need to combine these words with each other (nor do you need to add words that you have already used in the title). You can list them separated by commas.
The first thing you should start your SEO with is a name for your application. If your development company is not yet well-known, it would be better if you include a keyword or its modification there. The maximum length for a title is 50 characters.
Next, you need to work on the description—this will explain to your target audience how they will benefit from installing and using your application. This description has two parts: ATF and BTF. The first part is limited to only one or two sentences, and then the word “more” follows. That is why this part should contain the most important things about your app. Here you will also have to use keywords. Remember that the maximum description length is 100 characters.
Another extremely important aspect of SEO is the presence of links on the internet that lead to the download page of your application in the app store. The quality of these links depends on the search engine rankings of the websites they are placed on.
Screenshots provided to your users on the download page of your application are one of the decisive factors in deciding whether to download it. Therefore, they should be not only visually attractive but also informative. Remember that you only have five slots for placing screenshots, and they must be compatible with all device formats that are suitable for downloading the app.
A few years ago, the category of the application played a big role in the effectiveness of its promotion, however, we should not forget about them today. In particular, your users should not experience any difficulty in finding your product. This means that you will need to choose the most appropriate category for it.
High ranking completes our list of app store optimization tips.
Obviously, positive reviews have a very positive effect on your app’s rankings and are likely to bring you very good conversion rates in the future. The whole point of this is social proof (i.e. if other users say your app is cool, then their reviews can be trusted).
One thing to clarify here is that app stores show ratings and reviews about the latest version of your app. This means that if your update was unsuccessful, you can negate your past success. Also, app stores have a connection with localization. So how do you get positive reviews for an app? It’s simple: make it really cool (yes, we know it’s very difficult).
Along with our app store optimization techniques described above, it is always important to keep in mind the bad ones, which will save you from wrong and counterproductive actions in relation to app store search optimization. Here are some of them.
As the number of apps in the app stores grows (as of November 2022, there are about 3.6 million apps on Google Play and 1.6 million on the App Store), the competition between them becomes increasingly fierce. Thus, we hope that our app store optimization best practices will come in handy for you.
Therefore, in order for your product to rank in the built-in search engines and bring you good conversions through these stores, it is important to start app store search optimization as early as possible. If you are looking for the best marketing specialists who would apply their ASO best practices for your application, please contact us. Also, after reading our ASO guidelines, you can learn more about mobile app marketing in this article.
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